Title: The Real Lord’s Prayer: Christ Prays for His Church
Text: John 17.20-26
CIT: The Lord prays for his future church, that they will be unified in their calling, bringing glory to Him.
CIS: A call to unity in all that we do.
Introduction: I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my upcoming sermon series:
The upcoming series:
- The Lord’s Prayer has been our focus
- The Lord’s Passion: Characters on the Way to the Cross
- The Lord’s Purpose: the Great Commission
Review: w/ that said, today’s message is a conclusion sermon to the series: The Lord’s Prayer: in this conclusion/Christ prays for his church;
- A Proper Perspective – glory
- A Solid Foundation: God’s Faithfulness
- Petition: Protection/Distinction (holiness)/Sanctification – these all deal with who we are as a body and as individuals.
Today’s focus will deal with what we do as a body. Specifically, we’ll focus on Christ’s prayer for us – those who would believe on Christ because of the disciples’ message. I’ve divided this message into three parts: I call it: three markers of unity:
- The Nature of this Unity
- The Notion of this Unity
- The Necessity of this Unit
Transition: Let’s begin with the first marker mentioned her by Christ:
I. The Nature of this Unity: (17.20-23)
exp.: rd 20-23; Jesus places an emphasis in three separate areas concerning this unity:
- Jesus is emphatic about how the nature of this unity is based on God’s Word.
- Rd v 20; their word; the apostle’s teaching; This was an attribute of the early church;
- Acts 2.42: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
ill.: John Stott says: It is first and foremost a prayer that there may be a historical continuity between the church of the first century and the church of subsequent centuries; that the church’s faith may not change but remain recognizably the same; that the church of every age may merit the title “apostolic” because it is loyal to the teaching of the apostles. Their word; written as moved by the Holy Spirit; Mt, Jn: Mk & Luke; Acts; epistles;
2. Jesus is emphatic about the nature of this unity when he refers three times to their ‘one-ness’:
- Rd 21a: that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
- Rd 22b: that they may be one even as we are one,
Rd 23a: I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,
3. Thirdly, notice the supernatural example set for us:
- as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
- even as we are one
- I in them and you in me
ill.: have you ever met someone and had an instant bond with them, just because they were a believer? We saw that in China.
ill.: Think of a triangle – I think of our relationships like that of a triangle. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. Which brings me to answering the first marker: The Nature of this Unity is Fellowship.
Warning #1: Never assume conformity is unity. You can actually have one without the other. There are churches that advocate women not cutting their hair and only wearing skirts and dresses. And, the men cannot have beards or long hair and must wear a hat in public. You can gain conformity on certain matters without ever attaining the unity of the spirit Jesus is advocating here.
Warning #2: Never assume diversity is disunity. The body must be diverse. You’re quite familiar with Paul’s many examples of the body. Each person within the body plays a different part, fulfills a different role. Romans 12.3-8
Warning #3: Never assume relationships are easy. They take work.
ill.: look at the disciples: you have Simon, the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Can any two parts of life in 1st Century Judaism be further apart? And yet, they had a common bond in Christ.
app.: So, let’s answer the first marker again: The Nature of this Unity is Fellowship.
Transition: Let’s look at the 2nd marker found her in this passage and it is…
II. The Notion of this Unity: (21-23)
exp.: there are two particular verses here that inform our Unity, v 21 & v 23:
- Rd v 21c: so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
- Rd v 23c: so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
So what is the notion? The Notion of this Unity is Evangelism
ill.: I heard an interesting testimony on the radio this past week. The man’s name is Dick Couch; Their family was a mess and so he told his family they were going to church. But, it didn’t take. Church was a messed up place. So, they didn’t return. Some time later, a man whose son was on a team that Dick coached, invited him to lunch, at lunch, he invited him and his family to church. From there, he invited him to a conference. It was at the conference for men that the coach got saved.
app.: That’s our job! We’re supposed to be inviting people to church. May ask: Do we love people, I mean like Christ loves people? What will we sacrifice that they might know Christ? Did you know that over the past three years, we’ve not baptized a single person from outside our church? There is one exception you might make. However, for the most part – every baptism we’ve had has been from within the body. Maybe even going back further than the last three years! Look, I’m grateful for our baptisms. I’m grateful for families evangelizing our youth and children. However, with that said: Jesus said: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Challenge: I want to challenge you now to invite one family to join your family. That’s it. Add them to the prayer time your family is having together. I think if we invited families, we’d have some who come who have just been out of church and recommit themselves to fellowship. There would be others who would come to the conclusion that they’ve never made that commitment and we’d have some salvation experiences.
Transition: That’s what Evangelism is – sharing the love of Christ in your hearts with others. The Nature of this Unity is Fellowship; The Notion of this Unity is Evangelism. And, finally,
III. The Necessity of this Unity: Discipleship (24-26)
exp.: rd v 24-26: I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known,; Here is the goal: to make God known; That’s what we do here at Calvary: developing passionate followers of Christ. We’re working here to make God known and that only happens through learning more and more about him.
Exodus 3.15: God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
Isaiah 26.8: In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.
Question: is that the desire of your soul? Your name and remembrance?
Question: have you figured out what the Necessity of this Unity is? Discipleship.
Conclusion: Anne Ortland – Up with Worship; churches her husband has pastored and preached in: We’ve loved them all and wished they loved each other.
app.: let that wash over you for a moment: We’ve loved them all and wished they loved each other. I wonder how many churches never attain unity because they don’t love each other? I wonder how many churches never experience true fellowship because they didn’t love each other. I wonder how many never Evangelize or Disciple because they didn’t love each other.
Transition: And what about our church? May I be honest with you? Calvary is the healthiest church I’ve ever been associated with; however, it’s not perfect. Hebrews 12.2 says Jesus is the perfecter of our faith. And Paul prayed for the Ephesians in 4.11ff: 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Application: So, what have we learned about prayer?
- Gain a proper perspective of Christ in all of his glory, power and beauty. When Christ is where he belongs in our prayers, the rest will take their proper place below him.
- Base your prayers on the foundation of God’s faithfulness. He will always do what is perfect for Him!
- Based upon God’s faithfulness, Pray for the church:
- Pray for God’s glory through her existence in the world:
i. For her protection
ii. For her distinction
iii. For her sanctification
Look at how these all work together!
- Pray for God to accomplish his work through her unity and love: Remember, this is what she does – love is a verb, love is an action verb.
i. As she fellowship
ii. As she evangelizes
iii. As she disciples those He gives her
Look at how these all build upon one another.
Observations & Implications:
- Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.
- Is there someone within the church you are not in a good relationship with? Someone you’re angry with or bitter toward. Maybe it’s time to forgive. Maybe it’s time to ask for forgiveness. If you can’t settle your disagreement, consult the elders. Allow an elder to sit with you and help you be reconciled.
- Matthew 5.23-24: So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.