Most people have an opinion about “church.” Those opinions can keep you away from church but being a part of a local church is extremely important. I’ll admit the church is flawed because it is made up of imperfect people in the process of becoming like Jesus. That’s no excuse to not be involved with the local church.
When operating in alignment with the Bible, the local church is the most dynamic organization in the world. The local church is not an institution created by man, the church is God’s idea.
“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.” Matthew 18:16
The church is a life-giving, life-transforming, dream-casting, hope-fulfilling, chain-breaking, relationship-restoring movement matchless in every way.
In Matthew 11, John the Baptizer is in prison and about to be executed. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus a question. It appears that John is having doubts about who Jesus is. Jesus responds saying “there has been no one born to a woman greater than John.”
John lived an unusual life, wearing clothing made of camel hair, ate bugs and called people to be baptized for repentance in preparing the way for Jesus. So how could someone play an important role in preparing the way for Jesus, have doubts about who Jesus is?
Doubt is most common when entering a new season of life or uncharted territory. New challenges, new experiences, new opportunities can cause us to question our ability to handle the unknown. If John had doubt yet was considered the greatest of all men born, don’t be discouraged when questions or doubts show up in your life.
Faith is the only cure for doubt.
Doubt is an assault on the faithfulness of God. To extinguish doubt, look to the Word and declare God’s promise.
In the Bible, the phrase “the kingdom of heaven,” is found 32 times, all of them in the book of Matthew. In Matthew 11:11-15, this phrase is used twice. The kingdom of heaven is distinct from the kingdom of God.
In John 3:3-5 we are told that “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born again.” 1 Corinthians 15:50 says, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is commonly used in the context of the place where the born-again exclusively reside.
The “kingdom of heaven” in Matthew 13 is compared to “sowing seed in a field which produced both wheat and tares, (saved and unsaved), with a separation coming at the harvest time.” The same concept is used again in Matthew 13 where a fishing net gathered every kind of fish but the bad were thrown away.
The kingdom of heaven is the place where God’s power is provided for saving and transforming people out of darkness into light. The local church represents the kingdom of heaven.
The word kingdom is key to the mission of the church. In every kingdom, there is a King. The suffix -dom in the word kingdom means “authority and jurisdiction.” This means that the King has all-authority and all-jurisdiction within his kingdom. What the King says goes. His word is the final authority. Where the King is, he has full dominion.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
The local church has the divine authority to set captives free, heal the sick and to disciple the saved, 2 Corinthians 10:4. This mission is too big and too important for one church to accomplish. We need “all-hands” on deck! God has commissioned you to lead the charge in reaching your neighbors, co-workers and unsaved family and friends. Be a part of the local church, the kingdom of heaven.
A church built on the teaching and preaching of God’s word, united by faith is unstoppable. John gave his life to make Jesus known. He sacrificed everything so the kingdom of heaven would be established on earth and advance. Will you?