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The Power and the Paradox of Oneness

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Jesus prays for the unity of the church and reveals the only way it can be achieved.

Text: John 17:20-23
Date: 03/29/2020, the Combined service.
Series: "John: Encountering Love" Part 170

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Having prayed for the sanctification, protection and missionary purpose of His disciples, Jesus turns His attention to the church they will establish. The power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of Truth as shared by the Apostles will revolutionize the world and bring many people into the Kingdom. Jesus exponentially expands the scope of His prayer by including those who will believe in their Gospel message. He then immediately prays for the unity of the newfound church in both being and purpose. We will analyze the scope, nature and outcome of this unity and consider both the postive and negative applications by the church. Paradoxically, we will discover that the pursuit of unity on its own will never actually achieve it, because all that truly unifies the church is found in Jesus Himself. When the unity of the church is founded in Christ, then no matter how small, the church becomes an unequalled power against the spiritual darkness-- to spread the Good News of the Son and bring glory to the Father.

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I. Introduction
II. Exposition of the text, John 17:20-23.
A. Context, John 17:17-19.
1. The centrality of the Word, vs. 17.
2. The mission and purpose of the Apostles to share that Word, vs. 18.
3. The sanctification of Jesus as sacrifice and High Priest, vs. 19.
B. Power in Unity.
1. Exponentially expanding the scope of His prayer, vs. 20.
a. Another negative statement, John 17:9,15.
b. Focus on the church.
i. The foundation of the Word.
ii. Absolute certainty of outcome.
c. A paradigm shift.
d. A profound prayer for all believers, James 5:16.
2. Unity with a purpose, vs. 21.
a. Overview, vs. 21-23.
b. Jesus' prays for unity.
i. Defining "unity".
• The detrimental application of unity.
• The positive application of unity.
ii. The exclusiveness of unity, John 1:12-13.
iii. The bond of unity, 1Cor. 12:12-13, John 15:2,4-6, 10:16.
c. Unity reflective of the Trinity.
i. The foundation of unity, John 5:23, 10:30, 14:10.
ii. Going deeper, 1John 4:8.
• United in the communicable attributes.
• United in love, 1John 4:8.
• United in holiness, 1Pet. 15-16.
d. The reason for the unity.
i. A different look at "the world", John 13:35.
ii. The power of unity.
3. Unified in glory, vs. 22.
a. Defining "glory", John 17:5.
i. The glory of the Cross, John 12:23, 13:31-32, 17:1-4.
ii. The glory of redemption.
b. The glorious task, Acts 5:40-41, Luke 9:23.
c. Glory that unifies.
4. Unified in love, vs. 23.
a. The perfect Mediator, John 14:23.
b. Perfect oneness.
c. Unity through faith, John 17:21.
d. The unity of God's love, John 3:16, Eph. 3:17-19.
III. Application, Rev. 3:8.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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