"That They May Be One"
Discussion Questions and Study Guide

Group Discussion Questions

 

  • Discuss how these verses show that Jesus died for unity.​​

    • "​It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” Now, this he did not say on his own authority, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad" (John 11:50-52).

  • Discuss how this New Commandment relates to unity.

    • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).

  • Discuss Jesus' prayer in John 17. What does that oneness look like?

    • ​"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. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:21-23).

  • Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?

Guidelines for Group Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, but give opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for the interpretation of a Scripture.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate by giving insights regarding these verses.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

Study Outline with Supplemental Scriptures

I.  ​ QUESTION: (video timestamp 00:27) How do we know that oneness is important to Jesus?

A.  Jesus died to bring His "scattered children into One" (John 11:50-52).

  1. John tells us that when Jesus died, He didn't just die for the Jewish Nation (John 11:52).

  2. Jesus died to bring His "scattered children into one" (John 11:52).

  3. Most Christians think of Jesus dying only for their sins (I Corinthians 15:3).

  4. But it is clear that He also died to gather together into One those that are scattered.

B.  Jesus prayed three times for oneness before going to the Cross (John 17:11, 21, 22, 23).

  1. Right before He went to the Cross at the Last Supper, Jesus prayed three times to His Father "that they may be one."

a) Three in the Bible means Jesus He was desperate, passionate, determined, and focused. (Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10)

b) Paul exhibited this desperation by praying "three times" in (II Corinthians 12:8)

2.    Jesus went to the Cross and resurrected to fulfill this prayer of His "that they may be one."

3.   Oneness is in the heart of Jesus. That is why He came to die for us.

4.   Yes, He died for our sins, but also that His divided people would become one.

     

II.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 01:58) Jesus gave a new command in John 13:34-35. What does this command have to do with oneness?

A.   Context when Jesus gave the new commandment. John 13:34-35

  1. Jesus gave this command near the beginning of the Last Supper, and after they had a meal together, He washed His disciples' feet.

  2. Take note that He also washed Judas' feet.

B.   His new commandment was "that you love one another AS I have loved you." (John 13:34-35; see also John 15:12 & I John 3:23)

C.   The Old Commandment was to "Love God with all your heart and all of your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself" (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; Luke 10:27). But here Jesus says, "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)

a)   Saying "Love one another" points out there is "another."

b)  This "other" is different from me.

c)  This person could have an opposing perspective to mine, but Jesus says to love that person "as I have loved you" (John 13:34)

2.  Jesus loved us when we were enemies and sinners. (Romans 5:10)

a)  This command to "love one another" applies to individuals who are very different from each other (race, ethnicity, politics, doctrinal interpretations, etc.)

b)  He loved us when we were His enemies, and He wants us to love those we consider our enemies (see also Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27; 6:35)

III.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 4:10) In John 17, Jesus prayed that we would be "one as He and the Father are One." That means our unity is to look like the Trinity. How do we accomplish that?

A.   First of all, this is not our idea. Jesus patterns our unity after the Trinity. He says, "That they may be one even as We are" (John 17:11,22)

1.  Who is the "We" there? The Father and the Son.

2.  As the Father and the Son are One, so the believers are One.

3.  The Trinity is an excellent pattern of oneness.

a)  He is three; eternally three (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) Yet They have the same love, same fellowship, and purpose (see  John 5:20; 14:31; 10:15; 5:36; 6:44; 17:1; 5:30).

b)  In manifestation, you never see God appearing as three.

c)  He always appears as One because He is One! There is only one God--yet He is three (Col. 2:9; John 14:9).

4.  God brings us into the Trinity: into that fellowship and love.

a)  There are billions of diverse believers (Col. 3:10-11; I Cor. 12:12-13).

b)  Yet within the Trinity, we can love one another (John 17:26; I John 4:16-21).

c)   We are One in our testimony, practically, and in manifestation (John 17:21-23).

IV.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 05:46) You are not talking about oneness or unity within a denomination or church. So are you talking about oneness across all believers?

A. Yes." Love one another" and the "Oneness of the Body" are lessons that have been taught within a denomination, within a particular group, and within the members of a house church, but rarely across all believers. These teachers would say, "We are brothers and sisters, and we love each other; we are one here." However, the oneness discussed usually is only within that defined group of people.

1.  This in-group oneness is not what Jesus had in mind because that is like saying, "Love those that love you." (see Luke 6:32)

a)  Jesus said, "even sinners love those who love them" (Luke 6:32).

b) Now Jesus commands us to "love our enemies" (Matthew 5:43; Luke 6:27).

2.  When Jesus said, "love one another," He took into account we are all different (John 13:35).

a)  We have different perspectives, experiences, cultures, and even convictions related to doctrinal understanding.

b)  It is in this environment of our differences that He commands us to love one another.

c)  We are one even though we are different. 

V.  QUESTION: (timestamp 07:34) This sounds like a good idea, but what are some consequences if we do not pursue this unity? If we choose to stay only within our comfort groups?

A.  Positive benefits for believers

1.  Psalm 133:1-3 "how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!...For there the LORD commanded the blessing--life forevermore." (Psalm 133:1,3)

a)  This Psalm addresses diversity in unity because Israel consisted of twelve different tribes.

b)  For "in unity," the LORD "commanded" the blessing (Psalm 133:3)

c)  God commands the blessing when we are one in our diversity.

B.  Negative Impact of these Divisions

1.  I Corinthians 11:28-30 (timestamp 08:55) "For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep." (I Corinthians 11:30)

a)  Division among the believers leads to weakness, sickness, and even death (I Corinthians 11:30).

b)  Paul was likely alluding to physical death here, but certainly, it would include spiritual death.

c)  Despite the massive number of believers in Jesus, our spiritual sickness and weakness keep us from making a more significant impact on the world.

(1)  Jesus said, "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." (Mark 3:24; see also Matthew 12:25-26; Luke 11:17-18)

(2)  We are the Kingdom of God, yet we are divided. We condemn and judge one another, so it makes sense that there are so much weakness, sickness, and spiritual death.

VI.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 10:38) How is this model of Ekklesia different from an ecumenical movement?

A.  Ecumenical Movement is an organizational unity.

1.  Spearheaded by the Catholic Church

2.  An organizational unity (it is like a United Nations of Christians)

3.  A unity among churches or denominations (Catholic and protestants)

4.  Many mainline denominations have endorsed similar movements, but this is not the unity for which Jesus prayed.

B.  Jesus prayed for an organic unity: in life and spirit.

1.  What Jesus prayed for is not an organization but an organic unity (Eph. 4:3; I John 3:14)

2.  There is something in the believer that gives them the ability to be One with another believer despite their differences.

3.  This organic unity is between individuals.

4.  Church leaders can teach, but they cannot create this organic unity.

5.  This organic unity is among all believers, not just those in leadership.

VII.  QUESTION: (video 11:54 timestamp) Why do you think there isn't more oneness among believers?

A.  Ignorance: Many believers may be ignorant concerning this matter.

1.   Most believers do not know that the Oneness of God's people is in the heart of Jesus; they may think this oneness is secondary.

2.   Many do not know God has a purpose (Eph. 1:9-10; 3:10-11)

3.   They are not aware that Jesus died to bring scattered believers into One.

4.   Most believers think only of their personal salvation and getting to Heaven one day.

B.  Misunderstanding and Unbelief: History tells us many church leaders sought to create oneness through uniformity

1.  There have been men of God who preached this matter of oneness among believers, but their view of oneness was uniformity (e.g., doctrinal understanding).

2.  Uniformity requires that you must leave what your own convictions to join them.

3.  Preaching this type of oneness (aka uniformity) created more division.

4.  Therefore, many Christians have decided unity is too challenging. They chose to wait until Jesus comes back and "sorts it all out."

C.  Conflating Revival with Unity: Some may think that oneness will automatically happen if there is a revival.

1.  They say, "Let's keep doing whatever we are doing and pray for revival because when revival comes, we will be One."

2.  However, history shows us that after a revival, there are more churches and more denominations. There is bickering about who is in and who is out of the revival.

VIII.  QUESTION: (timestamp 14:10) Even when we hear about oneness, we misunderstand what we hear. Is it possible Satan has blinded our eyes to the reality of this oneness?

A. Yes, Romans 16 says, "The God of peace will crush Satan under our feet." (Romans 16:20)

1.  Based on the context here, Satan will be crushed under the feet of those believers who have received one another even though they are different (Romans 14-16)

2.  It is when the believers are in peace and fellowship that Satan is crushed under our feet. (Romans 16:20)

3.  Since Satan is crushed under those believers' feet, he does not want us to be One.

4.  Satan is doing His best to keep us divided.

5.  It is Satan's full-time job to keep us divided (Rev. 12:10; "accuser" is "catagorize" in Greek).

IX.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 14:45) Please tell us about these three gifts Jesus mentions in John 17, starting with Eternal Life.

A.  In John 17:1-26, in the LORD's prayer, before each time Jesus asks "that they may be one," there were three "I give them"; therefore, He gave three "gifts."

1.  Before each "ask," Jesus said, "I give them," and I call them "gifts" because we did not pay for them; He just gave them to us.

2.  After each gift is where Jesus said: "that they may be one."

B. The First Gift is Eternal Life which is to know the Father and the Son (John 17:2-3)

1.  This is not in the future because Jesus defined eternal life.

2.  A common misunderstanding is that we have His eternal life today, not just after we die.

C.  The Second Gift is God'S Word which is the Truth (John 17:14, 17, 21). Many confuse God's Word with the Bible, but that is too simplistic

1.  The Truth is Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Eph. 4:21).

2.  The Bible contains the Word of God, and the Word of God, the Truth, should bring believers together (John 5:39-40).

3.  The Bible has divided many believers.

4.  Almost every division among Christians uses something from the Bible to divide; therefore, those divisive items are not the Truth.

a)  Example: how many divisions are there around the method of baptism (sprinkling or immersion; what you say when you are baptizing someone; who can do the baptism; etc.).

b)  But the question to ask is, "What is the Truth of Baptism?"

c)  The Truth of Baptism is through faith we have been put into Christ; in God; we are immersed into Christ; into God and never to come out of Him (Phil. 3:9; Gal. 3:26-29)

d)  Once we understand the Truth behind baptism, we do not have to argue with people of different views concerning how it should be practiced.

e)  We can receive each other because of the Truth of baptism.  

D.  Finally, the last gift is "The LORD'S Glory" (John 17:23)

1.  The glory He received in His humanity after His death and resurrection He gave to us.

2.  He gave that glory to all His believers that we may be One.

3.  This glory enables us to let go of our pride and serve one another with the humility of Jesus (Eph. 4:2-3).

X.  QUESTION (video timestamp 18:01) Can you discuss how this glory is a servant opportunity that helps us step into oneness?

A.   Glory empowers to be nothing like Christ who humbled Himself (Phil 2:5-11; Eph. 4:2-3)

1.  Sometimes we think of glory as being lifted to a special status.

2.  The LORD's glory is different; it is not like the world's glory.

a)  The LORD's glory is to humble us (Matt. 20:26-28).

b)  His glory is to bring us to our knees to wash each other's feet--even Judas' feet, the disciple who betrayed Him! (John 13:2-5).

3.  This glory empowers us to live as He did in His humanity (I Peter 4:13-14).

4.  By His glory, our pride is put to death so we may serve others in humility (Phil. 2:5-11).

5.  In this glory, we can joyfully serve God and others (I Peter 4:10-13).

6.  Without this glory, our service will lack endurance and joy because it will be out of our own power.

LAST QUESTION (video timestamp 18:47) What are some takeaways from this discussion today?

A. Look into the Word and pray, "LORD show me that Your eternal purpose, Your commission, has everything to do with diverse people. Even people of opposing perspectives and opposite experiences say that we could love one another as the LORD has loved us, that we would become one so that the world would believe. That we would receive all the blessings that God intended for us instead of judgment on our divisions."

 

Guidelines for Group Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, but give opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for the interpretation of a Scripture.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate by giving insights regarding these verses.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

 

Group Discussion Questions

 

  1. (Read John 11:51-52) Discuss how these verses show that Jesus died for unity.

  2. (Read John 13:34-35) Discuss how this New Commandment relates to unity.

  3. (Read John 17:21-23) Discuss Jesus' prayer in John 17. What does that oneness look like?

  4. Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?