Faithlife Sermons

The Power of Unity

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Good Evening, I just want to start off by saying, that it is an honor to be here and I look forward to the time we will spend together over the next months which will hopefully turn into years of close Godly fellowship with each other.
I want to say that I know and love pastor Don and have the utmost respect for him and am grateful that he trusts me enough to allow me to preach to you all this evening.
America’s desire to be one nation under God is quickly becoming instead of the United States the divided states. Everywhere you look division is occurring.
Presidential candidates talk about uniting the nation while they fight. Racially, the divisions within our own homes and families and the divisions seem to keep growing now matter what people try to do to heal them.
1 Corinthians 12:12-
I believe that the reason we are facing so much turmoil and division as a nation is because we have so much division in the church. I also believe that the reason we are not seeing as much revival in this nation as the Lord desires is because churches have bought into the idea that the church should be run as a business and not as a body.
Jesus Christ prayed a prayer it is the longest recorded prayer that He prayed in the Bible. He is going to tell us something in His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane that will be life transforming, both individually and within the body of Christ.
He says I am praying not only for my disciples but I am praying for all Christians. So Jesus’ prayer is for you and me as well, and tucked in that prayer is something powerful.
He says I am praying not only for my disciples but I am praying for all Christians. So Jesus’ prayer is for you and me as well, and tucked in that prayer is something powerful.
The thing Jesus prays for that is the central point of this prayer, really is about the power of unity.
John 17:11 NKJV
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
John 17:21 NKJV
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
The thing Jesus prays for that is the central point of this prayer, really is about the power of unity.
John 17:22 NKJV
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
John 17:11 NKJV
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
John 17:23 NKJV
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
John 17:21 NKJV
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:21
John 17:22 NKJV
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
So as you can see Jesus is concerned in His prayer with oneness. With unity. Jesus desires that His followers emulate the oneness that He has with His own Father.
John 17:23 NKJV
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
So as you can see Jesus is concerned in His prayer with oneness. With unity. Jesus desires that His followers emulate the oneness that He has with His own Father.
What is unity?
So, Jesus is standing on the edge of the crucifixion. He is in His last hours, the weight that He feels is deep, He is coming to the place where He will die a brutal death on the cross at Calvary and He knows that he will have the wrath of His Father poured out in full on Him.
Now we face trials in our lives but nothing compared to what Jesus is about to face, if we are to learn anything from the Lord it would be now at HIs most intense moment of trial where He knew exactly was going to happen, you can learn alot about a person by the way they pray....
By what they pray as they darkest hour is upon them, and what was one of the main topics of His prayer?
His people.
First of all Jesus prays for Himself, preparing Himself for the things which are about to take place. Then He shifts His focus off of Himself and onto, His disciples…
John 17:6 ESV
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
This shows how much He cared for his men, His disciples those who walked with Him and shared in His ministry.
JESUS CARES ABOUT HIS FOLLOWERS!
I don’t think there is any doubt when we look at this passage that we can understand that Jesus is on the verge of death one of His last acts before the cross He is praying for the ones who were the closest followers of Him.
But He doesn’t just pray for them, He prays for another group.
John 17:20 NKJV
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
John 17:
So Jesus is not just talking about His disciples that were there with Him at that moment He is praying for those who will believe (future tense) through their word.
That is you and me.
This shows us His heart and this shows us the heart of God Himself.
Jesus moves on in His prayer to show His understanding of the world in which we live.
John 17:14 NKJV
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
John 17:
Jesus says these followers of mine, have a new home and it is not this evil world. The world we live in is the Bible calls in world system that is being driven and governed by the Devil Himself.
When the Bible says “do not be conformed to the world, that phrase in the greek actually means do not be squeezed into the mold of the evil world system.”
Why?
Because the world, the culture is antiChrist, it is antiChristian, Jesus Himself affirms this when He says His followers are not of the world because He is not part of the world and the world hates them.
We live in a society today that hates all things Christian, they are pro choice, they are pro religion so long as it is the not the Christian religion, and they are for redefining marriage and gender, these are just some of the ways that the world stands against the Lord.
This was something Jesus was aware of He knew that if the disciples would walk with Him and obey the great commission, then they would have the world against them, because Satan Himself lives to oppose the good work that God wants to do.
Just as the world has a system ruled by the devil who seeks to overthrow the work of God, Jesus also has something to accomplish His plan. It is called the church, the ekklesia, the body of Christ. It means the called out ones. Those who have been called out of darkness and into the light, we who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and brought to life power of the resurrection!
Now we have made one fatal error as a church in our world today, we have began thinking within the realm of our own kingdom, and not what can we do to impact the kingdom of God.
Think about it, we have meetings to make sure our churches are ran well, we have plans for how we can grow our congregations. The biggest thing weakening the church today is that we are too internally focused!
We worry about what is best for Mt. Enon, UHBC, Hodgesville. But we have missed the bigger picture, we are part of a much larger church, the church universal, the kingdom of God.
Nothing wrong with trying to grow, theres nothing wrong with being prepared and planning, but I believe in my heart that when hodgesville sits here, and UHBC sits there, and MT. Enon is down here, and we never come together for the cause and kingdom of Jesus Christ we are going against one of Jesus’ last prayer request before He went tot he cross.
Have you ever thought about it that way?
That Jesus was making some final requests here in this prayer? That He is praying for Union Hill, for Mt. Enon, and for Hodgesville and all the other churches in our area, and He has one thing He wants for us as a church, and one thing He wants for us individually.
So what does God want from me individually?

YOUR SANCTIFICATION

John 17:17 HCSB
Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.
Jesus is praying here for His followers and He says Father sanctify them. To sanctify something means to set apart. This means that as we as followers of Jesus Christ take in the Truth of the word of God then something ought to begin changing within us.
We ought to start being set apart that we ought to begin looking different, Jesus says in this statement, Father sanctify them, set them apart for a specific purpose by the truth, your word is truth.
Let’s not over complicate what Jesus is saying right here, as a follower of His you should be consecrated and set apart for service. Not just the ministers in this room, but you as a church member, you have been given a ministry, and it is to go out of these walls and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, EVERYWHERE!
John 17:18 HCSB
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
The goal of the Christian life is that each and every day you will be formed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ that when people see you they don’t see you at all but they see the Jesus in you. Jesus here in his final moments before His betrayal prays that the Father would sanctify, His followers by the truth.
He desires that we be set apart by the truth, that we be a fit vessel by which we can live on mission, the mission which he began. Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost, and He has called His church to continue His mission, until He returns.
But in order for the church as a whole we must be unified.
So Jesus’ prayer is for you and me for the church, each church, to be unified.
Since He is concerned about unity and oneness let’s clarify what this word means.
Everybody doesn’t define this word the same way. But Jesus says I want them to be one like you Heavenly father and I are one. So whatever the unity is that He wants us to have it it is to be a replica of the oneness He and His Father had.
What did this unity mean?
John 17:4 ESV
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
Unity is all about oneness of purpose, I completed the work that you gave me to do.
Unity does not mean we are all the same, it is differences, and distinctives going in the same direction in order to acheive the same goal.
Unity is purpose driven
How many of you in this room believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven?
How many of you in this room believe that Jesus dies for your sins on the cross and has resurrected and is seated at the right hand of God the Father?
How many of you believe that the primary means that God has chosen to spread the good news of the gospel is by using the church namely you and me to tell others of Jesus Christ?
How many of you believe that glorifying God is the primary reason we exist here on this Earth.
WE ARE THE SAME
CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH MADE UP OF THE SAME STUFF
WE LIKE DIFFERENT MUSIC, WE HAE DIFFERENT OPINIONS ABOUT LIFE BUT WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO THE CORE ESSENTIALS WE HAVE ALL AGREED WE HAVE THE SAME GOAL.
TO REACH THE LOST FOR THE GLORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
When the Alabama Crimson Tide line up in a football game there are many different sizes and many different positions and roles but there is only one goal line and if they desirte to win they all have to function in harmony.
They all have the same goal, to beat the opponent. They all have different backround and interests but when it comes to the football field everybody has something in common.
We all serve the same Lord we believe the same things, we worship the One and only God of Heaven and we are stronger together than we could ever be seperate.
we should not compete against one another, we should not compare our churches with other churches but rather respect each other and work together to obey Jesus Christ. This is Christ’s desire for His church the bride whom He died for.
Our differences are essential..... (first time I ever spoke in front of church) THERE ARE PEOPLE YOU CAN REACH I CANT REACH, THERE ARE PEOPLE YA’LL CANT REACH THAT I CAN.
WE NEED EACH OTHER!!
I said this morning during our service that we as human beings have this uncanny way of making something simple complicated. We try to plan and be organized and there is nothing wrong with that at all, but at the end of the day the purpose is the same.
MAKE DISCIPLES!
(Pastor and Cuban church)
So if we can clarify the purpose of why we exist and then get everyone on board to accomplish the purpose then we will have unity of function, and still have our differences.
(Orchestra)
Chaos becomes beauty because the conductor has brought them into unity by selecting the song.
What is missing in unity is the common purpose. So when everyone starts creating their own purposes you have disunity and you don’t have God!
God is a God of order!
This is why churches split because rather than keep the main thing the main thing we begin focusing on our differences and we lose sight of that goal line.
If the church desires to be a part of revival. If we truly want to see the Lord glorified in our lifetimes. Then the church must

Be a Mirror Image of Christ

We should strive to have the same bond, the same oneness that exists between God the Father and god the Son . The Bible says that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
We need to understand something there is perfect unity within the God head we serve one God who exists eternally in three distinct person.
They are have different roles but all have one objective.
The redemption of fallen humanity.
God planned it, the Son purchased it, and Holy Spirit guarantees it.
Let’s think about how One God the Fatherf was in the life of Jesus our Lord.
John 12:49 NKJV
For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
John 5:19 NKJV
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
The Son mirrors the Fathers heart, purpose and actions. In the same way the church of Jesus Christ must strive to eximplify unity in the way we act and interact with one another.
WHY?
(21) SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE YOU SENT ME
Listen there is a secret here, Jesus is saying that when His followers are not one then it throws a stumbling block up and makes it hard for others to believe that God sent Christ to the Savior.
Jesus is saying here that no longer will those who believe on Him be seperate from Him but actually that we are joined in Him. We share in the same things He shares in.
He says He gives us His Power , In 2 Corinthians He has given us His ministry the ministry of reconciliation, and He says here that He has given us honor His same distinct place of honor,
John 17:22 NKJV
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
This same distinnct place of honor that Jesus alone had, has been given to the one who follows Him with there whole heart.’
This is why we don’t have to confess our sins to a priest in a booth somewhere but instead we have a high priest who is able to empathize with our shortcomings because He was tempted in every was as we are and yet He was without sin, and we are in CHRIST!!
glory- honor
So
Wait a minute preacher are you saying that we are going to be honored with Jesus?
Ephesians 1:9–11 NKJV
having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Ephesians 1:9-
What is that inheritance?
Revelation 3:21 NKJV
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
What ?
So God is bringing us all together in one, and has given His church the right to be called the children of God and to those who overcome by then blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony He will grant us wow THE HONOR OF SITTING DOWN ON HIS THRONE!!
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 6:3 NKJV
Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
WOW
What honor that should be a spot only reserved for Jesus Christ and yet in His grace and love He has given us the glory which He alone had, He has allowed us to be partakers of His position because as it says throughout thhe NT we are JOINT HEIRS OF THE PROMISE, WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS AND WE ARE IN CHRIST SO WHATEVER PERTAINS TO CHRIST PERTAINS TO US!
John 17:23 NKJV
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
How will the world know that Jesus changes things?
When His followers are together loving one another and serving those who do not know the Lord.
Jesus said by this they will know you are my disciples that you have love one for another.
Nobody believes in a church or whatever they believe in if all they do is backbite and argue!
But when there is harmony… when there is unity it gives power. It gives power because we are not grieving the Spirit but instead are unified in the Spirit.
Acts 2:1 NKJV
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Acts 4:32–35 NKJV
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
THE POWER OF THE LORD RESTS ON THE CHURCH WHEN THE CHURCH IS TOGETHER IN ONE ACCORD!!!
They ministered best when they were the closest.
John 17:
John 17:25 NKJV
O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.
John 17:26 NKJV
And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17:
A cord of three strands is not easily broken!!!
Ecclesiastes 4:
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 NKJV
Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Exaplain
Church if we are following Jesus then we should be loving like Jesus, and if we are loving like Jesus then we will be united in purpose.
When there is unity the Spirit of God falls in power, when there is division, there is no power, a house divided against itself cannot stand and the house of the Lord will not stand if we stay seperated and do not come together for the sake of the gospel.
What would happen if revival broke out in Cottonwood, and people said Hey remember that time when everyone was getting saved?
That all started because churches in the area began to love on each other and pray together for the growth of the kingdom rather than the growth of the indiv idual church.
What a testimony that would be.
(Let’s Pray)
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