Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus came to do what no one else could do: pay the penalty for sin by bearing God’s judgment on the cross, suffering the anguish of hell in the place of all who would believe. In so doing He laid the cornerstone of the Church, His own life, and He promised to build His Church on the foundation of the teaching of the prophets and apostles (Ephesians 2;20), which all points to Him!
God’s chosen instrument to proclaim His kingdom to the world since the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the pouring out of His Holy Spirit, has been and is the one true Church, the “ekklesia,” the “called-out ones,” the “called-out assembly.”
The world does not know the true God or His Son Jesus Christ, the promised Savior. Spiritual darkness envelops all who do not have the Spirit of God within them. They are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3) and live now “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). God sent LIGHT into the world in His Son Jesus Christ, but people loved the darkness rather than the light because they did not want their evil works exposed (John 3:19). The same is true today.
Yet, even though Jesus ascended into heaven, God’s light still shines in the world today in the lives of those who are true disciples of Jesus Christ, in whom His Spirit is mightily at work. Before the world began God chose some to be His, some to be born again by His Spirit and to be adopted into His family. These are called by the Spirit and given the gift of faith in Jesus, the Christ, and are then empowered with new life in order to serve as part of Christ’s Church. These are “called-out” of the world and then “sent out” to the world. Though the world hates us, the world needs us, for without the spiritual light we shine through our words and deeds, the world lies in perpetual darkness and despair.
God joins these “called-out ones” into a body, a unit where we join together in praising God for His grace and in serving Him in every area of our lives. We who are believers live to encourage one another and to build one another up as “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). We exist as a Body, not for ourselves only, but for the glory of the God who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (I Peter 2:9). We are empowered by the Spirit to do battle against the very powers of darkness that deceive and enslave those who do not know Jesus Christ, and we display that the kingdom of God is in our midst as we love one another and build one another up to fulfill God’s purpose among us and through us.
Knowing God’s love, this one body, the true Church, exists to spread the knowledge of God and His kingdom throughout the world as we testify to the power of Christ living within us. And so Paul writes, “To God be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!” (Ephesians 3:21).
This is how God wants YOU to see the Church, so we invite you to join us as we examine Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, asking God to pour out His Spirit upon us in order that we may more clearly display His grace, His empowering presence and His love and so bring glory to God in the Church!!