The Church is a prevailing church. I’m preaching tonight on A Prevailing Church. Matthew was the only gospel that mentioned the word church, so Jesus was revealing at that time what would be His active institution that would carry out His will whenever He ascended to the Father.
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The Church Is A Prevailing Church – Matthew 16:13-20
So, He took them to a region in Northern Israel called Caesarea Philippi, as it says in the text, and it was a city very rundown and overtaken in sin and overtaken and surrounded by darkness.
And He took them there, I believe, to show them that no matter where they are, the gates of hell are not going to prevail against them, and The Church is instituted by God. It is instituted by Jesus Christ, and anything that God says, we know it never fades away, it never goes away.
The word of God is true. It’s an everlasting foundation. But just as sure as this Bible is going to endure to the end of the ages, so is The Church. So is the institution of God because it’s instituted by God.
I was out with a young man. I knew he was under very intense attack of the enemy, but he had come back to church. It was on a Sunday night that I was not there. He had come back to church, and I saw through pictures posted on our church’s social media page, I had seen them in the altar. I’d seen him getting prayed for and I couldn’t believe it.
And, lo and behold, next Wednesday, he was there at Impact and he’s somebody that I’ve known for a long time, but he’s trying to come back to the Lord. He’s walked without the Lord for a long time, and you can tell that his life is just not working out.
He’s not getting the answers that he wants to get, and so he’s coming back to the church. He’s coming back to Jesus. Praise God. But I went out to coffee with him on Thursday morning after church, and we just began to talk, and he’s been dealing with a little bit of doubt.
He’s been he’s been dealing with a little bit of a doubt about the integrity and the authenticity of the Body of Christ, about the authenticity of The Church, and I brought to his attention that this story in Acts chapter 5, it’s so dynamic and the first time that I read it, my God, I threw up my hands and I praised the Lord.
It’s such a powerful story because there was the man named Gamaliel? I believe it was his name. He was the person who, who he was a very well-respected man in the Jewish community, and he was the person who brought up Saul or Paul the Apostle. He was who Paul the Apostle learned under, and when the apostles were turning the world upside down, there were people that were trying to imprison them and persecute them and stop this movement that they were doing.
And Gamaliel, under wisdom, he said, listen, there arose a certain man. His name was Thaddeus, or something like that, I think I’m botching the name, but you’ll just have to go back and read it for yourself. But anyway, he was a man that rose up, claiming to be somebody, claiming to be somebody important.
And the Bible says that he had about 400 men that followed him and listened to him and uplifted him and promoted him, but when he died, his followers scattered abroad, and they dispersed, and his movement came to nothing.
There was another man named Judas who rose up, claiming to be somebody. He had a following. He had people that supported him and promoted him, but when he died, all of them scattered abroad and his movement came to nothing.
And he said, listen, this man that they claimed to follow and serve, Jesus Christ, He is no longer alive. He is dead. He is not walking the earth anymore. If this movement is of man, it’s going to fail, it’s going to fall apart. It’s going to be broken into pieces, but if it lasts, that’s how you know it’s instituted by God.
I said, “Brother, that’s how you know that the church is backed by God. Do not be discouraged from joining it because of the flaws and the sins and the mistakes of man, know that you are not joining a man-made movement. You’re not joining a cult. You are not joining some secular philosophy that’s going to fall apart someday. You have joined a body. You have joined a church that’s been around for over 2000 years. It’s been persecuted by every emperor, and in every ruler after, and it is still alive today.”
That is our evidence. That is why we know that this church is not made by man. This church is instituted by Jesus Christ and that is why the gates of hell do not prevail against it.
That is why the gates of hell do not prevail against it. It’s not because we are wiser than anybody. It’s not because we’re richer than anybody. It’s not because we’re better moral human beings than everybody. It’s because we’ve got a power backing us that’s not of this world. It is of the heavens. It’s of God Almighty.
It’s of God Almighty, that’s good news. That’s good news. The church is not going to fall apart. The church is not going to fall apart. Now we know the church started in the upper room in Acts chapter 2, and when they came out, they didn’t come out in any sect. Jesus taught on this, and even Paul did.
That sectarianism or denominationalism, it’s carnal. God did not create denominations. The Holy Ghost did not initiate denominations. I understand we have denominations because we have theological differences, but, of course, we’re all joined together by the Blood of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
But the church today has strayed, unfortunately, so far from what God meant for it to be; our liturgical religious systems and things of that nature make Jesus Christ one thing, and they like to make the church another. But listen, God’s church is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the church. We are the mirrored reflection.
We are personifications of Jesus Christ. We are the mere reflection of His character, which is love and grace, and mercy and truth. We are the full entire expression of His will for humanity, which is to save them and redeem them.
God did not choose buildings made by hands. God did not choose buildings of gold, silver, or bronze. God chose the human heart of a man, and that’s what Satan wants you to forget.
Every time that you wake up in the morning, Satan wants you to forget that you hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, that whatever you bind on earth is bound in Heaven. Whatever you loose on earth is loosed in Heaven.
If you don’t understand what that scripture means, it basically means that you have the power to allow and to permit. I know Christians who all the time whenever they’re dealing with problems, they say, well, we’re just going to see how this works out. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to see if this person dies or if they live.
We’re going to see if this person gets better or if they don’t get better, but I don’t believe that’s what Jesus Christ teaches. I believe Jesus Christ teaches us that when we’re dealing with somebody that’s sick, when we’re dealing with somebody that’s rebellious, when we’re dealing with somebody that’s ignoring God, I do not believe that Jesus Christ ever wants us to look at any person or any situation and say I have no say. I can make no difference in what happens in this situation.
You have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. If you don’t want something to happen, you can pray, and by the grace of God, it might not happen. If you want something to happen by the grace of God, you can pray, and it might not happen. You have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, so every morning we ought to lift our head up and we ought to square our shoulders, and we ought to walk with some confidence, even in the face of the enemy.
We are Christians. We are the most powerful force on the face of the earth. We are a part of the Church of the Living God, Jesus Christ, so any pastor who’s accomplished in ministry, but all he can show you is a great big building that costs millions of dollars, and he points at it and says that’s the church, that’s not the church, the building’s not the church. That’s where the church meets.
The word in the Greek, the New Testament, of course, was written in Greek. The word is ecclesia and that word and definition, it means assembly, it means gathering, and that’s why God chose to inhabit the hearts of people and He did not choose to inhabit a building, because God knew,
If I want to change humanity, if I want to win the hearts of men back, I cannot lock Myself up in a building and wait for people to come to Me two or three times a week, I have to inhabit the hearts of man so that as they go to and fro throughout the whole entire earth, they’re carrying My Presence. They’re carrying My Glory. They’re carrying My power.
God would not get anything done if He locked Himself up in a building and waited for people to come to Him. He had to inhabit your heart. He had to possess your spirit. He had to change your life so that you can take the manifested presence of God to other people. That’s what God had to do.
That’s what God had to do, so if God accomplishes anything, that’s going to be through the church, it’s going to be through us. It’s going to be through the Body of Christ.