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The Church Ecclesiology

The Church  Jesus said: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).  In that tough church, the toughest thing on earth, the insecure find unshakable security, the nameless find divine identity, the lonely find unfailing fellowship, the dying find indestructible life, the disgraced find endless glory. All who yearn for those treasures had better get into that church! (He 12:22-24)

The Church - Ecclesiology

The Church - Ecclesiology of the church Jesus said: "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Mt 16:18).

That saying comes strangely to our ears - we do not usually think of gates as prevailing - but to the people of Bible days it was pregnant with meaning. In fact, Jesus' words must have had a stunning impact on his hearers.

The phrase "the gates of hell" was a common idiom in the Greek world. It was used to convey the idea of the strongest possible force. Today we might say, "mighty as an atom bomb ... powerful as an earthquake ... terrible as a tornado;" but when a Greek wanted to express irresistible, invincible force, he would speak about "the gates of hell" - he could think of nothing stronger.

More on The Church - Ecclesiology

The phrase "the gates of hell" was a common idiom in the Greek world. It was used to convey the idea of the strongest possible force. Today we might say, "mighty as an atom bomb ... powerful as an earthquake ... terrible as a tornado;" but when a Greek wanted to express irresistible, invincible force, he would speak about "the gates of hell" - he could think of nothing stronger.

Now to people who were familiar with that idiom, the effect of associating it with Jesus' little band of disciples must have been quite startling. As though he had said – "Until now you have known nothing mightier than the gates of hell - but I am about to create a new thing, my church, against which the gates of hell will be as impotent as a paper sword against granite!"

What does this mean to us?

The Church is the Toughest Thing on Earth

The church tough? Indestructible?

On the face of it, that proposition would seem absurd to many people even today, but it must have seemed still more absurd to the people who first heard Jesus proclaim it.

Look at the scene: Jesus is speaking to a small collection of fishermen, tax collectors, publicans, and peasants - only a dozen men all told, and one of them is under suspicion of being a thief. Yet Christ is promising to turn them into a body tougher than the proverbial "gates of hell". One can almost hear a guffaw of derision: "What? That lot? Tougher than hell? It'll be a wonder if they survive the first prod of a Roman spear!"

Even the men Jesus was speaking to found it hard to accept. In fact, neither they nor anyone else was surprised when, some two years later, he was arrested in Jerusalem and they did all desert him (Mt 26:56).

Despite two millennia of conflict - through rivers of blood, against fire and sword, rack and lash and prison, fang and claw, hatred, slander, and falsehood - the church has stood firm.

Gloriously, incredibly, the promise of Christ has proved to be absolutely true. Against his church, not even the gates of hell have been able to prevail!

This book is now also available as an ebook from Smashwords The Church - Ebook version 

Church Study Stream

The Church - Ecclesiology is subject from our study stream on Church Study Stream. You may also like to consider one of these study options:

Building the Church God Wants

Better Then Revival

Christian Education

Leadership - Vision for the City

Pastoral Ministry (In the Eye of the Storm)

Principles of Praise and Worship

Supernatural Architecture

Teaching Tactics

Unsung Heroines

Worlds Greatest Story, The

And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that He may be pre-eminent in all things. For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell. And through Him having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him, whether the things on earth or the things in Heaven.  (Col 1:18-20)

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