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I pray ... That 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. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I 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. -- John 17:20-23
The words from which I wish to speak to you are found in John 17. We shall take out of verse 20 the words.. 'I pray." Then in verse 21: "That 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." Verse 22: "And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them." Note that the twentieth verse says, I pray [or, I ask Thee]."The twenty-second verse says, 'The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them [with the same object]: that they may be one, even as We are One." The twenty-third:" I 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." If I judge correctly what fills your hearts this morning, then I think I would express it this way: there is a deep consciousness that there is not among the people of God that overflowing love that there should be. There is the desire to see this changed, and there is the secret faith: if God chooses, He is able to change us. But there is more. Your coming here is, I trust, a testimony to the positive expectation: if we ask Him, He will pour out more love among His people. We want this morning to make confession of this lack of love, we want to cry to God for an increase of love. I need not remind you of what the proofs are that love is so often lacking. I will not speak of the divisions among the churches; I will not speak of the way in which Christians can speak of each other; I will not speak of the coldness often existing between Christians who spend years together in the same church, and eat the same bread at the Lord's Supper; I will not speak of how the most precious truths and promises of God unconsciously become walls of separation. You all know, you all deplore, that there is not that love whereby the world is compelled to say, "God has loved them, and has poured His love into their hearts." And now, if we are to make confession, and if we are to be encouraged to pray and to hope and to expect deliverance, nothing is better than that we should turn for a few minutes to God's blessed Word-the words of our great High Priest in His last prayer. You know them well. He prayed: 'Father,...I pray that they all may be one." It was God who was to do it. And then He added wonderful words to the effect: "Father, between You and Me there never has been anything but love. and I want that to be among My people, that they may be one, even as We are One." And then He says, in other words: "Father, it will be such a wonderful thing!" When selfish, proud men learn to love as the Father and the Son of God love, the world will be compelled to say, That is more than human love; that is a love that comes from heaven." And then Christ said, in effect, "Father, it is for this that I have given them the glory that You gave Me, and have made them partakers of the Divine nature, and of all that You have. And., Father, on that account I pray for them. I have given them the glory You gave Me. And now, Father., watch over that glory, that they may be one as We are, and that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may believe that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." What a prayer!
Posted January 24, 2009
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