March 21, 2018
“United Against the Enemy”
And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18b
Waking up to the news that the serial bomber in Austin had destroyed himself with his own bomb was both sad and thrilling. It was sad that another soul had entered eternity without knowing the grace of God in Christ who could have saved him. It is thrilling that the fear that pervaded in Austin can finally subside, once law enforcement can rule out the possibility of accomplices and left over bombs.
More than the obvious story, it was the example again of careful and faithful coordination by many levels of law enforcement professionals that grabbed my attention. On the Federal, State, and Local level they worked together to expose, track and trap the bomber. They united against the enemy and prevailed.
Jesus said that on the profession of Peter, that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, He would build His church and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What is the Church, except the people whom the Holy Spirit has called, gathered, and equipped for the ministry of the Gospel. This mission of the Church will prevail against the forces of hell.
But like law enforcement, the mission of the Gospel takes coordination of committed men and women of the Church. At all levels–Synod, District, and Congregation–the Gospel is proclaimed so sinners may believe it and be saved. Locally, the mission is coordinated among all the members working together, using talents and resources that our Lord has given for such a purpose. Some of us are faithful prayer warriors—pray with all your might. To some are given the ability of administration—exercise that with all wisdom and prudence. Others are entrusted with worldly wealth—share that joyfully for the Lord’s work. Some have more time than money—give that time gladly. Still others have specific talents in teaching, technology, writing, worship, spiritual care and counsel, and other means that promote timely, effective, and faithful communication of the Gospel—employ them according to your gift.
The point is that as law enforcement worked together to prevail against a bomber, even more so can a committed team of Christians, gathered into a Christ-centered congregation, prevail against hell itself. When the Church works utilizing all the gifts God has given it, God can do incredible things. As Faith members begin to transition toward new pastoral leadership, may they remember and praise God for the truth that they are the Church, and even the gates of hell shall not defeat them.
Grace and Peace to Faith