Based on a sermon on unity, preached by Pastor Paul Mallard, at Wood Green Evangelical Church in Worcester on Sunday, May 16th 2010.
The model of the doctrine of the Trinity is in these verses:
John 17:11 (New International Version)
11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
John 17:21-23 (New International Version)
21that 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. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
"That they may be one as I am in you and you in me."
Three and One. Both extremes at the same time.
- Monotheism--one in mind, will and purpose; one God
- God is three: God the Father; Son and Holy Spirit
- Oneness of heart, relationship, passion and vision. And yet, not uniformity; not clones.
- It's okay to disagree, but not attack. If you attack me, you are attacking Christ, because we are united in Christ.
- Diversity within unity.We can only have unity on the basis of truth: Unity in The Truth, is vital.
May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Visible, tangible and real; it demonstrates something.
Once we've got the gospel right; the greatest single thing that stops evangelism is division.
Pastor Mallard shared a story of going to preach at a small church in Wales. He stopped to ask a man for directions to the little church that was tucked away in a small, hard to find corner of the village. The man gave him instructions on how to get there, then said, "You don't want to go there; they all hate one another there."
The difficulty, Pastor Mallard said, is that we are called to be both holy and yet in the world. If the Church is a Lifeboat, we need to have boats that are welcoming or people will take their chances in the water.
We have to be willing to humble ourselves and forgive one another. God uses imperfect people; people who get it wrong.
John 17:24 (New International Version)
24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
This is our destiny--to be with him, where he is. If we don't get on now--we will be together for eternity.
We want to be in heaven with Jesus, but the amazing thing is that he wants us to be with him! It is a reciprocal desire.
Pastor Mallard described visiting the stacks in Cambridge, when he studied there. He was in awe at all of the books.
"If you read a page,have you read all the books? No, but you've made a start. And that is this life...the first page with God."
John 17:25 (New International Version)
25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
We don't have to earn his love. We just have to bask in it. The moment we stop loving one another, it's as if we cut our throats spiritually. If we want God to bless us with souls, he needs to trust them to a loving community.
A perfect addendum to Pastor Mallard's sermon on John 17, is the story behind the song, Hold Us Together, which I posted with part one on Saturday.