Bringing love, justice, and peace to the world What is our role as the church? To discover this we need to look at Jesus and His work on earth. 1 John 3:8 states: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
The cross is victory over the powers holding people in bondage; sin, death, and the devil. As God’s emissaries, believers are called and empowered to continue the work Jesus began with his life, death and resurrection.
Jesus desires to use you to build His church and advance His kingdom. Matthew 16 helps you to better understand your role.
Matthew 16:15-18 He (Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 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.
City of false gods Jesus travels with His disciples 20 miles north of Galilee to the district of Caesarea Philippi. In this area is a rocky hillside where shrines dedicated to the god of Pan, Echo, and Hermes existed. Next to these shrines is a large cave where a powerful stream once flowed, called the “Gates of Hell”.
The worshipers of Pan would perform human sacrifices in the cave and cast the remains into a natural abyss at the back of the cave.
The living God In this area where other god’s required human sacrifice, Peter confesses Jesus to be “the Son of the living God.” God brings life, not death. Jesus promised in John 10:10, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”
An advancing kingdom In this passage Jesus is saying, “The church will overcome these lesser gods - the god of Pan, Echo, and Hermes. Other gods focus on self, materialism, pride, fame, sex, power and bring death. I will build my church over these things and the gates of hell shall not prevail against my advancing kingdom.”
Storming the gates of hell We advance the kingdom by charging the gates of hell, as inaugurated by God’s reign of love, justice, and peace. Where there is despair, bring hope. Where there is unbelief, bring faith. Where there is hatred, bring love. Where there is sickness, offer healing. We are to be walking, talking, representatives of Jesus to the world.
Committed to the Church Connect to a community of faith. You cannot effectively advance the kingdom of God on your own. Believers working together with a common goal make it happen.
We need one another. Paul refers to the church as the Body of Christ, with everyone having an important function. You need the church and the church needs you.
Promised victory When we work together what does Jesus say will happen? “They shall not prevail against us!” The keys of the kingdom have been given to us.
Victory has been promised. We simply need to be willing to advance on the gates of hell.
The challenge Commit yourself to the task of storming the gates of hell until His imminent return. Be intentional to turn people to Jesus at home and work by displaying His love, justice, and peace to the world.
What are some ways that you can fulfill the mission of the church? Share your comments below.
About the Author: Zach Maddox is a cross-cultural educator. He and his family lived in Sudan and now reside in East Jerusalem. Through his work in education he encourages people to live according to the teachings of Jesus. Zach and Shellie, along with their three children, desire to see Jesus unveiled in the hearts and minds of people around the world. www.zachmaddox.com; on twitter @zachmaddox