This morning, I was both encouraged and inspired by the sermon that addressed the overall condition of the church. More specifically, today’s message centered on these two important questions: how is the church going and what does God expect of us as a church?
The Bible offers a profound glimpse in the Book of Matthew:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. –Matthew 16:18
During the sermon, our teaching pastor recalled a discussion with a church member about his corporate position in today’s marketplace. What unfolded was a description of a company that publically advertised service, excellence, quality, values, etc. but while in private, strategized how to put the competition out of business.
Here’s another question to ponder: what do you think the church’s main competition is? If you think the main competition of the church is other churches, think again.
If we understand Matthew 16:18, the main competition of the church is hell itself.
Think about this: Every time a child is physically or emotionally abused or discarded, every time someone spreads lies or cheats upon another, every time a marriage is completely destroyed, every time a workplace becomes dehumanized and wrought with fear and politics, every time people are marginalized or discriminated against, hell is prevailing.
When I ponder my present frustrations, it’s so convenient to want to blame God. However, the more I think about it, I find that the core issues overwhelmingly point to the shortcomings and behaviors of human beings like me.
So, how is the church going? To simply answer with an OK is unacceptable. We can and must do better. God expects better because the stakes are simply too high. Hell is the competition, its CEO is the devil and its IPO occurred back in the Garden of Eden. Simply doing OK isn’t going to cut it.
The church’s CEO is Jesus Christ and its mission is not to let the gates of hell prevail against it. We might not have all the answers now (I certainly don’t) but it’s imperative that we eventually figure this one out. Make no mistake, the church’s objective is clear: we need to put hell out of business.
Fortunately as a church body, we all contribute and make a difference. We are a collection of educated, compassionate and willing believers who want to make a difference. This is our time. This is our moment.
Saddle up Brothers and Sisters; it’s time to bankrupt the gates of hell.