Last year Ron Bishop came to BBC and preached a message asking us if we were an Acts 1.8 church. Do we witness of Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth? That is a great question and the answer is "yes, we are striving to be that kind of church."
Can we be a church of more than one verse? Of course, and we want to be a church of all the verses in the Bible. How about the verses in John 17? Have we considered to what degree we are a John 17.21 church?
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Vs. 21: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
In just 50 minutes I will be speaking to the boys and girls in chapel. I am going to teach/preach in the elementary chapel and take questions in the High school chapel.
In the elementary chapel I am going to ask if we are a John 17.21 school. Are we one? Four times in the Lord 's Prayer (the actual Lord's prayer) Jesus prays that His disciples are one. In vs. 11 he prays for his current followers to be one. Then a few verses later He specifically identifies future disciples. And three more times he prays "that they may be one."
One—One is the number that denotes unity. One is the word that communicates agreement. One is used of a basketball team where everyone plays together exceptionally well. Husband and wives are supposed to be one. That means that they get along, love each, care for each, work through differences and in the end are unified.
A John 17.21 school would be a school where there is a focus on our love one for another and an absence of division among the students and faculty. In a John 17.21 school there is a focus on what unites the staff, faculty and students.
In a John 17.21 school the students get along one with another and it is visible.
It must be visible! It must be visible because Jesus prayed that because of the unity or oneness of His followers "the world"—those who are outside of Christ—would see the unity and believe that Jesus was not just another Jewish rabbi or carpenter but the Son of God sent from the God of Heaven
In a John 17.21 school a new student can tell that there is something different about the 4th grade at BBA. Because in the 4th grade in BBA the vast majority of the students profess to be followers of Jesus and in doing so they are striving to be one.
Therefore, when the new "unsaved" student arrives into this community of believers she sees something different. Days go by and then weeks and she can tell that this new school isn't like her old school.
In her old school, there were factions, cliques, in groups and out groups. In her old school, students talked about each other and it wasn't nice.
She notices in this very special 4th grade classroom boys and girls who love each other like Christ loves them. They accept each other's problems and difficulties and forgive each other when there is a fight. Our new student Susie notices that two boys that had a fight the day before have now forgiven each other and are eating lunch together.
So Susie begins to wonder what makes this school so different and eventually asks, "Why is this school different?" Her teacher then has an incredible opportunity to tell her about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Her teacher tells her that it is Jesus which unites us and gives us the help (grace) to be loving, kind, compassionate, understanding, tender-hearted, and forgiving. And soon—by the grace of God—Susie wants to have a relationship with this Jesus who helps people be different.
Now imagine if you will that we are not talking about a school but a church and instead of 4th grade it is a particular adult Bible fellowship class.
Instead of calling them students we call them members but the expectation is the same and the goal is the same.
Our hope is that BBC would be so unified in all that is does that it could be described as ONE and in being one God would be most glorified—especially when an unbeliever comes to Christ because of the visible unity of the church.
Christ's prayer for this communicates how much we need His help to achieve this.