20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
How important is Christian and church unity? Well....Jesus, hours before His betrayal and crucifixion, in His High Priestly prayer emphasized it! When He prayed for us who believe in the apostles teaching, which is the true church (verse 20), He prayed for our unity. Notice that is a unity of people rooted in their adhering to the apostolic doctrine. That was Jesus' focal point in His prayer for the church invisible (all the redeemed of God) which the church local is to live out. Remember per Ephesians 2:19-21 the church is built off the foundation of the apostles with Jesus as the cornerstone. The apostles doctrine is the Gospel and all its implications. Jesus prayed we would be one, united together on the apostles teaching. In verse 20-21 Jesus emphasized that He is united with the Father and prayed that we would be united in the Gospel with one another in the church.
Notice we are united by a commonality. The common denominator all true Christians share is we have been born again (the Holy Spirit has given us a new will and nature) therefore we are trusting in only the Lord Jesus' perfect life, death in our place, and resurrection to reconcile us to God. We are a people who adhere to and confess the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). We are those who worship God in Spirit (born again) and truth (through Christ and His teaching entrusted to the apostles) per John 4:24. The truth of the Gospel (which includes the doctrines of the Triune God, man, Jesus, salvation, and the church) is the only thing that can unite people from all areas of life. Our commitment to the Gospel of Jesus as revealed in Scripture breaks drown and destroys all social, ethnic, and economic barrier that divides people. Paul states in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." In a world that divides over everything, the Gospel unites people who are different with a bond in doctrine and a supernatural love that is meant to cause the world to scratch their heads in wonder at the love and unity they see in a local body of believers as well in true Christians in general.
The Biblical church across the landscape today is unified around the apostolic teaching as Christ prayed. What we forget is that not all who claim Christ is of Christ. Christ High Priestly prayer did not fail. All the church in the truth is part of the body of Christ indwelled by the Spirit of God and someday will be glorified in Christ to the praise of God the Father.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’