MESSAGE ONE

Unity in the body of Christ
and Prayers of the New Testament



Unity in the body of Christ and
Prayers of the New Testament
         Over the next three nights we will be examining the biblical
position of UNITY in the body of Christ.  Tonight's look will
center on what the New Testament has to say about UNITY as
revealed in what it says about prayer.
        Before we begin, let's pray for God's anointing on my
words, and on our ears.........pray.
        We just prayed for God's anointing on our ears, now turn
with me to the book of John, chapter 7 and verse 17:
                "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know
                concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or
                whether I speak on My own authority.”
        From this verse we see that God's word tells us that if we
desire His (God's) will in our lives, that we will have instant
confirmation whether what we hear is of God or not. I would
not be standing here speaking to you if I did not feel from the
top of my head to the bottom of my feet, that the message I have
for you is from God.  I have read what is to be done to those
who falsly claim to speak for God. Therefore those of you who
do desire His will in your lives please let His Spirit verify in your
spiritual ears whether the words I speak are from Him or not.
        There is one more place I would like for you to turn to
before we get to the subject of UNITY and prayer in the
New Testament.  Please turn to the book of Hebrews chapter 6
verses 1 and 2:
	        “Therefore leaving the discussion of the
                elementary principles of Christ, let us go on
                to perfection, not laying again the foundation
                of  repentance from dead works and of faith
                toward God, of the doctrine baptisms, of laying
                on of  hands, of resurrection of the dead, and
                of eternal judgment.”
        Notice these six areas are clearly identified as elementary
elements of a foundation.  Having a foundational understanding
of the elementary principles of  Christ, is just as important for
the basic balance of a Christian life, as having a properly
prepared foundation is for the construction of a sky-scraper.
Not only do all the individual elements of a building foundation
have to be present, they have to be in the proper balance, or the
building will be in danger of collapsing.
        We do not have time to go into these six areas now,
besides that, each of you know in your hearts whether your
individual foundation is properly laid.  If it is not, I highly
suggest that you purpose right now to get the tapes of this
service from your churches tape ministry so that you may listen
to this series again, after having prepared your own foundation.
Make that decision now, before we begin looking into the Word
concerning UNITY in the body of Christ.  Please listen
attentively in either case, even if you realize that your
foundations need some balancing out, there is still much you
may get out of tonight's message, for I do not believe that any of
you are here by accident.
        To begin our study of UNITY in the body of Christ as it is
revealed from words of and about prayer in the New Testament,
turn to John chapter 17.  This chapter records one of the few
times that Jesus' own words of prayer are revealed to us.  Of the
many times that Jesus himself prayed, the prayers in the garden
of Gethsemane and this one are basically the only ones where
His words are recorded.  The other references to Jesus and
prayer are that he went off to pray...etc., or giving instructions
about prayer.  It seems obvious to me that the reason Jesus
prayed this particular prayer out loud is that He meant for it to
be passed down through the ages, so that there would be no
doubt as to what His desire for the future of His body (the
church) is.  And since this prayer is one that He prayed to His
Father, I call this the Lord's Prayer.  After all doesn't it make
more sense for a prayer He prayed to be called His, than for a
prayer He taught us to pray.  I call that prayer found in Matthew
chapter 6 and Luke chapter 11 the Believers Prayer.  We will be
looking at it in a few minutes, right now let's read John chapter
17, follow along with me as I read, by the way I am reading
from the New King James Version:
	        “’Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to
                heaven, and said:  "Father, the hour has come.
                Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify
                You,
                as You have given Him authority over all flesh,
                that He should give eternal life to as many as
                You have given Him.
                And this is eternal life, that they mayknow
                You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You
                have sent.
                I have glorified You on the earth.  I have
                finished the work which You have given Me to do.
                And now, O Father,glorify Me together with
                Yourself, with the glory which I had with You
                before the world was.
                I have manifested Your name to men whom You
                have given Me out of the world.  they were
                Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept
                your word.
                Now they have known that all things which you
                have given Me are from You.
                For I have given to them the words which You
                have given Me; and they have received them, and
                have known surely that I came forth from You;
                and they have believed that You sent Me.
                I pray for them, I do not pray for the world but
                for those whom You have given Me, for they are
                Yours.
                And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and
                I am glorified in them.
                Now I am no longer in the world, but these are
                in the world, and I come to You, Holy Father,
                keep through Your name those whom You have given
                Me, that they may be one as we are.
                While I was with them in the world, I kept them
                in Your name.  Those whom You gave Me I have
                kept and none of them is lost except the son of
                perdition, that the Scripture might be
                fulfilled.  But now I come to You and these
                things I speak in the world, that they may have
                My joy fulfilled in themselves.
                I have given them Your word; and the world has
                hated them because they are not of the world,
                just as I am not of the world. I do not pray
                that You should take them out of the world, but
                that You should keep them from the evil one.
                They are not of the world, just as I am not of
                the world.
                Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is
                truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also
                have sent them into the world.
                And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they
                also may be sanctified by the truth.
                I do not pray for these alone, but also for
                those who will believe in Me through their
                word;
                that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in
                Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in
                Us, that the world may believe that You have
                sent Me.
                And the glory which You gave Me I have given
                them, that they may be one just as We are one;
                I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made
                perfect in one, and that the world may know that
                You have sent Me, and have loved them as You
                have loved Me.
                Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me
                may be with Me where I am, that they may behold
                My glory which You have given Me; for You loved
                Me before the foundation of the world.
                O righteous Father! The world has not known You,
                but I have known You; and these have known that
                You sent Me.
                And I have declared to them Your name, and will
                declare it, that the love with which You loved
                Me may be in them, and I in them."
        Did you notice a central theme throughout His prayer?
UNITY.  In fact it is so prevalent, it bears a closer look.  I
believe that if something is in the Bible it is important, if it is
there twice it is very important, and if three or more times, we
would have to be brain dead not to think that God really wanted
us to pick up on it.  In verse 11 we see: "that they may be one
as We are", in verse 21 we read, "that they all may be one, as
You, Father, are in Me, and I in You"  again in the same verse
"that they also may be one in Us. ", now to verse 22 "that
they may be one just as We are one" and from verse 23 That
they may be made perfect in one"  FIVE TIMES within just a
few verses Jesus made sure that we would know that He cried
out to His Father for UNITY in His body.  He even said that
UNITY could be equated with perfection.
        Now I don't know about you, but I am just gullible enough
to believe that if ever any prayer will be answered, that Jesus'
own prayer will be.  I can't imagine it not coming to pass.  And I
believe that it will come to pass this side of His return too!!
After all doesn't His Word say that He will be returning for a
glorious church, without spot or wrinkle?  I believe that the
UNITY of His Body will come about, despite the current
situation.  I also believe it will happen with us or without us,
each of us will decide that for ourselves.
        Jesus clearly reveals the cry of His heart for his church, He
makes it plain that the UNITY he speaks of is for those who are
His, and not for the world.  We know from other verses, that it
is God's will that all should be saved, yet we know also that all
will not be, because each person will make that determination for
himself, God will not force anyone to love Him.  I think that the
cry of Jesus' heart is so plain to see, that I would have to pay
someone big bucks to help me misunderstand it.  Is there anyone
here who does not think that Jesus genuinely desires for His
body to come into UNITY?
        Now that we have taken a look at what Jesus prayed for,
let's go take a look at what He taught us to pray for.
        Jesus made many statements about prayer during His
ministry, we however are going to look at what He answered
His disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray.
Turn to Matthew chapter 6. As I have already stated, I call this
the Believer's Prayer, and I have seen it so identified in a couple
of the newer translations of the Bible.  Before we go into this
prayer, let me say that even though there are denominations that
have a tendency to make a ritualistic repeat of this prayer to the
point of making it almost insignificant, the misuse of something
by some does not invalidate the correct use of the same thing by
those who choose to follow Jesus' instructions.  Let's read this
prayer, remember these words are His response to a request
from His disciples for instructions on praying.  Begin in verse 9:
	        "In this manner, therefore, pray:
	        Our Father in heaven,
	        Hallowed be Your name.
	        Your kingdom come,
	        Your will be done
                On earth as it is in heaven.
	        Give us this day our daily bread.
	        And forgive us our debts,
	        As we forgive our debtors.
	        And do not lead us into temptation,
	        But deliver us from the evil one.
	        For Yours is the kingdom and the
	        power and the glory forever.  Amen."
        We will look at two things in this prayer in detail, but
first allow me to make a couple of general statements about it.
Notice He taught us to address our prayer to our Father in
heaven.  Why would He have us stipulate this, wouldn't just our
Father be sufficient?  I feel that Jesus taught us to pray this
way so that every time we prayed this prayer out loud, and I do
believe that we should pray out loud in many cases, we slap
Satan in the face, as he can hear our spoken words, but I do not
believe he can read our thoughts...he can pretend to read them
by placing them in us. (But that is a study for another time).
Every time you pray to our Father in heaven, you are reminding
Satan of whom we serve.  While there are a lot of other really
interesting things contained in this prayer, I will refrain from
rambling at this time.  Look with me beginning at verse 9 and I
will read some individual words found in this prayer, and let's
see if we can establish a pattern.....verse 9 - our ...verse 11-
us ....our ...verse 12 - us ....our ....we ....our
and verse 13 - us ...(and again)..us ...
        Did you notice anything about how Jesus taught us to
pray?  In the concept of UNITY there is not a single first person
pronoun in the entire prayer.  I happen to believe that Jesus
taught us to pray this way for a reason.
        The first thing we will examine is verse 10:
                "Your will be done
	        On earth as it is in heaven."
        Here He clearly instructs us to pray for God's will to be
done on earth, but have you ever noticed that Jesus relates that
will to be akin to how things are in heaven?  Since that is the
case, I think that we owe it to ourselves to see just what His
Word has to say about how things are in heaven.  After all if we
are  praying for His will as it is in heaven to be manifested here
on earth, it seems to me that it would be important to see just
what it is in heaven that we are to pray for.
        While Jesus gave several parables about how valuable the
kingdom of heaven was, and even touched on the subject of the
lack of the intimate relationship between husbands and wives in
heaven.  Several times He even told us of how His Father in
heaven makes certain decisions on the subject of  forgiveness
etc. There is no parable about how things are.  In the book of
revelation we see much about praise and worship in heaven, and
have a brief physcial description.  The one place where  the
"how things are"  in heaven is recorded is in chapter 17 of the
book of John.  Let's turn back to it and examine it again.  In
verse 5 we read:  "glorify Me together with Yourself " - alluding
to the UNITY of the Son and the Father -  again in verse 11
"that they may be one as We are " -  the UNITY of the Son and
the Father -  verse 13 "I come to You " - the UNITY of the Son
and the Father -  verse 21 "that they may be one, as You
Father, are in Me, and I in You ", - verse 22 "as We are one " and
- verse 23 "You in Me "  SEVEN times in this prayer Jesus alludes
to the UNITY of Himself and the Father.  Can there be any
doubt as to how things are in heaven?  How much would you
have to pay someone to help you miss this point?
        When Jesus instructs us to pray that "Thy will be done on
earth as it is in heaven" I believe that he is telling us to make a
plea for UNITY in His body a vital part of our prayer life.  If
every person who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior was truly
praying for that UNITY and had a full understanding of just how
strongly Jesus desires that UNITY don't you think that things
would begin to change here on earth, and perhaps that verse that
says "they will know you are Mine by your love one for another"
would take on a whole new meaning.
        Now we are going to examine another aspect of Our Prayer
...in verse 9 we see "Our Father"  It is vital that each of us
knows just who is an Our.  Here in the natural earth, my
brother, my sister and I can go to my dad and say "our father".
The three of us are his children.  The "ours" Jesus speaks of in
verse 9 are those he spoke of in His prayer in chapter 17 of
John.  Though we are taught to pray in the collective, it is vital
that each of us knows, without a doubt, whether we are his or
not.  It is also already provided for in God's word that we may
know, Romans 8:16 says: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with
our spirit that we are children of God."  Yet I myself have
experienced times where Satan was able to bring up doubt in my
mind as to if I were really saved.  How can this be?
        There is a verse that dovetails so beautifully with Romans
8:16 that will without fail reinforce God's witness in our lives,
ever since His Holy Spirit revealed the connection between these
two verses I have had absolute victory over any doubt Satan
may try to plant in my mind as to whether I am God's or not.
Turn to the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 3:
        Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by
the Spirit of God calls Jesus 	accursed, and no one can say that
Jesus is Lord 	except by the Holy Spirit.
        This verse, being in the Bible is TRUTH.  You might be
surprised just how true it proves itself to be in many cases, I
have seen business owners desiring to buy ad space in a
Christian business directory, who readily claimed to be
Christians, but when it came to saying that Jesus is the Lord of
their lives, they have chased me out of their offices.  Have you
noticed how angry people get when they are exposed in a lie?  In
the past, there have been many times when I doubted my
relationship with Jesus, especially after I had failed Him in my
walk in some way, but now every time I fail Him and Satan tries
to put doubt of my relationship into my mind, I remember this
verse, and I say out loud: "Satan, get out of here, Jesus Christ is
the Lord of my life."  All doubt leaves and I get such a refreshing
of the Spirit, of course we must remember that the forgiveness
of God comes with our confession and repentance (1 John 1:9).
I invite your faithful confession of Jesus as Lord will bring to
your whole being.  Right now, turn to a neighbor and tell them
out loud, "Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life."
..Go ahead remember Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33 that if you
were ashamed to confess Him before men, that He would deny
you before His Father.
        If there were any of you who did not turn and say this out
loud to your neighbor, I invite you to do so now.. otherwise,
there may be a reason you did not.  I know the first reaction
some have at this request is anger towards me, but I must obey
God and present this verse to you, because He wants you to
know beyond a shadow of doubt whose you are.
        Would every one please bow your heads.....
MESSAGE TWO...or...MESSAGE THREE...or...Back to MAIN PAGE

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This site was published on 12 June, 2000.