The Eternal Church
One of the debates that we often have with unbelievers is how all of this came to be.
- The evolutionary view says that all things began in some primal chaos and through time and chance has evolved to the position we now find ourselves in - with the future bringing more refinement and improvement.
- The biblical model, on the other hand, says that we began at the pinnacle, with man created as perfect and good - and then through sin we have developed into what we are today.
And the future sees us repeating this cycle until Jesus comes.
Now, there seems to be a better argument for evolution because through our advanced technology we have more gadgets today, more information than before - but a quick review of history will show that man is no better morally or spiritually than he's ever been, and technological advances have, in many instances speeded up the degeneration of our environment, our society and our sense of worth as individuals.
It's plain to see that we're falling apart, not getting better; if you don't believe me think... Holocaust, Columbine, Internet Porn, 911
Jesus certainly understood correctly the developing nature of our world and offered one thing that went against the natural order of decay and death ... and that was membership in the eternal church. Jesus taught that everything in the universe, as great as it is, is dying, rotting, wearing out - except the church.
In Matthew 16:18 He said,
...upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not overpower it.
Everything in this world is slowing down coming apart, dying (and we observe this in our own lives and the world around us) ... everything that is, except the church! Jesus said that nothing will or can destroy it. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that it will continue to grow until it fills and dominates every other kingdom in the world and remain that way forever (Daniel 2:44).
Confidence in the Eternal Church.
As Christians living in this world, we experience a dual existence.
A - We live in mortal bodies that are part of a world that is passing away. The fact that we gather in prayer to acknowledge the struggles and suffering of so many is a testimony to this fact.
B - However, we are also part of the eternal church that will never be destroyed, never be conquered, never pass away. Again, the fact that we gather to take communion is also a testimony to our faith in this dual reality.
The knowledge of this fact should give us great confidence as we live out our lives in this temporary place as part of an eternal body. Here' s why:
1. We Shouldn't Worry. We shouldn't worry about the ability of the church to survive the times. Throughout history the church has gone up and down in its size and effectiveness. These are normal fluctuations that the church has always, and will always have until Jesus comes.
Being part of an eternal church means..
2. We Shouldn't Be Afraid. If we look at history, every generation brings another group or government, or philosophy that attempts to control, destroy or dismiss the church - but all have failed. Jesus promised that the church, although severely tested at times, would always prevail. You are safe with God in the church that belongs to Christ.
3. We Shouldn't Quit. Sometimes we see other religions, and other groups growing faster, drawing more and more people to themselves. In the days of the Apostles the "state" religion of Rome was acceptable, popular, and represented the status quo. Christianity was considered the religion of the naïve and poor. You will note that the glorious Roman Empire is gone the Lord's church is still here doing the Lord's work.
We're not here to be popular or noticed, we're here to preach the word of the Lord and do His work in this generation like those who came before us and those we know will come after -- a golden chain that stretches from the cross to the glorious return of Christ! .. and we are one precious link in that chain..
What a comfort it is to know that despite our hurts and struggles, we belong to the one thing that is not decaying in this world; we belong to the one thing that is ever growing, ever moving forward - the church of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
What a comfort to know that despite our tears and disappointments, we can have confidence, security, hope in the fact that as members of this body, the Lord will not permit our souls to be lost, our beings to pass away but will raise us up in glory when He comes for us, His church.
What a comfort to know that the Lord of this church has promised us that He will never leave us, never abandon us, always be with us so that our prayers and concerns are always before Him .... what or who else offers such comfort, such promise?
Instead of fearing or fretting about the condition of this world, you should be asking yourselves these questions:
- Am I a member of the body that will never die?
- Am I a part of the church that neither hell nor the end of the world will destroy?
We offer you the opportunity this day; the opportunity to be added to the everlasting church by Jesus Himself - and He will do it now if you come to Him confessing your faith in Him, repenting of your sins, and accept to be buried into His forgiveness through baptism at this time. If you have prayer or ministry needs please come now.