AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
6 OCTOBER 1991
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (John 17:20-21)
20. “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
21. that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”
Do you remember the words of the hymn “I Know Whom I Have Believed”?
Four times in this hymn, we sing the words of this title, “I Know Whom I Have Believed.”
But are you also aware that seven times in this hymn we acknowledged that we don't understand everything about God?
We sang "I know not why" and "I know not how" two times, and we also expressed "I know not when"; and we went further on to say "Nor why," "Nor how," "Nor if."
What this hymn brings to mind are the mysteries of God; those things upon which we can only stand in faith.
We can't prove these mysteries until they come upon us, personally, or when we get to heaven.
The way of God within a believer is something we know of with a certainty, but we have no way of fully explaining the mystery of it all to someone who hasn't likewise experienced the presence of God in their own life.
This is because the believer has become one with the Father through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus said we would; and this is a mystery that the world cannot understand.
Note John 14:10-12.
10. "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
Do you see the Two as One?
Because the Father and the Son are One, the Son does not act independently of the Father.
11. "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.
And for us today, we even have a written account of many of these works, in order that we would also believe.
12. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.
All of this mystery of oneness was explained to them before in Chapter 10, but as Jesus says, the world cannot understand this.
Note John 10:25-30 –
25. Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of Me.
26. "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.
27. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
28. and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
29. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30. "I and the Father are one."
I pray that everyone here understands this mystery and knows of this oneness within themselves.
If you struggle with this mystery, then pray to the Father in the name of the Son, that the Holy Spirit would come upon you, and that you too would hear and understand and truly believe.
This oneness with God is ours as well; otherwise we could not understand or do the works that the Lord has given us to do.
We may not have been given the power to raise a dead person back to life, as Jesus did; but we have been given the power to raise one who is dead in their sins unto everlasting life, through our changed life and testimony which witnesses of the presence of God in us, our oneness with God.
And, we can raise a person who is dead in the corruption of the world through our changed life as loving, compassionate peacemaking children of God who seek to free the whole of creation from it's present corruption, which includes every other human, all the other animals, and the world in which we all live.
And this oneness can exist between two special believers, as well.
Let's turn back in our Bibles to Genesis chapter 2, beginning at verse 18:
18. Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him [or corresponding to him]."
What this is saying is that not every relationship we have is suitable for us and, thus, will not lead to oneness with the individuals.
19. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature [or as the Hebrew Bible says, a living soul], that was its name.
The Lord God formed these animals in the same manner in which he formed man, and He even made them living souls, as we are living souls.
20. And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
While a love and friendship can and does exist between all of God's creatures, this nevertheless is not enough for two to become one. There must be more.
21. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.
22. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
23. And the man said,
"This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She [or this one] shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man."
Adam recognized that there was something special, or different, about this creature that the Lord God had made.
Thus, he didn't just name her, but acknowledged God's special creation for who she was.
24. For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
This relationship is unique.
It can only exist between one man and one woman, as long as they both shall live.
It cannot exist between a human and any other animal, nor between a parent and a child, nor can it exist between two men or two women, even when their love is extremely great and lasts for the rest of their lives.
Only the two who were made for each other by God can become one in this spiritual sense of Jesus being One with the Father: one man with one woman.
25. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Does that statement cause some embarrassment for you?
That, too, is understandable; for it is the sin in our lives that brings out this feeling.
Adam and Eve, at this time, were sinless. Their souls were pure. There was no contamination.
There was nothing to be embarrassed about.
They were one with each other and there was nothing to separate them; thus, nothing to be ashamed about.
They each were also one with God who had made them.
This, too, is a mystery; but it is nevertheless true.
We've been talking about earthly relationships that are examples of the oneness that should also exist between each of us and Jesus.
Now I would like you to flip to almost the opposite end of your Bibles, to the beginning of the book of Hebrews, and note the first four verses:
1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2. in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4. having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
It's important for us to note in verse 3 that we are told that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father.
Even what we call “identical twins” are not exact in every respect; but Jesus is the exact representation of God the Father.
So, what we see in the Son is the true character of God.
Also note in verse 3 that He sits at the right hand of the Father.
Now note what we are told in Revelation 3:21.
21. ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’
Now, why am I saying all of this?
Because there is one, and only one, other human being with whom we can become one and that is our husband or wife.
Thus, there is something missing in every other human relationship, including those individuals we follow and trust.
And approximately fifty percent of all people who have had this oneness relationship of marriage have lost it.
Thus, the only truly lasting oneness relationship we can have is with God.
Unless the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we really have no hope beyond this lifetime.
But since the Holy Spirit is the one and the same in all who have faith and truly believe, then we come closer to being one with each other.
This is one reason we come together to celebrate the Lord's Supper: to take into our bodies, in a symbolic manner, the body and sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, in order that we would remember and renew our oneness relationship with God.
It is also important for us to note that no other living being had to suffer or die for us to have this gift; Jesus took away all that sin and corruption, just as we should in our relationship with every other human and animal.
We can and should be living in peace.
And today is even more special, for people all over the world, people of every color and language, and from every walk of life, are coming together to celebrate this consecrated meal.
For every one of us can be joined together with the Lord to become one with Him and, thus, exact equals with each other in the eyes of God.
This is what God wills for all of us, but we are the ones who must receive this gift.
It's not important that we understand all the mysteries of God; it's only important that we have faith and receive of His blessings.
Let us open wide our hearts and souls and minds, so that we do receive and become one with the Lord forever and ever.
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