JESUS PRAYED FOR UNITY
I. TEXTUAL THOUGHTS
1. Jn 1711,20 - Unity of believers is the will of Jesus.
2. Jn 17:1,9,15,20 - Unity is so important, it’s worth praying about, time and time again.
3. Jn 17:21,23 - Unity is crucial because it helps develop faith in unbelievers.
II. MAIN THEME: Unity is the will of God, at the heart of Jesus in his last words to the disciples before his death. But unity is not the goal or end result; it is one of the many ways to reveal the wonderful love God has for all people and how His love makes a real difference in people’s lives.
1. Jesus really wants all people to be united, including:
a. opposing political groups (Lk 6:15);
b. different social classes, like castes (Lk 7:36-50);
c. different ages and sexes (Lk 8:19-21, 18:15-17);
d. hated enemies (Lk 6:27-29);
e. and different ethnic groups (Jn 4:4-9).
2. Involving God through prayer is crucial to building and maintaining peace and unity.
a. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain…” (Ps 127:1-2).
b. Even though Jesus was going to die tragically the next day, he spent time praying for unity (Jn 17).
c. God revealed to Peter and Cornelius the need and means for unity of Jew and Gentile while praying (Acts 10:9, 10:30-35).
3. Unity in believers helps unbelievers see God and develop faith in Him (Acts 6:1-7).
III. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
· Remember, the loving will of God, (building unity) is a blessing, not a burden (Jn 13:17, 1 Jn 5:3-4).
· Ask God to show you ways you may be hurting unity (Ps 139:23-24).
· Pray for unity in the local, national, and universal church (Jn 17:20).
· As Lessons 4 and 7 teach, let the Holy Spirit, not men, guide you in the way of unity.
· The blessing of being Jesus’ brother should inspire and strengthen you when you don’t feel like it’s worth it to “work” at unity (Mk 3:31-34).
· Pursue unity, knowing it will allow unbelievers to see God’s love and power, and possibly bring them to obedient faith (Jn 13:35,17:21, Acts 6:7).
IV. MEMORY VERSES: Jn 17:20-21
- "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.” (NIV)