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Lesson 3: "That They All May Be One" *

Introduction: Do you seek glory? Are you what they call a "glory hound?" When you watch a sports team, and one player seeks all of the glory, do you think the team is unified? The way of the world is to seek personal glory. But, you may be surprised to learn that being a true Christian also brings you glory. Let's dive into our study of the Bible to learn more!

  1. Jesus' Prayer for Himself


    1. Read John 17:1-2 and Matthew 6:5. Have you ever worried that you might be doing good work mostly for your own glory? For example, if you teach a Bible class, are you teaching because you like to be up front, or because you want others to know God better? Or, is it a mix of the two?


      1. Whose glory does Jesus first mention? (His own.)


        1. What is the context for this? (When Jesus says "the time has come" He means the time for His crucifixion. Thus, glory for Him means salvation for all of us.)


    2. Read John 17:3. How is knowledge of God related to eternal life? (Eternal life is knowing God.)


      1. What does this have to do with Jesus' prayer about glory and eternal life? (Jesus is about to give all of us the opportunity for eternal life. This act of giving up His life for us tells us volumes about God - it gives us knowledge of the love of God.)


    3. Read John 17:4-5. Notice that Jesus' prayer starts out with a discussion of His needs. Is that a pattern for us? (It is more accurate to say that Jesus' prayer starts out with a discussion about glory, for the Son and the Father. Jesus' model prayer ( Matthew 6:9-13) also starts out with giving glory to God.)


  2. Jesus' Prayer for His Disciples


    1. Read John 17:6-7. Who is the subject of this part of Jesus' prayer? (His disciples.)


      1. What is Jesus' goal in His dealings with the disciples? (To reveal God to them.)


      2. Is this also our goal in life? (Yes! How many people reject a God that they do not know? They have a terrible picture of God, and then reject this false picture.)


    2. Read John 17:8-9. Why does Jesus not pray for the world? (We will discuss this later.)


    3. Read John 17:10. Have you sung the song "All to Jesus I Surrender?" Did you really mean it?


      1. Look closely at what Jesus says. What did surrendering all bring Jesus? (All that belongs to God the Father.)


      2. Consider this offer: you give up everything you own to Bill Gates, and he gives to you everything he owns. Is that a deal you would accept?


    4. Read John 17:11. This "power of your name" is an odd phrase outside of Christianity, and I have trouble understanding it. When Jesus says, "protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me" what does He mean?


      1. Let's work this out. When you hear a person's name, what comes to mind? (What they look like. How they act. Whether you like them. Essentially, when we hear a name we think about the nature of that person.)


        1. When Jesus calls for protection through the power of God's name, and He says that He has that same name, how does that relate to our idea that a name reflects a person's nature? (God's nature is His love and power. Jesus showed us God's love through His sacrifice, and He showed us God's power by His resurrection.)


          1. How will this name protect the disciples?


    5. Look again at John 17:11, and focus on the last part. How does the power of Jesus' name push the disciples towards unity? (Love is the ultimate unifying power. Since Jesus is praying about protection from the world, coming within the zone of protection, the zone of love, is unifying.)


    6. Read John 17:12. How did Jesus keep the disciples "safe by that name you [God] gave me [Jesus]?" (Recall that Jesus originally said in His prayer that He had revealed God to His disciples? Revealing God's love, showing God's love, and showing the power of God (for example, through miracles) kept the disciples safe. It would also be their roadmap for the future.)


    7. Read John 17:13. What does a full knowledge of the nature of God give us? (Joy!)


    8. Read John 17:14-15. We have discussed that Jesus gave His disciples the "words" that revealed the love and power of God. Why would the world hate them for having that message? (We find a reference to "the evil one." This is the source of the hate for something that is wonderful.)


    9. Read John 17:16-19. What separates us from the world? When I was young, I could often spot members of my church by the way they dressed - they looked plain, not fancy. Some members of my family were officers in the Salvation Army. They always drove plain cars, never fancy. Is that what God has in mind? (Verse 17 tells us that we are sanctified by the truth of God's word. I think this refers more to something that happens inside than happens outside. Of course, what happens inside should affect the outside.)


      1. Verse 18 tells us that the disciples were sent into the world. Why, the world hates them? (The goal is to convert the world, to save those in the world from the influence of the evil one.)


  3. Jesus' Prayer for the World


    1. Read John 17:20. Is Jesus praying for the world here? (I noted that we would later discuss Jesus' prayer for the world. His prayer is for those who come out of the world by believing God's message.)


    2. Read John 17:21-23. What is the purpose of this unity? (That the world will believe in Jesus.)


      1. A couple of weeks ago we discussed God's attack on the unity of humans at the Tower of Babel. What is the basis for Christian unity? (The glory of God and love. Notice that Jesus started out praying about glory. Verse 22 speaks about our glory. We all have glory!)


      2. What is this glory? Is it fancy or plain?


      3. What does it mean to give God glory? (It means to make Him desirable. Your life should reflect positively on your God. People should want to know your God because your life shows the benefit of a relationship with God.)


        1. What does it mean for us to have glory? (If someone wants to be you, or like you, they are giving you glory. Do you see how this works? God's word, His truth, His love, will improve your attitude and your life. People will want that. When they realize that your glory comes from a relationship with God, then you are giving glory to God.)


        2. How is unity part of this glory? (Normal people do not admire quarreling. Division tends to disprove a common truth and love.)


    3. Read John 17:24-26. What is the goal of our life? (To make God known to others.)


      1. What is the ultimate way to know God? (Jesus prays that we will be "where I am." We see Jesus' ultimate glory in heaven!)


  4. Unity Beyond Denominational Lines


    1. Read Mark 9:38-40. What does Jesus say about interfering with the work of other "groups" who promote Jesus? (He says "Don't.")


      1. What standard does Jesus apply? ("Whoever is not against us is for us.")


      2. What lesson do you draw from this when it comes to working with other churches or other denominations?


    2. Look again at Mark 9:39. What does miracle working mean? (You will not immediately say something bad about Jesus.)


      1. Read Matthew 7:22-23. How can these miracle workers be lost? (God uses all types to advance His Kingdom. But, the miracle by itself does not show the person knows God.)


    3. Friend, recall that when we began this study Jesus reported that He made God known to His disciples. That is our mission - knowing God and teaching others to know His love. That brings glory to God and to us. That brings unity among the believers.


  5. Next week: The Key to Unity.
* Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2018 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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