I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Mt 16:17
When Jesus speaks of the church, the first thing he tells us is that it is his. We forget this at our peril. It is so easy to forget that the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of the church, that he bought it with his precious blood. As such, anything the church does must be in accordance with his word, so that his will may be done and that his name might be glorified.
When Jesus speaks of his church, he refers to the body of his people. Later in Mt 18, he speaks of the church speaking and hearing. Buildings don’t speak and hear, people do. This is the people redeemed by his blood, by faith, and who have received the Holy Spirit who enables them and works through them.
Also in Mt 18, Jesus speaks of the importance of a church to be holy, for its members to exercise self-discipline, and if they cannot, then they should be disciplined appropriately.
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Mt 18:20
Additionally, we are to meet together, expressing our membership of the universal church, by being committed to a local church. We are not to wander through our spiritual journey as hermits, but in fellowship with other believers. For the church is the kingdom of God on earth, our haven through which we may find support and encouragement.
As we live and work together in the church, if we holy then there will be harmony. We will love one another, just as our Lord loved us. This is not to say we will all be clones, but that we might be able to use our different distinctiveness’s in unity.
A church which does the will of her Lord will be a happy church. For in him we find our chief enjoyment.
As we look around the world, it can be all to easy to think that the Church is fighting a loosing battle. Yet Jesus himself says even the gates of Hades, representing Satan, will not overcome it. The writer of the second Psalm reminds us that God is sovereign. He seems bemused by the peoples of the world who oppose God.
For God has chosen his Christ, his King, by bequest. All authority is his, not by conquest, but because it flows from the ultimate authority of the universe.
For through his Christ, he offers us reconciliation. He offers us, his enemies, his friendship, that we may longer fight against him, but that we fight for him.
If we choose to remain his enemies, we will one day endure his wrath, which burns against all who rebel against him.
We are offered the chance to become his friends rather than his enemies