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    FROM THE PULPIT
    Weekly religious article
                                  Edward Proffitt, Th.D.

          ALL IN UNITY

                                         "that they all may be one in us" John17:21

                                               Edward Proffitt Th. D.

There's a billboard that shows a little girl sitting on her daddies shoulders. The little girl is waving an American flag. The caption says, WHAT MAKES US GREAT - UNITY - PASS IT - ON. As of late you see a lot of magnet ribbons on cars that say, GOD BLESS AMEERICA. It seems there is a concern to have a UNITED USA.

Jesus spoke about a UNITY far beyond patriotism. On the last night before Jesus went to the cross, He did what He now does eternally, He INTERCEDED for His own disciples. Chapter 17 of John is a prayer that is in three sections:  
   ***Jesus prays for Himself, (v1-5).
   ***Jesus prays for for the eleven disciples around Him, (v16-19).
   ***Jesus prays for all  livers, even those yet to come.

Beyond  His death, Jesus EXPECTED a dynamic and growing church:
   ***When Jesus looked at the face of Peter in that circle of eleven, He saw beyond                     Peter the whole of Pentecost and its out pouring.
   ***When Jesus looked at the face of John on Patmos, He saw the church of Ephesus               and  all  the churches of Asia Minor.
    ***When Jesus saw the gap where Judas Iscariot had been, surely He saw the face of            Paul and all of the churches of Europe.

As Jesus prayed He crossed generations and oceans, He looked down to this very day and said, I pray for every one of them. Every one who will believe through the WORD that I leave with them. As He prayed, Jesus prayed just one thing, He prayed for believers to be unified in His church. Unified that it would make such an impact that people would believe in Jesus Christ. In this writing I want us see what Jesus prayed for on the eve of the cross.

FIRST. JESUS PRAYS FOR THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH. What could Jesus have prayed for in the final moments before His arrest? He could of prayed for His own strength or for the 11 decuples to support Him and not flee from Him and is teachings. But He didn't! Instead His prayer was dominated by a single great thougt - UNITY OF BELIEVERS WITHIN THE CHURCH. 

Jesus knew it would take UNITY OF BELIEVERS for the church to make an impact on a community. I personally don't think churches have taken these words of Jesus serious. He prayed for unity of the original disciple group. Christianity was not going to be a easy task and Jesus knew it, so He prayed "that they be one" (John 17:11), but that wasn't all He prayed for , "neither pray I for these alone" (John 17:20), He moved beyond the eleven and prayed for the generations to come, "that they all be one" (John 17:21).  

SECOND. JESUS PRAYED FOR THE IMPACT OF A UNIFIED CHURCH. The impact of a church is that people believe God and the Father sent Christ, "that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 21:23). Only the unity of believers will convince people of the the divinity of Jesus Christ and the truth of His message, "By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John13:35). We live in a world of disunity, we find disunity everywhere from homes, families, work, government.

Only one single thing will compel the world to believe a supernatural oneness in the family of God of local congregations, and that is "love one another". The world is so disunited that only a unified church will touch it.

THIRD. JESUS PRAYED FOR THE GLORY OF A UNIFIED CHURCH. Jesus prayed that the present and future church on earth will see His glory. Glory is the visible manifestation of all the divine attributes. Jesus has already revealed all the glory we can comprehend here on earth, "the glory which you gave Me I have given them" (John17:22), for the purpose, "that they may be one" (v22). When we get our eyes off of one another and on God in Christ we become unified and can "behold is glory".

The more we see Him the more we will become one. Churches will never be fully united by looking at pastor-program-others. The answer to His church IS UNITY.

 

From The Pulpit 

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