4/29 John 17:11

11 "And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one."

The name of the Lord is the sum of His attributes. When the Bible speaks of a person's name, such as "the name of Jesus," it is referring to what we observe of that person's character. In this verse Jesus said that God has given Him His name, YHWY, which is God's very nature. Jesus perfectly shows us God as a man.

Jesus is about to go to the cross and is concerned for His disciples. He asks the Father to keep them "in His name"-in other words, that they not stray from the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If they are kept in the name of the Lord, they will not fight over personal preferences or yield to pride. Together, displaying the fruits of the Spirit, they will be in perfect unity. They will be one in their focus on Jesus and the mission He gives them.

We can see why Jesus would pray this prayer when we hear the stories of church splits today. Someone will insist on a minor doctrine and rally others to support him or her. Another will insist on a certain style of music or translation of the Bible, and another on a certain method or formula. "Divide and conquer" is the most common tactic. Whether they realize it or not, they are no longer in the name of the Lord but are operating in their own names. They draw people after themselves because they believe they are right. The issues we must stand for are the essentials of the faith: who Jesus is and what He has done for us, along with the importance of the revelation of Scripture. Division over non-essentials is always wrong. We must be united around Jesus and the salvation we have in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Consider: God may lead you to move to a fellowship that is along the lines of your personal convictions, but be careful not to draw others along with you to prove your way is best. Confront false teaching that clearly denies the truth of the gospel, but discuss minor doctrines with gentleness and respect.