Summary: We can become discouraged by current conditions, but we're on the winning side with the Kingdom of Jesus. It has grown from 12 men to 2.3 billion and will only gain more dominance. You can't lose because you're on the winning team!
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
1. A woman locked her keys in her car. She looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger and was tried to get into her car but couldn’t. Finally, she bowed her head and asked God to send some help. Within five minutes a dirty, greasy, bearded man wearing stopped and asked if she needed help. She thought, “Is this the best You could send me?”
2. In less than a minute the man had the car opened. She hugged the man and said, “Thank you so much! You are a very nice man.”
3. The man replied, “Lady, I’m not a nice man. I just got out of prison today for car theft and have only been out for about an hour.” The woman hugged the man again and said loudly, “Oh, Thank you God! You even sent me a Professional!”
B. TEXT: Mt. 16:15-18
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
1. Jesus said, “I will build my church…” From that day, He’s never stopped building it…In spite of persecution,
In spite of politicians, in spite of communism, in spite of wars, disease, great depressions, and invasions. Jesus is still building His Church!
2. He started with 3 guys, then 12. It came close to annihilation a number of times. Herod killed James and arrested Peter. God knew Peter was key to the church’s survival, so an angel rescued him. Paul also was necessary.
3. The Romans persecuted the church for 3 centuries, but it survived and then flourished. It started as a Jewish church and expanded to N. Africa and Arabia for 600 years. Then the center of the church moved the Greece & Italy. Next it centered in Europe, then spread to the Pacific Islands and N. & S. America.
4. For the last 200 years the center of Christianity has been in N. America. But now it’s moved to Africa, which is the most Christian continent on the planet. But there are indications of an expanding Church in the far East. In the future, the church will likely be centered in South East Asia.
5. Jesus said, “I will build My Church.” Despite all the devil’s efforts it has grown from 12 men to 2 billion strong & Jesus is STILL building His Church. Jesus 2020. Regardless of who wins the election, Jesus IS winning! “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there…” Phip. 3:20.
I. THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH
A. IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH
1. Is Christianity just the invention of religious men, and fairly irrelevant compared to the power structures of government and media? No! THE CHURCH IS NO SIDESHOW, BUT THE MAIN PROGRAM OF GOD FOR THE AGES. The Church is so important that Jesus “purchased it with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Who is going in the rapture? The Church!
2. The Church is called “Ecclesia” – the called out ones; the “Body” of Christ, of which He is the head; the “Household of faith”; “God’s Building”; the “Bride of Christ”; “Army/Soldiers.”
B. USAGE OF THE WORD “ CHURCH”
1. How does Jesus picture His Church in Mt. 16:18?
a. A Church… trying to “hold on” until He Comes?
b. A Church… which is intimidated?
c. A Church… struggling to overcome worldliness?
d. A Church… struggling to stay alive?
2. NO! Rather, a Victorious Conquering Church! His statement outlines the Mission of the Church.
II. MEANING OF “THE GATES OF HELL?”
A. PLACE OF COUNSEL/ STRATEGIES
1. Some scholars believe that since cities’ gates were the place where the judges and wise men gave counsel, that “Gates of hell shall not prevail” represents the evil plans of the powers of hell to overthrow the Church.
2. It’s NO QUESTION Satan is out to destroy us! He has definite plans. (John 10:10)
a. Might be drugs, alcohol, illicit sex.
b. It might be fear, turmoil, depression.
c. It might be unforgiveness or pride, or jealousy.
3. If the devil can’t destroy you, he’ll try to make you ineffective for God: to fall into temptation, have a poor self image, fear what people will think.
4. But, “Praise God,” The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail against the Church! a. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. Isa. 54:17. b. Greater is He that is within you….c. Not by might, Nor by power, but by my Spirit…