John Chapter 17 is a profound message. It shows us the relationship of Jesus to the Father, of Jesus
to those who followed and who were yet to come. It is humbling and comforting to know that our Lord
Jesus had us on his mind just hours before He made the greatest sacrifice ever given. He did this for
you and He did it for me. Why? Because we are His. Because He loves us. So that we can have a joyful
reunion with Him very soon. And, soon we will.
Many use John 17 to promote “unity” between people of all faiths. This is a perversion of God's word
and when we see the message of unity in John 17, it is unity with other believers of the one true God,
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that “oneness” that Jesus is praying for. In the 20th century and
into the 21st century, efforts are being made to bring all of the churches back together again. This is
called the ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT. Those involved in this movement are saying things like this:
"LET’S ALL UNITE. Let’s FORGET OUR DIFFERENCES and all join together!"
"We must LOVE ONE ANOTHER and be divided no more!"
"It does not matter what we believe, AS LONG AS WE CAN ALL BE ONE!"
This is where the physical churches are today. We must understand that this is not Biblical. But
remember, truth must never be sacrificed for the sake of UNITY. TRUTH is more important than
UNITY. Which is more pleasing to God--to stand on the truth even if you are all alone or to stand on
error along with thousands of others?
We must never THROW AWAY THE BIBLE so that we can have unity! When the Lord Jesus prayed
for His church He made this request: "THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE.” (John 17:21). What
happened? Why do we not have a united, unified Church on earth today? Why do we find the churches
DIVIDED instead of UNITED?
These divisions do exist and we need to recognize them and understand them. God did not bring about
these divisions; man did. These schisms and divisions exist BECAUSE OF MAN...man’s ignorance ,
man’s failure, man’s pride, man’s lust for power and position, man’s selfishness, man wanting to do his
own thing in his own way.
Divisions come about because of MAN'S FAILURE TO STAY RIGHT WITH GOD. If men
would maintain a right relationship with God then they would also be in a right relationship with
each other and there would be a UNITY and a ONENESS. In order for men to have fellowship
with each other, who must they first have fellowship (1 John 1:3)? with our Heavenly Father!
In the days of the early Church, would you find thousands and thousands of different denominations
and groups and churches all teaching different things? If you were to visit the church at Corinth and the
church at Jerusalem and the church at Antioch, what would you find? Would you find three different
churches all "doing their own thing"? No, instead you would find three churches each pointing to
the same Christ, proclaiming the same gospel and practicing the same truth. The churches were
in different locations but they each had the same Christ, the same Holy Spirit, the same Holy
Scriptures and the same burning desire to do God’s will and obey Christ’s commands. If you had
lived in the first century and had to move from Philippi to Ephesus, you would have found the same
kind of church in Ephesus as you had left in Philippi.
If an unsaved person were to travel from Rome to Thessalonica, he would not say, "Oh, this church
in Thessalonica is so very different from the church in Rome." No, instead he would say, "The
believers here in Thessalonica are just like those I knew in Rome!" Believers in both of these cities
pointed to the same Christ and to the same Bible. This is the way believers are to be today.
Today the situation is quite different than it was in the first century. Many churches have moved
away from the Bible and moved away from the God of the Bible. Churches have been divided
and have split and new churches have formed. Today there are thousands of different kinds of
churches. Some of these churches are good, and many are not so good. Some churches today still
believe and teach the Bible. Many other churches no longer believe the Bible (even though they
may still use the Bible or read from the Bible), and they do not teach people what the Bible says
about how to get to heaven.
The devil has successfully brought about much confusion in our day. People look at all the different
kinds of churches and all the different kinds of religions and they say things like this:
"There are so many churches, and they all believe different things, so I suppose it does not really
matter what a person believes."
"All of these churches are telling people how to get to God, so there must be many ways to get to
"All of these churches interpret the Bible differently. The Bible seems to mean different things to
different people. The Bible must be a very confusing Book!"
"All these churches teach different things. Who can know the truth? Who can know what is
God has not changed. The Bible has not changed. The truth has not changed, but the devil has
done very well at causing confusion and the truth of God seems lost in the middle of all the mess!
What would you say to someone who said, "There are so many religions that it seems impossible to
find out what the truth really is"? How would you answer this: "It is all right to believe anything you want to believe as long as you are
Never LEAVE the TRUTH. If others want UNITY they must come and stand on the truth with you.
Never sacrifice the TRUTH for anything. Never LEAVE THE TRUTH for the sake of UNITY (this
is what the ecumenical movement is doing today). Always stand on the Bible. If others want to stand
with you, that’s fine. If not, don’t leave where you are standing to join them!
We need to be so right and so true that those who are wrong will find it necessary to break off
from us. Those who are hindering and hurting the cause of true Christian unity are those who REFUSE
to stand faithfully and obediently upon all of the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation.
Remember, many people walked away from the Lord Jesus because they refused to stand on the truth
and follow the Lord’s teaching. This is illustrated in John Chapter 6.
Nothing that happens takes God by surprise. He knows all about the failures of men. God can even
use such divisions in His grace. In Galatians 3:28 we read: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there
is neither bond (slave) nor free, there is neither male nor female for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus."
Will you stand on God's word? Will you have the relationship with Him that He wants?
The Lord God certainly wants unity and oneness. This is what the Lord prayed for (John 17:21-
23 and see Ephesians 4:3-6,13). In the future kingdom age there will not be hundreds of different
religions on earth. There will be a UNITY of worship because all will worship the KING OF KINGS
(see Zechariah 14:16), and those who do not worship God’s King in God’s way will be punished (see
Zech.14:17-19). See also Isaiah 2:1-3. No cults or false religions will be allowed on the face of the
During the tribulation period there will also be a UNITY of worship, but this will be the wrong
kind of worship. The man of sin (ANTICHRIST) will not allow other religions. (see Revelation
Often people will UNITE together for a common cause or purpose. Herod and Pilate had hated each
other but they both joined together in a common hatred of Jesus Christ. During the Second World
War many different countries joined together and united so that they could fight against Germany
and Japan and defeat them. At the end of the tribulation people the WHOLE WORLD WILL UNITE
TOGETHER AGAINST GOD. You can read about this in Psalm 2.
Our time in the world as we know it is quickly coming to an end. Let us seek God's will for our lives,
glorify Him in all we do and pray for those who are lost. Remember, Jesus had you on His mind just
hours before His death. He died for all. All will not accept Him, but we must abide in hope, love one
another and care for one another until our job here is complete. Then we will enter into the eternal Joy
of the Lord.