Breakfast with Solomon - 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"
I will build my church
Jesus proclaims, before His death, that He will build a community of people who will be called together by Him individually who ascribe to the confession of Peter -- that Christ is the Messiah.
What is interesting is that the living Jesus is calling out people all the time to become His church. He is not necessarily just calling out people to be a part of the visible church -- the worldly disobedient apathetic church. But He, Jesus, is going to build a substantial group of people who will share a common characteristic; they have been called out by Him and have accepted this calling.
There is no power in heaven or on earth that will stop Jesus from building His community of the faithful -- not the world, not the devil, not government, not even the visible church.
It is often times true that the surest way to inoculate a person against real Christianity is to get them involved in the visible church today. People don't learn how to love God or how to trust Him or even how to serve Him in an effective way!
At times we must be prepared to have Jesus build His church by not having people associate with the visible church as the visible symbol of the body of Christ is unresponsive and distracted. But the true body of Christ that Jesus is building is responsive and alert and eager to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The gates of Hades will not overpower it
It would certainly seem from this verse that either the Gates of Hades are attacking the church or the church is attacking the Gates of Hades and the church wins. Is this true in terms of the church that we see visibly today?
The Lord's church is constantly under attack and yet it wins and flourishes when the power of the living Christ is released in the church. Then nothing can stand in its way! I am finding more responsiveness in the church from lay individuals than from the organized church. It is Christian leaders who are responsive to the true Christian discipleship process. They want to walk with God! They enjoy learning about God and serving Him!
The church will not always look like what we understand as the organized church of western culture with programs often substituting for the Life of Jesus.