Sunday, March 13, 2011

What is the story of the Church?

"Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." Matthew 16:15-18.(NLV)

Our church had a guest preacher last Sunday, March 6, 2011. Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, President, Asbury Theological Seminary. He preached on the story of the church. Is it a story of advancing the gospel or one of suffering and persecution? Clearly, it is both. God's work has been carried out since He first breathed life into man depsite the obstacles which stood in the way of His people.

Dr. Tennet shared some very insightful thoughts which I wanted to share. He reminded me that God's way and God's timing is not our (humans) way or timing. Also, what looks like defeat to human eyes is not always the case. Can you imagine the sorrow, lost faith, hopelessness that must have faced the disciples after the crucifixcion? Everything they had given up the past three years to follow this man, Jesus, who was to be the Messiah and save the Jews. Had it died with Him on the cross?

Dr. Tennet said, "God triumphs when things are at the worst. He overturns His foes. The cross of Jesus Christ which seemed to be the darkest moment, because it was the world's greatest rejection of God; became God's greatest act of reconcilliation. Man's worst hour became God's greatest hour by nailing our sins to the cross of Jesus. God always has the last word in our lives; in our world."

Praise God, that the crucifixion was not the end of the story. On Easter the women go to the tomb, but find He is not here. He is risen. "God is unvieling His greatest work under cloak of failure. Our greatest suffering and failures become His greatest work. He takes our Plan G and makes it His Plan A." Dr. Tennent.

"The Church will advance as it is willing to sacrifice." Dr. Tennet.

"But those who endure to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13.(NLV) God keeps His promises. We just need to keep the faith.