Pastor John E. Russell
Senior Pastor
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


  In John 16, Jesus had been telling his disciples that he was soon going to be leaving this world and going back to the Father. He told them that when this happened they would be scattered, each to his own home. He also told them not to be surprised when they faced trouble in this world. But, they didn’t have to worry because he had overcome the world and in him, they - and we too - could also overcome this world and experience the peace that can only come from being one with Christ.

Soon after that, Jesus was going to be arrested and led away to his death, but before this happened he took the time in John 17 to pray.

First, he prays for his situation, and then for his disciples. Then, the last thing he prays for, before being arrested, is for the unity of all the future believers who would believe in him…that's us!

John 17:20-23:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

A very common theme from the messages this past weekend was that all of us will be going through many problems throughout our lives, just as Jesus said we would. But, we should not worry when we find ourselves going through those difficulties. God knows they are coming, He’ll be there with us, He’ll help us get through them, and these are the very things that will help make us into the people we were destined to be. As I’ve often said in the past “the struggle is good.”

Here’s what God has shown me that we have to look out for when we are going through these struggles. God doesn’t want us to be hiding out or cutting ourselves off from His body. He doesn’t want us to be scattered, each to our own homes. God wants us to work together as one, even when,especially when, we are facing problems. This isn’t the time to run and hide from those God has put in our lives. This is where the devil has a field day - when he finds us cut off from others in our moment of weakness and attacks us just as the lion does to the wounded animal.

God has designed us to need one another - He knows there is strength and protection in unity!

Ecclesiastes 4:10
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

It’s easy to tear a single page in two. Try tearing a phone book in two.

God knows our lives will be full of challenges. That’s why He wants us to be united with other believers. He knows we can accomplish so much more when we are working in unity.
Genesis 11:6
The LORD said, If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

The reason God stopped the people from building the tower of Babel was that they were working apart from Him and trying to make a name for themselves. If they had been working together to bring glory to God, He would have blessed them.

God does want to bless us - abundantly. The vehicle He has given us to work in together - in unity - is the church, His body.

Together, in Christ, we can overcome this world and experience the peace, the power, and the victory that can only come from being united with Christ and with one another.

Ephesians 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

God Bless,
Pastor John

1 comment:

Betty said...

I say Yes and Amen!
Thank you Pastor John for your words of wisdom.

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