Matthew 16: verse 15, Jesus asked Peter “Whom say ye that I am? Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus said and I say also unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. Jesus is the foundation of the church. We must build upon His shed blood for salvation for those who trust in the saving grace and promises of God. A church is made of people who have been called out and set aside to worship God.
A church building is just that, a building. Christians make up the church. Jesus is the head of the church. We are to be mindful of that. A pastor is the head of a local church, but they are not to put themselves above or equal to Christ. We are the bride of Christ, simply meaning that we are to be loyal, devoted and faithful to Jesus. Just as we are to be the same to our spouses. We are to be intimate with Christ in our worship.
We are to love, worship and obey His commandments. The church is a place of spiritual fellowship. This fellowship involves us being indwelt with the Holy Spirit with one union. We are to be baptized with the spirit in order to show our love for one another. The church is also a spiritual outlet. We operate with the gifts of the spirit. Some of the gifts are wisdom, knowledge, healing, miracles and prophecy. Not all within the church will receive these gifts.
We are all ministers in some way. We are to minister to the lost by presenting the gospel. We are to be witnesses for Jesus. When we do this people will see the true nature of Jesus. We are to show compassion to others just as Jesus did. We are the army of Jesus; we are to fight for Him. Reminding us that we are in a spiritual battle between good and evil. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can and will overcome evil.
Our weapons are not carnal but spiritual. The Bible is our main weapon. It will help us to defeat Satan and his foes. It will help us to deliver those who are under the dominion of Satan. It will help us to defeat false teachers and those who would distort the truth. The church is a place of hope which centers around the return of Jesus. We should rejoice that Jesus is coming back for us.
John 14 states, In my Father’s house are many mansions. Jesus told us that He is preparing a place for us, and that He will come again. Why is it that we don’t rejoice in this promise? The church is visible. It is one of a local congregation who are faithful and those who profess to be Christians. It even consists of those who are false, fallen and spiritually dead and lukewarm.
What did Jesus mean about the gates of hell? The gates of hell are Satan and his evil empire. For the gates of hell to prevail means that a church would have to fall into immorality, mistakes in doctrinal teachings and the like. In other words, by not fully following what Jesus has taught us. In these last days I want to remind you what God told us in Ephesians 5: 27, That he might present himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
God made that clear. If you look at the church today what do you see? Is it without spot or wrinkle? The answer is no. What do you see? Sermons that are flowered up to make us feel good. Praise and worship songs that sound like a rock band. No backbone in combating what is wrong and not calling sin, sin. Compromising with the world on issues that confront us. Churches that look and act like a social club. Some are dark inside. No Christian symbols, no song books and preachers that look and dress like the world. Some are just going through the motions of a church. No true worship, no fire and brimstone messages. Some are only interested in how many people attend and how much money they have. For others the only focus is being a TV personality.
It is no wonder that people are fed up with the church and are leaving it. People are hungry for the word of God. We need to get back the basics of preaching and teaching God’s word. Once we begin to do that people will come back and the true church will thrive once again. The world is watching what is going on within the visible church. They see the problem that is going on. They don’t want any part of it.
When the church begins to act like it is supposed to people will want to come and worship God. Jesus said feed my sheep. Revelation 3: verses 15,16, Jesus said, I know thy works, that thou art Neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. These are strong words that Jesus said about the church at Laodicea.
Is the modern church in that same vain? Is your church lukewarm? If it is, find one that is on fire for God. If you are not a Christian, don’t let this dissuade you from becoming one. Not all churches are like this. Jesus said in Revelation 3: verse 11, Behold I come quickly: hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Jesus through the Holy Spirit will correct all of these problems within the church. Give your life to Him and live a life for Him. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. God is still in control and prayer does change things.