Them

Jesus concluded His remarkable, tender prayer for the Disciples by praying for us.
We have the privilege of “listening” while Jesus prayed for the Disciples and all who will believe in Him through their witness.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one…”

It seems only right that we should learn from His prayer. What concerned Him should also concern us.

His Primary Concern for the Church
Jesus came to build a community of believers, His Church. This is more than an organization; it is a spiritual organism, a living thing in the world. No organization built by people can contain it and no force from hell can destroy it. All the powers of heaven stand ready to aid and comfort those who follow Christ. He has designed this family for each of us, multiple generations of those with “like, precious faith” called out of this world as representatives of the world to come. Jesus prayed for us all.

What was His primary concern? It was and is our unity. Although the “gates of hell” are powerless to prevail against the Church, human frailty and ignorance can certainly hinder Her effectiveness. The Church is made up of believers who are in full possession of their free will. Submission to Christ and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit are not automatic; they are choices individuals and collective groups make, with or without the backing of the Word of God.

Unity in the Local Church
We must be smart enough to recognize the enemy’s efforts to divide the local church.

  • The world is fueled by division; the Church must operate in the power of unity.
  • The marketplace depends on demographics—computerized division—for success; the ministries of the Church must call for and enjoy a unity of purpose and belief, of passion and behavior, and of principles and balance.

The Church Jesus is building should not be a pale reflection of the culture. We must be a holy counter culture proclaiming Jesus, unified from the heart out. Let the world divide. We must unite.

The Church Universal
The Body of Christ is made up of True Believers in every corner of the world. The ancient creeds of the church were formed before division became the norm. They express what is called orthodox Christian belief. Unity at this level is beyond anyone’s power to achieve. What we can do is confess our beliefs and live out our calling in our world and prepare for the coming of our King!

Like Spokes on a Wheel…
How can we be the answer to the prayer of Jesus? It begins in our closeness to the Lord. Like spokes on a wheel, the closer we get to the hub, the closer we get to each other. Our passion for the Lord, His Word, and His work will connect us with others who love Him, too, making us One.

Scriptures:
John 17:20-26

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 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. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 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. “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. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 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.”
Matthew 16:13-18 ESV
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (See 1 Cor 3;11 for Christ as the foundation of the church.)
Psalm 145:4 NKJV
One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
1 Corinthians 1:10-11 NKJV
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Prayer:
The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Song:
They’ll Know We Are Christians

Words and Music: Peter Scholtes

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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