Previous posts in this little series on the importance of the church have addressed: the fact of its importance- providing several patristic quotations indicating those who are not a part of the church cannot be saved. Then we had three posts on the nature of the church: what it is. It is the body of Christ, the building of God, the “place “the Spirit blesses. The next several posts will transition from foundational to motivational reasons for faithful church membership.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18
God and the forces of hell are engaged in constant warfare. It is not eternal because it has not always existed, and it not always will: so it is persistent, but not eternal. If the Bible is to believed, and I think that is always a good place to start. Satan is actually somewhat successful in his campaign against the Lord of hosts. He is so successful in fact, that the entire world is going to be dissolved in fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10). God wins, but he does so be completely destroying this creation and making it anew.
In college I often heard the only things on earth that are eternal are the souls of men and the word of God. The cliché left out one important thing though: the church. If Jesus is to believed, and, again, I think that is always a very good place to start, the church will never fail. The church will not die. There is no other group, institution, nation, any kind of any collection of any people in all the world that has this promise.
Denominations will fail. If Luther or Wesley walked into one of “their” churches today each would probably leave in fit of rage. Denominations will fail. Jesus did not promise to build a denomination. He promised to build his church.
Schools and seminaries will fail. Did you know that almost every single Ivy League School started as an institution to train men for the ministry? Why are none of them faithful to Scripture any longer? Because Jesus promised to build his church, not a school.
Conferences will whither up and blow away. Whether the Student Volunteer Movement, Promise Keepers, or Together for the Gospel. Jesus did not promise to build a conference. He promised to build a church.
Your radio stations, TV networks, blogs (!), will all end in emptiness. Jesus did not promise to build a media conglomerate. Jesus promised to build a church.
Your bands, actors, movies, comedians, will all perform their last and be remembered no more. Jesus did not promise to build an entertainment empire. HE promised to build a church.
It is rumored that somewhere in the hidden recesses of man’s nobility there is a desire for things that matter, a life that matters, a life that makes a difference with lasting impact. It is the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Establish the work of our hands. If this is your prayer, if you want a life that matters, Jesus has already given you the answer. It is a promise. “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Do you want a successful life? Do what Jesus is doing. The kingdom of Jesus will last. Yours will not.