Together Series Part 3 – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Part Three

The Prayer

John 17

Intro: One of the most amazing conversations that you’ll find in the Bible is this prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father in the upper room prior to His crucifixion. The disciples were present and heard Jesus praying for them and about them. I cannot imagine how surreal that must have been.

In this prayer, Jesus prayed about a variety of things.

One of the main things He prayed for was for unity.

ILLUSTRATION: Our nation had a motto before In God We Trust became the official motto in 1956.

That motto was E pluribus unum.

It is Latin for Out of many, one.

It is found on the Great Seal of the United States, approved by Congress in 1782.

It is also on the back of most coins, multiple state flags, on the flags and seals of both houses of Congress.

It refers to a nation that came from thirteen individual colonies.

We are known as the United States of America.

Fifty states; one nation.

334+ million people – one nation.

Jesus prayed for a oneness; a unity; a togetherness among the disciples that supersedes anything the world had ever seen before.

No less than four times, Jesus referred to the unity between Himself and the Father.

And no less than four times, Jesus prayed for the church to have that same unity.

I’m going to make a statement that has taken me several weeks of study to be able to say without feeling like I’m saying something wrong.

It is such an overwhelming thought that I tremble to say it.

QUOTE: Jesus prayed for the church to be as unified as the Godhead.

Our theme this year is ‘TOGETHER’. 

You can’t get anymore ‘together’ than to be as unified as Jesus and the Father were.

He prayed that we might be one. One.

Let’s break down these verses that speak of unity and find out what Jesus prayed for in John 17.

Jesus prayed for:

I. A Unity that is Protected

  • 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Jesus prayed for supernatural protection a number of times in this chapter.

  • 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

David the Psalmist said it like this:

  • Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

We have no idea how many adversaries are lurking in the shadows to disrupt and divide the church of God.

II. A Unity that is Persuasive

  • 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Jesus was consumed with the impact of the church upon the world.

  • 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
  • 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
  • Then again in our text verse 21
  • 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

It was God’s will for the church to be so in tune with Him and in tune with each other that they would have a global impact.

I believe that this prayer was answered in Acts 2.

I believe the unity and oneness of the church in Acts 2 played a significant role in 3,000 people being saved.

They were all together. Notice Acts 2:1 – They were all with one accord in one place…

The cloven tongues of fire sat upon “…each of them…” verse 3.

They were all filled with the Holy Ghost – vs. 4.

  • Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

III. A Unity that is Praiseworthy

  • 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

GLORY: magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace; majesty; a thing belonging to God, splendor, brightness

Jesus mentioned glory or glorify or glorified 7 times in this one chapter.

He began His prayer in verse 1 asking for glory.

  • John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

Then notice His testimony of having brought glory to the Father through His work.

  • John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
  • John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Jesus prayed for more glory; a heavenly glory; a glory that pre-dated creation.

Now notice His desire to be glorified through the believers.

  • John 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
  • John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
  • John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Jesus referred to the glory that existed before creation in verse 5.

Then He referred to the love that they shared before creation in verse 24.

Do you think that Jesus was getting homesick for heaven? No doubt!

But He tells us that He gave the church the glory that the Father had given him in verse 22.

Why would He do that? That they may be one!

IV. A Unity that is Perfect

  • 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This word “PERFECT” does not mean without sin. It means finished; complete; fulfilled.

Jesus prayed for the body of Christ to be so unified and so together that they could stand as one and win the world.

Paul prayed this same prayer, just used different words.

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Notice the plural and the singular; “Till WE ALL COME in the UNITY of the faith….unto a PERFECT MAN…”

E pluribus unum – out of many, one.

Conclusion: It is clear to me that the church should be praying this same prayer. If it was God’s will for Jesus to pray it, we should as well.

We should pray for a unity that is supernaturally protected from the attacks of Satan.

We should pray for a unity that is persuasive to the world around us.

We should pray for a unity that is worthy of the glory and the praise that God has given unto the church.

We should pray for a unity that reveals a perfect, mature, spiritual body of believers.

Jesus prayed for it. I believe we should too!