God said that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church. The church is the gate of heaven in the earth. It is the place of ushering in the transforming power of God’s grace to the earth for heavenly changes among the generations of men. The church is the gate of heaven in the earth and it is both intimate and great!
Matthew 16: 13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 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. 19 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.”
The enemy hates two things and these two things he targets. He hates these things more than anything. He shoots at these things more than anything. He hates your heart, so he shoots at your heart with weapons of destruction. He tries to affect your heart in a destructive or distracting way. He wants to destroy the place of intimacy and love within. He also hates the church. He targets relationships in the church. Because of this, traditionally, the church has become a place of structure and not relationship. Relationships have become a place of smallness; of isolation and separation in the safety and security of limitations.
The result is very often that the church becomes a place of obligation instead of inspiration. If we look at church history, the Catholic church, the Protestant church, and the various denominations and expressions, we would have to define the church as a place of obligation more than a place of inspiration. It is a place one has to go to. As a Christian, you must go there. Presently a lot of people in the church are saying; We don’t want church, we just want Jesus. We are better together in our homes with us and Jesus. They are correct in their thinking in one sense, because the church should be a place of relationship. But the greater the dynamic of relationship the greater the influence will be. The Church is not merely the kitchen table. The kitchen table is the means of intimacy, but it doesn’t fulfill the fullness of the purpose. At the same time, the purpose without the table lacks the intimacy to fulfill the purpose in the power of love.
The church should be phenomenally relational, but growing in its corporate influence. It is meant to be a gathering of Divinely joined people for the manifest presence God bringing about heavenly change in the earth.
Proverbs 14:28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, but in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.
A king is honored by a multitude. When a king comes into the city everyone in the city should respond. There should be a big crowd when the king comes into town. He is honored by a multitude. That same Proverb could be written; A king is dishonored when only a few show up, as it reveals that the downfall of a prince is the lack of people. When the crowd is small it is dishonorable to the king. When the crowd is small the kingdom becomes ineffective. When the crowd is huge it is honorable to the king. In using the word ‘crowd’, I am not necessarily saying large numbers, but a full participation of those joined in number. If the number divinely joined is larger in numbers there should be a full participation of larger numbers. When the crowd is smaller in number, the full participation of those numbers should be involved. When the crowd is full it has the power and the force and the potential influence of the king. Now we have this challenge when we talk about church. How can we make the church big, because a king is honored by a multitude, and how do we make the church relational because the church is a place of relationship?
A good example is seen in our own bodies. There are many different areas in my body. I recently experienced eight weeks with a broken foot. I had to wear a protective boot and use a set of crutches to assist in my mobility. My foot needed more attention than the rest of my body, because it was broken and needed to heal. The wounded part in my body demanded some attention, but it was not disconnected from my body. It was still a part of my body. My foot could not go to an isolated foot room and remain as a living part of my body. It had to remain connected to me to experience the life of the fullness of my body – the fullness of who I am. It could easily say from its place of pain, I can’t deal with the rest of the body right now. I just need my foot time. That kind of thinking is disconnected from the blood-flow in the body and can only result in an amputation from the body and a hindrance to the full potential and destiny of the body. There is a time for healing, but in the full perspective of things, the goal is still life-giving function and support in and for the purpose of the whole body.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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