Healing Through Unity
Heal Our LandPastor Jerry Gillis - November 6, 2016
The unity of Jesus’s people is a loud witness to the world.
Community Group Study Notes
- As believers in Jesus, what does our unity testify to?
- How can you actively participate in preserving the unity of believers that Jesus purchased? What does this look like in real life?
- What is one thing you will take away from this series? How will it impact your day-to-day living?
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 17:23)
As we conclude our series that we've been in for the last couple of months dealing with the idea of healing our land, I'm reminded in the exact time that we're living in right now, a sensitive time-frame, people looking toward this upcoming Tuesday. And I'd remind you that if you think Tuesday is a circus, my guess Wednesday will be a further one.
But, it just seems like everything in our nation is turned up really loud doesn't it? Where normally we should be sitting around a five on the volume meter, it just feels like we're at a ten. That everybody everywhere is just trying to kind of scream their point across and yell their message across. It's almost like everybody has one of these. It's a megaphone. I won't tell you whose it is, it says Pat on the outside, it could be a man or a woman you know, you don't have any idea. Probably it's seen better days, this one has been used, so maybe the high school that this person was cheering in did really well or did really bad, one or the other. I don't know when this was used, probably late 70's, early 80's maybe. Sometime around there I'm guessing.
So, but you know that people are basically just putting a megaphone to their mouths and just yelling out their message everywhere, right? Vote Trump! Vote Clinton! Vote third party! Don't vote! Move to Canada! Right? So everybody's doing that, right? They're just picking their megaphone and they're telling us loud as they can their particular message. And they may not act like they're yelling, and maybe they're not even yelling at all, maybe they're just using their platform as kind of you know, a way to continue to get out their message, maybe it's on social media or whatever. But it feels like yelling to all of us that are on their feed twenty-four/seven. Right? When on their Facebook status it's everything, right? They're just pouring their stuff out, right? Some of it information that's good, some of it it's misinformation, and they're just constantly bombarding you with it. It's just like, hey, thanks man, that's awesome, fantastic, sounds like you're yelling. Because you're just pouring it on me, right? Twenty four/seven, that's all I'm hearing and it just feels like ahhh the whole time. Or when you continue to Tweet in all caps. About everything. You know it just feels like you're AHHH, right that's what it feels like to us when we're reading or when we're blocking you. Or your Instagram photos that are always like the same. Like you're wearing the same candidate T-shirt or candidate hat. It's like okay, we got it! Like we got it. I didn't need a thousand of those pictures. Here's me in the same T-shirt and here's me in the same hat. Okay, fantastic. It's awesome, sounds like you're yelling.
It actually works in reverse, because what happens is it gets so noisy and so loud and so waaaaa all the time, right? It actually works in reverse. I can use the megaphone to demonstrate. You see, with the megaphone, you've got a small end and you've got a big end. The part you're supposed to talk into is small end. And the thing is that when you talk into the small end, you feel like your voice is smaller but actually your voice is bigger, because it projects. But see, a lot of times if you turn this around which is what I feel like we're doing in America, and you talk into the big end of the megaphone your voice sounds really loud when you start getting in here, wa, wa, wa, I'm really loud. But the truth is that when you're using it without being amplified, it makes your voice smaller. You're loud to yourself, but you're small to everybody else, instead of being not so loud to yourself but being able to amplify to more people.
You see, that's where I'm nervous that I don't want the church of Jesus Christ to be a people who are talking in the wrong end of the megaphone. And I'm concerned about that because that's exactly potentially what can happen to the church. In the body of Christ we get so divided over, in this season maybe over politics or over candidates or over strategy as to what we should do. But sometimes it's division over institutions or it's divisions over race or ethnicity or gender or whatever, in the body of Christ. And I'm concerned that maybe we are screaming into the wrong end of the megaphone and we hear our voices really loud, but the world is not hearing much at all. When in fact, it ought to be the reverse.
So this is what I don't want to see happen, and I'm really praying that it doesn't happen, but better than my prayers is the prayer of Jesus who was actually praying for this as well. You see, when you land in John's gospel around chapter 17, which is where we're going to be in just a minute, you've got Jesus who is just literally moments, minutes, hours away from being arrested and crucified. And what we have is we have John recording for us Jesus' prayer, kind of a high-priestly type of prayer in John chapter 17. And do you know what's interesting about this prayer when Jesus is moments away from being arrested and crucified and killed is that you begin to read this prayer and you figure what's on Jesus' mind right before this happens.
Now, there's a lot there that we could unpack and I'm not going to spend my time in all of John chapter 17, but I will tell you this, there's a couple of things specifically that were on Jesus' mind. One was the glory of God and you see that in the very beginning of His prayer. And the other was the unity of His people. This is what was on His mind right before He makes His way to the cross when He is praying. Why is that important for us? Why is this actually what's on Jesus' mind? Why is the glory of God and the unity of His people, why is that what's on Jesus' mind? Well, we'll come to that in just a second, but maybe an illustration would serve our purposes.
In 1889, Paris was hosting a universal kind of, you know, International Expo. Expo's back in the day, you know, you remember how the world expos and those kinds of things, they were kind of like, you know, the Erie County Fair on steroids, right? It was big, huge, huge. And so what happened was they had a contest prior to this expo because they wanted to design... The reason they were having an expo in 1889 was because they were celebrating, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the French revolution. And so they wanted a kind of beautiful structure that was built that would be made of iron. They called it an iron construction because it was symbolic of the French's resistance and those kinds of things and their strength. And so they had a contest to see which one of these you know, architects or engineers would have the best rendering for them and they could build that so it would be kind of a visual centerpiece for the expo.
So lots of people submitted their work, you know their drawings or whatever, and they chose one particular engineer/architect who would design a building in Paris for the expo, and his name was Gustave Eiffel. You may have heard of his work, the Eiffel Tower. What was interesting about Gustave Eiffel is that you know, a few years before the expo, he wins the competition and he begins to build the Eiffel Tower, and do you realize he got so much resistance for this. The community there was basically saying wait a minute, this thing is an eyesore. You can see right through it, it doesn't even look like a building. This thing is going to be ugly and inappropriate and I don't think that this is what we want. And so he was getting all kinds of pushback. But he kept representing and advocating for his vision because he said I'm telling you, this is the vision they saw it, the committee saw it and I'm going to stick to it because I'm convinced in my heart 100% that this project is destined for greatness. And he pushed his way through and they built the Eiffel Tower and here we are, so many years later and hundreds of millions of people have come there. And when you think of France in your mind, what comes to your mind? The Eiffel Tower. It's the very thing that comes to your mind, right? You see that and you think Paris, France. Right? Well, he believed in it and he knew that it was destined for greatness.
So Jesus is praying right before He's about to be led off in crucifixion. And what's He praying for? He's praying for His people. He's praying for His people. He kind of starts out praying for His disciples and then he prays for everybody else that will believe in Him. He's praying for the church. Why? Because in spite of the church's flaws and in spite of the church's sometimes failures and in spite of all the mess sometimes the church makes, Jesus knows the power of what He's building. And He understands that what He's building is destined for greatness. And so He prays.
Now He begins His prayer in John chapter 17 in the first few verses concentrating on the glory of God. Listen to what He says. He says "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."
So Jesus begins talking about the glory of God, right? That's kind of where He's concentrating His thoughts. But then what He does in verses 6 through verse 19 is He really concentrates on praying for His disciples. And when I'm talking about His disciples I'm talking about the eleven. Remember, Judas has already punched out at this point, right? So we're talking about the eleven. Jesus is praying for them, and He's praying that God would use them, and He's praying that even though they're in the world that they would not be of the world and they would be sanctified by the truth and that truth is His Word, and He's praying that for His disciples, His apostles, right?
But then Jesus turns His attention to another group of people, us. Can you believe it? Jesus was praying for us right before He went to the cross. Listen to what He said, verse number 20. He says: "My prayer is not for them alone." In other words, I'm not just praying for my eleven disciples, but "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 I 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."
You see, Jesus here is praying for all believers of all time, everybody who is ever going to put their faith and trust in Jesus, He's praying for all of them and that includes us because we believe the message of the gospel that the apostles have written to us. And in believing that He prays that His people would ultimately be unified. Would be one. Why? Well, you can jot this down. Because the unity of Jesus' people is a loud witness to the world. The unity of Jesus' people is a loud, loud witness to the world.
Now before we talk about what the unity of Jesus' people is a witness of to the world, because that's the question right? If I say to us, the unity of Jesus' people is a loud witness to the world. We'd have to ask the question, it's a loud witness of what? It's a loud witness to what? Right? We'll talk about that in just a second, but before we talk about that, let me tell you what it's not. When we talk about the idea of unity in this passage of Scripture, Jesus is not talking about an organizational or a structural unity. That's not what He's talking about. And we need to understand that coming into this so that we don't get any weird ideas by kind of distorting what He's talking about when He talks about unity. He's not talking about the idea of uniformity, you know kind of structurally or organizationally.
Charles Spurgeon, the great British pastor when he was preaching on this text, he actually started his message with that warning. Because as an Englishman, he had seen kind of what had happened historically in Europe, and he began to talk about that. And so even though his words are much more English than our American English, you'll have to just bear with me for a second. Listen to what he said: "These words of the Savior" referring to what he said here in John chapter 17, "These words of the Savior have been perverted to the doing of a world of mischief. Falling asleep, I say, these ecclesiastics," in other words these priests or pastors, "have dreamed of a great confederation presided over by a number of ministers, these again governed by superior officers, and these again by others, and these topped at last by a supreme visible head who must be either a person or a council - this great confederacy, containing within itself kingdoms and nations, becomes so powerful as to work upon States, to influence politics, to guide councils, and even to gather together and to move armies. True, the shadow of the Savior's teaching, "My kingdom is not of this world," must have caused an occasional nightmare in the midst of their dream, but they dreamed on; and what is worse, they turned the dream into a reality, and the time was when the professed followers of Christ were all one, when looking north, south, east, west - one united body covered all Europe! And what was the result? Did the world believe that God had sent Christ? The world believed the very opposite. The world was persuaded that God had nothing to do with that great crushing, tyrannous, superstitious, ignorant thing which called itself Christianity; and thinking men became infidels, and it was the hardest possible thing to find a genuine intelligent believer north, south, east, or west."
Wow! What do you think, Charles? Why don't you tell us what you think? Right? So Spurgeon is trying to remind us that this passage of Scripture is not talking about an organizational or a structural unity, but instead is trying to capture the heart of what we would end up seeing in Acts chapter 2 and Acts chapter 4, when the believers that had come to faith in Jesus Christ were of one mind, of one heart and had one mission. That's more what we're talking about at a heart level when we talk about this idea of unity. Not just structural, not just organizational, alright?
So, it's fair of us to then ask the question: what in the world is this unity, what is it a witness of? If it's a loud witness to the world, what is our unity in the body of Christ a witness of? I'm going to give you just a handful of things real quick, here's the first one and I think Jesus' prayer answers it. It's a witness of God's Glorious Oneness. Look with me beginning in verse number 20, and we'll look into the beginning of verse 21. It says: "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."
Now I want to pause right there for a second, because Jesus is here praying to the Father. And so He's actually speaking about the Father and about Himself. He's speaking in distinct terms. That there is a distinction in the Father and there's a distinction in the Son. And by the way, if you back up two chapters into chapter 14 or three chapters into chapter 14, you'll find out that He talks about the Spirit whom He is going to send. So there is a distinctiveness in what Jesus is talking about here. But He's talking about, even though there is a distinctiveness, there is a union that is almost beyond our comprehension. Father, as you are in me and I am in you, that's how I want the church to be. This is what He is praying. As you are in me and I am in you. So in other words, the Son fully indwells the Father and the Father fully indwells the Son, while at the same time, the Son is fully indwelt by the Father and the Father is fully indwelt by the Son.
There is a comprehensive dwelling and being dwelled in, in the nature of God as Godhead. God as Father, God as Son, God as Spirit. In other words, a tri-personal God that is one in essence. You're going whew, so how do you say that, Jerry? Just like I did. A tri-personal God in nature, but one God in essence. God is one, and God is identified as Father, Son and Spirit. You say, well Jerry that's a contradiction to say that God is one, but yet God is identified in a tri-personal nature. No it's not. It's not a contradiction. He can't be one and can't be three at the same time, that's a contradiction. No it's not.
Just like when Charles Dickens wrote at the beginning of a "Tale of Two Cities" he said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Is that a contradiction? No. The reason that it's not a contradiction is because it was the best of times in a different sense than it was the worst of times.
And in the same way related to God, God is one in a different way than God is three. God is three in a different sense than God is one because God is one in essence but God is three in person. That does not mean we have three Gods. It means we have one God identified in three persons. Father, Son and Spirit. Now if you're confused by that, I spent about forty-five minutes on that singular subject and you can go to thechapel.com and look under the series "Foundations" and there is a message called "God". That's the title. Knock yourself out for forty-five minutes. That's what I'm spending on that if you missed it.
But the reason I'm telling you all of this is because God reveals Himself, listen very carefully, God reveals Himself as a diversity within unity. God is Father, Son and Spirit distinctly identified with distinct mission and ministry. But God is one in essence. And because of that, because of who God is, God's desire is that the church, His people, look like Him. How so? That we are a diversity within unity.
Now, that's the beauty of what Jesus is saying in part and this is rich and it is beautiful when He talks about the union that God has among Himself as Father, Son and Spirit. That God in perfect uniformity completely indivisible and divinely unified within Himself actually creates as Father, Son and Spirit each create a self-giving space-making love to the other. And this is what God intends for His people to be, a people who are self-giving in their love to one another, and who are space-making in their love to one another, because we're not all going to be the same.
Yet, we're one. You see, it's not exactly the same as God, because this is analogous. We can't be exactly what God is because we aren't Him, but it is analogous for us that Jesus is praying that just as I am in You and You are in me, that they would be in us. In other words, that we would have such a union with God that it would be demonstrated in the union of God's people in such a beautiful and almost mysterious way. That of all of this diversity, there would be a unity and it would declare to the world that God is One.
Now we don't always get that right, do we? Do we? No, we don't always get it right, right? You see, what happens to us sometimes is that we lose sight and we trade out God's idea of unity, and instead we want to make it uniformity. And you see, uniformity is really part and parcel with legalism. It's the kind of idea that says we all need to look basically the same. Men, your hair can only be a certain length, if you've got any left, right? Some of you are laughing and others of you are going, that's not funny. I'm sorry, did you not know? Like did this just dawn on you? Or we all have to listen to the exact style of music. The same. We all have to vote for the same candidate. It ultimately becomes a uniformity based in legalism, not a unity.
Or it takes another look. Homogeneity, which basically just means I'll only hang out with people that look like me, that talk like me, that are my race, that hold my political preference, that are in my season of life. But you see, if we become that kind of people, we're missing exactly what Jesus was trying to teach us about unity. That there is a brilliant diversity within the context of unity. That people come from all over, from all kinds of backgrounds and races all over the world, because remember He's praying for everyone that would ever believe, and that doesn't just mean in Lancaster. It means everywhere on the planet, that we've got brothers and sisters in Africa and in Europe and in the Middle East, and in everywhere that you can find people that believe in Jesus and embrace the gospel in the globe. They are family. And they may not look like you, they may not sound like you, they may not get to vote like you, they may not get to vote at all, but we're one.And what does that say to the world? It says to the world that God is One. And because He is, in the midst of all the chaos and the nuttiness of the world that we live in, because God is One, He can hold it all together. This is what we are saying to the world.
You know, in Buffalo there are some parts of our city that have a history. Like it or not, good or bad, whatever, it just has a history. On the west side, there has been mostly in years past, but not all, but there has been a history of two groups of people that didn't like each other that much. Didn't get along, didn't want to play in the same sandbox. The Italians and the Puerto Ricans on the west side of the city. It's history.
I find something interesting because one of our pastors pointed out to me the other couple weeks ago two of our ushers at the CrossPoint Campus. He said I was just standing there, and they were just carrying on, goofing off with each other. Messing with each other, punching at each other, joking with each other, hugging each other, serving alongside each other. And I realized one of them has a still old country Italy accent, and the other is Puerto Rican. And that pastor said, you know what I thought about? Jesus does that. That's what Jesus does. He makes of them brothers. He makes them one. That's what he does. You see, when we actually start living like this, even though it seems like a small thing to us, it shouts loud to the world. We don't hear it so well, but it shouts loud to the world. '
So this testifies, what were witnessing to with our unity is is God's glorious oneness, but there's a second thing. We also witness to the Son's glorious redemption when we are unified. Let me explain what I mean. Look at again in verse number 21 the second half of it. It says Jesus prays, may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
You see, when Jesus was sent by the Father... listen carefully... when Jesus was sent by the Father, the idea that Jesus is talking about, his sentness, is referring to his work of redemption. He was sent for the purpose of communicating the message of the gospel, the message of the Kingdom, and to go to a cross to die in place of sinful people, so that through his death and his subsequent resurrection, he could satisfy the justice of God, and people who put their faith in him could be reconciled to God and reconciled to one another. This is why he was sent.
So you see, when we are actually unified as the body of Christ, beyond the race and politics and all of that stuff, we are unified, you know what it says to the world? That Jesus was sent. And that he's the one who's made us like this. Jesus did this. It is his work. His work.
In fact, when you read in the Gospel of John, before you get to John 17, you've got indications that this is the case already. Like when Jesus was talking about in John chapter 10, he was talking about being the good shepherd. And he said, I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. (In other words, not of Israel.) I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice. Listen to this. And there shall be one flock and one shepherd. Why? Because the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, and therefore there can be one flock under the good shepherd's care.
In the next chapter, in chapter number 11, when after Lazarus had died AND Jesus brought him back to life. And of course Mary and Martha, his sisters, were like whoa, this is incredible. And then word got to spread, you know, what Jesus had done. Listen to what happens in John chapter 11. It says, therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here's this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. And then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation." But then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up. "You know nothing at all. You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." He didn't say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation, but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
You see, even a high priest was given a prophecy that Jesus would die for what purpose to make the people of God one. And then when you get to John 17, Jesus is praying about that very thing, because he knows where this is leading him. He knows he's about to go to a cross and died and shed his blood for sinful people, so that everybody whether Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, male or female, whoever they are when they put their faith in him they become one. A new people of God.
In fact, that's what Paul told us he was doing in Ephesians chapter 2. Paul said, "For Jesus himself is our peace who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier the dividing wall of hostility by setting aside in his flat the law with its commands and regulations. And his purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who are far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."
You see ladies and gentlemen, we are one people, when we are unified as the people of Jesus, we are a loud witness to the world of the fact that Jesus is who made us this way. It is his death on a cross, his resurrection from the dead, his payment for sin, it is he who has made this new humanity, this new family of God. So here's the good news. For the sake of unity, we don't have to create it. Jesus has already done it for us. We don't have to create it. We just have to preserve it.
That's what Paul gets to two chapters later in Ephesians chapter 4 verse number three, when he says this. He says, make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Make every effort to keep it, not to create it. You don't have to create unity. It already exists because of what Jesus has done, and the Spirit's work. It already exists. What we have to do is we have to fight to keep the unity of the body of Christ.
Now, let me give you an illustration of that. So, a number of months ago there were some tense moments in our country. It still has tension. But some very specific things had happened, particularly as it relates to the deaths of some young African American males, and then the subsequent killing of police officers in Dallas, Texas. That created worlds of tension in our nation for everyone. We have been for a number of years building relationships as pastors, building relationships with other pastors and brothers and sisters of color in our region. We've been doing that for years. And some of those relationships, they're much more than transactional, their friendships. Like we really like each other. We hang out. We spend some time together. It's legitimate. Well when this all happened, it's interesting that some in the Christian community, maybe in the in the majority race, in the Caucasian Christian pastoral community, may have pulled back, because you don't know what to do. You don't know what to say. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I'm going to pull back from that. But we have friends that need to know as brothers in Christ, as sisters in Christ, that when these kinds of things happen, we don't pull back. We press in. We press in. Our Hispanic brothers and sisters that are pastoring and serving in churches and providing leadership. We have to press in, not pull back.
And so on July seven eight, kind of when it went through the night, that shooting in Dallas Texas where the the five police officers were murdered. That was on a Thursday night into Friday morning is when that occurred. Well that Sunday, we knew that some of our pastor friends of color were going to have to be trying to address these things in their congregations. Like, do you know how difficult that is? If you're in basically an entirely African American church where there's already a sense maybe of anger and injustice at certain things, but also the recognition of how wrong what just occurred was as well, and having to walk people through that? That's a tough scenario to be in.
And so one of our pastors, unprovoked, unasked, showed up to New Direction Christian Fellowship on that Sunday morning, early, before anybody was there. In fact, the pastor was the only one there. And one of our pastors showed up to the building. Pastor Andre Clark. Shep. That's short for Shepherd. Friends get to call him that. Shep was in the building. And I love how Shep has told the story. And I love the way he tells it. Because he said, I'm there all by myself, working through you know praying, thinking about what I'm doing for that day, how I'm gonna lead my church through some of these things. And then I get a knock on the window. And I look out and see a white guy. And then I realize who it is. And he opens them up, he comes in, and they spend time praying together, loving one another, talking to each other.
Because it's a reminder, ladies and gentlemen, Jesus has done this. Jesus who brought the body of Christ together. It's Jesus work on the cross. It's bigger than race. It's bigger than politics. It's bigger than background. It's bigger than socioeconomic status. It's bigger than geography. It's bigger than our education. This is what Jesus has done. It doesn't marginalize any of the rest of that, because we are a beautiful diversity within the context of unity. So it doesn't marginalize our differences. It just helps us to understand that there are bigger things at play here, and that we've got to be together, because we as the body of Christ have to respond to the world and show the world what it means for Jesus to have died for all.
You see, when we are unified ladies and gentlemen, when Jesus prayed this prayer, it was so loaded with meaning. It testifies to the glorious oneness of God, and it testifies to the Son's glorious redemption of people. And then thirdly, it testifies to the church's glorious future. Let me show you what I mean there. The second half of verse 21 and following says this. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I've 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.
Now, the reason I'm talking about this giving us an indication of the church's glorious future is because what the text actually says. Now, I know that you're not going to care much about this, but in the Greek language there are ways of expressing certain things, and the way that they're expressed matters. Sometimes in English we can't render fully the expression that's given because we just say what's being said in English, and you have to understand the context of the language to understand what's exactly being said. It doesn't mean we can't read the Bible normally. You don't have to know the Greek language to read the Word and let the Spirit speak to you. I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that sometimes we don't know tenses and voice and mood. We don't know all of those things structurally unless we know the language.
When Jesus says, may they also be in us so that the world may believe. That phrase is in the present active subjunctive singular third person. Isn't that awesome? You're going, yeah no. I don't, what does that mean? Well even though you don't care, and truthfully I don't that much, here's what's important about it. The subjunctive mood. The reason that's important is because that means something specific. When things are written in this way in the subjunctive, the present subjunctive, it means that it can have a now application, but because it's in the subjunctive, it means it actually has kind of a future contingency. Some of you that know English know a little bit about this as well. If it was just all about the now it would be in the indicative. But it's in the subjunctive which means there is a contingency I toward the future.
What I'm saying is this is that our unity matters in the now. Because when we are unified, we are definitely testifying to what Jesus has done. We are testifying that God sent his Son. There's no question about that. But there is a future with that is really significant as well.
Now I'm going to get to that. But listen to what verse number 22. Like look at your Bible, I'm not gonna put it back up there. Look at what it says in verse 22. Jesus says, I've given them the glory that you gave me. Do you know that Jesus just said that he is experiencing a glory that was given him? Now this means it's a different glory then his essential - stay with me - it's a different glory than his essential or his intrinsic glory. You're going phew man, like right? What's going on right now, Jerry?
Pause for just a second. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, the Godhead, God the Son, has always existed from eternity past. And in such he has always had an essential or an intrinsic glory. In fact, remember in verse 5 when he was talking about Father, glorify me with your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. There is an essential or an intrinsic glory, because he's always been God. But the glory he's referring to now in verse number 22 is a glory that the Father gives to him. Not that he has always had intrinsically, but it's given to him. So that means that the glory that Jesus has that the Father gives to him is an earned glory, based on what he has done at the cross and through the resurrection.
In fact, when you read other passages of Scripture, you can see it. You're just not knowing that you're seeing it. Like for instance, in Philippians chapter 2, that wonderful illustration of Jesus and what he did in his obedience. Listen to what it says. In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; but rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and God gave him the name that is above every name. There is a glory that is given to Jesus, so that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess or acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
You see in Hebrews chapter 11 the writer of Hebrews opens up by saying this: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways but in these last days, he spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. And after Jesus, after he had provided purification for sins, his redemption, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. Are you catching this? It is a glory that God has given to the Son because of what the Son has done through the cross and resurrection. Through his work of redemption, God has given him a glory.
Now why is that important to the church's future? Listen carefully. Not only because it makes us one, but because the glory that Jesus has, he shares. I have given them the glory that you gave me. Whoa. I have given them the glory that you gave me. What is the glory you gave me? It is a glory that at my name, every knee will bow. That I am the one who has inherited a great name. That I am going to be the one who's King of kings and Lord of lords, who is going to be ruling. And so what am I going to do now with this glory? I'm going to share it with my people.
That's why when you read Romans chapter 8, and you hear these words. If we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings that in order that we may also share in his glory. Joint-heirs. Co-rulers.
It's why when we read this in Revelation chapter 3 to the church at Laodicea. It ends by saying to the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Can you imagine what's being said here, ladies and gentlemen? Jesus overcomes through his death, his resurrection, and ultimately the glorification of his second coming. And what does he say? To those who are victorious, to those who walk with me, to those who persevere with me, to those who are really my people, here's what I'm going to give them the opportunity to do. They are going to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat with my Father on his throne.
So think about this. The Father's on a throne. Jesus overcomes. Jesus sits on the Father's throne with the Father. We overcome because of Jesus, and Jesus shares with us his glory, so that we are now sitting on Jesus' throne. And Jesus is sitting on the Father's throne. We're all sitting on the throne together. That's a really crowded throne! Here's why that's important! Because ladies and gentlemen, our destiny as the unified people of Jesus is that we will reign and rule and govern with him. So why would we let temporary governments and temporary leaders bring us to a place of division, when we know that the church's eternal destiny is to reign and rule with Jesus, the true King above all.
I'm out of breath. I'll say this as I wrap up. When we can come through a season like we're in in America as the people of Jesus. When we can come through this season unified in Jesus, we speak loudly to the world of a glorious future for the people of God. Loudly. You see ladies and gentlemen, our unity as the people of Jesus matters. It matters greatly, because it's a witness to the world. Our unity is a witness to the world. So let's speak in the right end of the megaphone, right? Make the little choices that maybe don't make your voice sound so big. But every little choice that you make to embrace the beauty of the body of Jesus. To not let politics and candidates divide us. To not let race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status and education divide us. But we would make choices, as seemingly small as they are, but when all of those are being done, even though we don't hear the loudness of our voice, the world does. The world hears it. Instead of trying to make our voices loud and being impressed by how loud our voices are, but it's malls down our voice in the world. See the unity of the body of Christ matters because it proclaims to the world that God has sent his Son, and that God loves his people just as he loves his Son. Who doesn't want to get in that family? But our responsibility is to show the world that.
Let's bow our heads together for prayer. In a moment will be dismissed, but if you're here and you've never before come to a place of finding forgiveness of your sin. Well I know you've sat and you've listened today to kind of a conversation among family, that I've kind of talked to family. And maybe you're just kind of kicking the tires on this idea of whether you know you want to put your faith in Jesus. Well, you heard a conversation about what it means to be family in the body of Christ. That people come from all different backgrounds, have all different stories. But that we are one in Jesus when we put our faith and trust in him. That at that point it's not about male, female, black, white, Hispanic, Asian. It's not about all that. It's about the family. That we've been changed. The wall of hostility is gone because of the cross. And here's the great news: God is the one who has made the way. God is the one who has given you the opportunity because of what he's done on the cross and through his resurrection in the person of Jesus. And if you put your faith and trust in Jesus to forgive you of your sin and change your life, that you recognize you cannot save yourself, only Jesus can save you. That he didn't come just to be like a hood ornament. He's the King of the universe, who condescended to us, born of a virgin, lived as a man, died on our behalf. When you realize these things and that he is now the living Son of God, resurrected from the dead who will return, and that he himself is life. When you realize these things and you put your faith and trust in Jesus, you become a part of an eternal family that is deeper and stronger and longer than our biological families. It's an eternal family. And so if that's your need today, I hope that when we dismiss in a moment you'll come by the Fireside Room out in the atrium. And you'll speak to someone about what it means to receive Jesus and embrace Christ.
Father, for all of us, we are so grateful that we have by your Spirit the preservation of the prayer of Jesus that teaches us so much about what was on his heart and on his mind before he went to the cross. That Lord Jesus, you have believed in your dream of your people. You dwelling in your people. Because you know that we are destined for greatness, not because of who we are, but because of who you are. And so, I pray that we would represent you. That in our unity as the body of Christ, that we would show the world that we have a God who is one, beautifully diverse in personhood, one in essence. We would show the world that you sent your Son. And because of Jesus' redemption on a cross through his death, through him taking upon himself our judgment, and through rising from the dead, that we can declare through our unity that Jesus has done this. And that we might also through our unity tell the world that there is a glorious future. And that temporary leaders and temporary governments cannot sidetrack us from our destiny as joint heirs with the true King of the world. So Father, I pray you'd write this on our hearts, and we'd be able to bear this message out to the world. And that we wouldn't be a people who are yelling into the wrong end of a megaphone. We trust you to do this in our hearts, in Jesus name. Amen.
God bless you folks, you're dismissed.