Summary: This message from Matthew 18:18-20 reveals Jesus teaching on the power of the church in prayer to bind and loose on earth what God wishes to bind or loose in heaven, the power of agreement in prayer, and Christ's promise to be present in the prayers of tw
When God’s Church Prays
CHCC – November 20, 2011
Today we’re going to see what Jesus had to say about the prayer ministry of the church. There are NOT a lot of verses to look at because Jesus only talked about the church 2 times. There’s a good reason for this … the church didn’t exist yet!
Of course, Jesus knew that the church would be established by the preaching of the Apostles after His death, resurrection, and ascension. That’s exactly what happened on the day of Pentecost when 3,000 people were baptized and became the First (…and I really mean First) Christian Church of Jerusalem.
Jesus first mentioned His Church in Matthew 16. Jesus asked his apostles, “Who do men say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God.”
Jesus answered, “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. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19
The second time Jesus talked about the Church is found a couple of chapters later in Matthew 18. Jesus was talking about how we should handle it if someone sins against us. He said first to personally go and talk to them. Then, if that doesn’t work, take one of two others along as witnesses.
Jesus said If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Then Jesus repeated what he had previously told Peter about the Church:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:17-18
1. The PURPOSE of prayer in the church
This describes the amazing PURPOSE of prayer in the church. The church has been given authority to bind and loose on earth what God desires to bind and loose in Heaven. In other words, the PURPOSE of prayer in the church is to literally change things.
Jesus has given His Church the power to bind or loose things, both on earth and in Heaven. Now, what kinds of things would need to be "bound" or "loosed"? Well, naturally anything that is against God’s will would need to be bound (prevented from continuing) and anything that is in accord with God's will would need to be loosed (permitted to carry on.)
When we pray as a Church, we are accomplishing God’s PURPOSE for His Church. Our church’s prayers are not JUST to make us sound “churchy” --- our prayers are not just to make us feel good … our prayers are not even JUST to help us draw closer to God.
The prayers of the Church are meant to actually change the course of history. God has given His Church authority to influence what happens in the world around us, and even to influence what happens in Heaven. This is an astounding thought!
Did you ever pray about something and then have the feeling --- “Oh, what does it matter if I pray about this. God is going to do whatever He chooses whether I pray about it or not.” Some people think that God has everything set in stone … and that nothing we say or do can influence His plans. This is not what Jesus taught.
All through the Bible, in the Old Testament and the New, we see that God has chosen to work in partnership with His people. Certainly God can do anything He wants WITHOUT us … but He prefers to work WITH us.
Here’s an Old Testament example from the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah. While Jeremiah prophesied from Judah, Ezekiel was already exiled to Babylon when he gave this prophecy: This is what the LORD God says: “Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep.” (Ezekiel 36:37)
Those who don’t know God’s methods might to say, “Well, if God wants to increase the size of Israel, He’ll just DO it. After all, who could stop Him?” But God said “Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea.” In other words, God chose to act BECAUSE they asked Him to. God has chosen to limit himself … He will wait until we ask - - - then He will act.
This is the PURPOSE of prayer in the church. Our Prayer Ministry means that we join together for the purpose of bringing down to earth the Will of God. Prayer is not a small, insignificant, non-essential part of our church’s life. Prayer is our central PURPOSE. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18