The Church: God's Strategy Against the Gates of Hell
"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 16:18-19 (ESV)
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus declares a profound truth that resonates through the ages. He speaks to Peter, acknowledging him as the foundation upon which He will build His church. The gates of hell, the powers of death and darkness, will not prevail against it. This declaration is not merely a promise, but a powerful revelation of God's divine strategy to combat the forces of evil.
The church, as ordained by God, is not a passive entity. It is not a fortress hiding from the world but a force advancing against the very gates of hell. God's strategy to defeat the power of death and hell is encapsulated in the establishment and growth of His churches. As we plant new churches, we are actively participating in God's divine plan to bring light into the darkest corners of the earth.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wisely stated, "The Church is the Church only when it exists for others." This profound truth echoes the essence of Christ's words in Matthew 16. The church exists not for self-preservation but for selfless service. It is a beacon of hope in a world bound by the chains of sin and despair. In planting new churches, we extend the reach of God's love and grace, breaking the chains that bind hearts and minds.
The keys of the kingdom, bestowed upon the church, represent the authority and power given by Christ. This authority empowers us to bind the forces of evil and release the redemptive power of God into the world. Through the planting of churches, we exercise these keys, unlocking the doors of salvation, healing, and transformation for those who are bound by the grip of darkness.
The quote by Bonhoeffer emphasizes that the church's purpose is not domination but service. It is a living testimony to what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others. In planting new churches, we embrace the call to be a helping hand and a source of healing. We become instruments of God's love, extending His invitation to a broken world.
Today, let us reflect on the immense privilege and responsibility we have been given to participate in God's strategy against the powers of death and hell. As we plant new churches, may we do so with a heart that beats for others-a heart that mirrors the sacrificial love of our Savior. In this, we fulfill the divine purpose of the church, standing boldly against the gates of hell and ushering in the kingdom of heaven.