One Is the Loneliest Number

Two series

This is another sermon in two series…one series that is intentional…and one that, as I prepared for this talk, I realized I have been implicitly doing.

VISION

This is the second to last talk in the first series…my VISION for the Antrim Church of Christ.

Today we'll be discussing the letter O…which follows:

  • V — Values — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will only get our values from the Bible and that we will value heavenly things more than earthly ones.
  • I — Integrity — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will always have integrity.
  • S — Seriousness — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will take our calling seriously.
  • I — Intimacy — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will have greater intimacy.

Does anyone remember what O stands for?

Although I kind of liked both ombrotrophic and omnium-gatherum…the best choice was a much better and simpler three-letter word…

One.

My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will be one.

Wisdom from Secular Songs

What about the second series…the implicit series…I mentioned? Can anyone guess what it is?

I realized…as a Three Dog Night song came to mind for this talk…that I've been doing sermons that discuss the wisdom of secular songs…whether they give good advice or bad.

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the "extras" that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

For instance, in my sermon, "What You Need"…we confirmed that Aloe Blacc's song, "Miss Fortune," shared some great advice from Miss Fortune's father to her suitor when he said:

But the problem with having everything you want

Is you never really know what you need

However, from "Prayin' Like a Pagan (Part 2)" we realized that we might not want to pray like Janis Joplin and plead, "Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."

One Is The Loneliest Number

Within today's sermon we'll see how right Three Dog Night is when, in their aptly named song, "One," they sing, "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do."

Is one really the loneliest number?

As we look at the O in my VISION for the Antrim Church of Christ we'll see if Three Dog Night is correct…

Christian Ones

As followers of "the one who died—more than that, who was raised" (Romans 8:34) and "who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17)…

There are a lot of ones that are very important to us. For instance, let's take a look at Ephesians 4:1-6:

4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Did you catch all the ones in in the last two verses of that selection?

  • One body
  • One Spirit
  • One hope
  • One Lord
  • One faith
  • One baptism
  • One God and Father of all

One may or may not be the loneliest number…we have yet to answer that question…but it is a very important numeral to Christians.

Another "one" scripture of note is in the book we've been studying each Sunday morning. Verses 1 and 2 in the second chapter of Philippians says:

2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind (Philippians 2:1-2).

With that we verse we get to add to our list of ones:

  • One love
  • One accord
  • One mind

Sure…it doesn't technically say "one love" and "one accord"…but I think they are fair additions considering the context of Philippians' unity theme.

We could spend a good hunk of today continuing to go through one biblical references…but after a few hours people might start preferring song service instead…so let's discuss a couple more before we see if Three Dog Night is correct in suggesting that "one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do."

When it comes to "one" scriptures, this is probably number two in biblical verses that stand out to me. It's Galatians 3:25-29, with a special focus on verse 28:

25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Their is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female…

Think of the comfort society's outcasts and underclasses have gotten from those words for 2,000 years!

And why are their neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, mail nor female? Because…

We are all one in Christ Jesus.

  • One body
  • One Spirit
  • One hope
  • One Lord
  • One faith
  • One baptism
  • One God and Father of all
  • One love
  • One accord
  • One mind
  • And one in Christ Jesus…

For our last "one" Scripture…my number one "one" Scripture…let's turn to John 17:20-26…verses that should be familiar to those who have been oft tortured by my sermons. 🙂

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. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Although that really doesn't add entries to our list of Christian ones, it does shed some light on its importance and implications.

First, notice that it is Jesus specific prayer that we be one. Remember, we are "those who will believe in [Him] through [the Apostle's] word.

He prayed we be one. Let's not disappoint Him.

Second, to be one is to be "in" each other…"that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us." To spend a bit more time on that thought please head to our web site and listen to “After We Had Torn Ourselves Away From Them…” — my sermon about the second "I" in VISION. To be one is to be intimate with each other.

Finally, and of extreme importance to those who have accepted the call into God's fold, being one reflects back on our Lord.

Carefully consider those words.

Being one reflects back on our Lord.

Jesus prays we "may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me." If we are one, the world will know Jesus is Christ…the Messiah…and the reverse also holds.

If we are not one, the world will not believe in Jesus.

Or, for that matter…from the same reference…that the Father loves us.

Which can't help me think of yet another very famous set of words from Jesus recorded by the Apostle John:

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

If we are one…with one love…that one love will include love for each other. Being one will show people that we are loved by the Father…and loving each other will show we are Jesus' disciples.

"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Is One the Loneliest Number?

Although at this point I hope you better know what I mean when I say, "My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will be one"…I still haven't answered whether Three Dog Night is right and one is the loneliest number.

Let's do that with two more references, the first in Matthew 7:13-14:

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy 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.

I don't know about you, but "one" is sounding a lot better than "many" right now. If you go with the many, your destination is…

Destruction.

Luke elaborates a bit more on this theme in Luke 13:23-28:

And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, 24 "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,' then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.' 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!' 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

Again, one is sounding a lot better than many…"many…will seek to enter and will not be able." Instead they will head to a place where "there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Now, in fairness to Three Dog Night…they were using "one" in a different context, but being the preacher and all, I am allowed quite a bit of poetic license. 🙂

I would suggest once God leaves the lost…the many…they will feel very, very lonely.

That instead of one being the loneliest number, many is.

Okay…"many" isn't even a number…but you know what I mean. 🙂

Being thrown (Matthew 8:12) or cast (Matthew 22:13; 25:30) into "outer darkness" will leave the wicked in a very lonely condition.

Being part of the one body…being one with each other…being one with the Son and with the Father…

That's not going to be lonely at all.

And, of course, that can only be accomplished through The One.

Not only is it my vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will be one…

My VISION for that the Antrim church is that we will be one body fed by one Spirit with one hope in one Lord because our one faith meant we shared in the one baptism given by the one God and Father of all and with our one love we will work in one accord and with one mind so that we will be one with each other and…most importantly…

One in Christ Jesus.

And that from that others will know that the Father sent the Son…

And will believe…

And will become one with us too!

Because, with God, one is the least lonely number of all!


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