How a Church Serves: A Sermon Recap
We want people to experience the presence of God when they are here with our church. But not because they got to the right building. Rather, we want them to experience the presence of God through a people declaring the great message of the gospel. In Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus challenged His disciples on who others claimed Him to be and who they thought Him to be. When Simon declared that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus changed his name to Peter (meaning a certain stone) and declared that upon “this rock” (meaning a large foundation) that Jesus would build His church.
1. Jesus has the power to build the church.
Jesus said in the passage that He would personally build His church. As we live in loving submission to His lordship and commission, we will watch as Christ does this work. We must concern ourselves more with the building of the people rather than the construction of a facility or the planning of the programs. As we live according the Christ’s power, we will be built up as His church.
2. The church has the power to overcome the darkness.
There is much that I do not know about the church; out future attendance, the needs that will come up in people’s lives, or what we’ll be doing in worship in two weeks. But there is one thing that I do know for certain: victory is inevitable. Jesus stated that the “forces of Hades” will not overcome the church. Sin, death, hell, the grave, and the enemy are no match for the work of Christ through His church. When at the brink, we persevere. When facing failure, we press on. When people sinned, we call them to account. When tired, we find strength in Christ. Because death cannot stop the Messiah, therefore, Hell cannot stop the church. We are the aggressors in this spiritual war and victory is personally guaranteed by Jesus.
3. The gospel has power to liberate the captive.
The church speaks the gospel to the world and thereby has the power to speak with the life-giving authority of Jesus. We are given the privilege and duty to proclaim liberty to the captives. We proclaim freedom to those in bondage. Hope to those who doubt. Happiness to those who live under a cloud of gloom. Forgiveness to those judged by their sin. Life to those who are spiritually dead. Through the gospel, we come to understand that Jesus did not die to make us moral or religiously busy. He died to make us alive. So, to every person on this planet, we are called to give them the gospel.
Nothing can overthrow or subvert the church. Its members have been humiliated, imprisoned, beaten, persecuted, and executed. But the Church has never been extinguished. It has faced Herod, Nero, dictators, presidents, generals, undergone coups, and faced terrorists even in our own day. But the Church still stands. Our demise has been predicted and expected in every generation and on every continent. We march on. The church is an anvil that has broken many a hammer in this world. And it will break many a hammer more before time is over.
We are the church of the living God. We dare to say that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Savior of the world.
And today, we invite you to accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior.