Stand Forever

The church will stand forever!  This is an easily misunderstood phrase.  Steeples are falling all around the world.  Congregation are closing up shop from COVID.  Pastors are quitting the ministry.  How can I have “The church will stand forever!” as a theme for a sermon during times like this?!

The answer doesn’t lie in an church growth theory or newfangled online worship strategy.  The church will stand forever for one reason.  Jesus Christ is the foundation of this church.  It’s a church that is made up of believing hearts around the world.  It is held together not through well organized shepherding programs, but through his promises of love and forgiveness.

One piece of the Matthew 16 text that I would like to spend a little more time on was on Jesus’ pronouncement to Simon Peter.  First his name was Simon.  At least is was until Jesus changed it in our text.  Peter had just offered the perfect answer.  Jesus asked his disciples what the people though of him.  They new what the word on the street was.  John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus knew all of this already – he wanted to know what they (the disciples) thought.  This is where Peter piped up and said that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God.  It is that truth (that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God) that would be the foundation for his church.  He used a play on words to communicate that and change Simon’s name to Peter.

He said, And I tell you that you are Peter (Petros – meaning little pebble), and on this rock (Petra – meaning bedrock, something you can build a house on) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  It was Simon’s confession that would serve as the foundation for the church.  If Jesus was anything less than God almighty the church wouldn’t stand a chance in the years to come.  But as we know, the Christian church is still beating down Satan’s door with the gospel of love and forgiveness.  Nothing can stop it.

Want to hear more?  Watch this week’s message taken from Matthew 16: The church will stand forever.