Let’s talk about unity.
There is a general acceptance and belief that unity matters. In fact unity is essential for overcoming any challenging situation.
How many times have we heard the speeches of great leaders starting with the phrase “With a united effort … “
“With a united effort we will face down terrorism, fight diseases, restore our economy”
We know there is power in unity – so so let’s fight for this great bastion of human behaviour.
In John 17 Jesus is praying for us! We hear His deepest desires – that none would be lost, we hear Him fighting for us, that we would be protected, that we would be sanctified … and that we would BE ONE :
“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. 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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 NIV
I remember a company I worked for many years ago where the director that oversaw our department had a cynicism toward the value of the department. We felt like we were always pushing uphill; guilty until proven otherwise. It wasn’t the easiest of environments.
I don’t know about you, but in our family there are those moments where we are just not connecting, there are cross fire comments, seemingly for no real reason.
Maybe you have been on sporting team or even a church team where someone isn’t pulling their weight, or hearts aren’t in it and you feel like there is no slip stream for this team.
There is something right, pleasurable & powerful in being one. We are ready for anything. We believe we can achieve anything. It’s a synchronisation of heart, soul and action.
Right now a crisis has thrown the Church globally together. Fighting an enemy everyone wants to see behind us, in the form of covid-19, the Church has moved into a global action of prayer and in a support for one another as we have gone online. This is a powerful force for good.
The Bible tells the story of a moment in history where mankind attempted to build a tower, so high it could reach the heavens. They were utterly united in their intention. But because their intention was full of pride and evil motivation God decided He needed to save them from their own power mismanagement. He did this by giving them different languages so they could no longer speak with one voice.
If this is true when people have an evil intention, imagine the force for good, when people are united for good, united in a desire to see a city blessed, or bring hope on every street.
Interestingly at Pentecost, whilst there were different languages spoken, this brought unity as people of all nations understood the gospel being spoken. The devil seeks to divide but God seeks to unite.
Jesus said BE ONE, knowing exactly how this could be, and for what purpose:
We can BE ONE because it is in the nature of who God is.
“BE ONE as we are one” John 17:22
In Mark 12 Jesus quotes The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE. This is a quote from Deuteronomy 6, forming part of the most famous Jewish prayer even today, the Shema.
The word here for ONE is not the number one, ie singular, it is the word implying unity in diversity; for example, as a Husband and wife are ‘one’.
So God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one. Unity in diversity. They act together as one in all they do. They were present in creation as one – “Let US create … “ says Genesis. Jesus went to the cross in total oneness with His Father, and the Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead. They acted as one in salvation.
Because it is His nature, it is in the nature of all creation:
Take for example Fibonacci’s Golden ratio – this is the ratio for example of the number of female to male honeybees. This same ratio is the ratio of the length of your arm to your lower arm; it describes the spiral pattern in leaves and flowers; it is seen in other proportions of the human body; it is even seen in the financial markets. One creator, God, shows that there is the mark of order and His design in all He does. Synergised, coordinated, one.
An orchestra is at its best when every instrument play in harmony with the rest – they are not all the same but all doing their part in coordination with the rest.
We are being like God, and as we were intended, when we are one.
Being ONE starts with being ONE in Him :
“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” John 17:23a
We become ONE by being one in Him.
He says we are brought to complete unity, when we understand that He, who is Himself ONE, lives in us and us in Him. Let’s not stop digging deeper into Christ and allowing Him to dwell in us.
* Grab your bible and read. Set aside some time and pray. Meditate on what it means to be in Him and He in us.
Even the great prayer example Jesus gave us reflects the need to be one :
“OUR Father who is in heaven, Holy is your name… Give US this day our daily bread … and forgive US our sin as WE forgive those who sin against US. And lead US not into temptation but deliver US from evil.”
He is not MY Father but OUR Father. When we pray know millions of others are too. We pray in community. But also when we pray let’s love and take responsibility for our community – “Give US this day our daily bread … Forgive US our sins”. The city’s problems are our problems – let’s change it by owning it in prayer.
And then there is the exciting output …
“Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23b
God has a purpose in us being ONE
Community is meant to be a reflection of the Lord our God is One …. When community comes in unity we have a place of blessing, and effectiveness. The Christian life models this.
A community that transcends every human division, from every nation & ethnicity, every socioeconomic status and type of persons, who find their identity in Christ (Galatians 3:28).
The church as the image of God, the body of Christ, and temple of the Holy Spirit points to its significance as the focal point of representation of God in the world.
Human beings are created for community. To withdraw is to withdraw from an essential part of who we are.
Church from the beginning of time was a community thing. God always gathered His people together, spoke to them as a unit, called them one. Christianity’s never been an individual thing.
Our unity will point to who Jesus is, people notice when we are ONE. When we so that which seems extraordinary to our communities but normal for Church.
Be one by loving one another!
So how can we take further steps to BE ONE?
Imagine a jigsaw puzzle, it is one picture, but many diverse pieces all fitting together, the joins are clear, it is not a perfect picture, but it does fit together to show off it’s design.
We need to be cut too shape and be fitted together :
- Let’s smooth off our rough edges. This takes us repenting of our contribution to discord and reshaping our behaviours to unite
- We need to learn to forgive quickly, to be peace-makers not trouble-makers. You can win a battle and still lose a fight; you can be right and yet still wrong. Fighting for the relationship is more important than winning an argument. Unity is ‘relationship first’ – it isn’t even ‘the other first’ – this has the potential to mean you never disagree … some ‘rub’ is good if it is done with pure intent and loving resolve.
- Repair relationships that are broken. You maybe waiting for them to make the first move, but why don’t you? Try, as far as it depends on you, to repair now what has been left broken.
So what are we saying? BE ONE. When we are one anything is possible, we are ready to face any challenge, ready to more clearly hear the voice of God, we are ready to march at the sound of the call.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. Psalm 133:1-3 NIV
If you would like to look at being part of a community like this check out C3 Church online :
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