Congratulations! Since you are reading this article, you’ve made it to the New Year and therefore, congratulations are in order. But not only are you alive, so is The Church – that body of believers that Christ established over 2000 years ago.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matt 16:18 KJV
Those words that Jesus spoke that day, still stand today. Dr. Thomas Constable helps us understand what Jesus meant:
“Jesus used the term ekklesia to refer to a new entity that was yet to come into existence. He said He would build it in the future. He would not yet establish His kingdom on earth, but He would build His church. ‘The word build is also significant because it implies the gradual erection of the church under the symbolism of living stones being built upon Christ, the foundation stone, as indicated in 1 Peter 2:4-8. This was to be the purpose of God before the second coming, in contrast to the millennial kingdom, which would follow the second coming’.” Constable’s Notes, Bible.org.
Since Jesus spoke those words, this new entity that we are members of has survived persecution, poverty, wars, slander, the rise and fall of Nations and most recently COVID-19 – a global pandemic. As the ekklesia/Church fought to overcome these and other opposition, she became stronger, wiser and grew in numbers. Scripture reminds us that the persecution faced by the early Christians helped spread the Gospel.
Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word. Acts 8:4 NET2 Bible. During his incarceration, the Apostle Paul wrote the New Testaments Books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He not only used his time of incarceration to write to various churches, but he also spread the Gospel. Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Phil 1:12-13 NIV.
Church history also reveals that the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation after being banished to the Island of Patmos. This edition of The Navigator celebrates the fact that not only Fellowship Bible Baptist Church survived the pandemic, but Churches throughout the world have survived also. Sadly, the doors of several church buildings have been permanently closed due to the pandemic and other causes. However, as discouraging as that may be, it isn’t new. Church buildings have closed and/or experienced a decline in membership throughout history. However, the living stones, those who are known as Christians, and who have become disciples of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have grown in numbers.
It becomes important to note that the ekklesia/Church that Christ is establishing is not a building. It is however, a nation of disciples who will eventually share in His Kingdom upon His return.
So, the big picture reveals that the ekklesia/Church that Christ is establishing is Still Alive. His Word gives us that assurance. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39 KJV
I get excited by everything in that verse, especially, nor things present, nor things to come.
The agape love that our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God has for us is powerful enough to withstand all adversaries. Past, present, and future circumstances and events do not deter, change, or cancel God’s plan for us – His ekklesia, His Church, His new entity.
Speaking of God’s plan for us, do you realize that the only thing on this planet that’s going to heaven is the Church? Scripture tells us this present heaven and earth will pass away (Mat 24:35) and God is going to establish a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1).
Just as the Apostle Paul’s incarceration led to the expanding of the Gospel, so did our time of separation and change during the pandemic. We have returned to corporate worship, Bible Study, and a full Christian Enrichment schedule. Once again, God have proven that nothing will prevent His Word from going forward.
Now here we are in January 2023 and the Church is Still Alive!
Written by Henry Hopson, Jr.