A Word of Encouragement to Christians
Recent events and trends explain why people of faith feel frustrated and even hopeless with the direction of the country. The shifts in our culture, both minuscule and tectonic, have marginalized many faithful Christians. But the truth is, Christians should have less reason than anyone else to feel hopeless and frustrated if they remember Jesus' words.
Scott Moore, the lead pastor at Eastridge Community Church where I work (and of which I'm a member), reminded us of this fact this past Sunday, and his message inspired me to share it here. Scott's sermon centered on a conversation Jesus had with His disciples:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Jesus brought His disciples to this city, known for its disgusting rituals and pagan worship, known colloquially as the "Gates of Hades," to announce His plans for His church. He tells us that the "powers of Hell will not prevail against" this community of believers. Nothing will prevail against God's church -- not evil, not hatred, not racism, not perversion, not greed.
Scott used this passage to remind us as believers that the church (not a particular denomination, but the global family of Christians all over the world) is the most prevailing force the world has ever known. He reminded us that we are stronger than we believe we are if our faith is strong. If we abide in Jesus, in prayer and in His Word, we can't help but overcome even our worst feelings of inadequacy and despair. He said, "The church is strong because it is built upon the foundation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of the supremely divine, living God." How could we not prevail?