ONE that the world may know

By Mark Wilson

Are you answering Jesus’ prayer?

We believe God can answer prayer. But have you considered that you are able to answer Jesus' prayer? On the last night of his earthly life, Jesus prayed for something we can answer! After interceding for his disciples, he then prayed for future believers (us):

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)


HOLINESS: Jesus prayed that we might be ONE with him.

We unite with Christ when we freely allow him to have full reign in our lives; his will and desire become ours. This is holiness or entire sanctification: the fullness of his indwelling presence — living in the overflow of the Holy Spirit with an undivided heart and combining a singleness of intent (love for God) with a wideness of spirit (love for others). Jesus prayed that we might enter this beautiful, overflowing life with him.

UNITY: Jesus prayed that we might love one another.

Hearts united with Christ is the “old time religion” that makes us love everybody. Love was the distinctive feature of the earliest Spirit-filled believers. In the second century, Aristides was sent by the Roman Emperor to spy on Christians. He reported, “Behold how they love ONE another!” What would a spy sent to your church report? The most notable characteristic of healthy, properly functioning congregations should be warm, loving relationships.

This doesn’t mean we will not disagree or differ. There’s a difference between unison and harmony. It does mean, however, that when we live in the overflow, we can “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) and disagree agreeably.

My family members all play stringed instruments. One day we held a jam session but when we began playing, it sounded horrible. We had tuned our instruments by ear to themselves but were out of tune with each other. Only when we stopped and re-tuned to the master tuner were we able to make beautiful music together. The sweet harmony of Christian fellowship works that way too.

WITNESS: Jesus prayed that our mutual love will be our witness.

Jesus said when we love him and each other well, the world will know (v. 23). Souls are won by love rather than argument. Our love is our greatest witness.

D. L. Moody told of a little boy who walked a lengthy distance each week to Sunday School. Somebody asked why he made such a long journey when several other churches were much closer. The lad replied, “Because they love a fellow over there.” Evangelism is the fruit of loving people well who do not yet love Jesus. While this mandate may not be easy, it is simple — and requires working together in unity like first century fishermen.

Fishing in biblical times was not a solo (rod and reel) activity. Instead, Galilean fishermen used nets and operated in teams. It only worked when unified fishermen worked harmoniously, each holding their end of the net as they drew in the catch. Spiritual fishing is everybody’s job and not something relegated to a few. Drawing people to Jesus works better when working together.

ONE that the world may know

This unified approach is our heritage. When the Wesleyan Methodist and Pilgrim Holiness churches merged in 1968 forming The Wesleyan Church, their motto, “ONE … That the World May Know,” expressed the purpose for this historic convergence. In other words, they answered the prayer of Jesus, believing a united front would represent him better to the world than separate entities struggling alone. As stated in “The Discipline of the Wesleyan Church 2022” (paragraph 105), the Wesleyan mission “to spread scriptural holiness throughout every land involves joining the entire church of Christ in a full-orbed mission to the world.” We are still, and always, better together.

“The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church 2022,” used by the permission of Wesleyan Publishing House: Fishers, Indiana.

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