I love being a part of God’s continuous supernatural activity.
I’m not talking about a church building, but about the spiritual collective of God’s people.
It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the way that the earth sees the glory of God, and the true center of spiritual life for the redeemed ones.
God is the architect and the builder. In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes,
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
I cannot overstate the importance of the church in the plan of God. The church is His building (1 Cor. 3:9). He is the unchangeable, sovereign, omnipotent Lord of heaven. His Word cannot return void but always accomplishes what He says (Isa. 55:11). He is always faithful and cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13). His sovereign purposes always come to pass, and His will is always ultimately fulfilled (Isa. 46:10).
For example, in Matthew 16:18 Christ said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” How about those unchangeable words! Christ knows His sheep by name (John 10:3), and He wrote their names down before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)—He personally guarantees that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church He is building.
“The gates of Hades” was a Jewish expression for death. Hades is the place of the dead, and the gates of Hades represent the portal into that place—death itself. Hades is also the domain of the devil. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Satan as the one “who had the power of death,” and verse 15 says he used that power to keep people in fear and bondage all their lives. But now Christ has broken that power, and liberated His people from Satan’s dominion—in essence, he has broken down the gates of Hades. And therefore even the power of death—the strongest weapon Satan wields—cannot prevent the progress and victory of the church.
There’s still more significance to the imagery of “the gates of Hades.” Gates are a walled city’s most vital defensive safeguards. Christ’s words therefore portray the church militant, storming the very gates of hell, victoriously delivering people from the power of death. So, Christ also assures the triumph of the church’s evangelistic mission. through the church, He is at work spiritually accomplishing a mission that cannot be defeated! “Winning.”
Christ’s promise in this passage should not be misconstrued. He is not saying that any particular local church is incapable of failure or abuse. No, He is saying that no such failure can prevent His mission from being accomplished by the whole church.
Please notice that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.
So yes, I love the church. It is the current work of the savior of the world and I like being right in the middle of His activity! I hope you will love it too!