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 Post Post subject: Devotions - Thursday, June 7th, 2007
Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:34 am 
Catspaw knows all

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Reading: Psalm 139, Psalm 140, Psalm 141; John 17

Good morning Church,

I have always been fascinated with this prayer of Jesus’. A prayer he offered up for his disciples and for the ones who would believe because of their message. My fascination with it is for good reason as this prayer opens the heart of Jesus to us and we see his priorities. It may surprise you that this whole mission was not just about us. There was a greater purpose to our salvation than just our forgiveness and eternal life.

Let’s look at Jesus’ prayer for us, the believers who would believe because of the disciples’ message:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21)

There are not many who would claim that the Church is united, especially not in the same manner that the Godhead is united. Yet, look at the importance of this:

“… so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Many people are working to achieve a united Church but many people work against it, simply because of their personal prejudices. It is a lack of vision and understanding in the importance of this thing that allow for it to be buried under selfishness and pride. No wonder the world looks at us and continues in its unbelief.

“May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Jesus continued praying with this purpose at heart:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23)

The importance of this is staggering. It is as this unity is made complete that the world will see and know for certain that Jesus was sent by the Father and that his love is real. This means that division does the opposite. Division convinces the world that there is nothing to the gospel of Jesus Christ, that there is no truth in it, that it brings neither peace nor joy because they do not see it in us. Certainly an individual person or an individual church can do a great deal to advance the Kingdom but it is nothing compared to the witness of a united Church.

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

I remind you that this purpose is why Jesus gave us servant-leaders as well. I remind you of the passage that so many in certain parts of the Church are familiar with:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

I really like this set up. It is very much like the planting of a seed. You add soil, water and warmth and you get growth. In this case the servant-leaders are used to prepare God’s people for works of service which leads to the building up of the Body which leads to unity in faith and knowledge (not in dress, speech, worship styles and so forth), which leads to maturity which allows us to attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. If any of that is missing, any link is not there then we do not arrive at the full measure. Unity is essential.

Without unity we will never become what Jesus intended us to be. But unity requires death of self and a willingness to put others first. This is the greatest challenge that lies before us. Can we set aside our own personal doctrines, practices, ideas, habits, traditions for the sake of being united? At the same time can we accept the practices, ideas, habits and traditions of others? Will it kill us to lift our hands up with others, or to dance or perhaps to stand still, or sit quietly? Is it worth it to see the world belief and Jesus glorified. I hope one day we will honestly be able to sing “We are united in Jesus Christ, We are the soldiers of the light.”


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