Damariscotta Baptist Church
Friday, July 20, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

05/12/13 Sermon

 

 

John 17:20-26

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord our Strength and our Redeemer, Amen

 
 
 

For the majority of us, when we think of Mother’s Day we think about times together with family. On Mother’s Day, like a mother hen gathering her chicks, siblings will come flocking together to honor their mom and give thanks for her love.

For many families, it’s our mom’s who unite us; without her we might not come together at all.

Her love is the glue that keeps families together…In fact I ran across a poem that I thought I’d share titled “Mother’s Glue:

Mother's Glue
 

I wonder how she does it, holding it together the way she does.

It seems no matter how life gets out of place she puts it back the way it was.

It's always been a mystery, but I guess it must be true.
That there is nothing stronger than a mother's love when she uses Mother's Glue.

Now Mother's Glue is not a recipe, or that sticky stuff used in art.

But it's that special love that mothers use to keep your life from falling apart.

It's the way she is always there to listen so you know that everything will be okay.

It's that special bonding hug she gives you to help you make it through the day.

It's the way she is able to touch your face and hold the tears away.

It's the way she stays up all night with you to hold the fears away.

It's the way she makes the sacrifice because she'll do anything for you.

Because she knows you just wouldn't make it if she didn't use Mother's Glue

But, if you're still not sure then ask her, and I'll bet she'll just smile at you.

Because a mother never uses words, she just uses Mother's Glue.

 
 

Truly our Mom’s love keeps us glued together in more ways than one.

And even when they are no longer with us, the memories of their love still bind us and hold us together.

So what does mother’s glue have to do with our scripture today?
 
Well in our scripture we see a theme of being united; being glued together as Christians.
 
As we see, Jesus is praying---- and he’s praying that we as his followers might be bound together; that we might be one as he and his Father are one in heaven. He’s praying for unity among his followers.
 
Of course this unity that Jesus prayed for has always been a struggle for the church. Jesus knew that we would have problems because the ways of this world are all about disunity.
 
In fact in verse 25, Jesus’ prayer speaks about how the world does not know God and God’s ways. At the very beginning, the culture of Jesus’ day was a fractured place that included the Roman Empire, false pluralistic idol worship, along with Jewish religious leaders who failed to understand God’s ways of being united in Him.
 
And so in the very beginning, the early church would struggle with the ways of disunity infiltrating and causing division and conflict.

And of course, disunity has been a serious problem happening all thru Church history into the Church today. The Church struggles to have unity.

We are divided on disagreements in doctrines and theology; baptism and communion--- divided by denominations who all believe they are owners of the truth.
 

I’m reminded of the story of a group of new arrivals in heaven who met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.

Peter began to show them around, pointing out areas of interest and filling them in on the rules of the kingdom.

There were many "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd, and they were obviously enjoying themselves.
 
Suddenly Saint Peter stopped a short distance from a massive building which was miles-wide, long and high, and without doors or windows.
 

"While we pass this building," he said, "you must walk quietly and utter not so much as a sound." So the group tiptoed obediently past the huge building without a word.

Once they were past, a curious soul inquired, "Why did we have to be so quiet when we passed that building?"
 

Saint Peter responded, "Well God put the Baptists in there; they think they're the only ones up here."…………………………..

There are many ways that the church struggles with unity. Both in the larger and smaller context.
 
Many local churches find disunity in various ways.
 

One in particular is how the world’s allegiance to individualism has infiltrated the church.

People all do their own thing without any thoughtfulness of what the overall churches mission and purpose is.

This of course causes miscommunication that leads to conflict. It also breeds territorialism because people take individual ownership of ministries. It’s theirs and they are not open to others coming in and offering ideas.

This individualism also breeds dissension and defiant resentment toward any attempts to try to bring unity.
 

Just ask church leaders the struggle they encounter when a change needs to be made for the well being of the overall church.

I could give many examples but since its Mother’s Day and we’d all prefer not to be here for 3 hours I will leave it at that.

But Jesus knew that the church would struggle with unity. That’s why he prayed that we would be glued together. But it wasn’t a prayer for unity just for the sake of unity.
 

Jesus prayed that we might be glued together for a reason, for a specific purpose.

And as we see in this scripture, that purpose was that we would be a witness to him to the world. Jesus’ prayer is that others will believe in him thru our unity.
 

His desire was that we affect the world not the other way around, where the world’s disunity infiltrates and affects us.

Jesus knew that the true witness was not just about words but about a unified way of being that was countercultural to the world.

His prayer that we might “be one as he and the Father are one” is the most effective witness that can change the world.

A. W Tozer once compared this kind of unified witness to having 120 volts of electricity coming into your house. If your wiring is broken (not united together), you can turn on the switch, but nothing works — no lights come on, the stove doesn’t warm, the radio doesn’t turn on.
 
But when the wiring is united together the power that comes in is ready to do its work.
 

He added: Unity is necessary among the children of God if we are going to know the flow of power, to see God do his wonders.

Clearly unity is needed and necessary for us to be an effective witness to infiltrate God’s healing and loving power into the world.
 
But how do we go about this kind of unity?
 

How do we get glued together to become a united witness to the world?

Well Jesus speaks about two different elements that when they come together constitute being united in him. Like water and flour when mixed together become a glue, these two words bring about a uniting compound that glue us together to be his witness to the world.
So what are these two elements?
 
Well the first element is the word glory.
 

Now when we think about the word glory in the world’s terms, we think of it in the perspective of being famous and accomplished.

Glory is to win the championship, to conquer and rise above others victoriously. It’s Tiger Woods pumping his fist or a football player spiking the ball after a touchdown.

Glory as defined by the world as something we receive for ourselves in victory.

But the glory that Jesus is speaking about that unites us together is a different kind of glory. It is a glory that is found not in self-glorification but rather in selflessness and humility.
 

Jesus’ glory was inseparable from his self-giving sacrifice on the cross to glorify his Father in heaven.

When he is praying this prayer and is speaking about his glory he is about to be betrayed and then crucified.

True glory is about a selfless giving of ourselves to the united purpose of glorifying God.
 

It’s getting rid of our desires to be right, to push our own agendas and play politics of power in the church to become united with others in a selfless giving mission to those in need.

You see unity is not fellowship with an optional side order of mission.

Somehow, somewhere we have defined unity as fellowship with each other. But friends that’s just a social club. Jesus is speaking about a unity in purpose. And that purpose is in a self-giving mission of witnessing to others.
         

This is where a church is to be unified. Thru self-giving sacrifice to others that they might come to know Christ is our purpose first and foremost. 

And when a church becomes united and glued together with this purpose, it becomes a powerful witness to those who have not experienced the love and healing power of Jesus Christ.

Now along with the word glory, Jesus’ prayer also has another element that glues and bonds us together in unity.
 

And this word is truly the glue that holds us as Christians together. That word is the word love.

In order to be one as Christ calls us to be one, we must have love for one another along with love for those outside our doors.

And yet this is something we struggle with. So many churches are places where there is no true love for one another. People will meet you and greet you and be friendly but that is not love.
 

Now for us to be united in love is actually something we can’t will or do by ourselves. We can’t just make ourselves love others.

Instead, in order to be unified in love we must all be recipients of the same source of love.

I’m reminded of the illustration about the one hundred pianos that were tuned by the same tuning fork. They were in perfect harmony because they had in common the same tuning fork.
 

In the same way we are united in love together when we are in tune and in love with the One who loves us.

So much of the disunity we see today is because people are not in love with Christ. They are not in personal relationship where Christ comes in us, tunes us, changes us and softens our heart to love one another………..
 

But when we humbly receive the unconditional love of Jesus Christ we all speak the same language, we all share the same grace given, we all partake of the same assurance of eternal life.

No longer are we in competition with one another; instead we dwell in the unity of God’s peace and joy resting in the truth that we belong with each other in God’s beloved family.
 

It’s in this place of blessed assurance that we mature as Christians. We’re no longer needy and self-centered people who want to be entertained or go about trying to prove our worthiness; instead we have embraced grace and now look to share God’s love in unity with others.

You see it’s in our united confidence of God’s love for us, that we become a powerful witness of God’s love to others. His love flows thru a unified Body and Jesus is manifest in the world thru us.
 
In closing this morning, be reminded that as we sit here today, Jesus is in heaven praying for us. He prays that we will become one as he and the Father are one; unified to witness to His glory bound together by love.
 

It begins as we seek unity in our hearts to the One who loves us. For in our unity with him, we are tuned and transformed to be in unity with each other.

Today let us as a church reflect on our witness to this community.
 

Are we unified in our witness of the selfless glory of Christ to those who do not yet know him? Can they see his love in us thru our unified love for one another?

Jesus is praying for the unity of this congregation.
 
The question is whether each of you be open to allow him to be the glue in you?
  
 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.