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Summary: An lesson designed to encourage the beliver in the struggles of every day life.

THE ASSEMLY OF GOD’S PEOPLE

Matthew 16:13-18

INTRODUCTION: READ TEXT This is a pivotal moment in the ministry of Jesus. Until now He has been a wandering prophet, an itinerant preacher, going from town to town teaching and proclaiming the Word of God. As of yet He has not divulged His true identity and His mission among men. Now, in one quick breath, He has revealed all. He is the Messiah and His mission is to gather His people. The Greek term that our English translations interpret as church simply means the assembling of a people. The Son of God has come to assemble God’s people and to give them unmatched power. The next phrase in our text tells us just that. Jesus says, "and the gates of hades shall not overcome them." Some versions read, "the gates of hell," but that is a mistranslation. This phrase carries two plausible meanings and they form the message Jesus gives to His followers.

{When Jesus Assembles His People…}

I. DEATH WILL NOT DEFEAT THEM

A. Death is an enemy we all face. Most of us have looked it in the eyes at least once in our lifetime. Since the beginning of time we have been its prey and we all know that its dark embrace could be just around the corner.

1. Death incites a fear equal to no other. Early man believed it was an end to his existence, that there was nothing beyond this realm and unfortunately many today still share that conviction.

2. The common perception is that death is a springboard in to the unknown, a trap door lurking somewhere along the pathway of life and just one misplaced step will vault us into uncertain eternity.

3. Thus death is feared, loathed and unwelcome in the course of human existence. It is to be avoided at all costs, that’s the common belief. If you do not believe me, take a moment and consider how much time, energy and money we spend to prolong life in this day and age.

B. Yet Jesus tells Peter and the rest of the apostles that death will not prevail over His people. Literally the text tells us that the bonds of death will not prove stronger that the assembled people of God. Now consider that for just a moment.

1. When Jesus gathers His people together death becomes weak. It no longer has any power over them. The call of Christ and the touch of His hand as it brings us together in Him changes the natural course of human life.

2. Death becomes a friend and not a foe. It changes from an end of life to the beginning of a new life. No longer does it stand before us with the ability to destroy but with the ability to translate us into the realm of Divinity.

3. And it is the Gospel by which Jesus gathers His people, (John 12:32) "If I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself," and it is the Gospel by which we as His people are given the victory over death.

a. John 10:27-30

b. Romans 8:2 – through Christ I am free from sin and death

c. Romans 8:33-39

C. When we surrender to His voice, heed His call and allow Him to gather us to Him and together as His people, death loses all its strength.

{When Jesus Assembles His People…}

II. THE POWERS OF EVIL WILL NOT DEFEAT THEM

A. What comes to mind when you envision Evil? For most of us the answer is Satan. He is the King of Evil, the Prince of Darkness and that Enemy of Old. His is also, at least according to the apostle Paul, the Ruler of this Age.

1. Brother’s and sister’s we live in a fallen world. Sin and temptation permeate almost every facet of our society and it has been so ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. That one sin paved the way for Satan to enter this world and he brought with him some powerful toys.

2. And with those toys he affects each one of us. In this realm there is no escape from his wiles. He casts shadows of doubt over our faith. He kicks us in the teeth with irresistible temptations. He stabs us in the back with the guilt of old sins.

3. He is constantly plotting and prowling, scheming and setting traps all in the hopes of upsetting the apple cart of our faith. Folks he is unbelievably strong and mortal man is powerless before him.

B. That is reality, but reality is also the fact that when we are part of the Family of God, called and assembled by His Son, we gain the incredible strength to be victorious over the powers of Evil.

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