And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

Can you imagine all of the entities, businesses, corporations and organizations that have come and gone over two thousand years? Yet, in that same period of time, the Christian church remains stable and protected. Jesus sacrificed his life that we might have life abundantly, and life everlasting. There are many trains of thought about the verse above but one thing is for sure, Jesus saw Peter had faith that he was the messiah who had come to save all of mankind.

Up until then, the disciples had visualized a coming kingdom with Christ as king and themselves as high-ranking officials in his government. But now, Jesus declares, “I will build my church,” and by that word “church” he denotes a fellowship of called-out believers. Regardless of titles or positions, we are all the same in the eyes of God in the body of Christ. The church has always welcomed people of all classes, colors and nations. The main qualification for the fellowship of the body of Christ is that we are all sinners saved by His grace. My experience has shown me that if one is truly in this fellowship, no matter what the critics hurl as insults against the church of Jesus Christ, it still remains the happiest and holiest fellowship for millions of people in the world.

The world seems to be spinning out of control and many people seem indifferent to the church. There are many interpretations of the Bible and new theologies seem to be weakening the true principles and values of the church. However, Jesus declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. He did not say, however, that the church would not be attacked. Despite unending trials, tribulations, persecutions and challenges, the church still stands strong through Christ Jesus. Church attendance might fluctuate, the method of worship may evolve, but the message never changes.

“Have you a strong church?” a young Pastor was asked.

“Yes,” was his instant reply.

“How many members have you?” he was asked. “Thirty.”

“Thirty! Are they wealthy?”

“ No,” the minister replied. “Most of them are poor.”

“How, then, can you say it is a strong church?”

The minister’s reply is significant. He said, “Because they are earnest, devoted, at peace, loving each other, following the Word of God in all things, instant in prayer and striving together to do the Lord’s work. Such a church is strong, whether composed of 30 or 300 members.”

So now is the time for the church to step up and make a difference that only it can make. Let us be positive, not negative. Let us love and not hate. Let us put on the whole armor of God and begin an offensive attack on worldly systems. Let us use our salvation, righteousness, truth, peace, faith and God’s Holy Word to fight the good fight. A good fight is one we cannot lose. Let us pray without ceasing and watch God change things. We are the greatest power on the earth. We are the church, and that we can celebrate.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram

is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.

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