Opening: (Psalm 133:1; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Colossians 3:4) – “The Power of One” sounds like a great motivational slogan, right? People desire to be “the one” and feel important. But the Biblical definition –Jesus’ definition – of “the power of one” is a bit harder to live out. It’s the idea of unity – unity among those who trust and follow God – and Jesus talked about it a LOT. Because, as it turns out, it’s a really Good Idea…
1. The Power of One (John 13:34-35; John 17:22-23)
· In Jesus’ “graduation speech” to his disciples on the night before he was crucified, he kept coming back to one (good) idea: their love for each other and their unity with one another would prove to the world that their message was true – that Jesus was who he said he was.
· Our unity as Jesus’ disciples today is the proof about him that people are looking for in a lost and broken world –and it’s so powerful because it’s so rare and so hard to fake. There’s something about people who are unified with each other in spite of their differences that catches outsiders’ attention. As followers of Jesus, our unity is our greatest apologetic – our proof of who we believe Jesus is.
· Conversely, when outsiders look at followers of Jesus and at his Church and see disagreement, conflict and disunity it may be all they need to confirm for themselves that the church’s message about Jesus is bogus, and that we don’t really believe what we say we believe.
· The best sign of unity is the “Yield” sign, because yielding – submitting to one another for the good of all – is the foundation of unity. It also says something important about who’s “behind the wheel” – i.e., who’s actually in control of our lives. Yielding, for many of us, is unnatural – but it’s powerful!
2. What “One”Looks Like:
· As he often does, the Apostle Paul takes Jesus’ teachings about unity and fleshes them out into practical terms for us. He writes that there are two kinds of unity we’re called to as Jesus’ followers:
a. One People (Ephesians 4:1-6; Galatians 3:28) – Our unity as believers should come from a sense of humility, patience, forgiveness and love that Jesus has demonstrated for us and given to us as “one body.” That unity – powered by “the fruit of the Spirit” in each of us – should overcome any divisions the world might try to impose upon us (“Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female”).
b. One Church (Philippians 1:15-18) – Sadly, Christian churches are known for division and competition with each other – clearly forgetting Jesus’ words about the importance of unity not just among individual believers about also among churches within his Church. If the message of Jesus and his Resurrection is being preached, then that should be celebrated, encouraged and supported by all churches and all believers, regardless of which local gathering they belong to.
These passages may provide additional insights related to the subject of this week’s message. All verses are NLT unless otherwise noted.
Acts 4:32-33; Romans 12:3-5; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 2:1-2; 1 Peter 3:8-9
Video of the Week: Ephesians by the Bible Project
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
Everyone’s heard “that’s a good idea,” as well as “that’s not a good idea.” And we’ve all told ourselves “that’s not a good idea”…and then did it anyway. It turns out that the Bible is full of “good ideas” – not just a bunch of arbitrary rules, but a proven pathway to the Full Life. This week’s Good Idea is one we can all agree on: tell the truth. The Bible has a lot to say about that – probably because it’s sometimes so hard for us to do.Read MorePrintable PDF
Good Ideas are rules to live by that are most often there for our own good, to lead us toward a full life. Sometimes we see those rules, or “stop signs,” as arbitrary and unfair, but most often they’re showing us God’s best plan for us. This week we look at another one: listening. The Bible has much to say about it – almost as if God is saying, “Listen! You need to listen well!”Read MorePrintable PDF
This week we began a new series, “Good Idea" with an exploration of the role of 'rules' in Christianity. We began with a reminder that God’s guidelines for living, his ‘rules’ are meant for our flourishing, and not simply arbitrary rules for a made up game. We also were reminded that God’s ‘rules’ or ‘Good Ideas’ are a reflection of His natural laws that govern the universe. Like a STOP sign, when we break them we are at risk of the natural consequence...Read MorePrintable PDF
Find your people.