A Conversation With The Father

What Does The Last Prayer Of Jesus Teach Us About Unity?

Ross Sawyers
Jan 24, 2021    1hr m
In today's message, we will learn about the last prayer of Jesus to His Father and what it teaches us as Christians about how we should pray to the Father. Satan is doing everything he can to disrupt and fracture the unity of Christians, but Christ shows the way to genuine Christian unity! Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Ross Sawyers (00:10):
For several months now in watching what's been going on culturally and then observing within our own church body, I've continued to have concern in the ways that Satan is trying to fracture the church. The church as a whole, not just 121. Christians as a whole and the way that he is attacking, the way he is deceiving. There's great concern. Go back to COVID, when it started, and we were in a series on God's heart for the nations. And there's concern, why are we not focused more on what's going on with COVID than we are thinking about God's heart for the nations? Well, when the reality is the whole world is facing the same thing, what better time to talk about God's heart for the nations? And then we came into the time of highlighted racial unrest.

Ross Sawyers (01:25):
And from my end, it was, I didn't deal with it quickly enough. I didn't deal with it right enough when I actually did a series on it. Some people thought it was fantastic. Other people thought it was terrible. In the midst of it, there was a man in the community that accused us on Facebook, you know, highly public forum of being a racist church. And that was happening. And I think Satan tries to fracture us from the outside as well as from the inside. This Fall, we talked about the underground church, and there was concern there. Why are we thinking about persecuted peoples all over the world, instead of being focused on what's happening right here, what's happening here politically? People have been upset because I prayed for Biden a couple of weeks ago.

Ross Sawyers (02:24):
Well, he's our new President, and the Scripture says we pray for our leaders. People were upset because I didn't push us hard enough in the way to vote a few months ago in the middle of the election. And then we have people upset because we don't have masks on in here. We just have them in the hallway. And we have people upset and have left because we're wearing masks. It's just it's crazy. And then you look out on Facebook, and you track what's happening among Christians and the way we're responding to each other on some of these different issues. And it's unsettling what Christians are doing to each other.

Ross Sawyers (03:06):
And there's this major fracturing. And when I think about all those things, and then I just think already denominationally how we get fractured. If I move into, if I could just move into the marriage bedroom for a moment and how God is fracturing marriages just with views of sex and pornography and addictions and giant screen TVs that invite other people into a sacred space. There are so many ways that Satan is dividing and fracturing. And what I woke up Wednesday morning burdened was to move into John 17 today. It wasn't where I was headed. This has happened a couple of, three weeks here now. I don't know if this is going to be a pattern or not. I kind of liked the schedule I had laid out.

Ross Sawyers (04:12):
But I couldn't shake it all morning long, and I just wanted to lean into our next conversation. We've talked about a conversation with the devil. And now I want to see about a conversation with the Father and the kinds of things that Jesus talked to His Father about. And we can learn how to talk to our Father as we look at how Jesus talked with His Father. John 17 is one of the longest recorded prayers of Jesus that we have. We tend to be familiar with John or the early part of the sermon on the Mount in Matthew, and the Lord's prayer is also recorded in Luke when we think about Jesus, teaching us how to pray. But I want us to look at a conversation with the Father in John 17 and the ways that that Jesus prayed. And these were moments, hours before He would hang on the cross. This prayer is in context of His gravest hour.

Ross Sawyers (05:33):
He's been with His disciples. We talk about the Lord's supper. And in the Lord's supper, it happens right on this same Thursday night. And then, He spends a number of hours with His disciples. He serves them, washes their feet. There are a number of things going on. And he concludes this time in the upper room with His disciples with this prayer. And it's interesting when someone knows their death is imminent. When we know death is imminent, what is most meaningful and the deepest thing on our minds, that's what squeezes out of us.

Speaker 3 (06:20):
Let's see what came out of Jesus, knowing His time was near and done as He was about to head to the cross. There's three parts to this prayer. And the first part in the first five verses is Jesus praying for Himself. And I think this is an interesting look. I don't know how often we think about Jesus going to His Father and praying on His own behalf. And that's what we find in these first few verses. And let's see what He has to say. And I would say the focus of His prayer is glory. It is glory. And when we think about focusing our prayers, we learn from Jesus how we would have that kind of conversation with the Father. So Jesus spoke these things and lifting up His eyes to Heaven, He said, it would be assumed that His disciples are still around Him in this prayer.

Ross Sawyers (07:25):
And yet it's a personal prayer that they're able to get in on, which by the way, I think is a great way for parents to model for their children, to be able to see a parent praying and really even praying beyond just mealtime and beyond the time at bedtime. But meaningful substantive prayers throughout the day, throughout the week. What a beautiful model we see of Jesus in allowing His disciples to be in on what He was praying. And He lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and He's focused on His Father. And that's the first thing He says is Father. And when Jesus began His prayer, He addressed God as His Father. The Aramaic word for Father here is Abba. And it's an intimate term. It's the way a small child would address their male parent. It's the idea of daddy.

Ross Sawyers (08:23):
It's the most intimate thing. And this would be unusual culturally for people to pray to God as daddy, as an intimate and dear father. And that's how Jesus begins His prayer. Father, the hour has come. This is a decisive moment, and the hour has come. This is the moment where all of history will pivot. Everything will come and circle around these hours that are about to occur. o the hour has come. It's a moment of crisis. It's a moment that's pivotal. It's a moment that is meaningful and substantive. And the hour is here. And in this hour, this is Jesus' prayer. Glorify your Son, that the Son may glorify you. What comes out of Him at the outset? Father. It's an intimate Father. Glorify your Son, honor your Son in these moments so that the Son may glorify you. It's a mutual glorying, a mutual honoring. And what we have flowing through this whole prayer is the idea of the triune God. God is Trinitarian in nature. He is one substance, yet three persons. And we see the glory for the Son and the glory for the Father. And the very fact that Jesus would ask the Father to glorify Him implies deity, implies that He is God himself.

Ross Sawyers (10:03):
Even as you gave Him an authority in verse two, over all flesh, that to all whom you've given Him, He may give eternal life. That to all whom you've given Him, He may give eternal life. Father glorify your Son, that your Son might glorify you. And the Son is acknowledging to the Father that the Father has given Him authority over all flesh, over all humanity. Jesus has authority over all humanity. He is sovereign. God the Father has gifted the Son with authority over all humanity. He is sovereign over the human race, and Jesus is acknowledging that. And He's acknowledging to His Father that all that you've given Him, He may give eternal life. Those that God gives eternal life, He gives to His son to give that eternal life. And Jesus Christ Himself is the source of that life. Verse three, this is eternal life. And I think this is a really crucial verse in thinking about eternal life. I believe our tendency to think about eternal life is that which is beyond this life, that we have this life we live now and then eternal life begins. And we trust Jesus, and now we have eternal life in Heaven. That's correct. But what is eternal life? Jesus says in this prayer to His Father, His conversation with His Father, this is eternal life, that they may know you.

Ross Sawyers (11:39):
The Important part about eternal life is the knowing part, not the unending part. Important, yes. But it's the knowing. This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you've sent. Multiple times, Jesus will indicate to His Father, I'm the one that you've sent. He's the source of this eternal life. He's the way that we can know God. This was what Paul said in Philippians 3:10. His desire was that He might know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death. Eternal life. This is eternal life. It's knowing Him. The reason I wanted to just sit here today, there was an image that God gave me years ago of thinking about how to develop in that knowing of God.

Ross Sawyers (12:44):
And that image is a table for two. That at this table, I come and I'm here. And I just Imagine that God Himself is with me in this chair. It's just me and Him. And just like we go to a table and feast with family or a friend, it's the same way we come to the table with Jesus and we feast. We get to know people over a table. We get to know people over a meal. We get to know people when we just simply hang out with them. And one of the ways we get to know Jesus is just to hang out at the table for two with Him. Knowing Jesus. And to think in salvation, that what God is doing is inviting us into the godhead. He's inviting us into the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. And the way into this knowing is through what Jesus Christ did on the cross in dying for our sin. God raising Him from the dead on the third day. In the same way, He takes our dead hearts in sin, and He raises us to be alive in Jesus. We are the most alive people, those of us who are in Christ and know Jesus. The invitation today is for all of us to know Jesus. It's what He's praying, that they would know Him.

New Speaker (14:25):
Verse four, I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work which you've given me to do. I glorified you on there. I've done it. I've accomplished the work that you've given me to do. God did not give Jesus everything to do. There was a finite amount of time that He was present on this earth. There were certain things He was to accomplish in His work, primary, going to the cross our behalf to secure salvation and life for us. And in the same way, God has given each of us specific work to do on this planet. How cool would it be if we knew our death was imminent and we could say to our Father in Heaven, Father, I've glorified you in my time on earth, I've glorified you, and I've accomplished the work you gave me to do?

New Speaker (15:26):
I've done what you've asked me to do. I haven't done everybody's work. I've simply done the work you've asked me to do. It's the same thing He's asking each of us that know Him. He has specific work for us to do. Will we in the end be able to say, Father, I glorified you on earth and I've accomplished the work you've given me? We have a certain number of days that God has allotted to us. He's given that to us in certain boundaries. He's given us a work to do inside of those boundaries. Jesus is about to finish His work. He is so confident that He'll complete it, He's already praying and saying, I glorified you on the earth and I've accomplished the work you've given me to do. Now, Father glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was.

New Speaker (16:25):
He is talking now about His preexistence. He's looking forward when He moves through the cross, the resurrection, and then He appears for days and He'll ascend. And He's returning to the glory which He had before He ever came to this earth. He is the pre-existent God. And He's saying it right here in His prayer to His Father. And He's looking forward to the return to be with the Father and the glory with which He had before the world was. Before there was even a world, He was.

New Speaker (17:02):
He's eternal. It ought to just stir an awe in us that we just can't even comprehend that God has always been. And here He is praying to His Father for His Father's glory and for His Father to glorify Him. When we think about this part of a conversation with the Father, I believe we can look at the way Jesus prayed, and we're praying for God's glory and for the Son, Jesus Christ, to be glorified. When Jesus is glorified, God is glorified. There's a mutual glory, a mutual honoring, a conversation with the Father. Lord, will you help us be about your glory, not our own? Will you help us be about your Son's glory, that you might be glorified, and not us? This is the first piece of His conversation with His Father. I believe we can learn from Him how to have that conversation. Father, we want to glorify you.

New Speaker (18:04):
The second part of His prayer is a prayer for His current disciples. It's a prayer for these men that He has invested His life in for the last three years. And this is what He's praying for them. It's a fascinating prayer in what He's saying about them. In verse six, I've manifested your name to the men whom you've gave me out of the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me. And they have kept your word. Jesus is almost rehearsing with His Father what He's been given to do and who He's been given. Lord, this is what you've done. I've made your name known. The word manifested, I've made it known to the men that you gave me. You gave me these men, these disciples, and I've made your name known to them. You gave them to me out of the world. You chose them out. They were yours, and you gave them to me. And they've kept your word. Isn't that interesting?

Speaker 3 (19:11):
Have you read much about the disciples prior to this point? These guys were messing up all the time. All the time. It's like when we were in Hebrews 11. When you read that, you're wondering, who are they talking about? Because when I read these stories about these people, these guys were utter failures. But that's not what God focuses on. He focuses on the faith. He focuses on the faith, not the failure. It's what He does in Hebrews 11. He's focusing on their faith, not where they messed up. And it seems Jesus is doing that in this prayer. I made your name known to them. They've kept your word. That gives me hope quite candidly when I, all the ways that I continue to fail. Maybe Jesus will say, Father, he's kept your word, and the faith will be seen more so than the failures. In the same way, God has given us a trust at 121. For Jesus, He was given a trust, and we've been given a trust. Every person that's here, whether you're in person, online, if you're part of 121, it is a trust that God has given us as leaders at 121 with this particular part of God's church.

Ross Sawyers (20:48):
And God has given each one of you a trust. He's given you family, friends, a sphere of influence. He's given you. He's given every one of us, people that He's entrusted to us and the privilege to help them keep His word. Now they've come to know in verse 7 that everything you've given me is from you. In this three-year period they've been with me, they understand now that everything God is from you. Everything I have is from you. It's taken them a little while, but they're understanding this is from you God. For the words which you gave me, I've given to them. And they received them and truly understood that I came forth from you. And they believed that you sent me. In chapter 16, verse 30, it says by this, we believe. This is what some of the disciples were saying. We believe that you came from God. Three years, here they are. Now they're confessing. Yes, we believe you came from God.

New Speaker (21:51):
Lest we get impatient with people around us that don't seem to catch it, imagine spending three years with Jesus and finally towards the end, we believe that the words you're sharing are from God Himself. And we believe God. Could that maybe help us be patient and persevere? A lot of us were a little bit slow ourselves before we believed it. They believe that you sent me. Now, He prays, I ask on their behalf. I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom you've given me for they are yours. Now I'm asking on their behalf. And not the world. I'm asking on behalf of my disciples. I'm asking on behalf of those you've given me out of the world. Verse 10, in all things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I've been glorified in them. Again, He's just moving through this conversation with His Father in this mutual honoring, this mutual glorying. He said, everything that's mine, it came from you. It's yours. Now they are yours. They're yours. I've been glorified in them.

New Speaker (23:07):
Verse 11, I'm no longer in the world, and yet they themselves are in the world. And I come to you. Jesus said, I'm not going to be here anymore, but they are. And I come to you. I'm coming to you, Father, on their behalf. And He says, Holy Father, it's the only time in the New Testament these two are put together like this. Holy Father. The word Holy means other, means unique. It's separate from sin. He's like no other. So here Jesus is talking to His Father and He said, Father, you're like no other, you're purity, you're cleanliness, all of who you are. You're Holy. You're Holy Father. You're intimate and close, and yet you're separate and pure. What a gracious God we have. And here's His first prayer for them. Keep them in your name. It's a prayer of protection. We learn how to talk with the Father about how Jesus talked with the Father. What was He praying for His disciples? He was praying for protection for them. Protection for them. Keep them in your name. The way there'll be protected is being under God's name. And when God's name is spoken, it's His name, it reveals His character and His ways. Keep them under your character. Keep them under your ways. Protect them, God. The name which you've given me. Be their protector. Keep them in your name.

New Speaker (24:57):
All of us are shaped by something. We're either being shaped by being under God's name and God's word or we're being shaped by the world and all that is opposed to God. We're being shaped by something every moment of every day. What is it we're being shaped by? He's praying protection that there'll be kept under the Father's name. The second thing He prays, and this'll weave through this prayer, is that they may be one, even as we are one. That they will be one. That they will be unified. He's praying for unity. He's praying for unity. And that that unity is grounded in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It's crucial you catch this. Unity. Unity is grounded in something. And the kind of unity we're speaking of, and this is where God brought me Wednesday morning in thinking about all the fracturing. I only shared that with you not to be distraught about that, not to be, but just to be aware of just the multiple ways that Satan tries to fracture and Jesus knows that. That's not a surprise. None of that's a surprise. And Jesus is praying in this prayer before He goes to the cross, He's praying that His disciples would be one, that they will be unified in Him, unified in the Father and the Son, and that would include the spirit. It's a perfect unity.

Ross Sawyers (26:38):
For someone to be unified, there has to be some common ground around which that unity revolves. I'm talking today about Christian unity. I'm talking about Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, here and all over the world being one and unified. And the unity in Christ for a Christian trumps any other cause of unity. Jesus is praying that we, and I'm sorry if I just used trump and that just caused disunity. I'm sure that roiled somebody. It was a word before we knew him. The unity is a unity grounded in Christ. It's a unity grounded in Jesus Christ, a unity grounded in the triune God. That's where our unity is grounded. In the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I read this week that, and I'm not an orchestra person. I appreciate it. I'm just not musically inclined at all. But if an orchestra comes together, the violinists, they do not tune their violins against each other. You're not listening for some other violinist and trying to tune their violin with that violin. There's a tuning fork and every violinist is tuning their instrument to that one tuning fork. So if there are a hundred violinists in the orchestra, they are all tuning their violins to the tuning fork, not to each other.

Ross Sawyers (28:34):
When Christians will be unified is when we see Jesus Christ as the tuning fork, and we're all tuning our lives to Him. And that unity has already been established in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. We're all tuning our lives to Jesus. And as we tune our lives to Jesus and the Father, as we tune our lives to the glory of the Father and the Son, then our unity will increase and grow. We're tuning to him. Christian unity. At the cross, Jesus broke down every barrier. He broke down personality barriers. He broke down socioeconomic barriers. He broke down political barriers. He broke down racial barriers. Jesus broke down every barrier. And in Ephesians 2, we're told that Jesus Christ, when we're reconciled to Him, that we are a new human race. That's how He describes us. This week, someone passed on a book to me, and I got it. And it's called The Third Option by Miles McPherson. He pastors Rock Church in San Diego. He's former pro football player. And the subtitle is Hope for a Racially Divided Nation.

Ross Sawyers (30:12):
I've read maybe a third of it since I got it towards the end of the week. And here's what he describes the third option. It's what we talked about this summer when we talked about race. He just puts a real cool framework around it and spins a whole book on it. We have to get past looking at what we see on the outside and look first at the unseen, which is every person has been made in the sacred image of God. And when I see a person first being made in the image of God, then I can honor that person. It doesn't mean I don't see external things. We do. But the third option is to first look at the unseen image of God within a person. Every person is of intrinsic value and honor simply because they've been made as a creation of God. And the beauty is that every person made in the image of God, that image has been broken, and Jesus Christ fixed it. He made it possible for us to be made whole again. And we're made whole again in Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ, as we lean towards Him, then we're inside the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit because we're in Christ. It's not a unity we're trying to create.

Ross Sawyers (31:50):
It's already there. It's in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. We're not trying to create something. We simply want to live in that which God has designed us to live. In verse 12, when I was, while I was with them, I was keeping them in your name which you've given me. And I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. And here He's referring to Judas Iscariot. And it was according to the Scriptures that He would be doomed to destruction. Verse 13, but now I come to you, and these things I speak in the world so that they may have my joy made full in themselves. So third thing, He prays here for His current disciples. He's praying that we would be protected. He's praying that we would be a people who walk in unity. And He's praying that we would be a people who walk in the full measure of the joy of Jesus. Regardless of outward circumstances, He's praying that we'll walk in the joy that He's made full in Himself.

New Speaker (32:54):
There is a joy that's in Jesus. Verse 14, I've given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world even as I am not of the world. He's praying here, continuing His prayer of protection, unity, and joy. I've given them your word now, and the world's hated them because of it. The world does not like those who are followers after Jesus. Jesus praises. He said, they hate you because they hate me. They're not of the world even as I'm not of the world. Why did we spend so much time thinking about the persecuted church this Fall? It's our brothers and sisters in Christ of which we're to be unified with. And we learn from people who've been oppressed in their countries all over the world today how to thrive and walk in joy and walk in unity and walk protected in the midst of it.

Ross Sawyers (34:01):
What we talked about these eight ways of what it is to follow Jesus. And it's similar to what they do in the persecuted church. And we want to just ground ourselves in a way that we could better make disciples and be better at being followers of Jesus Christ. And we learn from them how to respond well when the world hates you. Verse 14. Verse 15, I don't ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. Father, I'm not asking you to take them out. He's not asking us to disengage from the world, but He is asking us to keep us from the evil one. Now we know what the protection is from. It's from Satan himself. The protection is from him. Peter, who would have heard this prayer prayed or wrote in 1 Peter, that the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. We've spoken of this the last couple of weeks. And the protection He's praying for is from the evil one, from Satan being able to fracture us. They are not of the world is I am not of the world. Verse 16. They're not of the world.

Ross Sawyers (35:16):
Well, once you know Jesus, you're no longer have the world. Now we're in Christ. We're in Him. And our unity is in Christ. Sometimes you just need to listen to a good sermon by Jase Robertson, one of Duck Dynasty guys. I was working out Friday morning, and I was listening to one by Francis Chan. And then off to the side, you know where they're telling you what you should listen to next? I don't have to think because they're telling me what I need to do next. And there was a sermon by Jase Robertson. And I thought, I'll listen to that. You know what the title of it was? Powerful Sermon. Got a lot to live up to when that's what the title of the sermon is. He was a guest speaker. So I know he didn't title it that way. I guess the church just thought that would be a good way to title it.

Ross Sawyers (36:12):
But you know what? Sometimes it's just good to listen to some good, down-home, backwoods, duck calling common sense. It's 45 minutes of common sense. That's all it was. Anchored to the pure truth of God's Word. But one thing he said, he goes, I know it's a problem because we see people walk into that church building, and they look different when they're inside the building. But when they go outside the building, they look different again. In other words, it's like they're not of the world when they come in the building, but then they're of the world when they leave the building. And that ain't right. That's just good, powerful sermon right there. Jesus, in verse 17, prays for truth for His current disciples, sanctify them in the truth. What is truth? Your Word is truth. I was listening to podcasts the other day, and a guy said we don't need to be praying for peace, which I think we should pray for peace. But his point was we need to be praying for truth. Until we are anchored in objective truth, there will be no peace. And the problem across our country today is we have abandoned objective truth. There will be no unity, and there will be no peace apart from being anchored to an objective truth.

New Speaker (37:59):
Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth. Truth is a person. It's the person of Jesus Christ. And it's the Word of God. The word sanctify means to separate. We are sanctified and separated the more we hang out with the truth, and we allow the truth to flow through our lives. This whole series we've called Real Conversations in Truth and Grace. It's truth with grace. As you sent me into the world, I've also sent them into the world. He didn't just give us truth to sit on it. He gave us truth to go into the world and to take the truth into the world. He has given all of us a work to do, to not sit on the truth. One of the foundational things we spoke of in the eight ways is passing on what God gives us. Passing it on. So we're passing on the truth. Not everyone will want the truth, but some will. True Christian unity will come as we're anchored to the truth. Unity does not come when we abandon the truth. Unity doesn't come when we abandon the truth. It's when we anchor to the truth.

New Speaker (39:31):
Now what happens when we're in life group together or we're in family conversations together or we're in friendly conversations together, and we're with people who are brothers and sisters in Christ and we realize and we believe there's something that's amiss in the truth they're telling? How do we have a conversation with them? That's part of what we're doing in these weeks together. But a guy said to me this to me this summer, and I've just lived in it and continued to try to reshift my mind. Rather than getting frustrated with someone about where they are, it's an opportunity to disciple them through it. What if we saw every time truth is amiss just as an opportunity to disciple someone? An opportunity to help people walk through truth? And who knows what God may have in store for us in that conversation? We mutually have that dialogue. We disciple people through it. And unless we're safe enough to be able to say the things we struggle with and don't believe or buy into or are frustrated by, if I can't say what I said at the outset of this message, if I can't say that out loud and say, you know what? I love every person I've encountered in those different things. I'm not mad at anybody today. And it's provided phenomenal opportunities with people.

New Speaker (41:01):
And you know what? Some people have just left, and there's been no opportunity. I will say that's frustrating. But it is okay just to be able to say that. And then maybe you need to disciple me through something. You may hear me say something, say, gosh, I think you might want to chill out a little bit up there. Somebody else is saying, I think you need to amp it up. But can we speak truth and disciple each other graciously? Three years, we believe now. Maybe it's that way on multiple aspects of our faith. God's Word is like a hammer, and it keeps shattering away. And you never know when it's going to make that final shatter, and truth breaks through. For their sakes, I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. Jesus was set apart in the holiness of His Father so that we could be sanctified in truth as well. It comes through Jesus Christ.

New Speaker (42:09):
Here's the way we review that part of the prayer. It's protection, unity, joy, and truth. If you just remember that, that can be part of how you talk to the Father. God, will you protect followers of Jesus? Will you bring unity? Will you allow that unity to be preserved? And will you bring joy to the people? We're working for each other's joy. And then truth, sanctify us in truth. The last part of the prayer is actually--the whole thing I think is really cool. But this is a prayer for His future disciples. Like He prayed for Himself and then He prayed for His current disciples and then He's anticipating those who will come to Him later. This is exactly for us. I think the whole thing is for us, but He was, said, there's not a lot of people following me yet. But this is my prayer for them. This is my prayer for those in the future. And what a cool way for us to think. You may be thinking, you know what? My husband's not a believer. My wife's not a believer. My child's not a believer. These friends are not believers. These people at my work are not believers. I wonder if this is a prayer for them, that in the future, they may be.

Ross Sawyers (43:21):
Who knows? But we pray and Jesus is praying for His future followers. We don't know who they are, but it will be people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. And God continues to send people out from here all over the world. So those who've never heard can hear. And we'd be stunned how many people right in our own neighborhoods and sphere of influence have never heard. They have no idea the Jesus of whom we speak. So I don't ask on behalf of these alone, verse 20, but for those also who believe in me through their word. I'm asking for those who believe later. I'm asking for them that they may all be one. What does He pray for them? What's He pray for the future believers? That they'll be one. It's a prayer for unity again. It's a prayer for unity and brothers and sisters in Christ. By the way, some of you sent me this. If you enjoyed Thursday, it was 1/21/21. I thought when we got to verse 21, we could make a note of that. Our church is 121. Rare that would be 1/21/21. Just a little fun side note.

New Speaker (44:31):
That they might all be one. Even as you Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me. Here it is. He's praying for unity. He said, Father, I'm in you and you're in me and they're in us. When we believe Jesus Christ and what He did, we are in Christ and we're in Christ and we're in the triune God. It's what he's praying. They'll be in us. Why? So that the world may believe that you sent me. How are people going to know Jesus? They're going to know and see it and believe because they see current followers of Jesus walking together in unity. That's what Jesus says. How are people going to see Jesus? By the way, we are unified as followers of Jesus. Francis Chan, I mentioned I was listening to him on Friday as well. And his message was on unity. And he said, when I just got kicked out of Hong Kong because his visa got denied. So he's back in the U.S. And for those who don't know Francis Chan, he's a really, His walk with the Lord is just really fun to get in behind and to listen to. But his whole family was over in Hong Kong, and now they've been removed. He's back in the States, and some of his family's dispersed to other places. But he's just so optimistic. He said, when I look at the world right now, he said, I just really wonder if in our lifetime, we're really going to see the unity of believers. That we really will see followers of Jesus unified.

Ross Sawyers (46:21):
It's when we're under the greatest pressure that we should press into each other. It causes it. It actually squeezes out what's really in us. So those who are genuinely followers of Jesus will move closer and closer into each other in maintaining and preserving the unity that He has given us. In verse 22, the glory which you've given me, I've given to them that they may be one just as we are one. He's still talking about that unity. He wants them to be one, be unified. Verse 23, I in them and you in me, that they may be perfected in unity. I see them completed in unity. So that why? Why does he want to see us in unity? We are in an already not yet time. We're already unified and we're not yet unified. There is a unity that awaits us in the new Heavens and the new earth that will be absolutely perfect. We're moving towards that perfection. It's something we can have now to some degree. And He's saying, we're moving you towards that perfection in unity. And why is that? So that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you have loved me.

New Speaker (47:31):
Why do we concern with ourselves with the world? So at the world might know, that the world would know. Every tribe, every tongue, every nation. You'd be unified. Christians unified all over the globe. And the world will know that God sent Jesus. The world will know. This is a supernatural unity. Somebody said it this way: our relationships with each other strengthen or weaken the proclamation of the gospel. The gospel is powerful in and of itself. Our love and our unity for each other either strengthens or weakens that proclamation. When people hear it and they think, you know what? When I think of Christians, I think of a unified people around Jesus Christ that love each other really, really well. That makes me want to tune my ear a little bit to what you're saying. That world may know. Look, our culture is off the rails. But one by one, people will get exhausted by the emptiness and the sin of the cultural path we're on. And will we as a church be unified, anchored to truth, and loving each other well? So those who finally are exhausted will see there's a place to go, that there's a place where there's hope, where there's peace, where there's love, and where there's joy.

New Speaker (49:16):
How do we deal with this unity? Tim Challies wrote an article and he wrote 12 ways to fight disunity. I just grabbed two of them that I think are crucial to us. And this is what he said. Spend more time considering evidences of grace in other Christians than you do pondering their sins and weaknesses and a telescope when looking for grace. Sin is darkness. Grace is light. Sin is hell. Grace is Heaven. And what madness is it to look more at darkness than at light, more at hell than at Heaven? Indeed, one way we fight disunity is to spend more time considering the graces in people rather than those things that are not. A second thing he talks about, he says, judge yourself more than you judge others. If you were to spend more time considering your own sins and less time considering the sins of others, you would never be so quick to judge and to separate yourself from the other true believers. Brooks says, there are no souls in the world that are so fearful to judge others as those that do most judge themselves nor so careful to make a righteous judgment of men or things as those that are most careful to judge themselves.

Ross Sawyers (50:38):
So how do we fight disunity? We're simply trying to preserve that which God has already established. We fight it by looking for graces in people more than the other. And we fight it by looking more in our own hearts than looking at the hearts of others. Does that mean we don't? It doesn't. Because when there's truth amiss, then we go and we disciple each other. But we go in a spirit of Heaven, checking our own hearts first. And then we go with humility to another person. How do we maintain unity? If there's a fractured relationship among a brother or sister in Christ today, we go to the person in humility, and we ask forgiveness in the way that we might've wronged them. That's how we preserve and maintain unity. In the last part of His prayer, Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me be with me where I am so that they may see my glory which you've given me for you loved me before the foundation of the world. In Ephesians, we're told that God chose us, those who are followers of His before the foundation of the world. And He highlights that, that you loved me before the foundation of the world. We were before anything was.

Ross Sawyers (52:01):
Oh, righteous Father. He calls Him Holy Father. Now righteous Father. Although the world is not known you yet, I've known you, and these have known that you sent me. And I've made your name known to them. He ends His prayer. I've made your name known. What a beautiful way for us to end our lives to say, we have made God's name known. We've made His name known to those that He's given us. And we'll make it known so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them. I make His name known so that you might know the love of Christ in you in the same way that I know that love of Christ.

New Speaker (52:40):
You know what His disciples did end of this prayer? Beautiful prayer. Unity, truth, joy, love, glory. Every one of them in a matter of hours bailed on Him. Now, after the resurrection, their lives are transformed. Sometimes we pray beautiful prayers and people run the other way. But through Jesus Christ, they come back. I mentioned to you that a man accused us of being a racist church back in June. I'd never met the man. And I'm reading these posts, and I'm watching how people are responding to it. And some jumping on and saying other things about us. And I'm thinking, I don't even know what this is. I don't know this man. He doesn't know me. I feel like we've worked so hard to build a reputation of love for the community in which we're in. And in one fell social media swoop, it's being destroyed. Because once you plant a seed in somebody's mind, it's tough to get that seed out.

Ross Sawyers (54:07):
I had a friend in our church that knew this guy, and I said, hey, can you set a meeting for us? Said, I'm not going to get out there and go to battle on social media with him. And I private messaged someone else on there that had responded. Didn't go do the public hangout with you thing there. And you know what? The guy was willing to meet. And so the friend from here, another person that knew him, and him, we met right down this hall. And I didn't know what to expect. I don't know that he knew what to expect. I just knew we were going to sit across the table and look eye to eye at each other and figure out what in the world is going on here. And when he walked in, I thought After a few minutes, I'd love hanging out with this guy. And we talked for about an hour, and the more I was listening, and I thought, I don't think this guy knows Jesus because I was told he did.

Ross Sawyers (55:12):
And I thought, I don't think he knows the Lord. And so I asked him, I said, you know, the greater thing tonight would not be the things that have been exchanged out on Facebook. The greater thing tonight would be that you knew Jesus. And I said, has anybody ever shared with you what it would mean to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ? And he said, not really. But you know what's cool? Is that friend of his, he said, he's the only one that I actually respect who's a follower of Jesus. The proclamation of the Word is strengthened by the witness of the presence of his friend. So we walked through the gospel, and long story, he wasn't quite ready that night. But two days later, he received Jesus. And the man that's his friend, at the same time he received Jesus, baptized him in his swimming pool. He went back on Facebook, changed the things that he had said. And then they had a phenomenal event that followed, that actually started the whole thing. A brother in Christ now.

New Speaker (56:26):
Gosh, is everything perfect? No. But what happens when we just are willing to get across a table and look in somebody's eyes and hear their story? And then see what God has and when we get to share that brings one more so that the world might know? And we want to pray desperately against any fracturing of the unity of followers of Jesus. And we want to ask the question, push comes to shove, will I stand for my brothers and sisters in Christ first above any other grouping? Because that's His call to us. Father, thank you for the power of your Word and the strength of your prayer. And help us, Father, to be able to have the same kind of conversation with you that we see Jesus having. And so thank you today. And God, I love that you have placed us together as a body of Christ. And will you continue to preserve our unity in you?

New Speaker (57:47):
And Lord, I pray that any areas of our lives that we're creating disunity, that we would quickly repent and move towards people just as you did, not away from people and that we might be all the more strengthened in our relationships with each other and all the more bright to those in outside world, looking in? And instead of hating and not liking, that they'd be drawn and attracted to the beauty and power of the cross and the effect of that on the people who've responded to that in? We pray in Jesus' name. Let's be quiet before the Lord. And I've got one question we're throwing up as a reflection question for you. And you don't have to think about that. Just let this be a space for you and the Lord. And if that's helpful, then let it be a helpful thing for you. Thank you for the opportunity today to be able to worship with you.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051