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How to Experience Authentic Community

From the series True Spirituality

Deep down, we long to be connected with others in authentic community. But for many of us, the process of building that authentic community is a mystery, or filled with memories of pain or abuse. Chip reveals that God has a plan for developing genuine, beautiful, intimate relationships because He wants you to experience that kind of connection with others.

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Message Transcript

Did you ever wonder why so many Christians get spiritually stuck? The Bible’s very, very clear. It says, “If any man, if any woman is in Christ, the old things pass away; behold, all things become new.” And yet, you meet people–sincere, good, I don’t mean slackers–I mean people that really love God. They’ve seen transformation in some very significant areas, and they’re even in the Bible on a regular basis, and they really want to grow, and yet they hit a ceiling or they stall.

There are just some area that just seems to…the temper just never seems to get under the Spirit’s control, or how they say certain things or the way they judge people, or there’s a little private eating disorder over here, an addiction maybe, even on the Internet. And then they feel terrible and they promise God and they recommit their life about twenty-five times. And then they just feel stuck.

But as you see on your notes, part of the answer is that the greatest seed in the greatest soil cannot grow in the wrong environment. You might write “Luke chapter 8” or “Mark chapter 4,” parallel passages, and Jesus is talking about calling Himself, He’s the sower, and what He sows is the seed, and the seed is God’s Word, and the soil is the human hearts, the various receptions that the Word of God receives.

And if you know the story, some is on the path and some on the rocky soil. And it’s just the condition of different people’s hearts. And some, where it’s thorny and others is good soil, good and honest hearts, people who are really honest and really want to grow.

But here’s what I want you to get: The greatest seed, God’s Word, in the greatest soil, a good and honest heart, cannot grow in the wrong environment. There are certain things in your life and in my life, in every believer’s life, transformation won’t occur, no matter how much you’re in the Bible, no matter how honest and desiring your heart is, apart from you being in this environment where it can occur.

What I want you to see is there is a specific ecosystem or environment that God has that brings about transformation when the seed of God’s Word in your heart and mine is there. And if it’s not there, certain things... you’ll just get stuck.

Notice in your notes, a little biblical background here, the command of Jesus requires a very specific ecosystem or environment. The very last night on the earth, He’d washed their feet, and then He turned to them and He looked them eye to eye, and He said, “I want you” – this is the new commandment – “to love each other in the same way I’ve loved you.” Sacrificially, authentically, lay down your life for one another. But it requires an environment.

The second is the example of Jesus requires a very specific environment. When He wanted to change the world, He started by teaching. And He went and there was multitudes and thousands and thousands of people, and He did miracles. But then when He wanted to get the team together that would change the world, He stayed up all night, He prayed all night, and He chose twelve to be, the text says, “with Him.”

The multitudes heard the truth. The twelve learned to live the life. There was an environment that they needed to be in for all that truth to get down in their soul and their lives and their relationships.

The practice of the Early Church and its impact argue for the same environment. You know the story. They were committed in Acts 2...the apostles teaching, and to the fellowship of gathering together, and to the breaking of bread, and to the Lord’s supper.

It says, then, they gathered how? In the temple courts, and Peter or John or someone would preach and teach all these brand new Christians. And then where? From house to house.

Finally, the Church history – past and present – confirms this specific environment for spiritual growth and transformation. And whether I could take you back to the Moravians or the Wesleys or the Welsh revival, and they would get these little societies together, or I could take you to Korea that was completely non-Christian, five, six decades ago, and the cell movement or the small group movement now spanning the earth.

Here’s what I want you to get: The specific environment or ecosystem in which the seed of God’s Word in your heart that’s honest and good and wants to grow is authentic community. It’s authentic community. Notice the form that it takes is a small group. The group could be three people, four people, ten people, but that’s just the form, that’s the container.

Never, ever confuse just being in a small group with authentic community. I’ve been in small groups that there’s no authentic community, haven’t you? Have you ever gone to a small group and someone opens the Bible and reads a little bit, you know, or maybe you watched a little part of the DVD, and someone says, “Well, what did you get for question four? What did you get for question seven? Oh, that’s nice, that’s nice.”

But authentic community is deeper. Authentic community is this environment where people lay down their lives for one another. Authentic community is where you take a group of people and they say, “You know what? We’re going to change the world,” and they were around Jesus. Authentic community is living under persecution and hearing God’s Word and going from house to house to support one another to live it out.

In fact, it raises two very important questions. Question number one is: What is authentic community? And then question number two is: How do you get it? And the answer to both those questions is in Romans chapter 12, verses 9 to 13. If you’re just new with us, we are going through the chapter in Romans 12.

And in verse 1, we learn that what God really wants from all of us is – what? He wants us surrendered to Him, all we are, all that we have. In verse 2, we said there’s an enemy of our soul. There’s a world system that’s trying to woo and seduce our heart away from our Savior.

And we’re “not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind,” to be separate from the world’s values.

We looked at verses 3 through 8, and we learned that we’re not to think too high or too low, but to have a sober self-assessment, to know where we fit in the body. And now what he’s going to talk about is serving in love. He’s going to talk about: what kind of relationships are we to have as fellow believers?

And if you look at your notes there, in verse 9, you’re going to see that authentic community is the “real you” showing up. Verse 10 is going to say that the “real you” needs to meet real needs. And then in verse 11, he’s going to say the “real you” needs to meet real needs but for the right reason. And in verses 12 and 13, the “real you” needs to meet real needs for the right reason and do it in the right way.

For some of you, you love God, you have a good heart, you’re taking in God’s Word, but you’re stuck. There’s a ceiling. You have these outbursts of anger and you feel terrible about it. You have issues in your life that you know you don’t want and you’ve told God “I’m sorry” and you want to change and you’ve tried hard to change, but you still don’t see any radical transformation.

I’m telling you, this moment on this day may be God’s answer to the environment in which some of those things you’ve struggled with so long He can change. But it doesn’t happen alone. So let’s look together, what is authentic community, and maybe more importantly, how do you get it?

First, from verse 9, authentic community is the “real you,” not a projection of yourself.

See, you can’t have authentic community unless the “real you” shows up. Authentic community, he says, “Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good.” The two characteristics of the “real you” showing up is, one, authenticity, and two, it’s purity. Where the Word says, “Let love be sincere,” circle the word “sincere” and write above it “hypocrisy.”

Paul is borrowing from the Greek of his day, and in the Greek theater of that day, they were all male actors. And so if you were a good thespian, you could be able to throw your voice and you could play a male part, a female part, an old person, a young person. And they dressed up in different costumes, and then there would be a mask that you would wear. So you would throw your voice.

And Paul takes that word for the mask, and that’s this word. He says, “Let love be without a mask, without hypocrisy.” Let the “real you” show up. Yes, you got to be discerning and you got to be careful of who you share the “real you” with, but he’s saying that authentic community isn’t just getting in a small group. It’s when the “real you” is showing up and you let people see who you are, progressively, wisely, discerningly.

In fact, jot in your notes, if you would, “Acts chapter 5.” This is important. This is beyond important. Some people never experience this their entire Christian life, and they can never figure out why they don’t experience the transformation power that God has promised us in Scripture.

Now, I didn’t grow up as a Christian. I never opened the Bible until I was eighteen. And so my first trip through the New Testament was like, “Oh, wow.” I mean, really. It was like, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. I didn’t even know the names of stuff. And then I got to Acts and I figured out, okay, this is the Early Church history. And Jesus ascended, He went to heaven, and in chapter 2, the Church is born, and chapter 3, he and John are doing miracles. And it’s pretty exciting stuff.

And then you get to chapter 5, and the Church is exploding, and so there are all these needs. I mean, tens of thousands of people are now in the Church in a very short amount of time. And about eighty percent of them are slaves, and a very small percentage are pretty affluent people, some in Herod’s household and others.

And they did this – in this time of emergency – they did this sort of unusual thing where they all came together and they said, “We need to help each other. We need to be devoted to one another.”

And so in chapter 4, it gives an example of this very wealthy man who had a piece of property in Cyprus on this island, which is the equivalent of downtown San Francisco or Manhattan, in that day. And so he sells it and he takes the money, and he says, “Look,”– I don’t know this for sure – “but I got a second home. You know, there’s a piece of property. You take this to meet the needs of the people in the church. They’re really hurting.”

And I think a buzz happened in the church where, wow, it was so sacrificial, it was so generous. And people were like, “Boy, I guess this is what it means to love one another.” And his name was Barnabas. And I think Barnabas got this reputation because they started calling him the “son of encouragement.”

And the story goes on in Acts chapter 5. And jot that down because before your head hits the pillow, you ought to read it. It’s not very long. It’s very interesting. But I’m a brand new Christian and I’m reading this. So there’s this young couple. I’m guessing they’re young. Maybe they’re not young. But Ananias and Sapphira. And so they kind of look around and they think, “Wow, everyone’s talking about Barnabas. We wish people would talk about us like that. We sure wish people would think we’re that generous and loving and kind.”

And so they hatched this plan. And the plan is, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to sell this piece of property, and we’ll get the money, and we’ll tell people that we sold it for this much money and, we gave it all away, but we’ll really keep back the money for us, so we’ll kind of have our cake and eat it, too. We’ll appear generous and loving and sacrificial, but we’ll still have the major part of the money.”

And so, he comes and talks to Peter, and God reveals to Peter what’s going on. And Peter says, “Ananias, why have you lied to the Holy Spirit? Before it was sold, it was yours. After it was sold, it was yours. You aren’t compelled to give a little or a lot.” The issue is integrity. And then right there, bam, he dies. I mean, literally drops dead. And the young men come and pick him up. For what? His hypocrisy. The very first sin in the Church is hypocrisy, and the judgment is death.

His wife comes a few hours later. And I’m thinking Peter’s going, “I sure hope she’s not in on this.” And so he says, “Sapphira, it’s good to see you. How are things going?” “Oh, pretty good.” “How are the kids?” I’m adding just a little.

And he says to her, “So did you sell this piece of land for such and such a price?” “Oh, yes. You know, Ananias, when you’re married to such a generous, loving, kind, amazing husband like I have, and we sacrificially have given it all away…” I’m again reading between the lines.

And Peter looks at her and, I think, just with sadness in his heart, and he said, “The young men’s feet who took away your husband shall take you away as well.” Bam, she dies on the spot. And it says a great fear came among the church. Yeah, are you kidding?

Now, you’ve got to understand...can you imagine if you’ve never read the Bible before and this is your first time through the New Testament and you’re a brand new Christian, you’re thinking, so this is what happens to hypocrites? I’m in trouble. I mean, literally it was like, whoa. In fact, if God was acting in this way, I think He was going to make a point. See, if hypocrisy gets in the mix, it’s like leaven and bread. It spreads. And when people aren’t authentic, the message of Jesus would have been wiped out within a few years.

And so God wanted to demonstrate how important this was. I often thought later when I was a pastor, if God did that for twenty-four hours in the church all across America, all of us would have to turn in our pastors’ badges and become morticians. Probably a lot of us pastors would need other pastors who are doing better than us to bury us.

But do you get it? Do you really get that church, quote, was never, ever intended to be a group of people that come to an event and feel like in some way they’re doing something morally positive because they come to an event, and listen to someone talk about God, and even sing a few worship songs to Him, and then file out, and live life their own way, and not be absolutely connected to one another, and have a safe environment where the “real you” shows up? And you know why the “real you” doesn’t show up? The same reason the “real you” doesn’t show up in me. He says, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” and then it says, “Cling to what is good, hate what is evil.” Literally the word is “abhor what is evil.”

It’s that picture... I remember doing a word study on this, and it’s a picture of being on vacation for like three or four weeks, whoever gets that much time, but that’s really hypothetical. But you’ve been out of town for a while, and there’s a carton of milk or some fruit, and you open the carton of milk to smell it to see, and oh. Have you ever done that? And the smell is so bad you want to throw up. That’s this word. It says, “abhor evil.” Most of us are spending this...I wonder if this is wrong, how close can I get to sin without falling in?

So people in counseling will ask me questions like, “Well, is this rating, this rating, or this rating in this movie, do you think it’s okay if I can do this?” Or, “You know, we’re dating right now and we’re doing this, this, this, and this. Is that really sexual sin or can we...?” Or “We have so much money and I want to know is it the gross or is it the net or is... Could I take a percentage...?” It’s kind of like, “How…?” Instead of, what’s it say? “Cling to what is good.” That’s completely the wrong question.

The issue isn’t: how close can I get to sin “without sinning”? It’s: how close can I get to God?
Authentic community doesn’t happen when you do a little nice thing or a little nice thing here and it doesn’t really cost you very much. Authentic community happens when the “real you” shows up. Notice it says devotion – “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” – humility –“giving preference to one another in honor.”

Real needs getting met always involves devotion on our part and humility. The word “devotion” here is strong. He’s saying you need to be committed to one another and lay your lives down for one another like you would for blood relatives. For people that you feel this moral responsibility for. And it says, “Be devoted to one another”– how? In brotherly love. Philadelphia, that’s the word. We named a city in Pennsylvania by that. It’s this commitment of family love, of being there for one another, of doing whatever it takes.

Jot in the corner of your notes: Philippians chapter 2, if you will, verse 3 and 4. The apostle Paul says… think of how all-encompassing this is: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourself.”

Boy, would that change your small group, would that change your family? “Each of you should look not only for your own interests but also the interests of others.” In fact, he goes on to say, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus that although existed in the form of God, He didn’t regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He humbled Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, becoming obedient even unto death.” Humility. Humility is putting other people, giving preference, where you lift them up.

I had the privilege of working with someone that’s modeled this for me, and there are a number of people that do it, but I just have the longest history with a guy named Greg.

He came out of the Silicon Valley, early days of Palm Pilot, later went to Cisco, project manager, later was a volunteer over in Santa Cruz, and forty or fifty volunteers did lights, sound. Real super-techy guy. When I went to Walk Thru the Bible, he came with me and was just…he’s just a manager of just tremendous ability. And as Living on the Edge went out on its own, he ran all of Living on the Edge, the broadcasting, the money, the finances, the operation, everything.

And we started to grow and there was a guy who came along. He wrote a strategic plan for us. And he had led a huge ministry in the United States, and I’ll never forget. He met with me, he said, “This is really exciting, and I think God’s in it. I’d like to help you fulfill it.”

And a little humility, I said, “Well, I now know what you’ve done in your life and you now know all of our books. I could pay you maybe half of what you’ve ever made. This is an amazing downward mobility opportunity for you.” And he looked at me and he said, “I’ll take it.” And Andrew came, and in the next three and a half years, he tripled the size of everything that happened at Living on the Edge.

But here was the interesting point. Greg is really good into the people and roles and personnel and HR and all that stuff. I’m not. And we sat down, the entire executive team of Living on the Edge: me and Greg. There are two of us, you know? And he said, “If we hire Andrew, you need to know something.” I said, “What’s that?” “In about six months, he needs to lead the whole organization, and I need to be just over broadcasting and just technology, because his gifts and what he’ll bring, he’s far better. He will bring what I don’t have, and there’s no way the ministry will be what God wants it to be unless he has that role. So I’m just telling you that he needs to become my boss.”

And when’s the last time you ever worked or met anyone who had the power to hire someone that when he hired them he knew: they will become greater, I will become lesser, he will have a higher role, make a higher income, and I will move down because I want to serve you, serve God, and the mission is what matters. You know what that’s called? Giving preference.

See, when you walk into a small group, or when you walk into church, or when you are in your family and sit around at the table, which I hope you do, all of us either have one or two sets of lenses on. One lens is: who asked me a question? Who cares about me? Why didn’t anyone give me a hug? How come everyone seems so happy and no one cared about me? I went to the small group and no one seemed to really listen when I was telling my story, and I’m lonely and I need a friend and what about…? And what about...? And that’s one set of glasses.

And other people go with a set of glasses that say: I’ve got needs and God knows what they are, but I wonder who He wants me to be a conduit of grace in this small group, or when I get home from work, I’m absolutely tired, I don’t want to talk about all that stuff I went through, but I bet my wife or my husband or some of my kids, they’re going to need someone that’s alive and caring, and I want to engage and find out: how can I put them above myself? How do I give them preference?

And here’s the weird part: Those people who do that experience amazing joy, and people flock around them. Because Jesus said, “Give and it’ll be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over back into your lap, for in the same measure that you give…”

And it may include money, but He wasn’t talking about money. “In the same measure that you give, it’ll be given unto you pressed down, shaken together and running back.”

See, that spiritual ceiling, where we get stuck is often the “real you” doesn’t show up. And if the “real you” doesn’t show up, often we’re not meeting real needs. We’re just meeting convenient or superficial needs.

But then he says not only does the “real you” and me need to show up and meet real needs, but he says you need to do it for the right reason, not to please people. He says, “Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Not lagging behind in diligence. Literally the word is “slothfulness.” The literal meaning of it is not being slow.

Fervent in spirit is a picture of water coming to a boil. It has this idea of when the bubbles come up, right, just before the… [indicating], when it’s boiling. This energy, this passion, this focus, fervent in spirit, not obligation, duty, “I guess I got to do this, got to go to this group, and so-and-so has a need, what do you think? I guess we ought to help him, blah, blah, blah.”

That’s not the picture. And notice the focus isn’t: what will I get or will people think better of me? I’m not going to be slow about the promptings that God gives me. I’m going to be filled with enthusiasm that comes from God, and I’m going to do it not even just for them but to serve Him.

How many of you have ever been talking with a close friend or been in a small group, especially a Bible study, and someone in the Bible study said, “Hey, would you all pray for me? I’m lazy and I need help with my laziness.” Can I see those hands?

See, most people, especially Americans, none of us think we’re lazy. But part of it is we have a warped view of what laziness is. We think laziness are people who watch seven hours of TV, play four hours of video games, and eat chocolate bonbons on the couch for days on end. They’re lazy.

Biblical definition of laziness is not doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. A lot of – we mask our laziness with good things. God speaks to your heart and He says, “You need to apologize to so-and-so.” And so you think, Oh, wow, I think I’ll go read a chapter in the Bible or pray. Guess what. It’s not God’s will to pray or read a chapter in the Bible when He says, “Go apologize to so-and-so.” See, laziness is refusing to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. And we have all kinds of denial and avoidance. And he says, in your motives, don’t be slothful. Be enthusiastic. Notice at the bottom of your notes. Genuine service to God is characterized by diligence, excellence in what we do and how we do it, and enthusiasm... passion to serve God and love people, not please people or impress people.

My dad was an alcoholic, a great guy in general, but just... one of the roles in an alcoholic family is making peace and fixing things. Well, once I came to Christ, I didn’t realize it. It took me a while to get going spiritually, and when I finally got going, what I found out was, I was still trying to fix things and work out my dysfunctional issues now in the body of Christ.

And what I found is this group of people who call themselves Christians, and I was genuinely transformed and lots of great things were happening. But I found if you memorized a lot of verses, and you served people, and if you said the right things and you just kind of went off the charts in your performance orientation to, quote, what looked like loving people, you got a lot of strokes and affirmation.

And so after a slow start, I went nuts. I memorized hundreds of verses. I was in this Bible study, led this Bible study, was in this group, did this. I was just like a maniac. I was such a maniac that there were times I thought, I make myself sick.

So I’m supposed to have this meeting with John, my team leader, and I literally can’t wait. I’m thinking I’m finally going to get some pats on the back that I really deserve. And he’s going to tell me just…it’s probably you, Hudson Taylor, Dawson Trotman, Martin Luther, you know. You and the boys are going to make a big impact someday…it was so sick.

And let me pick up the story because it’s too embarrassing to tell.

“Our meeting didn’t go as I expected. Although I was full of zeal and performed well throughout the summer, John’s evaluation stunned me. His assessment of my spiritual growth was far different than my own. With very few words, he said he appreciated getting to know me throughout the summer and that God had revealed three verses on his heart that he wanted to share with me. He handed me the note cards and said, ‘I pray God really speaks to you as you go back to your campus.’ Anticlimactic.

“So I’ve got these three, 3x5 cards with verses that he had handwritten out. The first one said, ‘For am I now seeking the favor of men or of God, or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ,’ Galatians 1:10. And I thought, Hmm, that’s an interesting verse.

“Second verse, John 5:44: ‘How can you believe when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?’ There may be a message here. All doubt was removed by the last verse, Luke 16:15: ‘And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your heart. That which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”’”

See, the “real you” can show up and you can meet real needs and you can do it to serve you, like I did, to get affirmation, to get strokes, to play a game inside the Christian community where you appear loving. But what you really do is you end up using all the verses that you know and all the good deeds that you have to create a little world where you just send a different hologram of a fake and phony person that’s working out your own dysfunctions to get people to accept you rather than say, “I am accepted in Jesus.”

And the acid test of your motives is always when you get treated like a servant, when no one notices, when they don’t say thank you, when you’re not rewarded, when you feel like the only one that sees what I’m doing is God.

Authentic community is always going to be played out in the context of pain and difficulty and challenge.

He says, what do you need to do? Persevere in tribulation. In other words, in the midst of when it’s difficult, you refuse to give up because you’re going to do life with this group of people, and it’s hard and everything in you wants to give up, but you refuse to. And you’re going to help people make it through. And your resource is going to be devoted to prayer.

You’re going to have multiple times where… “I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent, I don’t know how I’m going to solve this problem, I don’t know how I’m going to heal this marriage, I don’t know how I can break this addiction. But God, I’m asking for Your help, and I’m going to share my life openly, in authenticity with a group of people that are safe and we’re going to go through this together.”

And there’s an upward focus. It’s not your resources. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in every child of God. You have all the power you will ever need, but that power gets accessed through His Word and through the community of God’s people, and that power gets accessed as you pray.

One of the greatest evidences of genuine humility and dependency is your prayer life. And I’ve been there. You know what? When your life basically is like you get up, you grab a cup of coffee, you get in the car, you run, you’re going, there’s a big meeting, got to do this with your kids, got to make a big decision, and you do all that, and you’re not on your knees saying, God, I don’t know what to do; God, I don’t have the wisdom; God, I don’t know how to do this with one of my kids; God, I need…please.

When you’re not doing that, what you’re saying to God is, I know You created the world, I know You’re all-wise, I know You know everything that’s happening today, tomorrow, and forever, but I really don’t need that kind of help. I think that’s the definition of arrogance, isn’t it? Our prayerlessness basically says, I got this one. You just keep that world spinning. I’ll handle this one. And God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. That’s tapping His supernatural resources.

And so there’s an upward focus, and then it’s followed by an outward focus. An outward focus says…notice what it says. It says, “Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing or pursuing hospitality.” It’s where he says there’s an outward focus. The resources are…there are times where God’s going to ask you to contribute.

The real meaning of contribute is contribute, like give money away to people in need, give time away, give things away to someone that doesn’t have what you have that’s a brother or sister in Christ, contribute to the needs of the saints – fellow believers. And when you do, it’s like, what about me? God says, “I got that one covered.”

And then it says: “pursuing hospitality.” Literally the phrase is “pursuing strangers.” See, you can get into authentic community. I think this is added at the very end for a very important reason. “It can be us four and no more. We got the greatest Bible study, we’re really close, we’re so authentic, we’re open, we can share anything, we’re super-supportive, we’ve been doing this for twenty-five years with just us.” Wow. Goody for you. I wonder if there’s anybody else in the church that might have needed this in the last twenty-four or five years.

Who are the people that are unlovely? Who are the people that are lonely? Who are the people that need you to pursue and open your home and open your heart and invite them to a meal? Who are the people that need you to be the presence of Jesus? See, this is what breaks the ceiling. This is how you get unstuck. The seed of God’s Word in a good and honest heart – the soil – in the environment of authentic community.

It mattered so much to Jesus. Notice how He closed His last prayer recorded in Scripture. He says, “My prayer, Father, is not for them alone,” His disciples, “I pray also for those that will believe in Me through their message,” that’s us, “that all of them,” notice, “may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You, may they also be in Us.”

The Trinity has authentic community. And Jesus is praying to the Father that we could experience what They experience and then we could experience with Them. And then look at the purpose clause, “so that.” This is why this is so important. “So that they may believe You sent Me.”