This morning we continue our series entitled, “The Power of Fellowship.” A few months ago, early in this series, we looked at John 17, which is the prayer Jesus prayed for us. We did so with an emphasis on our fellowship with the Father. I taught one us being ONE with God. Yesterday I took you back to this passage. This time we are looking at it through a different lens. Now we are focused on being ONE with one another. Let’s go back to the passage again today. As you read this I want you to think about unity and division. God wants us to be united. Satan wants us divided.
(From John 17:6-26)
Jesus said: “I pray for them now. I am not praying for the people in the world. But I am praying for these people you gave me, because they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And my glory is seen in them…
I will not stay in the world, but these followers of mine are still in the world. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name—the name you gave me. Then they will be one, just as you and I are one…
I am coming to you now. But I pray these things while I am still in the world. I say all this so that these followers can have the true happiness that I have. I want them to be completely happy. I have given them your teaching. And the world has hated them, because they don’t belong to the world, just as I don’t belong to the world…
I pray not only for these followers but also for those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that all who believe in me can be one. You are in me and I am in you. I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me. I gave them this glory so that they can be one, just as you and I are one. I will be in them, and you will be in me. So they will be completely one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you loved them just as you loved me…”
So what does this mean for you today? I will share a few thoughts under the overall theme: “Unity pleases God and division pleases satan.”
1. Jesus prayed for us to be ONE, even as He and the Father were ONE. God is looking for us to walk in unity. Unity is not uniformity. You can be uniform without being unified. God is not looking for this type of superficial facade. He is looking for His children to truly find common ground in Him and for the unifying power of Jesus to be on display in this world.
2. Satan loves it when we are divided and right now, in this season, he is on a warpath; especially in the United States. People are arguably more divided now than they have been in years. As believers we can combat that. Hate divides. Love unites. When you walk in the love of God you will be a unifier and help people get past whatever is dividing them.
3. Satan thrives in chaos, disorder, dysfunction, and division. Don’t allow satan to be in display in your life. Seek to mend broken relationships and restore the love God has called us to walk in.
4. Dealing with people is not always the easiest thing. People are imperfect and our imperfections often rub others the wrong way. But it is possible for imperfect people to come together as ONE. It is possible when we agree on the perfection of Christ. We are not perfect, but Jesus is and we can find common ground in His perfection. So don’t focus on your differences. If you are a believer, you have much more in common that uncommon with other believers. Seek common ground and strive for unity, one with another.
5. God’s love is one-sided. This means that no matter what you do or don’t do towards God, He will always love you. Even with this unconditional love, there are people who find it difficult to have a relationship with God. If that’s the case (and it is), then you can only imagine how much harder this becomes when you involve another human. Relationships can be rewarding and fruitful, but they can also be very challenging and costly. But no matter the cost, our Heavenly Father does not just want us to to have a relationship with Him. He requires us to have thriving relationships with other people. We are commanded to love God and love others. Remember that today. As difficult as some people may be, God has called us into fellowship one with another. This is how people get to see God. There are people who never sense God’s presence or hear His voice, but they can come to know God through you. They know you. They can see you. They hear you clearly. So the Father wants to use you to show the world what He is like. His love is on full display when you love people who are hard to love, and you love them unconditionally. This is how God loves you and it is how He wants you to love others.
6. God can do great things through a single person. This is true. But His best is on display when His children come together as ONE. This is why fellowship is so important. As you enter this today determine right now that you are going to connect with others, that you are going to make the effort to have and maintain good relationships, and that you will do all you can to love the way God loves!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, You have called me to walk in love and I am determined to do it. I refuse to allow satan to have his way in my life. I am not a divider. I am a unifier. I will not allow lingering issues to cause division in my life and relationships. I seek to mend broken relationships. I offer an olive branch. I walk in Your love. I submit to the Holy Spirit and I embrace His supernatural love, so I am able to love people who are difficult to love. I am able to look past issues that have divided us in the past, and I am ready to move forward, having great relationships, putting Your best on display in this world! I declare this by faith! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!