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The Church Cannot Fail

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Chains of iron will not stop the church from completing its mission. Not even martyrdom can stop God’s work; the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Jesus prayed for the church in the seventeenth chapter of John. He prayed for the success of the church; His prayer will be answered.

Christ loves the church – enough to die for it. Ephesians 5:25. Do you think He will refuse to use His power to protect the church He died to build?

Jesus said that He would be with His people to the end of the world. Matthew 28:20. Because of that, we need have no fear. “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6. Christ loves the church. His love was so great that He died for the church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25.

Do you think that He will refuse to use His power to protect the church that He died to build? Of course not. He will use all power in heaven and earth to protect this wonderful institution.

The church is both fragile and strong, powerless and powerful, temporary and permanent. It is fragile because it is a voluntary association and iniquity can weaken and destroy any local expression of the church. But it is strong because it is training the rulers of the world to come. It binds the devil in the lives of believers. It is powerless because it has no authority in society.

It cannot legislate morality, nor force its will on anyone. But it is powerful because it is infused with the power of God. The gates of hell itself cannot prevail against it. The church is temporary because every local assembly eventually becomes lukewarm and then cold.

The candlestick is eventually removed from each location. But it is permanent because the institution continues after the local expression dies out. And overcomers that have been laid away to await the first resurrection will be back!

The Lord gives power to His church. Really, it is given a lot of authority.

Though despised and often-rejected, the church is the way to everlasting life. The power the Lord gives to the church includes: The Keys to the Kingdom. Jesus said to His ministry: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19. No one can enter into the kingdom without using the keys. The church is the vestibule, or entry way, into the kingdom. An entrance into the kingdom must be “ministered” to the believers. See 2 Peter 1:11.

That is why excommunication is a meaningful sanction. Server the Lord in the church is the route to being in the coming kingdom. Power Over the Devil. Jesus gave His church power over devils. Luke 9:1. The first sign that identifies true believers is that they cast out devils. Mark 16:17. The evil spirit knew who Paul was. Acts 19:15. Authority to Heal Diseases.

Those whom Jesus ordains, He gives power to heal sickness. See Mark 3:14-15. When a child of God gets sick, he or she is to call for the elders of the church. James 5:14-15. There must be a church for there to be elders to pray for the sick. The church has always been healing in the name of Jesus. See Acts 3:6, 4:10. Authority to Speak in the Name of Jesus. The church represents the Lord to the world, much like an ambassador represents a foreign country. The church speaks and teaches in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:18. Paul preached in His name. Acts 9:27, 29.

The church is instructed to do all in the name of Jesus. The church, through its ministry, is authorized to “command” in the name of Jesus. See 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and Acts 10:48. Ultimately, Great Power. At the end of the church age, the church is going to receive “great power” from the Lord. Revelation 11:3. So, the church is the instrument that the

Lord is using in this age. He died for the church, He is the head of the church, and He is committed to seeing the church fulfill its mission. We do not have to be a part of His work, but we pray that we are, and that we will continue to be.

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“Faithful” Backsliders

We all know some: friends who used to be in church. We saw them in church as children, heard them testify, or play in the band, or attend Sunday School. But something happened. Maybe there was a crisis: a pastor who died, or problems in the family, and they left church. Or maybe they just gradually drifted away as they entered adulthood. But they are gone. We say they’ve “backslid.” (We refer to those who almost never attend any church; not those who have left the body to join in with “Babylon.”)

We still see them occasionally; we still love them; we pray for them; we’d like to see them back in church with us. But they are gone. It is dangerous to over-generalize, but there are two basic types of backsliders.

First, there are those who go to the world. They turn their backs on God, and get involved in sin. They drink, they party, they completely abandon holiness, they never pray, they never read their Bible. Those in this category have abandoned all pretense of living a biblical, Christian life.

But there is another group of those who’ve left church. They still pray over meals, they read their Bible regularly, they feel God’s Spirit in their walks in the woods, they volunteer for community service. These backsliders don’t get drunk, or engage in immorality. They love God, but feel no obligation to attend church services. They’ve left the church, but don’t feel they’ve lost their faith in God. 

These “faithful” backsliders live good moral lives, and feel they are saved. They believe they know enough doctrine to open the pathway to heaven. At times, they feel that comforting Holy Spirit that they received as a gift at an altar when they were a child.

Surveys have shown that approximately 38% of evangelical Christians who’ve left church still believe that the Bible is the inerrant, true Word of God. Over half of the people who’ve left church still believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. They believe they’ve retained their faith; but simply lost their connection to the church.

Which of the two categories are in the worst spiritual shape? Worldly sinners know they are sinners. But those who think they are fine spiritually, really don’t see why they should come back to church. (Some do – we all know people who were out of church for years, who one day decided to come back. Their reasons are complicated – to raise children in church, some crisis in life, or just the wooing of the Spirit – but too many simply don’t feel any need to attend church.)

Because the “faithful” backsliders are our friends; because we love them; we have an obligation to point out that they are not “fine.” If they believe the Bible; then they should live the Bible – and “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25. Jesus didn’t die to have a disconnected body. The body of Christ is to be “compacted” together. Ephesians 4:16. Jesus didn’t die to give us a private, individual relationship with the Lord; He died to build His church. Matthew 16:18. We need “faithful” backsliders to revert to “faithful members.”

Many of these “faithful” backsliders plan to come back to church someday, or at least are willing to consider it. A lot of them miss “worshipping God.” Some miss inspired teaching and preaching. Maybe all they need is a sincere invitation from one of their friends – maybe from you.