Unity With God
Pastor Arn Buck
Heart Song Worship Center
" There can be no unity, no delight of love, no harmony, no good in being, where there is but one. Two at least are needed for oneness." George MacDonald (1824-1905)
Heart Song's Foundational Scripture
John 17 is a tremendous example of prayer that shows the heart of Jesus in a very clear and powerful manner. It is incredible to be able to read a prayer from the Son to the Father that had an major impact on all of eternity. Here Jesus lays the prayer foundation for birth and development of His Church. First He prays for completion of His own mission. Then He prays for the success of His own disciples in expanding the work that He started. Finally He prays for all those who will be brought into the Church directly of indirectly through the message of His disciples.
This third part of the prayer, which is found in John17:20-24, is the foundational scripture for Heart Song Worship Center. One morning, before work, I was sitting at the kitchen table. I had just opened my Bible and was getting ready to turn to a specific passage to read. Before doing that the Holy Spirit told me that the foundational scripture for the church was on the page right in front of my face. My eyes were directed to a paragraph break right at the beginning of verse 20. I was immediately impressed with the emphasis that the passage placed on unity. My wife and I had experienced what God can do in a body of believers that was united by the Holy Spirit.
Then I stepped back mentally for a broader viewpoint. I found myself overwhelmed realizing that the Holy Spirit was telling me that the foundational scripture for Heart Song would be the very prayer that Jesus prayed only hours before giving His life to make it a possible. Could any other scripture be more appropriate?
John 17:20-24 (NLT) "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one's as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!"
I was almost expected a more typical foundational scripture based more on the great commission. But if you look at this passage there is a more powerful display of evangelism than is shown in Matthew 28. In His prayer Jesus prays that we will experience unity with the Godhead. In perfect unity we would acquire the love of the Father for the lost, like Jesus we would be led to the right ones to minister to, and we would be empowered like Jesus to display God's glory to them.
The Son's Unity With The Father
Jesus came to earth to redeem falling mankind. In the process of doing this He set an example for us of loving obedience for us to follow. A significant factor is this obedience was unity that He had with the Father. Different aspects of this oneness are illustrated in the following verses taken from the Gospel of John.
He was predisposed to do the Father's Bidding.
John 5:19 (NLT) So Jesus explained, I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
He and the Father were in perfect agreement.
John 8:13, 16a-18 (NLT) The Pharisees replied, You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid. The Father who sent me is with me. Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.
His obedience was a demonstration of His love for the Father.
John 14:31 (NLT) but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father.
He reflected a veritable image of the Father to the world.
John 14:8-11 (NLT) Philip said, Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied. Jesus replied, Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
Hebrews 1:2-3 (NLT) The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.
His unity with the Father is an example for His Church to follow.
John 17:21 (NLT) I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
These things were not automatic for Jesus. He was not made as a robot. He was not preprogrammed to be obedient. He had become a man not unlike ourselves. His unity with the Father was the result of an intentional and persistent surrender of His will and desires to that of the Father. Evidence of a struggle to prior to surrendering is found when Jesus was with His disciples on the Mount of Olives before he was betrayed.
Matthew 26:37-38 (NLT) He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.
Notice the stress and anguish that Jesus is showing here. It is not how we usually picture Him. He is even looking for support from His disciples as He asks them to keep watch with Him. In Luke's account of what happened next we see the internal struggle between His desire not to suffer and die and God's will and plan for man's salvation. Luke records that Jesus had blood in His sweat. This medical phenomenon is sometimes observed with men who are under extreme stress. It is difficult to envision Jesus in such a state. However, it clearly shows how great His love is for us and how great His resolve was to do the will of the Father. He was not running on autopilot. His decisions where passionate and selfless.
Luke 22:41-44 (NLT) He walked away, about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
Our Surrender To Oneness
Siamese twins are twins who are physically connected. One cannot go anywhere without the other. If we were truly one with God we would not want to go anywhere except for where He takes us as if we were physically connected. In reality the connection between His heart and mind and ours is long enough to give us room to wander. The length of the connection is the difference being our desires and His desires. The connection is only shortened as we surrender our will to His following Jesus' example.
This is not a single event. The surrender of our will to His continues throughout our lifetime or as long as we let it. God encourages us and motivate us to make the chose. The length of the connection is up to us. We normally shorten it as His love and faithfulness become a greater reality to us.
Our unity with God can be compared to a horse and a rider. A well trained horse responds quickly and consistently to even the subtle commands of an expert rider. However, horses are usually very resistant to allowing anyone ride on their back. They are like us. We like to be in control. We like them need to be broken of our strong self will an resistance to following God's leading. Many of us had to be broken by God to initially accept Jesus Christ as our savior. Sometimes we are also broken during our walk with Him if we become too independent.
God breaks us by meeting us in a desperate situation. We are broken a we cry out to Him willing to surrender our will in exchange for His miraculous deliverance. In brokenness God sets the stage that properly defines the relationship the positioning between us and Him is proper. In seeking His deliverance we cannot reach across to Him or down to Him. We have to reach up to Him. This forces us to acknowledge Him as greater than us. This is critical to our relationship with Him. Although we are called friends of God, we should never consider ourselves His buddy or His pal. Our interaction with Him must always show respect and acknowledge Him for what His truly is.
As the answer to our desperate situation, God becomes very real to us. It is important to remember this image of God's truth to continue surrendering our will to His as we continue to walk with Him. As a good horse trainer God will teach us to keep watch Him at all times and not to push against Him. The latter is an action of horse to challenge the leadership of another horse.
Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The whole idea of unity with God is become more like Him. That more and more His thoughts become ours and His desires become our desires. As we do this the connection between us and Him becomes shorter and shorter. As we do prayers will become more effective as we learn to pray His will. As we do this our ministry to others becomes more and more affective. As we do this our life is filled with a greater sense of peace and joy. As we do this shows the same sense of oneness with God that Jesus illustrated.
1. We will be more predisposed to do His Bidding.
2. We be moving toward perfect agreement with God.
3. Our obedience will demonstrate your love for the Father.
4. We will reflect the image Father to the world more and more accurately.
5. Our unity with the Father will be an example for others to follow.
There is strength in unity. When the enemy sees the oneness and unity of the Godhead in plan and purpose the tremble and fear.
James 2:19 (NLT) You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.