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John 17:20-23 | The Deal Breaker | Andrew Gutierrez

September 24, 2017 Speaker: Andrew Gutierrez Series: The Greatest Prayer Ever Revealed

Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: John 17:20–17:23

Thank you to Jason for filling in last week from Psalm 42, and I’d invite you to turn back to John 17. Back to John 17. Our passage this morning is John 17, verses 20-23, and I’ll just give you a heads-up: I’m looking at the clock right now and this may be a part A sermon and next week a part B sermon, so…we’ll see what happens.

John 17:20-23. If you’re new with us visiting, or just forgot from two weeks ago, we’re going through the Gospel of John together at our church, and we’re really enjoying that. It’s good for our church to go through the Gospel of John early in our church’s life.

We come from, two and a half years ago—you all, the members of this body—were from thirty-eight, if last count serves me right, different local churches throughout the United States and different places. You moved here for different reasons or have come here from other places nearby. And so it’s important for us to unite together around the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

And so we’re currently in a series through John 17, “The Greatest Prayer Ever Revealed,” and we find ourselves this morning starting in on this section where Jesus prays for us—those people who would believe through the apostles’ word. And so our text is verses 20-23. Please follow along as I read. Jesus says this:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just 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 have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

I’ve entitled this message, “The Deal Breaker.” I have a couple of friends who are pastors, and I thought of this incident earlier this week and it just made me laugh. A couple friends of mine who are pastors, and a number of years ago one of them was put in charge of an event at our previous church that had a large budget, like multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. And now this man is a very gifted pastor, but he’s not a businessman.

So he went to another pastor on staff who had some business acumen, and he asked him to come along with him to negotiate a contract with one of the facilities that we were gonna use for this event. And so the two of them, rookie businessman-pastor and experienced businessman-pastor, went to this facility to meet with their leadership.

And in the meeting, the rookie businessman-pastor started doing a bunch of the talking, which was maybe not the wisest thing to do. But after they started negotiating a few things, he threw out a couple of times, no, no, no, that’s a deal breaker. And then a little bit later another item was up for discussion—no, no, no, that’s a deal breaker. To which the experienced businessman-pastor said, let’s go talk for a second. He pulled him out and he said, listen, you can’t just throw the word “deal breaker” around in a negotiation. It actually has to be a deal breaker for you to say that. All these things are negotiable. And so it was helpful for this young businessman-pastor—and it wasn’t me, by the way. You’re all wondering that! You were wondering that. I learned from his mistake. It was important for him to realize not everything is a deal breaker.

Similarly, in local churches not everything is a deal breaker. If you go to a church and they don’t have the particular ministry that you want, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker. There are very few things in the Scriptures that have to happen in a local church. Oftentimes we look for places that have X, Y, or Z that actually don’t have to happen according to the New Testament. Not everything’s a deal breaker.

If you read church growth books today, which I doubt many of you do, but if you read church growth books today, you might read things like, you cannot have a congregation where everybody’s over sixty. You just can’t. And they act as if that’s a deal breaker. That’s not a deal breaker. If those sixty have the Holy Spirit of God in them, that’s a special place to be.

So not everything that we think of in the local church is actually a deal breaker. But in John 17:20-23, there is a deal breaker. See, what Jesus is doing is he’s praying to the Father, and he’s praying for his disciples, and he’s praying that his disciples as they go out into the world—as he leaves—as they go out into the world, that they would be equipped to represent him on earth, to declare his gospel of grace, to show the world what he is like through their own lives as they’re indwelt by his actual Holy Spirit. So he’s praying that they would represent him and make his gospel known and look like he looked to the world.

And one of the things he prays for that is essential to that effective witness is unity. If you do not have unity in the local church, you will not represent Christ well to the outside world. A lack of unity is a deal breaker, when it comes to getting the message of the gospel out and representing Christ to the watching world. If you don’t have unity, you don’t have a representation of Christ to your friends and neighbors. You just don’t.

And all over the place, we’ve seen—we’ve come from places—where there’s a lack of unity. And I think a lot of times in churches when something happens in a church and there’s disunity and it gets sick and disunity runs rampant, we think things like, oh, they’re not gonna have the same children’s ministry they once did. Or, they’re gonna have people leave, and those poor people won’t be cared for. And that’s all true—true, true, true. But who asks the question, but what about what this is doing to God? What about what this church split and faction is not just doing to the people involved, but what is this doing for God? He is literally receiving less ascribed glory because of this church faction. Does anybody think that way?

Well, we have to. We come to a place where Jesus draws our attention there as we listen in on his prayer.

He starts off—quickly, just to set the context in verse 20—saying, “I do not ask for these only [speaking of his disciples, his immediate disciples who were with him at the time], but also for those who will believe [future tense] through their [the disciples’] word.”

So the plan of Jesus is evidently that the disciples would go out and proclaim the word, the gospel message, and people throughout the coming generations, of which we are a part, would believe in Christ not just through the word of God—through the word of Christ, the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ—but through the word of the apostles. The apostles took this message from heaven—from God, from heaven above—made it their own, and sent it out to the world.

The gospel message that God is the holy and just Creator and that all men everywhere have sinned against him, but he, out of his mercy, has made his Son to be a sacrifice, taking people’s sins, giving them righteousness, for all who would ever believe in Him. He not just died on the cross, but he rose again to prove that the Father accepted that willing sacrifice.

That gospel message that I just shared with you—that gospel message—is the one the apostles embraced, and it became their own, and then they passed it on to people, they passed it on to people, they passed it on to people, and it came down to you, and you believed through their word. And so Jesus is saying, I’m praying for those who will believe through their word.

Now, what does he pray? He prays that Christians would be one, united. And in this text, in these four verses (20-23), you’ll see three critical reasons that we must be united as Christians. Three critical reasons.

1.  We must be united so that the world will believe that the Father sent the Son.

The first one is this (verse 21): We must be united so the world will believe that the Father sent the Son. We must be united so the world will believe that the Father sent the Son. Jesus wants his people to understand that the Father sent him to give eternal life.

If you go through John, and if you’ve been here from the beginning of our study in John, you’re hearing these echoes in your mind. Jesus is always talking about the fact that he was sent from the Father. He was sent from the Father. The Father sent me. And even in John 17, he commends his followers for being ones who believed that the Father had sent him.

This was a big deal to the Father and the Son, that people in the world know heaven sent one man to be salvation. So this is a very big deal to heaven, that people today would believe that the Father sent the Son to be the one Savior of the world. And our unity can point to this, or our disunity can distract from this.

Now he says in verse 21, he’s praying “that they may all be one, just 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 have sent me.” Now, just for a little bit, I want to focus on those first few words, “that they may all be one.” I want to talk about what that actually means, that they would be one.

“One” speaks to Christian unity—brothers and sisters in Christ being of one mind, one body. Now, the Scriptures speak of four areas, four things that we are united by, and this is very important. Four things that we are united by. Because a lot of people want to be united with anybody who says that they’re religious or anybody who even says, Jesus Christ is the one I serve. Because not all of those groups are united by the same thing. They’re not actually united by the same Jesus, the same way to salvation. So we can’t be united by sacrificing truth. We’ve got to be united by truth. And so the Scriptures talk about four things that we are united by.

The first one is this: We’re united by a common source. We’re united by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings believers together when he regenerates believers, when he makes new believers, when he causes people to be born again. He brings you into the family of God, and you are united to the family of God.

Ephesians 4:1-3. Listen to this:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit [the unity given by the Spirit, the unity that comes from the Spirit] in the bond of peace.

So we’re united by one common source, the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, we’re united by common doctrine, or teaching. We’re united by common doctrine or teaching. Listen to Ephesians 4:11-13:

And he [God] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain [here it is] to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

So the idea is that God’s giving a gift to the church in all ages, and God’s given pastors and teachers to the church to teach them so that they would be unified under that teaching. So teaching sound doctrine is not an optional thing for churches. It’s a necessity for churches if they expect their people to actually grow together and individually. So we’re united by a common teaching, a common doctrine.

Third, we’re united by common affection. We’re united by common affection. Now, you can have a body of believers who’s brought together by the Spirit and submits to the same doctrine, same teaching, but does not have a common affection. And they think, well, we’re here; we’re a thriving church because we’re sound in theology. But there’s no love for one another. There’s no patience with one another. There’s no grace toward one another. So being united by a common affection is hugely critical.

Listen to Colossians 3:14-15. He’s just talked in the previous verses about bearing with one another, forgiving one another, and then he says this in Colossians 3:14:

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.

A lot of times we talk about being at peace with God, and we think about our own personal peace with God. I’m just…I had a great quiet time with God this morning, and I’m at peace with God. God expects that to translate to the rest of the people in your local body, because he’s called you into one body.

So we have a common source (the Holy Spirit), a common doctrine, a common affection, and finally, a common aim. And we see that in this passage in verse 21. We’d be united “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” We need to be united because our mission is to together, hand-in- hand, to get the gospel to the world and to represent Christ on earth. That’s our mission.

And a lot of times in churches we get distracted from our mission. We make our mission the new building. We make our mission the best children’s ministry in the world. We make our mission other things. Our mission is to hand-in-hand walk out of these doors every single week—not literally, but theoretically---hand-in-hand walk out these doors every single week and get the gospel to the people that we come in contact with and to represent Christ in all of our dealings. Business, family, how we engage in politics—whatever it may be—we do that as Christ would. That’s the mission of the church. That’s the one goal that we are all to have.

So, that is a little bit about what it means to be one with each other—to be one with each other, to be united, to have true Christian fellowship. We’re called to be united and unified so that the world will believe that God sent his Son.

Now, I’ve given you four things that unity is, contains, that needs to be true for true unity to happen. Now I’m gonna give you four ways to kill a church, just to make the point. And they’re the opposite of the things I just gave you.

One: Be united by things of the flesh. Instead of being united by the Spirit, be united by the things of the flesh. Be united by your political agendas. Be united by your personal agendas. Be united by what style of music you all want together and keep anyone out who doesn’t like that style of music. That’s a way to be united by the flesh. And that’s not long-lasting, by the way.

Secondly, second way to kill a church: Fail to teach doctrine faithfully. Be squishy. Pastor, what do you believe about this? Ah, I don’t know. I believe a little bit of that, a little bit of this. Squishy.

Squishy doesn’t help people on their deathbed. Truth does. Squishy doesn’t help the young millennial who says, I’m tired of being entertained twenty-four hours a day; give me something that I can bank my eternity on. Squishy doesn’t help that. Stand for something. Teach something from the word of God. Be squishy; just wait and hurt a church.

And think about this idea: Being united under sound teaching helps our witness in the world. I mean, imagine you’re outside mowing your lawn, and you’re neighbor’s there, and you get into these conversations—actually, you’re probably just rearranging your rocks. We’re in Arizona, after all; you’re not mowing anything. Your neighbor’s there who you’ve developed a relationship with, and I don’t know whether it’s through politics or sports—or they tend to blur nowadays, so both—whatever it’s about, you start getting into this conservation, and it comes out that you think men and women are inherently sinful. And he thinks that men and women are inherently good. And he finds your position strange because no one talks like that, and he thinks you’re crazy.

Well then a couple weeks later, you invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner with his family, and you’ve got other people from your church there at Thanksgiving dinner, and all of a sudden this topic comes up again, and the football game’s on in the background, and you’re all talking, and yeah, yeah, Kevin was saying that he thinks that all people are inherently sinful. Isn’t that foolish? And the guy next to Kevin from Kevin’s church—Jerry, we’ll call him—Jerry says, well yeah, that’s what I believe as well. There are two of you that think that. And then more people at the table, well yeah, Romans 3 actually says… Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

And this man is seeing a number of believers unified in doctrine, and that helps him to understand the gospel ultimately because you need to understand that doctrine—the sinfulness of man—before you’re gonna appreciate the forgiveness and the grace of Christ. And so being united in a doctrine helps our witness to the world. So, to fail to teach doctrine faithfully is not gonna be a help.

Third, make love for one another optional. Indicate that loving other people is actually optional. And now, no church would say that. No church would say, we tell our people that they actually don’t have to love each other. But what’s the practice? I hope the practice here is that all of us would encourage other people to love one another, to bear with one another, for a long, long, long, long, long, long time. To be patient with one another. Love actually does endure all things.

But often the idea is, that person offended me; they took away my ministry program, my ministry role; they did this; they did that. And so the idea is, then I don’t have to love them because of what they did to me. No, that’s how the world works. It’s not how the family of God works.

The family of God prizes patient, longsuffering, enduring, difficult love. Actual love, that’s not based on an emotion, that’s based on the will. I am going to love you even if I don’t see eye to eye. I’m going to love you even if you said this thing about me. I’m going to love you even if you annoy me. I’m going to love you even if…. And the list goes on.

True Christian unity is when we love people in the body that are hard to love. What credit do we deserve if we love people that treat us perfectly all the time? Big deal. I mean, Joe unbeliever can do that. But Christians have been given the Spirit of Christ that actually loved people while they were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

Another way to kill unity in a body: Have different goals. Have different goals.

If you weren’t here two and a half years ago when we launched the church February ‘15, we started in the great commission—Matthew 28. We did seven weeks on the great commission. Why was that important? Did we just kind of like pull a passage out of a hat? No. Because it shows what the church is here to do. And what we said early on in our church’s life is, we don’t get to pick what we’re about. The Lord has told us what we are to be about—getting his gospel everywhere and teaching people once they come to him and have been baptized to obey all that he has commanded. That’s our mission.

Our mission isn’t to be the biggest church in Prescott. Our mission isn’t to be, you know, to get on the radio. Our mission isn’t to have the best this or women’s ministry or men’s ministry. Our mission isn’t those things. Our mission is to, as worshipers of God who love one another and are unified together and spurring one another on, to go out and represent Christ to the world. That’s our mission.

You want to ruin a church? Have different missions. Have different aims. Have the idea that you want the church to be famous, you want the church to be acceptable in the world. Have that as a mission. That you want to cater to whatever interest groups are in the church. Have that be your mission, if you want to ruin a church. Our aims are about making Christ known. That’s our aim.

The world should see us, Canyon Bible Church of Prescott, striving after the same goals—the same goal, I should say—by the same spirit, embracing the same teaching, sharing a common love for one another. That’s the greatest gift that we can give to our city, right there. The greatest gift.

I want you to turn—it’s one verse and I could easily just read this to you—but I want you turn to Philippians 1. I want you to see this. And if you have a pen and if you’re an underliner, underline it. If that hurts your conscience, then just remember it really well all the time.

Philippians 1:27. Paul writes this to the Philippian church, and there was conflict in the Philippian church, and he writes this: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit [there’s unity], with one mind [there’s unity] striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

There’s a mission statement for the church. That’s something to pray often for this body, that we would together be known for having one spirit, one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, for the propagation of the faith of the gospel. That’s the idea. That’s a passage for the church right there.

Back to John 17. If we are to be a church that is unified—and I believe that we are in many ways, but I think that we can still do better—if we are to be a church that is truly unified, here are some things it would require: There would be demonstrations of God’s grace and love toward one another.

Now again, that’s one of those things that we just kind of check off. Do you demonstrate God’s love and grace toward one another? Yeah, yeah, we do that. No, no, no. Hold on. Examine yourself. Do you with your brothers and sisters demonstrate God’s grace and love from the heart toward one another, or do you sometimes avoid one another, tolerate one another?

Another thing that true Christian unity in this body would require: An earnestness to see the love of Christ known beyond our walls. As soon as a church starts getting less concerned about what happens in their city and out in the world through their witness, the more a church is tempting itself to fall apart. As soon as we stop thinking about the need out there and just start focusing on being comfortable in here, that’s when we run the risk of having our lampstand taken away in the words of Revelation 2 and 3, having our local church snuffed out, because we’re so concerned about everything that we want in here, and we’re forgetting we’re meant to be here to represent Christ to the world.

That’s why we’d encourage you to not be at five Bible studies a week if it means that that keeps you from meeting an unbeliever. Yes, we prize teaching. We prize Bible studies. We want you to be equipped and trained, so that you can do something with it—represent Christ in the world.

Another thing that needs to happen if we’re gonna continue to be unified: A forsaking of our consumeristic mindset in the church. We need to forsake our consumeristic mindset in the church. The nonessential agenda items that we all have don’t need to always be adopted in order for the church to thrive. Our agendas, our preferences, our likes, our dislikes—those can be really, really, really, really low on the ladder. But oftentimes they creep up to prime importance. We’re not gonna have unity if we’re striving after agendas.

Now, Christ’s prayer to the Father is teaching us that we must be united in order that the world would believe that the Father sent the Son. The world’s not gonna see a church that is biting and devouring one another in the words of Galatians—the world’s not gonna see that and think, oh my goodness, God the Father sent Jesus, and Jesus looks like that. They’re not gonna believe that Jesus is the one that changes lives. They’re not gonna believe that Jesus is the one that God the Father sent to be the one who fixes relationships. They’re not gonna believe that. They’re not gonna believe that Jesus is sent from heaven if they don’t see us representing Jesus, what he’s actually like, as we devour one another.

2.  We must be unified because we’ve been given the power to be so.

Here’s a second reason that we must be unified. Verse 22. We must be unified because we’ve been given the power to be so. We must be unified because we’ve been given the power to be so. Christ prays in this passage. Christ prays that the Father would give us what it takes to be unified. So, logical conclusion: We must be unified. Christ is praying for this to the Father, and he’s granting that prayer request to be answered. So we must be unified.

Verse 22: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” Glory here—when you think of glory in this context, it’s the idea of having the divine attributes. So the Son is saying, the glory you’ve given me—the divine attributes you’ve given me to live on this earth perfectly, the divine attributes that I’ve been given—I’ve given to them.

Jesus is saying, everything that I have to take on the world I’m giving to you. And so he’s praying to the Father, what you’ve given to me to live in this world I’m praying that you’d give to them. I want them to have this. I’ve given it to them, even. Why? So that they may be one. He’s praying that we would have the power to be unified.

The Son was never not unified with the Father. He was always unified with the Father. And he’s saying, the same ability that I have to be that way is the same ability I’m giving you to be unified. You have the Spirit of God in you to be unified with one another.

Now, the Son in this upper room discourse (John 13-17), he’s always talking about giving aspects of himself to us, for us to take as we live in the world. And you remember this. John 14:15-16—Jesus gives us his Spirit to help us obey his command. So Jesus was ministered to by the Holy Spirit according to the Gospels, and he gives us his Spirit so that we would go out and obey his commands. So Jesus gives us something from himself for us to represent him on the earth.

John 14:27. Jesus gives us his peace. Jesus says, “[M]y peace I give to you.” The same peace that he had going through persecution and trouble and conflict and bouts with the enemy, he gives to us. He gives his peace.

John 15:11. He gives us his joy. You might not think that you can have joy when you’re persecuted and hated by the world. It might not seem like you can have it. But I’m giving you my joy, according to John 15:11.

So Jesus before he leaves is communicating to his disciples, I’m giving you what you need to be like me in this world. And now he says that he expects that we would have the glory, the divine attributes, necessary to be unified as we are in this world together. That’s the idea. We must be united because we’ve been given the power to be so.

So in this verse, verse 22, you can replace the word glory with divine ability. Think of it that way if it makes it more clear. The divine ability that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one as we are one. The thing that Christ prays to the Father about our unity is the same thing that he gives us to accomplish unity—his ability.

My boys are starting to see and realize the fun of arcades and video games. Pray for us. So you go to those video game places where you can, you know, spend $537 and get enough tickets to buy a little eraser. You know those types of places?

So our boys go to those, and they like playing the car racing game. Well, I was with one of my boys and kind of like playing the car racing game, and there’s a button that you can press to give you an extra boost of power as you’re racing. But he didn’t want to press it. And I’m like, okay, hold on. The goal is to beat the other cars. This button will give you the power to go faster to do that. But he didn’t want to press it. It’s as if the button wasn’t there.

Same thing here. As soon as you start saying, well, I can’t forgive them because of what they’ve done to me, you are taking the power God’s given you to represent Christ to your church and even to your world, and you’ve taken it and said, it’s not even there. We have the power of the Spirit to be unified together. We do. It’s important for us to not just know our Bible, but to believe our Bible. We have the power of the Spirit.

Where there is no forgiveness, the presence of grudges, the belittling of doctrine, you should not assume that there are good reasons for these things. You might actually assume that the power of God is absent from that body. We should be people that demonstrate that the power of God is with us in how we are unified together.

Joel Beeke, a pastor, said this: “Such disunity offends the Father who longs to see his family living in harmony, it offends the Son who died to break down walls of hostility, and it offends the Spirit who dwells within believers to help them live in unity.” That’s a heavy statement, and it’s a true statement.

I want to give you an encouragement. Next week, Lord willing, we’ll put a new book of the month in your worship guide. And it’s gonna be The Gospel by Ray Ortlund. It’s a little bit of an unfortunate title; it’s not a book just about the gospel. It’s a book about the gospel of Jesus Christ in the first part, but how that gospel of Jesus Christ should lead to a gospel culture in a church.

So what do we get in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Grace. Forgiveness. An eternal standing in love before God the Father. That should be how we deal with one another. That’s the essence of the book. It’s not a big book. It’s a small book; you can read it pretty quickly. I’d really encourage you to read that book. That’s what we pray for this body, that as we are united under sound teaching, one spirit, one common affection, one common mission, that we would be like Christ, not just to the world, but to one another also. It’s called The Gospel by Ray Ortlund. The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ is the subtitle.

Now in there, there’s a section where he goes through the Beatitudes—the attitudes that Christ wanted his people to live with as they lived in the world, in the kingdom of God. And then he goes through some reverse Beatitudes, opposites of the Beatitudes. Kind of amusing, but it’s interesting to think through. He says this:

Blessed are the entitled, for they get their way. Blessed are the carefree, for they’re comfortable. Blessed are the pushy, for they win. Blessed are the self-righteous, for they need nothing. Blessed are the vengeful, for they will be feared. Blessed are those who don’t get caught, for they look good. Blessed are the argumentative, for they get in the last word. Blessed are the winners, for they get their way.

Now I want to read a few of the actual Beatitudes. And I’m gonna add a phrase—“in the local church”—just to drive the point home.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit [in the local church], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted [in the local church]…. Blessed are the merciful [in the local church], for they shall receive mercy…. Blessed are the peacemakers [in the local church], for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:3-4, 7, 9)

Brothers and sisters, we have the power to be unified like the Father and the Son. Why? So that people would be impressed with us? No, so that people would know what he’s actually like. Can we make as our primary goal in this body of believers to accurately represent the Father and the Son to the people that we come in contact with?

It doesn’t happen without hard work and humility and love. It doesn’t. You’re going to suffer, in this body, if we’re gonna accomplish that goal. You’re going to have your pride attacked, if we’re gonna accomplish that goal. You’re gonna have to make little of yourself and much of others if we’re gonna accomplish that goal.

This is the part where we stop and continue part B for next week. So, please pray with me.

Father, we hear your Son praying about our unity—not just praying about it, but showing the importance of it. It’s a non-negotiable. It has to be present in us if we’re gonna do what you want us to do.

And so Father, keep refining us. I thank you for the unity that is in this body. I thank you that this body is known for its love. But Lord, let us never rest in yesterday. Let us keep moving forward to tomorrow, loving one another, bearing with one another, asking forgiveness from one another, giving forgiveness to one another, uniting under common teaching, uniting by the Spirit.

Father, we want to represent you and your Son by the power of the Spirit. Please answer this prayer this morning. We pray this in your Son’s name. Amen.

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