By Pastor Jeff,
Matthew 16:19-19, “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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
I used to have the opinion that the church of today has become considerably less powerful than the first century church, but recently after pondering upon it and searching the word of God I must admit my thoughts have changed. One of the problems I think that affects our opinion of the “church” is that we look at the denominations, the buildings, those that call themselves the church that really are not and use that as our measuring stick. When many think of the church the picture that comes to mind is the building which is far from the truth. The Greek word “Church” in the bible is the word “ekklesia” which means “called out”, we have been called out of darkness into the glorious light of Jesus Christ. The church is made up of born again believers and it really doesn’t matter if you gather in a building, a home, a restaurant, or in no building at all. When you come together you are having church!
When we established Janesville Apostolic Ministries we found that is not really too difficult to begin to start a church. The government is not concerned what you believe or even who you believe, but as long as you claim you believe you can become a church. So I see the problem not that so many churches are compromising, adopting worldly positions on creation, sexuality, marriage, eternal judgement, and so on. The problem is that they haven’t been truly Born-Again the bible way so really have no right calling themselves the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the presence of God is not in your services, you are not having church, you just gathering together with no real purpose.
I also feel, at least I have, that we glamorize the first century way too much, we can easily look in the Book of the Acts of Apostles and see the church definitely had great power, they had great numbers becoming converted, we see healings, people raise from the dead, demons cast out, miracles upon miracles and assume it was a perfect church. We look at church of today and see compromise, people suffering financially, spiritually, and physically and say to ourselves, why, the early church didn’t experience that, right? Wrong!
A majority of the epistles were written as result of problems that the writers had to address. We have letters addressing, homosexuality, bigotry, incest, fornication, lawsuits, false teaching, jealousy, and the list goes on. I once heard if you could ever find the perfect church, do not join it, for it would no longer be perfect! No problem, because you can never find the perfect church because it is made up of imperfect people. Does that mean that the church is not powerful, absolutely not! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, when He said the church is so powerful that not even the gates of hell stand a chance against it, it was not just for the first century church, but for us today!
Mark 16:16-18, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Sometimes I’m very happy to be wrong and am so looking forward to what God has ordained for the church of today! We are powerful and will never stop believing and proclaiming it to every creature!
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