Join us today for an episode about what unity really means...

Today's episode is focused on 1 John 5: 9-13 and John 17: 6-19...

In today’s Spiritual Foundation Episode, I talk about 1 John 5: 9-13 and John 17: 6-19.  I share what it means to share in Christ. I also share what unity means (and doesn’t mean).

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1436: We Share Christ

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1436 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:09] Roger Butts: I'm Roger Butz. I challenge you to invest in yourself. Invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to use prayer to take care of yourself is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott Mader.

[00:00:49] Scott Maderer: Because we could look at each other with perfect love. What we would give to be more in the company of such. I truly believe that our God [00:01:00] is big enough, strong enough, and loving enough to bring us together in unity, not by erasing our differences, but by embracing them. Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:01:16] If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, Then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:44] In today's Spiritual Foundation episode, I talk about 1 John chapter 5, verses 9 through 13. And the Gospel of John, chapter 17, verses 6 through 19. I share what it means to share in Christ, and I also [00:02:00] share what unity means and doesn't mean. 1 John, chapter 5, verses 9 through 13 says, If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater.

[00:02:13] For this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his son. And this is the testimony. God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

[00:02:35] Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. John chapter 17 verses 6 through 19 says, I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world.

[00:02:58] They were yours, and you gave them to [00:03:00] me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you. For the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them, and know in truth that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf.

[00:03:18] I'm not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

[00:03:42] While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scriptures might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world, so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.[00:04:00]

[00:04:00] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. Amen. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

[00:04:19] Sanctify them in truth, your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes, I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. These passages from John today reflect a lot of what it means to me, at least, to follow and to share Christ with others.

[00:04:44] There are a ton of themes in these sets of passages. There's definitely a message of sanctifying us and what that means. There's a message of protecting us from evil and what that really means. There's a message of being in the world and out of the world [00:05:00] all at the same time. And yes, on one level, this is from John, the Gospel of John, this is Jesus's farewell address.

[00:05:08] He's on his way out of the world. But then we also believe that Jesus is in the world, still today. Just like we live in this world, but we don't belong to the world. Our eyes are often on eternity. Our true home is in the kingdom, which might have embassies here in this world, might peek through around the edges sometimes, might break through, but it isn't really here, at least not yet.

[00:05:39] Or there's the message of what it means that Jesus is praying for us and for the disciples and what a blessing that is. Instead, right now, I want to focus on this idea of unity and community. But to start, let me tell you a little story. A second grade teacher gave an assignment to her class for the [00:06:00] students to bring an item from home that represented their religious background.

[00:06:04] She wanted to teach the kids about the diversity in the world about worshiping God. At show and tell time, they began to share what their particular item meant to their faith. A Catholic child brought some rosary beads and shared with the class how they used the beads in prayer. A Native American child brought a dream catcher.

[00:06:24] He talked about how they placed dream catchers above their head to capture their dreams that they had in the night. and it would filter out the bad ones and hold the good dreams in memory. A Jewish child brought in a candle and shared how it was used in the celebration of Hanukkah. And then one kid pulled some food out of his bag and said I'm Methodist, so I brought chicken casserole.

[00:06:48] And the truth is that there are always differences in our faith. And there are differences between faiths that are as diverse as the ones I just gave in that little joke. But then [00:07:00] there are differences in the faith from one even Christian denomination to another. There's differences in interpretation of the words in the Bible.

[00:07:08] There's different translations. There's arguments about which books should be included and not included in the Bible. There's arguments about what this passage means. Which one of these is the most important message? And what does it actually mean to follow Christ? In verse 10 from the Gospel of John, it says, All mine are yours and yours are mine, and I have been glorified in them.

[00:07:34] I know that really says more about who Jesus is than it does about us, but it also speaks deeply of being in relationship, in community. In the message translation, the last part of that verse is translated as and my life is on display in them. How we live and how we love in this world is the presentation of Christ [00:08:00] to those who don't know him yet.

[00:08:02] How we share and give does not just reflect on us, but it reflects on Jesus. This means that how we treat one another, how we honor one another, and how we celebrate one another, and the commitments we have made are a deep part of our faith. And Christ is glorified by the way we live in community. This idea of unity and community, Jesus prays that we, and that's me, that's you, that's everyone else, would be one as we are one.

[00:08:37] We are to be as close as Jesus and God are close. We are called to function as if we're parts of the Trinity. Aspects of the same thing. Different, yes. but one in essence and in hope. That is what community really means. It doesn't mean that individuality is lost. It doesn't mean that differences don't exist.[00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Differences are what make the whole what it is. But it does mean that we acknowledge our need for the other. Acknowledge that somehow we are incomplete without the other. How can we fight among ourselves? How can we hate and cast stones at one another when we are part of the same whole, we are hating and casting stones at ourselves.

[00:09:27] The church is many things, but in this prayer, it is clear that the church is called to be one, to be united. Now, I am a United Methodist and just a few Right now, as we're talking, there's a general conference of the United Methodist, and there were proposals, debates, and arguments. And I've seen lots of articles from different groups, some of which recently left the United Methodist Church, about how the United Methodist Church is dying, and fighting, and how this [00:10:00] shows that God is no longer with us, and we have gone astray.

[00:10:03] But strangely, that's not what I see happening. All too often, we show what I call surface unity, both in our church and in the world. How often we only get together to get the job done. We hide our differences in the common cause of reaching the loss. Admirable? Yes. Necessary? Definitely. But when will we get rid of the undercurrents that divide and be of the same mind, one towards another, speaking no other thing, perfectly joined?

[00:10:41] Are we going to ignore the subtle differences and hide behind the work of the Lord? How long are we going to listen to different kinds of messages that tell us that such unity is not possible and not expected? that everyone has to look the same, work the same, vote the same, believe the [00:11:00] same, and yes, even love the same to be in unity.

[00:11:04] I remember the words of our master who looked at his disciples and said, from now on I call you my friends for all things that the father has showed me, I have told you. Unity of a convenience to get the job done, a partnership, a putting up with, at its very best, a tolerance of one another. That kind of unity never knows the grand will of God, but it's always learning and never able to fully manifest the truth.

[00:11:36] Instead, in this kind of unity, true love, unfeigned love, fervent love, and love without hiding your true self among the brethren will never be manifested in that kind of love, much less the truth of laying down our lives for one another. Unity that is as small as believing that unity comes only from uniformity is making our God way smaller than I believe [00:12:00] God is.

[00:12:01] I believe God is way bigger and better and more powerful than any of us and can bring about unity without demanding uniformity. Unity of the Spirit is a restful, harmonious working together. It's bone upon bone, sinew upon sinew. It is manifesting the mind of Christ in the holy congregation. It is the glorious love of God flowing like a river.

[00:12:29] The only way to be filled with all of the fullness of God is to know the love of God. But when love is quenched, God is quenched for God is love. I heard a man say to me one time, we can have friendship with some, but not fellowship. Or maybe you've heard it said is, love the sinner, hate the sin. But the word says, if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.

[00:12:58] That's from 1 [00:13:00] John 1, verse 7. From time to time, we have had definitions of unity through the eyes of human experience and understanding. Because of cultural differences and for dozens and dozens of other reasons, we have been consistently told that there can never be perfect unity this side of heaven, that we are to rejoice and marvel in the unity and diversity, while God leaves no room for misunderstanding about the kind of unity that he has in mind for his own.

[00:13:31] It is expressed in the heart hunger and cry of our dear Lord who prayed, Father, let them be one, even as we are one. Do you for a moment think that this prayer of Jesus when he was here on the earth is not going to be answered? That those who are born of the Spirit will not talk of a culture from the East or a culture from the West or a culture from the North Pole?

[00:13:58] They talk instead of a [00:14:00] divine culture, a Christian culture, a holy culture, a culture from above. For they are not of this world, even as He is not of this world. They are instead one grand, majestic, peculiar, and holy nation under one God. I have met over the years some wonderful ministers and children of God from different cultures, from different lands, from different religions, from different belief systems.

[00:14:29] Atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, different Christian denominations. Sometimes I've not known them for a long time, but when my hand gripped theirs and our eyes looked into the eyes of each other, All I felt was great joy and a burst of glory that flooded our souls and our eyes, because we could look at each other with perfect love.

[00:14:57] What we would give to be more in the company [00:15:00] of such. I truly believe that our God is big enough, strong enough, and loving enough to bring us together in unity, not by erasing our differences, but by embracing them. Thanks for listening.

[00:15:22] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode. Please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.

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In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • 1 John 5: 9-13 and John 17: 6-19...  
  • What it means to share in Christ...
  • What unity means (and doesn’t mean)...
  • and more.....

"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. – John 17: 6

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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