C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR SEPTEMBER 27 & OCTOBER 4, 2020 THE UNITY OF BRETHREN. UNITY TWO / LESSON SIX : TOPIC – UNITY OF THE CHURCH
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH WORLWIDE.
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: THE UNITY OF BRETHREN.
UNIT TWO: IN THE CHURCH ERA
September 27 & October 4, 2020.
TOPIC: UNITY OF THE CHURCH
That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me
Christ’s prayer for the Church is that we all would be united among ourselves, notwithstanding the age, sex, colour, status, etc., and united with Him just as He and His Father have eternally been One.
There is a popular saying: United we stand, divided we fall. In fact, when a group of people who claim to have same purpose and objectives begin to have divided opinions and focus, and/or with personal interests above the common goal, such group is due to not only fail, but also fall. A house divided against itself cannot stand, according to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 12:25-26). As Jesus prepared to conclude His earthly stay, He prayed a serious, and in fact, the longest prayer for His disciples then, and those who would later join the fold. From this chapter (John 17), we have our memory scripture. Jesus prays that all His disciples, the Church, would be one. He premises this prayer on the indivisible oneness that He enjoys with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Godhead. He also prays that believers would be one, not against the triune God but one in Him. He prays that the Church would by no means do anything that would undermine His eternal purpose, because such unity with Him evidenced in unity with one another would prove to the world the veracity of Christ’s Lordship. Nevertheless, the unity of the Church is not expected to stay without some challenges that are due to arise, ranging from the influence of various false doctrines and the attack from the archenemy (Satan) of the Gospel to stand and remain united, even as He makes us overcome all challenges and many more. Amen!
Devotional Bible Readings For Week One
Mon. 21: Unity In The Spirit (Eph. 4:4)
Tue. 22: United Even In Baptism (Eph. 4:5)
Wed. 23: Unity In The Body Of Christ (Eph. 4:12)
Thur. 24: Unity In Hope (Heb. 10:23)
Fri. 25: Unity In Faith (Rom. 1:12)
Sat. 26: Unity With Worldliness? No! (Rom. 6:11-14; 2 Cor. 6:14)
1. The unity that Jesus has in mind is not a flattering one, but oneness of spirit, soul and thoughts, as one body—the Church.
2. Jesus Christ prays and expects that His body (the Church) takes a cue from the example of Him and the Father being one. The unity He prays for is not the self-gratifying one (rebellion). It is that would positively harness the different gifts and graces in the believers’ lives for the glory of God and the benefit of humanity.
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES : Matthew 12:25-26; John 10:30,38; 17:20-21
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To show that it is God’s utmost desire for His Church to be united.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this two weeks-lessons, the readers should be able to:
i. show God’s mind on the unity of the Church;
ii. show that unity is the strength and validity of the Church;
iii. prove that unity is an indispensable prerequisite for growth and stability of the a Christ; and
iv. Start demonstrating a better understanding of their roles in, and expected challenges to the unity of the Church, as well as how to overcome them.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: JOHN 17:20-21; 1 TIMOTHY 6:20-21; 1 PETER 5:8-11; 1 PETER 5:8-11
A fortnight ago and last week, our focus in this series of Sunday school was UNITY OF THE FAMILY. God really took us through a time of sober reflection on the state of oneness and unity with Him and among ourselves in our families. He used Psalm 133, one of the shortest Psalms in the Bible, to get us informed, so that we can be reformed to overcome unnecessary deformation that has taken over so many lives in the world, and sadly, even in churches, today. May these lessons not stand to condemn us on the last. Amen.
These is no man, after establishing a group, or an organisation, that would want it to scatter or fold up after his/her demise. Jesus Christ brings redemption and salvation, and desires that all men plunge into and benefit from these.
Jesus prayed on the eve of His crucifixion for His Apostles and those that would eventually come to His knowledge and accept the gospel, that we may continue without looking back, because He is aware of the impending danger from the antagonists of the gospel — Satan and his agents. Satan would want to do everything he can to scuttle the influence and prosperity of the gospel. Jesus knows that one of the major tools Satan would use is DISUNITY.
The unity He prayed for in John 17 is not as a sect or secret society (a cult), but that of dwelling in Him, without which nothing tangible can be achieved (Jn. 15:6-7). This unity would solidify our validity and be our strength as a body — the body of Christ. This will enable us to consecrate ourselves. Jesus did not pray that they may become one only, but that they should be one in conduct and deeds at all times.
This is what we are examining in this lesson. May we find the help of the Holy Spirit to do it well. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION
This lesson is divided into two sections, I and II, with a further division into A and B, respectively.
DIVISION I: THE PRAYER OF JESUS
This division exposes the intent of Jesus’ heart, both for His immediate disciples and the Church which would later spring forth, through and after them. Most times when a person prays earnestly for something, it is because of the burden and desire of his heart. Jesus is known to be the Omniscient, therefore, knowing all things in all ages — past, present and future is His nature. He knows the challenges Satan would bring against the Church in future times, hence the prayer.
DIVISION II: THE INFLUENCE OF END-TIME PERILS
This division exposes some of the events as recorded in the scriptures, that would unfold in the end time, which would seriously undermine and shake the unity of the Church. Such events are the massive outbreak of false doctrines, a direct and indirect attack on the gospel by her arch-rival (the devil and his cohorts). The church has been forewarned about all such events that have already started to roll out in fulfillment. This is therefore a necessary reminder.
I. THE PRAYER OF JESUS
A. FOR HIS IMMEDIATE DISCIPLES
B. FOR THE REST OF US
II. THE INFLUENCE OF END-TIME PERILS
A. THE MULTIPLICITY OF FALSE DOCTRINES
B. THE DEVIL WILL ATTACK THE GOSPEL
September 27th, 2020.
I. THE PRAYER OF JESUS (John 17:20-21)
Jesus, being Omniscient, knows that in the last days, the bearers of the Gospel would face more serious challenges and attack from the devil, just as His disciples also would soon face, which are capable of dividing His Church. So, He prayed ahead of time, both for them, back then, and for us now, also.
A. FOR HIS IMMEDIATE DISCIPLES (vv. 6-19).
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are (v. 11).
i. The environment has influenced on the unity of Christians. Any Christian that compromise because of what the world has become is not serious, in the first place.
ii. vv. 6-9: Jesus prayed for those who had known Him as One who comes forth from the Father, and have believed Him — His disciples.
iii. vv. 10,11: Jesus reemphasises His uncut, indescribably cordial relationship with the Father, and uses this as the basis of praying that God should make them united as it is done in Heaven. This prayer is still relevant today, not only to churches but also to homes ans the society at large.
iv. vv 12-14: The more reason we need to be united is that the world (corrupt system/lifestyle advocated and monitored by the devil) hates the truth, and is ready to persecute us at the slighted opportunity.
v. Just imagine that the early church leaders and members were not united, where would the apostles have fallen back to after the warnings and floggings in Acts 4:21ff Who would have been praying for Peter when he was incarcerated, ready to be slaughtered, and where would he have gone to on his miraculous release (Acts 12:1ff)?
vi. vv. 15-18: Jesus doesn’t pray that God should take His disciples out of the world (physical change of environment). Rather, He prayed that we should be kept from the evil one, i.e. spiritual change of environment. His desires is that, we be divinely assisted not to align with the devil who has been a deceiver from the beginning (cf. Jn. 8:44).
vii. 1 John 2:15: We are enjoined not to love the world. Here, loving the world refers to being influenced by the worldly environment.
B. FOR THE REST OF US (vv. 20-26)
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (v. 20,21).
i. v. 20: Jesus saw His kingdom beyond those 12 disciples who walked and worked with Him in the course of His earthly ministry. The Omniscient knew that there would be numerous people who would believe in Him through the words of the early disciples.
ii. v. 21: The indispensability of unity in the church was not meant for only the 1st Century disciples. It is very relevant to all believers, regardless of the generation. We should be one in the pattern of the unity of the Trinity, and be united with God.
iii. v. 23: The only way to be perfectly united as the body of Christ is to have Christ in us. Only then can we be united as it is done in Heaven. This would send a strong positive signal to the world.
iv. vv. 24-26: Being united as the body of Christ in His eternal kingdom. No one gets to heaven who has not been consistently united, here, with Christ and His people.
v. We must realise that we are the bearers of the Gospel in this dispensation, just as the disciples were the bearers, back then. We must therefore ensure to keep running with it, and finally, hand it over to the next generation after us.
1. Jesus’ prayer for His followers conspicuously depicts the idea of unity among the disciples. We can’t please God without being duly united.
2. The indispensability of unity is not only relevant to Jesus’ disciples of His days. It is more relevant to us, today.
WORK TO DO
Why did Jesus pray for the unity of His followers?
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
i. He knows that challenges would come, which would put their unity to a rigorous test.
ii. He knows the negative effects that false doctrines would strive to have on the unity of His followers. So, He prayed ahead for them and for us today, too.
iii. He knows that Satan would definitely attack the Church when the time comes, which would attempt to undermine the unity of the Church.
iv. He desires that the Church stays united in Him, as He also is united with the Father, hence the prayer.