It is an interesting time to be a Christian. More particularly, it is an interesting time to be a part of a faithful local church. The news increases their coverage of Christians being persecuted, even slaughtered, around the world. Who has not heard or seen pictures of atrocities committed against others simply because they profess Christ? Furthermore, the church is waning in so many ways as well internally.
In my experience, leadership in the church is weak and lacking. False teachers have infested the church with their teachings that contradict righteousness and truth. The Law of Christ, the Law of love (John 13:34-35) is confounded; leading towards neglect. Families in shambles, worldliness is normalized, and simple doctrinal questions have been so questioned that even the most astute believer is confused. Both internally, and externally, it would appear that the church of Jesus Christ is undergoing tremendous stress. My question is, how much more can it endure?
Then the answer comes: all of it! The church of Jesus Christ can, and will, endure it all. How can I know this? Let me give you five reasons the Scripture indicates that the church of Jesus Christ can withstand any, and every, test the world, Satan, or evil men, can throw at it.
1. Jesus Promised Nothing Will Prevent Him from Building His Church
Matthew 16:18: I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Ultimately, the church is being built by Christ Himself. If a man wanted to destroy the church, He would have to destroy the Builder first. That is simply not possible because the Builder has been given full dominion over heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18) and therefore, no one is able to thwart His will.
2. The Saints Will Judge the World
1 Corinthians 6:2–3: Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?
God’s children will one day reign and rule with Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:4a). That means that every judicial act that needs to be made over the world in its day-to-day operations will be made by the saints of God. Judgment will be handed over to us so that we might exercise our privileges as children of God in governing this planet. Therefore, ultimately, our seat, as it were, is secured.
3. The Father is Carrying Out His Eternal Plan in this World Through Us
Ephesians 3:8–11: To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Notice that the manifold wisdom of God is made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. They, in turn, influence the rulers and authorities on earth. That is, as the local church conducts itself according to the will of God, the eternal purpose of God is evident in, and through, the church as the angels and demons look on. That power and influence is not subject to the trials of this life! It is God’s eternal purpose that the local church express His manifold wisdom in the administration of His mystery in time and space which echo throughout the heavenly realms! No man can stop that!
4. God’s Elect Cannot be Deceived by Error
1 John 2:26–27: These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
The point of this controversial passage is that God Himself assures the believer that there is a greater Teacher inside of them than Errorists outside of them. This Teacher, the effect of the working of the Holy Spirit (called the “anointing” see 1 John 2:20), constantly works in us, by God’s doing, in order to protect us from the error that serves to defraud us. However, that does not eliminate human teachers from their efforts and work in the Scripturev. It simply assures us that we will not ultimately be fooled(see also Matthew 24:24).
5. The Word of God Cannot Be Imprisoned
2 Timothy 2:8–9: Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.
Paul, more than any martyr since his day, knew torture (see his list in 2 Corinthians 6:3-5). He knew imprisonment and limited influence. However, without discrediting his circumstances, he also knew that the Word of God goes beyond just one person. God is spreading His seed of the Word all over the field in a multitudinous fashion. One man’s imprisonment, or death, cannot keep the seed from sprouting.
Be encouraged! The Word of God is spreading and will bear fruit. The church of Jesus Christ cannot be destroyed. Because the church is the pillar and supporter of the truth, it will continue to exist with power and eternal purpose.