< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Unity

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Our Pastor, Kurt Gebhards, is spending three weeks on three verses in the Gospel of John. Below are some of the thoughts I took from the first week:

John 17:21 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.

The unity of our church says something about God. It says something to the world and drives home the Gospel.

John 17 is a very important chapter in the Bible. Not only is it Jesus’ final chance to be with His disciples, but this is a prayer of God talking to God! And the capstone of the ministry in the upper room.

In John 17:1-5 Jesus prays for Himself. That He be glorified.
In John 17:6-9 He prays for the Apostles. Their safety and “keeping them in God’s name”.
In John 17:20-26 He prays for future believers. (Us!) Our sanctification; that we become holy and more like Christ. That God would grow us. And unity. He says it over and over. “That they may be one”, “that they may be all one”, “perfected in unity”, “loving one another” and “ministering to one another”.

Pastor Kurt described this as the web of unity. In verse 21 the Father is in Jesus. We are in unity with each other. Jesus is united with God. All of us are united with the trinity. And Jesus is in us. Unity is beautiful and multifaceted.

Trinity actually comes from tri and unity. They are three and there is diversity between them: for example God has no body, Jesus does. God is the head and Jesus is the Son who shines a spotlight on God. But they are entirely unified in essence:

Jesus prayed, “Glorify me that I may glorify You.” God AND Jesus raised Jesus from the dead. God AND Jesus created the world. Jesus is the image of the unseen God.

They are also united in purpose. Jesus often said He was doing His Father’s work or His Father’s will.

And they are united in love. John 14:31 says “so that the world may know I love the Father I do as He commanded.” Because we love God we should obey Him. (To show our love for Him.)

In verse 26 Jesus gives us the love that is between the trinity. "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

What we can take from John 17:21 is to love unity and hate division in the church. Hate slander, malice, self-seeking, etc. Hate factions! It’s the work of the devil.

Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Proverbs 6:16-19 16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Do not spread strife among others! Especially in church! We should be unified as the trinity is. They completely love each other and are each other’s cheerleaders.

Philippians 2:1-2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

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