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← Christian Unity: The Foundation For Unity (Part 1) - Kyle White

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Showing Revision 7 created 11/03/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. John 17.
  2. I'm going to be guided by
    my notes this morning.
  3. I'm going somewhere with this -
  4. three messages, the Lord willing,
  5. on the subject of Christian unity.
  6. I want to do some clarifying
    hopefully this morning,
  7. laying some foundation,
  8. and then we'll get into some
    more practical things
  9. tonight and tomorrow.
  10. And this is another one of those subjects
  11. that can be difficult.
  12. I don't claim to have all the answers.
  13. I imagine that if you're like me,
  14. if you have any age on you at all,
  15. you've had to work through
    some of these things
  16. and try to come to conclusions.
  17. And some of the conclusions you've come to
  18. may not be exactly right.
  19. You may continue to grow
  20. and maybe shift some in your understanding
  21. and the outworking of this.
  22. That's kind of where I see myself.
  23. I'm 59 and I still haven't arrived.
  24. I'm still a work in progress.
  25. (incomplete thought)
  26. I don't think
    fundamentally I've changed
  27. from my younger years.
  28. Fundamentally, I mean, the truths,
  29. the doctrines of Scripture -
  30. I'm fundamentally now where I was
  31. twenty or thirty years ago.
  32. But the working out of that doctrine
  33. has definitely changed in my own life.
  34. So I say all that at the outset.
  35. I want this to be a help to you.
  36. I'm going to John 17.
    Did I tell you that already?
  37. We're starting there.
  38. Let me just read a couple of verses here
  39. that we're going to be hopefully gleaning
  40. our thoughts from.
  41. I honestly feel when I
    come to this chapter
  42. that we're sort of
    approaching holy ground.
  43. And I know all of Scripture is holy.
  44. It's the holy Scriptures, but there's
    something about John 17.
  45. We are actually being given the privilege
  46. of listening in on a prayer of our Savior.
  47. And that's an amazing thought.
  48. And it's one of those
    passages of Scripture
  49. that you don't want to read quickly,
  50. and I don't want to read quickly
  51. the words that I'm going to read.
  52. And I'm not going to
    read all of the prayer.
  53. I would encourage you to
    take time to do that,
  54. perhaps even later today.
  55. But I'm just going to read verse 11,
  56. and then 20 through 23.
  57. We can speculate about
    what all is going on
  58. in the mind of Christ.
  59. He's the Son of God. He's the Son of Man.
  60. He is speaking as the Son of God.
  61. This is a high priestly prayer,
  62. but He's speaking also in the context
  63. of His being as a man.
  64. So He has thoughts going through His mind.
  65. It wouldn't be exactly like
    your thoughts or mine,
  66. but they certainly are thoughts
  67. of a man as He prays,
  68. even as they are thoughts
    of the very Son of God.
  69. He's reflecting on the glory
  70. that He had with the Father
    before the world began.
  71. He's reflecting on all that He left.
  72. And all of that is in Him.
  73. There's more in Him than any of us know.
  74. There's great mystery in this prayer.
  75. There's depths in this prayer
  76. that I still am seeking to enter into.
  77. I would encourage you that
    you need the Holy Spirit
  78. to enter into the depths of God.
  79. Your own spirit is not capable.
  80. That's what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2.
  81. It's the Spirit of God that
    teaches us who God is
  82. and leads us - I would encourage you
  83. to ask God to lead you.
  84. Ask the Spirit of God to teach you,
  85. to show you more fully, more clearly
  86. the things pertaining to God.
  87. Jesus says, verse 11,

  88. "And now, I am no more in the world."
  89. Speaking prophetically -
  90. it's speaking as if it is,
  91. but this is what is coming.
  92. And in His prayer, He's thinking of this.
  93. (incomplete thought)
  94. He's coming to the cross.
  95. But He's seeing beyond that,
  96. but He can't go beyond that
  97. without going through the cross.
  98. So that's where He is as He's praying.
  99. "And now I am no more in the world,
  100. but these are in the world."
  101. His disciples.
  102. "And I come to Thee, Holy Father.
  103. Keep through Thine own name
  104. those whom Thou has given Me,
  105. that they may be one as We are."
  106. That they may be one as We are.
  107. Verse 20.
  108. "Neither pray I for these alone..." -
  109. the disciples, the apostles -
  110. "...But for them also which
    shall believe on Me
  111. through their word,
  112. that they all may be one,
  113. as Thou Father art in Me,
  114. and I in Thee,
  115. that they also may be one in Us,
  116. that the world may believe
  117. that Thou hast sent Me,
  118. and the glory which Thou hast given Me,
  119. I have given them,
  120. that they may be one,
  121. even as We are one,
  122. I in them, and Thou in Me,
  123. that they may be made perfect in one
  124. and that the world may know
  125. that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them
  126. as Thou hast loved Me."
  127. Amazing words.
  128. Unity.

  129. Unity among the saints
  130. is an ultimate concern of the Triune God.
  131. An ultimate - ultimate concern.
  132. Jesus uses language in this portion
  133. of His high priestly prayer
  134. that I'm still seeking
    to fully appreciate.
  135. What is He saying?
  136. I in them, and Thou in Me.
  137. There's something about the relationship
  138. with the Father and Son
  139. that Jesus is praying that
    we may experience,
  140. we may enter into that unity.
  141. It's the pattern of the unity
  142. for which Jesus prays.
  143. There is an expression called
    "the community of properties."
  144. I don't want to get too complicated here,
  145. partly because I can't,
  146. but I want to introduce this idea to you.
  147. The community of properties.
  148. And I think it's important to see
  149. that when Jesus says,
  150. as the Father is in Me -
  151. "I in Thee, Thou in Me,"
  152. what is He saying?
  153. There is something about the Being of God
  154. in the Person of the Father,
    the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
  155. that is essentially one.
  156. Essentially, there is a sameness,
  157. so that Jesus could say,
  158. "if you've seen Me,
  159. you have seen the Father."
  160. There is something about Jesus Christ,
  161. something about the Father,
  162. something about the Holy Spirit
  163. that is one.
  164. There is something
    that is distinct as well
  165. so that the Son can be
    praying to the Father,
  166. so that the Father is not the Son.
  167. Amazing - there are people who teach that,
  168. that the Father is the Son,
  169. and the Son is the Father.
  170. The Father is not the Son.
    The Son is not the Father.
  171. But there is a community of properties
  172. in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  173. so that They are one.
  174. There's something that is the same,
  175. and there is something that is distinct
  176. so that They are three Persons
  177. that function in three
    different capacities
  178. in absolute, total unity.
  179. That's what we call the Trinity.
  180. He says that they -
    talking about the disciples
  181. or those who will believe
    the words of the apostles -
  182. "they all may be one..." in Us.
  183. That's what He says.
  184. That's the prayer
  185. that they all may be one in Us.
  186. Every believer is brought
  187. into a mystical, spiritual union
  188. with the Triune God
  189. as Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.
  190. Did I just step onto some
    controversial thought there?
  191. I hope not.
  192. Regardless of all of our fleshing out
  193. of the baptism with the Holy Spirit,
  194. we know that Jesus said He would do it.
  195. He would baptize.
  196. In fact, in Acts 1:5, He says not
    many days from then,
  197. He would baptize.
  198. Then 1 Corinthians 12:13,
  199. it's a past reference there -
  200. something that has happened
  201. that we participate in.
  202. We drink of the same Spirit.
  203. There is a sameness that exists
  204. in every single believer.
  205. Every believer possesses
    the same Holy Spirit.
  206. There is one body.
  207. There is no longer Jew or Gentile.
  208. There is no longer a division.
  209. Ephesians 1-3 speak of this significantly.
  210. Paul makes this point.
  211. In Christ, we are one.
  212. In Christ.
  213. We have one Shepherd.
  214. There is one fold.
  215. Jesus does not view us -
  216. and as He prays here,
  217. there is a sense in which Jesus,
  218. He told Peter, "I have prayed for you."
  219. So there is a sense in which we can say
  220. Christ prays for me,
  221. but here Jesus is praying for us.
  222. He's not viewing us as autonomous,
  223. isolated believers.
  224. But joined together by the Father and Son
  225. through the Spirit as a spiritual temple,
  226. living stones as Peter calls it,
  227. who are joined together with all
  228. who are believers in Heaven and in earth.
  229. I think of this as the
    eschatological church -
  230. that glorious church
    without spot or wrinkle,
  231. which is the hope,
    the ultimate culmination
  232. of Jesus' prayer here, I believe.
  233. In fact, He says in v. 24,
  234. "Father, I will that they also
  235. whom You have given Me
  236. be with Me where I am
  237. that they may behold My glory
  238. which You've given Me, for Thou lovest Me
  239. before the foundation of the world."
  240. That's where it's all headed.
  241. Ultimately, the glorious church.
  242. But every New Testament church
  243. is supposed to reflect
    that glorious church
  244. now in this age.
  245. And that's really what I want
    to ultimately focus on
  246. as we proceed through our thoughts
  247. this morning, tonight, and tomorrow.
  248. But today, right now,

  249. I want to establish this foundation
  250. because the unity that we experience
  251. doesn't happen in the energy of our flesh;
  252. it doesn't come out of thin air -
  253. it comes from a foundation,
  254. and that foundation is
    who we are in Christ.
  255. In verse 22, Jesus says,
  256. "And the glory which You gave Me,
  257. I have given them,
  258. that..." in order that -
  259. and you'll see a number of those
  260. in verses 20-23 - the word "that"
  261. or "in order that" -
  262. I don't know what your translation says.
  263. It may say "in order that,"
    but that's the idea.
  264. In order that "they may be one,
  265. even as We are one."
  266. So here's another basis for
    unity among His people.
  267. A shared glory.
  268. Jesus says, "And the
    glory which You gave Me,
  269. I have given them."
  270. What's He talking about?
  271. What is the glory that His Father
  272. has given Him?
  273. Because that's what Jesus says
  274. has been given to believers,
  275. which then results in essential unity
  276. comparable to the Father and the Son.
  277. So there's something about the Father -
  278. the glory that the Father gave to the Son
  279. that is comparable to the glory
  280. that we are receiving
    that then is the basis -
  281. one of the bases for
    our experience of unity.
  282. So what is that?
  283. What glory did the Father give to the Son
  284. in His humiliation?
  285. He honored His Son.
  286. And He honored His Son as His Son.
  287. He pronounced that.
  288. He pronounced it at His baptism.
  289. He pronounced it at the Transfiguration.
  290. He pronounced it in the resurrection:
  291. This is My beloved Son.
  292. 2 Peter 1:17,

  293. Peter alludes to this
  294. as he's referring to the Transfiguration.
  295. And he says,
  296. "For He received from God the Father
  297. honor and glory."
  298. The glory which the Father has given -
  299. Father, the glory You've given to Me.
  300. "For He received from God the Father
  301. honor and glory when there came
  302. such a voice to Him
    from the excellent glory,
  303. 'This is My beloved Son
  304. in whom I am well pleased.'"
  305. You see, the Son did not glorify Himself.
  306. And this was a major point that Jesus made
  307. while He was upon the earth.
  308. In John 8:54, Jesus answered,
  309. "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing.
  310. It is My Father that honors Me,
  311. of whom you say that He is your God."
  312. It is My Father that honors Me.
  313. The writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 5:5 says
  314. that Christ did not bring the glory
  315. of this high priestly
    appointment upon Himself.
  316. He didn't glorify Himself.
    He didn't appoint Himself.
  317. This came from His Father.
  318. And then, in His resurrection,
  319. what does Paul say in Romans 1:4?
  320. "...And declared to be the Son of God
  321. with power according
    to the Spirit of holiness
  322. by the resurrection from the dead."
  323. And then in Acts 13:33,
  324. that same concept -
  325. in the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  326. there is that declaration: This is My Son.
  327. In Acts 13:33,
  328. "God hath fulfilled the same
    unto us their children
  329. in that He hath raised up Jesus.
  330. Again, as it is also written
    in the second Psalm
  331. "Thou art My Son. This day
    have I begotten Thee.'"
  332. You see, this is the glory
  333. the Father gave to the Son.
  334. He pronounced Him His Son.
  335. He announced this relationship
  336. with Jesus Christ His Son.
  337. See, the point is that this glory
  338. has been given to every believer.
  339. This glory, this honor of sonship.
  340. We are called the children of God.
  341. We're adopted into His family.
  342. "But as many as received Him,
  343. to them gave He power (authority)
  344. to become the sons of God,
  345. even to them that believe on His name
  346. which were born not of blood
  347. nor of the will of the flesh
  348. nor of the will of men, but of God."
  349. We have been given the right to
    be called the children of God.
  350. He has pronounced us His children.
  351. He has adopted us.
  352. He's given us the Spirit of adoption.
  353. I love Romans 8 - the whole chapter.
  354. But Romans 8, the description that's given
  355. here in verses 14-17.
  356. We're thinking here of this glory.
  357. Jesus prays, "Father, the glory
  358. that You have given Me may be in them."
  359. What is that glory?
  360. We've been called sons - every believer.
  361. We have a common bond here in this.
  362. Romans 8:14, "For as many as are led
  363. by the Spirit of God,
    they are the sons of God,
  364. for you have not received the
    spirit of bondage again to fear,
  365. but you have received
    the Spirit of adoption
  366. whereby we cry, 'Abba, Father.'"
  367. We do.
  368. Every child of God has
    the same relationship.
  369. The greatest saint in this room
  370. has no greater privilege
  371. than the least saint in this room.
  372. We'll talk about that Saturday morning,
  373. about what it is to be great.
  374. It's a level playing field, we might say.
  375. This is the glory that
    has been placed upon us.
  376. We're children. We're sons.
    We have access.
  377. "The Spirit Himself bears
    witness with our spirit
  378. that we are the children of God,
  379. and if children, then heirs, heirs of God
  380. and joint heirs with Christ."
  381. This is what He's praying.
  382. And then we share in the
    resurrection glory don't we?

  383. "That we may be also glorified together.
  384. For I reckon that the sufferings
    of this present time
  385. are not worthy to be compared to the glory
  386. which shall be revealed in us,
  387. for the earnest expectation
    of the creature
  388. waits for the manifestation
    of the sons of God."
  389. That's us
  390. who have been joined to Christ;
  391. who are possessors
    of the Spirit of Christ.
  392. So we are now one with God.
  393. Now. Right now. We are one with God.
  394. And also one with every other believer
  395. as the children of God
    in the family of God
  396. which does extend beyond
    our own local churches.
  397. It's every believer - we are
    one with every believer -
  398. whether we agree on everything or not.
  399. And Jesus prays for this.
  400. And then He died for it.
  401. Then He rose again,
  402. and then He ascended,
  403. and then the Spirit came.
  404. The Spirit was sent to unite us
  405. in order to accomplish what He prays for.
  406. So believer, I say, be
    overwhelmed by this.
  407. Be overwhelmed by what God has done.
  408. Be overwhelmed as you
    read Jesus' prayer here.
  409. He's praying for you, not in isolation
  410. from your brothers and sisters in Christ,
  411. but as part of an incredibly
    large family really.
  412. Although sometimes it seems that
    we're so small and isolated.
  413. We're really not in the big picture.
  414. The blessings that are
    yours now and forever.
  415. You are one.
  416. You're one in God.
  417. You are in God and God is in you.
  418. Isn't that an amazing thought!
  419. Eternal life is in you.
  420. This is why you have the desires you have.
  421. This is why you have the
    longings that you have.
  422. This is why you have relationships
  423. that are not of this world;
  424. relationships that go beyond this life.
  425. You're part of a family that transcends
  426. genealogical relationships.
  427. One in Christ.
  428. I dare say some of you have
  429. closer relationships with
    fellow blood-bought believers
  430. than you do your own biological family.
  431. Thankfully, some of us have
  432. biological family members
    who are in Christ as well,
  433. so the bond is double.
  434. The relationship is enhanced,
  435. but it's a struggle having
    biological family
  436. that you must relate to.
  437. Sometimes it's a spouse.
  438. Sometimes it's children.
    You must relate to them.
  439. It's a godly thing, biblical thing.
  440. You must relate to them,
  441. but it comes with its difficulties.
  442. Though when Christ comes
  443. and you're made one in Christ,
  444. everything changes.
  445. But this is the essential unity

  446. that Jesus has in view as He prays.
  447. The essential unity.
  448. This is really a unity that
    doesn't depend on you.
  449. This is a unity that depends upon Him.
  450. He has established this unity.
  451. It's the foundation
  452. from which we are to experience unity
  453. in this world with other believers.
  454. And it's most clearly witnessed
  455. in relationships formed in churches,
  456. which is really what is unfolded
  457. in the rest of the New Testament,
  458. how this all fleshes out,
    works out in our lives.
  459. I was talking to a brother
    this morning about this,
  460. and as we can talk about our unity
  461. with our brothers all over the world,
  462. but the reality is it's where we live
  463. that we experience this unity.
  464. So it's one thing to talk
    about the idea of unity;
  465. it's another thing to work it out,
  466. and that's where we need to be -
  467. working out this unity,
  468. in particular, those that we
    are in relationship with
  469. on a regular basis.
  470. Now, let me give some
    points of clarification here.

  471. I think it's necessary.
  472. This portion of Jesus' prayer
  473. has been very misunderstood
    and abused by many.
  474. Unity for some has displaced truth
  475. and the distinctives of
    biblical Christianity
  476. so that unity becomes -
  477. or at least their concept of unity,
  478. and oftentimes I think it's
    more of a unity of humanity
  479. than it is a unity in Christ.
  480. And while I know it's
    possible to ignore unity
  481. as we fight and divide with everyone
  482. who holds a different
    point of view or practice -
  483. maybe that's where we are.
  484. Maybe that's where we need
    to most guard ourselves,
  485. but the greater danger I believe,
  486. at least, on a larger scale
    is to become all-inclusive.
  487. All religions lead to God.
  488. So that we're even coming to the table
  489. to try to find out where
    at least do we agree
  490. with let's say Muslims,
  491. so that we can at least live together
  492. and work together, because after all,
  493. there is only one God and they
    believe there's only one God,
  494. and so we're moving together
    toward this one God.
  495. They have a different path -
    we have our path,
  496. but you know, Christ
    prayed that we'd be one.
  497. So there is that ecumenical spirit
  498. and movement that exists,
  499. and sometimes we can be
    pulled over into that
  500. more than we should.
  501. And I'll comment on this a little more
  502. probably in the next message.
  503. We cannot promote or participate
  504. in a unity that is not based upon
  505. the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  506. We just can't. Flat out can't.
  507. Now there are other areas we have to
  508. flesh out, work out, how far can we go,
  509. how much can we join, etc.
  510. I get that.
  511. I still struggle with that.
  512. But I know this for sure,
  513. we cannot join together in fellowship
  514. with those who are not agreed upon us
  515. in the basic doctrine of
    the Lord Jesus Christ;
  516. the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  517. An attempt to experience unity
  518. that ignores the essential unity
  519. expressed by Jesus in this prayer
  520. is dangerous and actually works against
  521. the unity for which He prays.
  522. So let's think for just a few moments

  523. about what Jesus prays here.
  524. In v. 20 in particular,
  525. "...Neither pray I for these alone,
  526. but for them also which shall
    believe on Me through their word."
  527. You see who He's praying for.
  528. He's not praying for everybody.
  529. He's already said earlier,
  530. "I pray not for the world,
    I pray for these,"
  531. at that point focusing
    in on His disciples.
  532. Here, He expands it to those
  533. who believe the words of the apostles.
  534. It's a unity based upon
    apostolic doctrine then.
  535. It's a unity based upon the word
  536. that comes to us through the apostles.
  537. The Scriptures.
  538. This is the Word that Jesus said in v. 6,
  539. "they had kept."
  540. He said to His father,
    "They have kept Thy Word."
  541. In v. 8, He says,
  542. "They believed that You sent Me."
  543. Others didn't, but these did.
  544. Essential doctrine.
  545. You see, Jesus spoke
    that which was given to Him.
  546. In John 12:49, He said, "I've spoken that
  547. which the Father has given to Me."
  548. I am speaking that which is in agreement
  549. with My Father.
  550. And the Jews of that day rejected Him.
  551. They called Him a blasphemer,
  552. but these believed that He came down.
  553. These believed that He was sent.
  554. They believed that He was the Son of God.
  555. You remember, the Apostle Peter,
  556. when Jesus says, "Will you also go away?"
  557. said, "To whom shall we go?
  558. You have the words of eternal life."
  559. And though I understand that the apostles
  560. were lacking in a full understanding
  561. of Gospel truth,
  562. they had the Gospel truth they had
  563. and believed what Jesus said.
  564. More was revealed and it's written to us
  565. in the completed record of Scripture.
  566. But what I am saying
    here is that godly unity
  567. cannot disregard the faith
  568. once delivered to the saints.
  569. You cannot lay the Scriptures aside
  570. in favor of an experience called unity.
  571. I like to get along with everybody.
  572. I don't like to feel
    that spirit of division,
  573. that unwelcomed, unwelcoming spirit.
  574. I don't like that.
  575. But we can't be gullible.
  576. The Bereans were not charged
  577. with being disrupters of unity
  578. when they searced the Scriptures
  579. to see if the things that Paul
    was preaching were so.
  580. So don't think that you're fighting
    against the prayer of Jesus
  581. when you are seriously
    searching the Scriptures
  582. to see if what you're hearing - even
    what you're hearing this morning -
  583. is it really true? Is it really so?
  584. Search it out.
  585. I'm not going to call
    you a disrupter of unity
  586. if you're honestly searching
    out the truth of God's Word.
  587. And if you're asking honest questions,
  588. I'm not going to say to you,
  589. well, you're a disrupter of the unity.
  590. You need to keep those
    questions to yourself.
  591. Why would I say that?
  592. If I perceive that your spirit is right?
  593. Teaching on the experience
    of unity in Ephesians 4,
  594. Paul pressed the church
    toward unity of the faith
  595. which would protect against
    every wind of doctrine.
  596. So it's important that
    we grow in the faith.
  597. It's important that this
    unity is established
  598. upon the truth that is
    found in these Scriptures
  599. properly understood.
  600. As you know, the devils
    know this book very well.
  601. Godly unity in Christ is expressed
  602. by mutual submission
    to the authority of God
  603. through His Word.
  604. As I speak every week at the prison,

  605. that's the one thing I tell those guys.
  606. By the time I leave them -
  607. they have a six month
    rotation in that room -
  608. by the time I leave them, I want them
  609. to know that this is the authority.
  610. And then I recently had
    one of the prison guards
  611. meet me out and he's interacting with me,
  612. and he's challenging me on that.
  613. And he's saying this can't
    be the final authority.
  614. I mean, don't you know
  615. that when these words were given,
  616. they had to carry them around
  617. and they couldn't carry the whole binding
  618. of these words.
  619. So only a little bit was given then.
  620. So over time, since the
    book of Revelation,
  621. over time, there's been more given.
  622. Of course, he was Roman Catholic
  623. and he was giving me the
    Roman Catholic dogma
  624. that the church has authority.
  625. What the church says is authoritative.
  626. And the Word of God is
    not the final authority.
  627. This is the final authority.
  628. And so the unity must be based upon
  629. the final authority.
  630. And then, I want you to see that Christ -

  631. what He says in v. 20, He says,
  632. "For them also which
    shall believe on Me..."
  633. not only through their word,
  634. but "believe on Me."
  635. So He's talking about believers.
  636. It's a unity of saints.
  637. True believers.
  638. It's a unity of eternal life believers.
  639. Those who, as He prays in the beginning,
  640. that You've given Him - Jesus has power,
  641. authority over all flesh,
  642. that He should give eternal life
  643. to as many as You've given Him.
  644. And this is life eternal,
    that they might know
  645. You, the only true God,
  646. and Jesus Christ whom You've sent.
  647. Eternal life believers.
  648. Not those who simply believe the fact
  649. that He's the Son of God,
  650. like the demons in Luke 4,
  651. being cast out, they cried out,
  652. "We know who You are!
  653. You are the Christ, the Son of God."
  654. So just knowing that Jesus is the Messiah;
  655. knowing that He's the Son of God
  656. doesn't mean you have eternal life.
  657. Jesus is not praying for unity
  658. of a cultural or political nature;
  659. those who just are
    professing to be Christians.
  660. We're a "Christian culture."
  661. We're Christians. They're Jews.
  662. They're Muslims. That sort of thing.
  663. Or family - you know,
    my family's Christian.
  664. They've always been Christian.
  665. I was born a Christian.
  666. Well, that's just simply untrue.
  667. That's a lie.
  668. It's not possible to be born a Christian.
  669. The eternal life believers are those
  670. who have experienced union with God.
  671. Have you experienced union with God?
  672. Have you been a receiver
  673. of the law of the Spirit
    of life in Christ Jesus?
  674. Is that the Spirit that's living in you?
  675. That's working in you?
  676. Jesus is not praying for unity

  677. among those who believe
  678. in a Jesus of their own making.
  679. I don't want to spend
    much time on that one
  680. because I think you understand
    what I'm saying there.
  681. There is another Jesus.
  682. Paul warned about that.
  683. He was concerned about that
  684. even with the Corinthians
  685. and the Corinthian church
    among the saints.
  686. He was concerned about them
  687. getting their eyes off of the true Jesus.
  688. There are a lot of folks today
  689. who are using the name Jesus
  690. and it's another spirit.
  691. Try the spirits whether they are of God.
  692. He's not praying for unity among those
  693. who are believing a message that is not
  694. the apostolic Gospel of the Son of God.
  695. Like Paul says in Galatians 1:6-9 -
  696. is it another gospel?
  697. Are you hearing another gospel?
  698. As you listen to those who are saying
  699. they believe in Jesus;
  700. saying that they believe in salvation -
  701. as you listen to them,
  702. what are they really saying?
  703. And you need to listen to them.
  704. You don't just seek for unity
  705. with those who say "Jesus"
  706. or even use the word "gospel."
  707. Is it truly a Gospel of grace?
  708. Are you hearing additions?
  709. Maybe even subtly or slightly.
  710. Be careful.
  711. We don't want to lay burdens on people
  712. that God hasn't laid.
  713. God has laid burdens upon His people
  714. to seek to be justified
    by their own works.
  715. Why would we lay that burden on people?
  716. We believe that we will all be justified
  717. by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
  718. Jew and Gentile - it makes no difference.
  719. So we must stay clear of that spirit
  720. which embraces everyone who simply says
  721. they believe in God or believe in Jesus
  722. or believes in a gospel.
  723. Tim Challies said this,
  724. "Ecumenism is not true unity.
  725. It is a lie.
  726. It is a lie agreed upon."
  727. It is a lie agreed upon.
  728. "One that inoculates lost souls
  729. to the life-transforming
    truth of the Gospel."
  730. One that inoculates lost souls.
  731. They're deceived.
  732. "To the life-transforming
    truth of the Gospel."
  733. Thinking they are something they're not.
  734. Thinking they have something they don't.
  735. No, Jesus is praying for those
  736. to whom He gives eternal life.
  737. Eternal life believers.
  738. These are the ones who believe on Him
  739. because they know Him,
  740. and because they want to know Him.
  741. Christ is everything.
  742. Take what you will from my life -
  743. possessions, relationships,
  744. whatever it may be, but Jesus Christ -
  745. I must have You! I must have You!
  746. These are the kinds of
    believers Jesus is praying for.
  747. These are the ones who possess
  748. the transforming life of
    God in their souls.
  749. I'm not what I was,
  750. and I'm still seeing things in my life
  751. that disturb me because I see that they
  752. disturb a holy God that I love and worship
  753. and want to serve.
  754. I'm mortifying, I'm putting to death.
  755. This is an active thing in my life.
  756. These are the kinds of believers
  757. that Jesus is praying for.
  758. These are the ones that
    not only come to Christ
  759. to meet their desperate
    need of forgiveness of sins
  760. to be one with God,
  761. but ones who follow Him
  762. because they are truly united with Him.
  763. Forgiveness of our sins -
    oh, don't underestimate that.

  764. Don't belittle that.
  765. Sometimes I hear people say,
  766. oh, you just believe in the
    forgiveness of sins.
  767. Don't talk like that.
  768. Are you kidding me?
  769. Do you know what Jesus did
  770. that our sins would be forgiven?
  771. Huge! That's huge!
  772. But the life of the believer doesn't stop
  773. with that reality.
  774. The life of the believer
    goes on with Christ.
  775. Follows Him.
  776. Pursues Him.
  777. Not in order to become more justified,
  778. but in order to be more like Him.
  779. That's our desire.
  780. These are the ones for whom Jesus prays.
  781. This is the unity that He's praying for.
  782. These are the kinds of people
  783. that we want to be with.
  784. These are the kinds of people
  785. that we want to join together with.
  786. These are the kinds of people we want
  787. to have fellowship with.
  788. Eternal life believers
  789. who are in the family of God.
  790. We need to willingly and continually
  791. confess Him in practical
    ways in our lives.
  792. We need to confess this
    unity in practical ways,
  793. like this weekend - these
    few days right here.
  794. Hey listen, if you and
    I sat down long enough,
  795. you know, we'd disagree somewhere, right?
  796. Right? So, we could focus on that.
  797. And it may be something serious enough
  798. that needs to be focused upon.
  799. But that's not where our
    unity is grounded.
  800. Our unity is not grounded
  801. in our agreement or disagreement.
  802. Our unity is grounded in
    who we are in Christ
  803. and do we have the same Spirit
  804. working in us.
  805. So we want to experience godly unity
  806. on a true Gospel foundation.
  807. I'm going to stop here.

  808. I'm going to pick this
    up in the next message
  809. and kind of explore
    this a little bit more -
  810. the experience of unity
  811. in the context of regular church life
  812. in particular.
  813. We confess our eternal union
  814. with God in Christ by our experience.
  815. It's kind of like
    everything else we confess.
  816. We confess to believe in Christ.
  817. But do we really?
  818. We confess to be one with Christ,
  819. one in Christ, but are we really?
  820. And one way we know that
  821. is by it being worked out
    in our lives experientially.
  822. See, we are the visible
    manifestation of Christ
  823. now in this world. We are.
  824. We're going to see that in that prayer,
  825. "that the world may believe,"
  826. "that the world may know..."
  827. We are His manifestation.
  828. So we must not underestimate
  829. the significance of living out this unity
  830. that we have together in Christ.
  831. Sadly, there are a lot of folks
  832. who have been steered away
  833. from anything to do with the Gospel
  834. because they've seen too much
  835. within particular churches of people
  836. who are hating on one another,
  837. and they run from that
  838. as if that's the true
    representation of Christ.
  839. We need to be careful.
  840. May God help us.
  841. Father, I pray that You would give us

  842. eyes to see, understanding,
  843. to be able to work these
    truths out in our lives.
  844. Oh, that we would contemplate more fully,
  845. Lord Jesus, what You have done,
  846. and hear the words of Your prayer
  847. and how our Father, unity delights You.
  848. We are one in You, with You,
  849. and You with us.
  850. I pray that You would bless us
  851. in the meditations upon this truth
  852. that is deeper than we
    can fully comprehend.
  853. Please help us.
  854. Grant to us the ministry
    of the Holy Spirit
  855. as we not only think
    through these matters.
  856. We're not interested in simply having
  857. a deeper academic understanding;
  858. we want to know the reality
  859. of what You have prayed.
  860. Help us.
  861. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.