How to Build Jesus’ Church His Way
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it (Mt. 16:18). Considering the sad state of the church in America, I’d say He’s got His work cut out for Him.
The building process is going to happen, but when and how?
It Takes Persecution
Examine the strongest churches in the world and you’ll see a common element. Christianity (that follows the teachings of Jesus) is the strongest in areas where persecution has been the fiercest. This should come as no surprise. It’s the team that works the hardest and overcomes the greatest obstacles that rises to the top. No pain, no gain. Opposition forces you to test your resources. Opposition makes you dig deeper. Opposition strengthens your resolve. Opposition brings out the best in us, and the same is true of our faith. That which God has made new in us sometimes takes some serious struggles before it is revealed. When we are desperate for God is when He most powerfully manifests Himself in us.
I have written often about the underground church in China. They don’t consider a man worth to be a pastor unless he has spent at least three years in prison. That’s where faith is tested and grown. That’s where true spiritual maturity is forged. That’s where men learn who God really is and who they really are.
AS I SEE IT
In the Millennial Kingdom, believers will rule and reign with Christ (Lk. 12:32), but the words of Rev. 3:21 focus in on a most important factor:
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Only those who overcome will be fit to sit on His throne. This should shatter the dreams of those who plan to coast into the kingdom on a cloud of comfort and ease. Let’s face it, most of us in America have never had to do much real overcoming regarding our faith. Thus far, our freedom has allowed us to become way too comfortable and unchallenged in the way we live out our faith.
Through the Fire
I believe that in order for us to become fit for the throne, we must be taken through the fire. I’m not talking about the fires of God’s wrath to be poured out during the Great Tribulation. We’ll be raptured before that horrible time. I’m talking about enduring and persevering through some difficult times as the stage is being set for the emergence of the Antichrist. We in America (and the rest of the world) face an unprecedented array of threats on many levels. A host of enemies seeks our demise and the dangers are both internal and external.
Yet, I believe the stage is being set for what may well be the Church’s finest hour. If the Church wakes up and finally starts acting like the Church, God will respond. We don’t need a new strategy to survive all our enemies. We simply need to get back to the basics. The entire Old Testament is summarized in what we call the Golden Rule:
Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them for this is the Law and the Prophets (Mt. 7:12).
Obedience brings Change
It’s so simple, but it’s so counter-cultural that we have to fight against everything we’re bombarded with from morning till night. Yet, obedience to this simple command would change everything. What if our ability to obey this one command reflects the way we really love God? Christ said that if we love Him we will obey His commandments, and this one is a biggie. God has stated how He will respond to this kind of obedient love:
Because he has loved me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him behold my salvation (Ps. 91:14-16).
I believe that if the Church responds in a way that releases the love of God as never before, Jesus’ Church will be built, believers will learn to overcome, and God will show Himself to be our refuge and our fortress.
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Bodybuilder image by Drey Messmer
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