Summary: The gates of hell will not destroy this church. Jesus said that in Matthew 16:18. When he said that, he was not talking about a building. He was talking about the people, because people are the church.
I’m going to utter a prophecy. The gates of hell will not destroy this church. Jesus said that in Matthew 16:18. When he said that, he was not talking about a building. He was talking about the people, because people are the church.
Let’s learn that real estate is not the church, people are.
Let’s look at Luke 21:1-19 and discuss church success, what impresses God, church buildings, tribulation, fear, prophecy and endurance.
Luke 21:1 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
5 Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6 “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”
8 He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Success (vs. 1-4)
Jerusalem’s Temple was renovated around 19 BC and destroyed in 70 AD. It was so magnificent that it could easily surpass many of today’s most magnificent churches. God destroyed it because it was not a successful building. It became an idol. Successful churches are those not those with the most magnificent buildings but those that preach Christ and change lives.
A Successful Life (vs. 1-4)
A life of stinginess and accumulation is a mean and empty life. One example of generosity stands out, though she gave very little. This person, who was otherwise completely unknown, was a great giver. It was not the amount given away that gauges her financial success, but the percentage. That's what the story of the widow's mite is all about.
What Impresses God (vs. 1-4)
The disciples were impressed by the temple. God is not impressed by materialism. Jesus had the most praise for a widow who gave very generously at the temple. Could it just be that one of the most important reasons to attend a church is the opportunity to learn from the examples of the many faithful people with whom we fellowship?
Closing Church Buildings (vs. 1-4)
Jesus predicted that the temple at Jerusalem, which was an institution for over 500 years, would be destroyed. God is sometimes in the business of closing buildings. Jesus’ prediction came right after he had praised a widow for her very generous contribution to the temple fund, the proverbial widow’s mite. Church buildings are not the "forever" part of church life.
Church Size (vs. 5)
The majesty of a large church service can be awe-inspiring. Yet the intimacy and healing embrace of a small church is unsurpassed. Jesus did not promise large churches would be the norm or even a sign of success. Some few ancient churches were large. Usually, they were small and scattered. Size is not a sign of success; standing firm is.