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Make Every Effort

Sermon Notes

Main Verses: John 17:20-23, Ephesians 4:1-6

Introduction:

We all possess different motivations driving our decisions to come to church for the first time. For some, it’s to learn more about the Bible. For others, it is to make a public statement about their belief in God. And still for others, like church, because it provides a platform for their skills or talents. A few even come to church looking for love. There are probably as many reasons for people to arrive here today as people who are here today. Truly all of us made a personal decision on how we got here this morning. We all have different reasons why we choose to come to church. That’s a personal choice. But we don’t get to decide how to be the church. That’s already decided for us.

And the one thing that should guide the way we do church is pursuing unity.

The foundation of unity inside the church is:

Not built upon our own wishes but on Christ’s own work.

Not on our preference but on Christ’s perfection.

Not on our critiques but on Christ’s cross.

  • Jesus had a desire for unity for his followers, both present and future (John 17:20-21).
  • Jesus taught the success of unity in the church precedes the success of the mission of the church (John 17:21-23).

Because Christ has unified himself with me in my imperfection, I can now unify with other believers in their imperfections.

  • Paul then describes how we maintain unity (Eph 4:1-6)
    • Be completely humble
    • Be gentle
    • Be patient
    • Bearing with one another in love
    • Work really hard at this

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT: 

  1. Pastor Rusty begins this message by acknowledging there are many reasons people decide to come to church. Take a moment to identify the primary reason you have chosen to attend church. 
  1. Whatever our reasons for coming to church, Jesus makes it clear that He desires His church to have unity. Pastor Rusty observes, “The foundation of unity inside the church is: 1) Not built upon our own wishes but on Christ’s own work. 2) Not on our preference, but on Christ’s perfection. 3) Not on our critiques, but on Christ’s cross.” In your opinion which of these presents the biggest challenge to unity in the church?  
  1. In John 17:20-23, Jesus prayed His followers would be as united as He and His Father. While we may never achieve that perfect level of unity, Jesus’ prayer demonstrates God’s desire for unity. Jesus teaches us that unity in the church precedes success in the church’s mission. Why? 
  1. Pastor Rusty makes the point that “Because Christ has unified Himself with me in my imperfection, I can now unify with other believers in their imperfections.” On a practical level, what does this mean for us?  
  1. Paul describes how we maintain unity in Ephesians 4:1-6. Which of the following areas is most challenging for you, and how can you do better in that area? 
  1. Be completely humble 
  1. Be gentle 
  1. Be patient 
  1. Bearing with one another in love 

LIVE IT OUT 

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