I recently had the privilege to address the Reformers Unanimous Staff. I delivered a challenge that is important as we work to do the seemingly impossible task of reaching the over 22 million addicts in the United States and untold numbers internationally. This is a message that is critical to our mission. It is a message that is critical to your home, to your family, to your church, and to your ministry.
Jesus was the Master Teacher. He spoke truth; He demonstrated, He explained, He used parables, etc. Jesus even trained His disciples when He knew He was going away. He let them know that He wasn’t going to be around forever. One of the amazing messages shared by Jesus was, “when I go away, you will do greater things then when I was here.”
I am sure this was hard for them to imagine – that they could do greater things without Jesus, the Son of God, than they could do with Him. John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” We now know that they were going to get the Spirit of God to empower each and every one of them to do great and wonderful things for God.
As a great Teacher, Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure. Jesus also spent time praying to His Father for His disciples and for His converts. You find this prayer in John 17 which is Jesus’ longest recorded prayer. Jesus knows His time is getting close to when He will go to the cross. This is a very, very important prayer and there is much that we can learn from it:
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. John 17:9-11”
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
One of the important requests that Jesus prayed to God the Father was for his disciples to be “one”. One is another word for union. That is joining two or more things together, thus forming a compound body. A union is different than a connection. A connection has multiple things temporary linked. One is a union; which means joined together. The phrase in accord means in agreement and conjunction of mind, affections, or interest.
I gave the staff this illustration: think of a network cable. It has a plastic end on it that plugs into your computer. That plastic end has been crimped or molded into the cable – they are ONE; they are a compound body. You can connect that cable to your computer by plugging in it, but it is only linked and there is no union. That is demonstrated because you can unplug it. When you unplug it is no longer connected. However, that plastic end and the cable itself are still one.
Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one. They would be as a single body. The disciples had a mission of unimaginable importance – to areach the world for Jesus Christ. Jesus knew the adversity they would face. Jesus knew the opportunities they would have. Jesus wanted them to be one compound body – not many individuals. And not only a bunch of individuals joined together, but joined together IN CHRIST… “also may be one in us”.
What happened after Jesus left? Well, in Acts 1:14 we find that the disciples prayed and were in one accord. In Acts 2:1, they were one accord. In Acts 2:41, about 3,000 were saved at Pentecost! WHAT POWER! There is power in unity.
How can you possibly carry out the mission God has set before you? By accessing the power of being in unity with those with whom God has placed you to labor and serve.
The National Conference is an amazing event. Every RU staff member and helper came together in unity to form a single body to serve God; to serve others; to strengthen and encourage our chapters — IT WAS AMAZING! For a week, we completely stopped focusing on problems, adversities, and the faults of others. We were in UNITY IN CHRIST and we served others.
We are challenged to set aside our personal desires and problems; our intra and inter departmental problems; our discontent; our ill-feelings; and all those things that disrupt unity. Be ONE every day! Instead of identifying the problems or shortcomings of a particular individual with the attitude that they need to get it together — why don’t remember WE ARE ONE; WE ARE UNIFIED? He doesn’t have to fix it – WE have to fix it. Don’t extend a pointed finger, but instead extend an outreached hand for help.
John 17:22 “that they may be one, even as we are one”. Jesus wants your team to be unified even as “we are”. That is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. God is one God! He has inseparable, distinct functions, but ONE.
That is the same kind of unity God desires for your team. That unity is only achievable if EVERY individual is willing to become ONE. The power of ONE — we read about it; we have even experienced it. I pray we desire it and contribute to it every day.