The forgotten importance of the church
A elementary knowledge of history shows convincing evidence of the many contributions and blessings the Christian church has brought to the world in almost every area of human endeavor for the past 2,000 years. Government, education, medicine, peaceful societies, and much more.
That is why I am saddened and alarmed when I hear surveys that tell us this age group or that people group is leaving the church. Even if this is the case, I personally suspect that most of those who are leaving the church are leaving the pseudo church and not the authentic New Testament apostolic church. There are a great many organizations and denominations these days that bear no resemblance to the first century Christian church and do not begin to satisfy the deeper spiritual needs of our generation. Many people assume that if the word, “Church” is used in the title of a religious organization, it is automatically “a Christian Church.” That is not the case for even Satan worshippers, atheists, and the gatherings of witches often call themselves a church if they meet on any systematic basis.
More importantly, when we read what Jesus said about the church in Matt 16:18-19 of the New Testament, Christians are greatly encouraged and convinced that in spite of the religious decline and moral deterioration that has marred society for the past 50 years, the true Christian church will inevitably rise once more to its rightful position of value and importance in human history.
In these verses Jesus said to Peter these reassuring words. “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
In no uncertain terms Jesus promises the eternal continuance and overwhelming success of the church that he will build and sanction in the world. Of course, the rock that Jesus referred to was the foundational truth of the New Testament. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1st. Cor. 14:4)
Notice that not only did Jesus promise the ultimate success of the church but he also bestowed incredible authority to it. “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Vs.19)
Another amazing verse regarding the authority of the church was spoken by the Lord Jesus in Matt 18:19-20: “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.