And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. MT 16.18
The church is the only institution on earth that Jesus is specifically building. Yes, Jesus establishes nations, and helps us launch businesses, ministries, and careers. But he has a unique commitment to his church. He is personally building and protecting his church. Even the “gates of hell” – all the powers, schemes and assaults of Satan and his demons – won’t be able to destroy Jesus’ church.
The church is the only earthly institution that will last for eternity. The great kingdoms of old have faded away but the church is growing and stronger than ever. Ancient Egypt, with its Pharaohs and Pyramids, is history. Babylon no longer exists. The great kingdom of Rome has fallen. Nero and Caesar and others who persecuted the church have long passed away, but the church just keeps going. Someday the United States will be a memory. The biggest businesses and most successful companies will be forgotten. In eternity, no one will care about Apple or Toyota or Google. Only the church will remain for eternity.
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So if the church – Jesus’ body, his temple, his household, his bride, his beloved, his flock that he purchased with his own blood – is this important to Jesus, then should it not be important to his people? Should we not seek to contribute to and build and bless and strengthen and build up Jesus’ church? Should we not be committed to the one institution that will last for eternity? Should we not do all we can to promote the unity of the Spirit? Should we not be devoted to the fellowship and teaching of our church?
Many believers have written off the church. I recently talked with a man who told me he reads his Bible and prays every morning but wants nothing to do with a church. “They’re a bunch of hypocrites,” he seethed when I asked him why he so loathes the church. Maybe he’d had some bad experiences, but not every church is full of hypocrites. We’re weak and messy and fail often, but Jesus hasn’t given up on his people. He’s building his church, and he will be successful.
So don’t give up on the church. Get involved. Serve wherever you can. Seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Give to the church. It’s an infinitely better investment than Apple. Be a part of Jesus’ church – some local church – somewhere. Jesus loves his church, despite its many flaws. And he’s building it brick by brick, day after day, slowly but surely. And despite its many flaws and weaknesses, Jesus will finish his work and perfect his temple to dwell in. If Jesus is so committed to building his church, I want to be too.