I TIMOTHY 3:14-15: “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: I believe in the Church! I believe in the local church! Many today are speaking of the church’s decline and demise. The Church of Jesus Christ will never be overcome. Jesus promised this explicitly:
“And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17-19 ESV)
Jesus prayed for the Church in John 17. Jesus always stands before the Father to intercede for the Church. Jesus purchased the Church with His own blood – “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 ESV) Jesus is not going to allow the Church to fail!
Paul reminds Timothy of the great value of the Church. First – it is the household of God. It is the “ekklesia” – the gathering together of those who were once not a people, and are now the people of God. It is the assembly of “living stones”, redeemed lives, filled with the Spirit of the Living God. It is the Family of God, comprised of those who have become sons and daughters by embracing Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. It knows no denominational boundaries. It is defined by no geographical territories. It is blind to color, ethnicity, and gender. It is the Church, Universal, Victorious, and Beloved of God.
Second, Paul reminds Timothy of the awesome call and purpose of the Church. It is the pillar and buttress of “Truth”. It is the recipient of the Word of God. It is the proclaimer of the Gospel of God. It is the instrument of the Grace and Gifts of God in this world. It is the restraining force in a dark world. It holds back the forces of darkness and the release and appearance of the Antichrist, the spirit of which is already in the world (see II Thessalonians 2:1-8). If all of this is true, and it is, then why do people think the Church is on a decline?
There is the “visible” kingdom of god and the “true” Kingdom of God. As it was true with Israel, so it is true with the church. Jesus taught many parables about the growth of the “visible” kingdom of god, and the remnant which comprises the “true” Kingdom of God. This is plain to see in the Book of Revelation and the letters to the seven churches. There were only two churches that reflected and represented the “true” Kingdom of God. They were Smyrna, the persecuted church, and Philadelphia, the loving church. I am not in the position to judge any single church to ascertain where they fit on the spectrum. However, I must look inwardly. I must look at my life and the church I am a part of. Do we truly represent the “true” Kingdom of God? Do we manifest the character and dynamics of the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia?
Let the pundits proclaim the doom of the Church. Let God’s remnant arise and BE THE CHURCH! Lord, I choose to arise and be “The Church”, and “the church” in my community. May You pour out Your Spirit and Your Grace so that we can live for You – completely, transparently, and authentically!
I believe in the Church! In Jesus Name!