Your Part in God’s Plan, Part 1

Bible Reading: Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8

Matthew 16:18, “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.”

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into HIs marvelous light.”

My friend in India recently sent me a video of a worship service.  He lives in one of the most persecuted regions in the world.  The video shows a group of folks gathered on a Sunday to worship Jesus.  Not a large group, maybe 25, including people both young and old.  A drummer is leading the group as they sing praises to their Lord.  Their building is austere at best, constructed of mere poles and tarps with bricks for a floor.  Surrounding the church is a large group of Hindu activists.  They’ve gathered to disrupt and put an end to the worship service.  One by one, the activists strip away the tarps which make up the walls.  Still the worshipers sing on.  They tear away the tarps that cover the roof.  Still the worshipers sing on.  Next comes the interwoven limbs that serve as the roof structure.  The activists pull those down.  Still the worshipers sing.  At the end of the video, a man is pulling up a large limb which served as a wall support.  Through it all, our far away friends never stop worshiping Jesus.  They love Jesus and His church with a love that is inspiring, and perhaps somewhat convicting.  They gather to worship as if fellowship together is as necessary to them as breathing.  We gather for fellowship if we’ve nothing more important on our schedule.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus made His declaration — “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).  We should note here first that it is His church.  It belongs to Him, the One who purchased it with His own blood.  He is the head of the church, and it is left to us to listen well and obey.  He is building His church.  To be sure, he uses us in the work, but apart from Him we can do nothing.  The fact that it is His church, and that He is the One who is building it, works to remind us that it has an enduring beauty that is derived from Him.  The church is beautiful because He is beautiful.  He loves His church.  We ought to love it too.  In fact, an apathetic disregard for the church is a sure sign that something is amiss in one’s Christian life.

“And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try.  Since its beginning, the church has faced opposition.  It has faced countless obstacles and challenges.  And so, it does in our day.  But empires have been built and have fallen.  World leaders have come and gone.  Religious fads and causes arise and then wither away.  But the church founded 2000 years ago is still around.  And no matter how anemic or unimportant or irrelevant it might seem to be in the eyes of the world, the body of Christ still stands as the most important entity on this planet.  You, believer in Christ, are a part of it.  You are a part of the church that Jesus loves.  You are a part of the universal, eternal, triumphant work that He is even now doing.  What an incredible privilege it is to be a part of His called out assembly! 


The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: