Speaking Of Life
Declaring the End from the Beginning
As Sylvia Caldwell was boarding the White Star Line’s luxury ocean liner a crew member told her “Not even God himself can sink the Titanic.” The bold proclamation about this vessel proved to be untrue. Only the Triune God is all-knowing and has the power to declare the end from the beginning and make proclamations that are ultimately fulfilled.
In the realm of making proclamations, Jesus made a powerful statement that has brought hope to the church throughout the ages. In explaining to the Apostle Peter that he would build his church he proclaimed that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church, but that it would remain until his second coming. In essence, local congregations of Christ-followers around the world would rise up to proclaim the good news about Jesus and this process would endure throughout the ages until Christ’s return.
These words of Jesus are good news for Grace Communion International. We are very similar to other evangelical churches in that we have many congregations that are aging and shrinking in numbers, and yet we have the promise of our Savior that he is Lord over the church. Jesus has already demonstrated his great love and care for this body of followers when he laid down his life. Anticipation of eternity with him, fills us with even greater assurance.
As Jesus being Head of the church, it is crucial to understand that he is present with his church. In Matthew 28: Jesus gave instruction to his church which has been called “The Great Commission” –
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:16-20
We see that making disciples and baptizing new believers into the name of the Father, Son and Spirit is the central work of the church from the first century forward. Then Jesus makes this promise – “And surely I am with you until the end of the age.” The making of disciples and the growth of the church is not something the church does “for” Jesus – rather it is the work we do “with”. Apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit none of us have the ability to call and convince another person to have faith in Jesus.
During the Advent and Christmas season we celebrate the coming of Emmanuel (God with us). And certainly Jesus came as a babe born in a manger, but Jesus is also “God with us” now and for always.
Isn’t it comforting knowing that Jesus is that active Head of the church? And that he is working in and through his followers for the growth and preservation of his church? I personally find great comfort and joy in the reality that Jesus is the living head of the Church.
While a seemingly innocent submerged iceberg could take down the Titanic, even the gates of hell and the power of the devil cannot prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. The church of Jesus Christ truly is the unsinkable ship.
I am Greg Williams – Speaking of Life!