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Monday, June 4th, '18

All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson

 

PREVAILING CHURCH

"...Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18)

 

The passage begins in verse 13. Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" The first of ten "P"-words is PROBLEM. The "who is Jesus?" question is every man's problem. Impetuous Peter replies like a sprung trap, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God". Other times, his mouth got him in trouble, but this time Peter was on target. Ah, PERSUASION with a capital P. Flesh and blood hadn't revealed this but the Spirit of God. How freeing it is to know that you know. Persuasion is revealed by PROFESSION. Peter said it out loud. Many are afraid to commit. Coach says such and such. Freud says this. Dr. Phil says that. Yea, but what do you say? Peter spoke from inner certainty. We call it conviction.

 

To that Jesus laid the foundation for His church. "Upon this rock", Greek petra, a giant immoveable slab of stone, like Gibraltar, "I will build my church..." This is the church's greatest PROMISE. The promise is focused on a PERSON, "I". This is the same "I" that assured, while walking on the sea, "it is I, be not afraid". The same "I" that claimed, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me". The church isn't built on Peter, petros, a small stone. The papists got it wrong there. A small stone isn't secure enough for this massive structure. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

 

Then follows the PROGRAM, "I will build my church". Jesus isn't in the business of tearing down. He builds, edifies, founds and grounds. Next note the POSSESSION, "my church". It's not Jones' church, Pastor Bob's or Deacon Fred's. Christ owns it, purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). If the church is His then that relieves us pastors of a lot of anxiety. He will take care of His own. And what is the Church, the ecclesia? It means "called out to be called together". We are called out of fellowship with the world into fellowship with God's people. Whenever two or three gather together in His name it constitutes the church. So a marriage is a church, as is a family, a small congregation, a mega-church or the entire body of Christ collectively. Church is not carpet, pews and stained glass; it is the residency of the Holy Spirit.

 

Then comes the POWER, "...the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Iron gates can't keep sinners in nor keep the church out. That power causes PANIC in the underworld. Satan fears nothing like he fears the Church. Why else does he seek to split us apart? The Church is God's active agency in the earth. Jesus proclaimed, "All power in heaven and earth is given unto me" then passed that power on to us. Pastor Keith Moore, in a recent sermon, said that transference gives the devil a panic attack. Anyone who has suffered a panic attack knows how their whole world seems to crumble to pieces in a matter of seconds. Panic immobilizes. Oh, if we could ever comprehend the power we have. That leads to a tenth word, PERMANENCE. "Shall not" assumes more than a one-time victory. Over and over and over this promise remains in force. The "gates of hell" implies all Satan's diabolical strategies, plots, plans, covert and overt actions and aims. The original covenant stated that Abraham's "seed" would "possess the gate of [his] enemies" (Genesis 22:17). The Church will not be defeated. A church may close, but THE church will never close. It outlives, out-loves and outlasts because it out-Lords all others. We won't have to worry about the church's survival if we keep the focus on the church's Lord.


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