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Jesus Gives Us Unity - John 17:20-26

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There are two ways to look at this picture.
1 - Everyone is connected and working together to accomplish a goal.
2- Everyone is pulling against one another in competition.
Christians are described in Scripture as a body.
When a body competes with itself, the results are never good.
We are going to talk this morning about unity.
Unity in the body of Christ is vital and it is commanded.
How can we experience unity?
That’s what we are going to find out today.
Let’s PRAY.
As we think about unity, I want us to consider the intellectual majesty that is Peanuts.
Lucy’s statement clarifies the necessity of unity in the church.
"These five fingers, Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."
When the body of Christ is unified in purpose we form something that shakes the gates of hell!
The defeat and weakness often seen in the church can be traced to a failure of unity.
For the body of Christ, for the church, to be effective, we must be unified.
To accomplish our God given responsibilities, the church must be unified.
For unity to exist we must meet three requirements.
When believers are unified we have the support and strength to reach the world.
We need unity.
Therefore, we must meet three requirements.
Requirement #1…

1. Unity Requires Connection vv. 20-21

John 17:20–21 NKJV
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 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.
This passage is part of what is often referred to as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus.
The chapter begins with Jesus praying for the disciples.
In these verses Jesus begins praying for you and me.
We are the ones who have believed through the word or message of the disciples.
Jesus’ prayer here is significant.
Jesus prays for us to be one as He and the Father are one.
That is an extremely high view of unity.
Does anyone feel that we as believers have achieved this level of unity?
No? Me either.
We do not need to despair, however, because in v. 21 Jesus tells us how to have unity and why it is important.
First, lets talk about how.
How do we gain the kind of unity that the Trinity enjoys?
Here is the phrase where Jesus tells us.
“That they also may be one in us.”
Unity is a product of our union with Christ.
This is why I chose our memory verses for this month.
I also believe that the theme of 1 Corinthians is unity.
The theme of unity is actually a very important part of Scripture.
Let’s look at the whole section in which we find our memory verses.
Go with me to Ephesians 4:1-6.
Ephesians 4:1-6
Unity is a product of our union with Christ.
In v. 3 Paul calls us to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We already have unity!
Because of what vv. 4-6 reveal!
There is 1 body, 1 Spirit, 1 calling, 1 hope, 1 Lord, 1 faith, 1 baptism, 1 God who is in each and every one of us!
We have unity.
It is our responsibility to keep it.
How do we do that?
Verses 1-2.
First, we walk worthy of our calling.
Second, we walk with humility, patience, and endurance.
Notice that all of those are outward focused.
We are humble with others, patient with them, we endure whatever comes.
In His prayer Jesus says that we are to be one.
That is about connection.
We have the same Lord, the same baptism, we are part of the same body!
We have unity. We are one. We are connected to one another and to Christ!
We must maintain that unity!
Why is it so important?
Because a world of unbelievers is watching.
Jesus says here that our unity will testify to the world that He was sent by the Father.
Our unity affects people’s perception of Christ!
repeat - read aloud
We know that.
We have seen it.
So many don’t believe because of the hypocrisy of Christians.
We could argue with them about it, or we can do something to change it.
Unity requires connection.
Our connection to one another should motivate us to preserve our unity.
Does it?
We live in unity because we are connected in Christ.
repeat - read aloud
We are connected!
We have unity!
We are one because we are in Christ Jesus.
Sing with me
“Christ Our Hope In Life And Death”
One of the things I love about this song is that it is all “we” and “ours”.
Our hope springs eternal because Christ is our hope in life and death!
Nothing comes to us apart from Christ.
He is in control.
He preserves and protects.
We need unity.
Therefore, we must meet three requirements.
Requirement #1: Unity Requires Connection.
Requirement #2…

2. Unity Requires Perfection vv. 22-23

John 17:22–23 NKJV
22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 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.
There are things in Scripture that are beyond our capacity to understand while still trapped within these dying mortal bodies.
One of those things is our glorification with Christ.
Romans 8:30 refers to our glorification in the past tense.
Romans 8:30
Romans 8:30 NKJV
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
We have already been glorified with Christ.
Here in John 17, Jesus states that He has given to us some of His glory.
There are a lot of opinions that people have about what this glory is that we share in.
I think that in light of the context it is best understood as referring to the entire plan of salvation and the revelation of God to man through Christ Jesus.
This would mean that our salvation and the revelation of God in Scripture should further our unity.
We share in the glory of Christ that we might be more unified!
If our salvation and study of Scripture doesn’t lead to greater unity, we are doing it wrong.
We are to be one as Christ and the Father are one.
He goes on in v. 23.
Christ in us, God in Christ.
We are directly connected to the Godhead!
This connection is to make us perfect in one.
Made perfect – τελειόομαι (teleioomaia) complete; perfect; finish. to be perfected v. — to be or become in a perfect or consummate state with respect to a specific attribute. Verb, perfect, passive, periphrastic participle, plural, nominative, masculine.
Made perfect – τελειόομαι (teleioomaia)
On our own we are incomplete, unfinished, imperfect.
When we come to Christ and are brought into union with Him, when we are brought into the body of Christ and connected to our brothers and sisters, that is what completes us!
The Body of Christ completes the believer.
Our unity to Christ and one another is what completes us.
This is very important.
The more disconnected we are, the more dis-unified we are, the more incomplete we are and feel.
The will of God is that we would be complete, be perfect.
There is no perfection where there is no unity.
Again we are given the larger purpose.
That the world will see who Christ is and know the love that the Father has for us.
Our unity declares the love of God!
What does that mean for our lack of unity?
When we are not unified, the world cannot see the love of God.
Feeling incomplete and disconnected is a sign that we are not unified!
Unity requires perfection, it requires that we be completed through our union with Christ and with one another.
We live in unity because unity makes us complete.
repeat - read aloud
We need unity.
We need the connection and completion that comes with the body of Christ.
Sign with me
“Higher Ground”
It is possible for us to live on a different level.
We are connected to Christ!
We have been glorified with Him!
He lifts us up and makes us stand.
We need unity.
Therefore, we must meet three requirements.
Requirement #1: Unity Requires Connection.
Requirement #2: Unity Requires Perfection.
Requirement #3…

3. Unity Requires Love vv. 24-26

John 17:24–26 NKJV
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 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.”
Verse 24 is such a precious verse.
Jesus Christ desires that we be with Him for all eternity.
He desires that we see His glory!
He desires that we be spectators of the love the Father and Son share!
In verse 25 Jesus laments that the world has not known the Father.
Christ is the revelation of the Father to the world.
John 1:18 says
John 1:18
John 1:18 NKJV
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Jesus Christ declares who the Father is and how the Father loves.
The end of verse 25 says that we have known that the Father sent Jesus to us.
Why does this matter?
What did the Father send Jesus to do?
To be the Lamb of God whose sacrifice would take away the sin of the world.
He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world!
Why did the Father do this?
Say it with me.
John 3:16 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This is why!
The Father sent the Son to pay the penalty for sin because of His love!
1 John 4:10 puts it this way.
1 John 4:10
1 John 4:10 NKJV
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Out of love the Father sent the Son to be the satisfaction for sin.
Verse 26 reveals that Jesus declared to all who God is.
That is what is meant by “declared to them Your name”.
Jesus declared the Father to the very end.
The first and last things said from the Cross were directed to the Father.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
“Father into your hands I commit my Spirit!”
Jesus declares who the Father is.
The Father is forgiving and He is just.
The Father was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice and therefore sin is forgiven.
As Christ declares the Father, the Father’s love is revealed in us as Christ is in us.
1 John 4:19 says
1 John 4:19
1 John 4:19 NKJV
19 We love Him because He first loved us.
Love is the foundation of our unity.
The Father loved the Son before the foundation of the world.
The Father loved us and sent the Son to save us.
The Son loved us and gave His life as a ransom to pay the penalty for our sin.
The love of the Father and Son is the basis for our love.
We love Him because He first loved us.
We love one another because of His love.
1 John 4:21 says
1 John 4:21
1 John 4:21 NKJV
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Unity requires love.
1 John 4:7-8
1 John 4:7–8 NKJV
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We live in unity because we love God and His love causes us to love one another.
repeat - read aloud
If there is no love, there is no unity.
If there is no unity, there is no true church.
If there is no church, the gospel does not go out.
If the gospel does not go out, people die in unbelief.
Unity is serious.
God’s love is serious.
Sing with me
“The Love Of God"
The love of God is rich and pure.
It is measureless and strong.
It will endure forever.
Are we living in the love of God?
Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 11:23-32
This is a time for believers to remember the price that was paid. To be reminded of the penalty of sin. Taking part of communion does not save you. This is simply a way for us to be reminded of what Christ has done. If you know the Lord as savior this morning, please join us in bread and juice as we remember Jesus Christ. These are only symbols, they represent the body and blood of our Savior. Examination – verses 26-32


1 Corinthians 11:23-32
The Bread (His Body) vv. 23-24 “How Great Thou Art”
The Cup (His Blood) v. 25 “To God Be The Glory”


Unity is necessary if we are going to reach a lost world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unity brings the strength and support we need as we live for Christ.
The problem is, unity doesn’t just happen.
We have unity in Christ, we are responsible to maintain that unity.
Unity requires connection, perfection, and love.
If we are not connected to Christ and one another, we cannot have unity.
If we are not finding our completion in Christ and His Body, we cannot have unity.
If we are not loving one another, we cannot have unity.
I will value unity above my own desires.
repeat - read aloud
Unity impacts every relationship we have.
It is to be sought, guarded, and protected.
Because we are one body, we preserve our unity.
Because we bring completion to one another, we preserve our unity.
Because we love Christ and His Body, we preserve our unity.
Unity is preserved through intentional work.
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