In spite of the times in which we are living, I believe that the church and body of Christ will emerge as a glorious church. The gates of hell and all of the attacks of hell will not prevail against it, because our God reigns, and His word will be exalted in all the world. Our Lord and King Jesus Christ was born and is exalted as King over all the earth for this purpose!
Matthew 16:13, "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? vs. 14, And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. vs. 15, He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? vs. 16, And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. vs. 17, And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is
in heaven. Matthew vs. 18, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, andupon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
I. MY FIRST REASON FOR BELIEVING THAT THE CHURCH HAS A GREAT FUTURE IS BECAUSE GOD DELIGHTS IN USING IMPERFECT PEOPLE.
A. When God builds a church, God always uses weak people.
B. He uses people that we probably wouldn't have chosen for the job, and also didn't
believe they were qualified for the job themselves.
C. The apostle Peter was a weak person, he had what we call "foot in mouth disease."
1 Corinthians 1:26, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: vs. 27, But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; vs. 28, And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: vs. 29, That no flesh should glory in his presence."
Ephesians 2:20-22, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; vs. 21, In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: vs. 22, In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
God uses our strengths, but often God chooses to use us at the greatest area of our weakness. Think about the following reasons why:
A. While the church is a divine creation, it is made up of imperfect
B. The church won't be perfect until the Lord's return.
C. The good news is that the Lord chooses to work in our weaknesses to show his glory so that he gets the glory and we don't.
D. That's why I'm confident that the church has a great future.
E. We don't have to depend on our own strengths to build the church.
F. We don't need a collection of superstars who have an elitist attitude.
G. We don't need unusual talent.
H. What we do need is normal, everyday people, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
The second reason I'm confident that the church has a great future is this:
II. CHRIST IS BUILDING THE CHURCH ACCORDING TO MATHEW 16:18
A. Christ established the church! Jesus said, "I will build my church..." In other words, Jesus would handle the building process. Even though God chooses to use us as his instruments, ultimately it is Jesus who is building his church.
B. It is HIS church, not our church!
C. Our prospects are as bright as the prospects of Christ himself. He is the Master builder, and Christ builds his church in the midst of challenging settings. In fact, the place Jesus chose for His church was interesting. Jesus took his disciples to Gentile territory, in the region of Caesarea Philippi. They were about two hundred kilometers from Jerusalem in the northern part of Palestine. It was a place known for its pagan religions, and it had been a center for Baal worship. One scholar counts 14 temples of Baal worship in the area.
D. We don't build the church we wouldn't know how to build a church if our lives depended on it. "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." (Psalms 127:1)
III. THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT (Matthew 16:18)
A. Jesus promised that he would always cause his people to triumph over Satan and his army.
B. Satan leads a doomed army that will be cast into the lake of fire at the appointed time.
C. You and I have no idea how much Satan fears a church that is empowered by the Spirit.
Do you remember those game shows where the results were rigged. It looked like a game, but in reality the winner had been decided before the game even began to the outside observer. The battle between the church and Satan might look like a close one but listen:
The Winner has already been decided!
The Church will prevail!
The Victory has already been won!
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. vs. 2, And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. vs. 3, And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
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