WEEK 2 - RE-BOOT!
We were Created to Belong to God and to One Another!
In the beginning God created us for His glory to Belong to Him. He wanted us to live in a perfect relationship and community with Him; mirroring His perfect community of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! We have drifted from our design to Belong to God and One Another but deep down inside of every human being this desire is still there looking for fulfillment!
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 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.
Who were your community of friends when you were young? How did that community live life together?
Read John 17:20-23. Scan back through the passage leading up to these verses. What was the context in which Jesus said this?
What does that indicate about the importance of unity among His followers to Jesus? Why do you think Jesus held unity as such a priority?
Does unity mean there is absolute agreement on everything? Why or why not?
What benefits can you see are a part of Belonging to One Another?
Encourage everyone to share their prayer needs, specifically related to areas they need to practice humility, sacrifice, and unity. Challenge the group to begin their prayer time by voicing statements of gratitude and praise to God for the work of Jesus on our behalf. Pray for our church, that we would be a place where we are unified, humbly following Jesus.
What do you think it feels like to be part of a church that cares for one another?
If we are to be the church and group Christ wants in our community, what types of things should we be doing in our community? Make a list of ideas your group can do together for others in our community then pick one and start!
17:20-21. If we had any doubt that this prayer applies to believers today, it is erased by verse 20. The heart of this final paragraph of the chapter focuses on unity—the ultimate demonstration of God’s work through his people in the world. We learn here that body unity is patterned after divine unity. The absolute oneness of the Father and the Son will now be spiritually transferred to believers for a specific purpose—spiritual unity.
The union of the church is not patterned after some earthly organization or any well-meaning intentions of humanity. God joins our spirits through the Holy Spirit because Jesus’ blood is “thicker than water” and thicker than human bonds.
Perhaps there is no verse in all of Scripture which has been more frequently quoted to support ecclesiastical church union than John 17:21. However, the emphasis of the prayer centers in spiritual unity, not organizational unity. It must be understood in the light of John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.” If we are to understand the unity of the church, we must first understand unity between the Son and the Father.
17:22. Christian unity is facilitated by glory, first given to Christ and then in turn to the disciples. Glory in this context is not an absolute attribute of God but a relative possession that can be reassigned to believers. Some interpreters see heaven here, but there would be no point in such a futuristic view with respect to the mission statement of verse 23: “to let the world know that you sent me.” Peter wrote that the divine nature was already in us as a result of regeneration, so we already have a measure of the glory of Jesus himself.
17:23. We also learn in this passage that body unity is a witness to the world. Like a set of matched mixing bowls, we are the smaller one that fits into Christ who fits into the Father. Purpose? To let the world know that you sent me. Mixing bowls may provide too mundane a metaphor here, but Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches in chapter 15 is affirmed by this prayer of chapter 17.
The unity of believers calls forth a recognition of God’s hand by observers in the world even while the church is on earth. Just a few hours before this prayer, Jesus told the disciples, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love fore one another” (13:35).