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Jesus' Prayer for Unity

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Introduction
Today we are going to look at Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer of
Entire books are written on - Warren Wiersbe wrote a 12 chapter book just on and many others
I thought we would look at some quick facts about prayer.
When we think about praying is this what we think about?
Prayer Picture
Folding our hands - heads bowed.
However we do have references to holding our hands in the air.
Folding our hands - heads bowed.
The problem is - folding our hands is not found in scripture.
1 Kings 8:22
1 Kings 8:22 CSB
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire congregation of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.
Spread out his hands toward heaven.
Nehemiah 8:6
Nehemiah 8:6 CSB
Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen!” Then they knelt low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen.”
Psalm 28:2
Pslam 28:2
Psalm 28:2 CSB
Listen to the sound of my pleading when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
When I lift up my hands towards your holy sanctuary.
1 Timothy 2:8
1 Timothy 2:8 CSB
Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
Pray - lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
When was the last time you followed the biblical model of praying with hands lifted towards the Holy sanctuary of God
Prayer
Please stand and raise your hands if you are able as we read this prayer of Jesus.
Raised Hands
John 17
John 17 CSB
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ. I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed. “I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given is from you, because I have given them the words you gave me. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me. “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them. I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Let’s Pray.
We are going to look at this prayer in four sections.
Jesus Four Part Prayer
1. Jesus’ prayer for glory:
2. Jesus’ prayer for security for His disciples:
3. Jesus’ prayer for the sanctity of His disciples:
4. Jesus’ prayer for church unity:
- Glory
John 17:1–5 CSB
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ. I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
We bow our heads when we pray - Jesus looked up to heaven!
The method of our prayer does not matter -
Sometimes you can stand while you pray - like Abraham
Genesis 18:22
Genesis 18:22 CSB
The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.
You can Bow
Genesis 24:52
Genesis 24:52 CSB
When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed to the ground before the Lord.
You can kneel
Daniel 6:10
Daniel 6:10 CSB
When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Or you can even sit like King David
2 Samuel 7:18
2 Samuel 7:18 CSB
Then King David went in, sat in the Lord’s presence, and said, Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me this far?
Our physical posture is not as important as the posture of our heart.
Jesus’ hour had finally come - to give us eternal life.
Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you.
Jesus has authority over all flesh
Jesus is the one who gives eternal life.
Eternal life is defined by Jesus:
“This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God , and the one you have sent - Jesus Christ.”
If you were asked to define eternal life, would you define like Jesus defined it?
Let’s go back to the beginning of our study in John
John 1:1 CSB
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Now Jesus’ prayer
John 17:5
John 17:5 CSB
Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
In the beginning was Jesus, He was with God, and He was God - and He had the glory of God before for the world existed.
Jesus
Jesus turns his prayer from glory to security.
- Security
John 17:6–12 CSB
“I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given is from you, because I have given them the words you gave me. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me. “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus did not pray for the world, but for the those that God gave Him for no other reason - than that they were His.
Holy Father - Protect them.
Jesus prayed for protection.
Protection that the disciple would be as one, like Jesus and the Father are one.
Protection for Unity.
Jesus prayed for their sanctity
- Sanctity
- Sanctity
John 17:13–19 CSB
Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them. I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Jesus Prayed - Sanctify them by the truth.
Your Word is Truth -
Jesus is the Way, The Truth and the Life. -
The Spirit Is the Truth -
To be sanctified means to be set apart as holy, purified, free from sin.
We can be sanctified by being in the Word, abiding in Jesus, listening to the Spirit.
Jesus was sanctified, set apart as Holy, for us. So that we could also be sanctified and set apart as holy, through his death and resurrection on the cross.
Jesus died for you.
He loved you so much he stretched His arms out and died on the cross for you.
The wages of sin is death - and Jesus paid that price for you so that you can be set apart as holy, sanctified through His death and resurrection.
Now Jesus turns His prayer to unity.
Let’s talk about Unity.
The Human Resource Committee and I have asked for a special business meeting to call Aaron as our worships leader.
One Wednesday night I was told that I have a fight coming at that business meeting because some of you do not like Aaron and some of you are getting really tired of the way I have been leading this church.
So let me apologize.
I do not want disunity in the church, so we are calling off that meeting for a time.
See I need to apologize to you because the seminary I attended did not teach us about Committees and Committees.
They didn’t teach us about Committees at all because its not in the Bible.
They taught us that Bible says that Pastors and Elders lead the church.
That deacons are to be servants of the church - let’s me read
Acts 6:1–7 CSB
In those days, as the disciples were increasing in number, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a convert from Antioch. They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.
The Biblical polity that is laid before us in scripture is Elder Led, Deacon Served, Congregationally Accountably.
That is what we were taught in seminary through a searching of the scriptures from Acts, to the Pastoral Epistles.
So on behalf of every pastor that came before me at Hillside Baptist Church let me corporately apologize for their poor leadership in allowing us to be a non-biblically led church when it comes to polity.
We can take some more time looking at this during our Wednesday night adult class if you have questions.
We can search the scriptures for Committees on Committees and we can search the scriptures for Elder Led, Deacon Served, Congregationally Accountable and see if for nearly 66 years if we have been doing church as the biblical model or of another model.
Which leads us to unity.
I know some of you are not comfortable with the biblical model and that is okay. You have been led astray by many pastors before me so.
So let’s focus on unity - that is the prayer of Jesus.
Let’s turn our attention back to the unity of the church.
- Unity
- Unity
John 17:20–26 CSB
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Jesus prays for oneness.
Jesus knows us.
The church has a history of disunity.
Acts 15:
We have such disunity.
Acts 15:35-41
Acts 15:35–41 CSB
But Paul and Barnabas, along with many others, remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord. After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers and sisters in every town where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they’re doing.” Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended by the brothers and sisters to the grace of the Lord. He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Some of us don’t like what people wear to church.
Some of us want our preference of music more than
Some of us want our preferences to be met when it comes to music and preaching style.
Romans 16:17 CSB
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them,
1 Corinthians 3:4 CSB
For whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not acting like mere humans?
1 Corinthians 4:
Some of us want control in the church.
All of this causes disunity.
When our preferences out weigh the message that is being given then we are really missing the boat.
People are literally dying and going to hell, while we argue about what people wear, the music we sing, the committee you wish you served on.
Disunity is destroying the church.
It’s a shame that we are more worried about our preferences being met than the dying world outside these doors.
When we are a church known for splits, arguments, and disunity - are we really furthering the cause of Jesus Christ?
Search your heart - are you causing disunity in the church?
Do you wish for people to dress differently, speak differently, lead differently.
If you are preparing for a fight at the next business meeting - shame on you.
Repent!
You are the cause of the disunity!
Listen to what the Bible says -
Ephesians 4:3
Ephesians 4:3 CSB
making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
1 Corinthians 1:10
1 Corinthians 1:10 CSB
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.
Colossians 3:13-14
Colossians 3:13–14 CSB
bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians
Psalm 133:1
Psalm 133:1 CSB
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
Psalm
And listen to the words of Jesus
John 17:23
John 17:23 CSB
I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
Do these verses describe you?
We need unity
We need to pray for unity
When we run people away from the church because of our disunity and our arguments at business meetings we are going directly against - we need unity so that the world may know God sent Jesus and has loved them as the Father has loved Jesus.
Warren Wiersbe Quote
“Whenever you meet another Christian, keep in mind that he shares with you the same glory that Christ gave His disciples. His skin may be of a different color; he may live in a different section of town; he may have some approaches to worship that you are not accustomed to. But if he has the glory within, and he is seeking to glorify God, you two can share a common fellowship and witness.” - Warren Wiersbe
Warren W. Wiersbe, Prayer: Basic Training (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), 85.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Prayer: Basic Training (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), 85.
What’s more important?
Salvation for the lost or your personal preferences?
Let’s pray
John 17
John 17 CSB
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ. I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed. “I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given is from you, because I have given them the words you gave me. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me. “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them. I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Amen.
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