What Is The World Coming To?

August 19, 2014

"This week I want to share something that has been on my mind of late. If you're anything like me its likely been crossing your mind too. Looking at the title of this post you've probably already guessed it but its a question I've repeated many times recently - ""What is the world coming to?"" It doesn't take long on any of the major news channels before you get this sense that all is not right with the world. Whether its the Middle East, Iraq, Ebola outbreaks, protests in Ferguson, or the myriad other stories that monopolize the news it can get downright discouraging. So much so, that you can wonder whether there is any hope for humanity at all. Conflict, war, and strife have always been a part of the world we live in but lately it seems more accelerated. Last week I spoke on Matthew 16, that passage where Jesus takes his disciples into Caesarea Philippi. A city at the time that was a portrait of the best humanity could offer. From opulent temples, to cosmopolitan culture, to vibrant commerce, and religious diversity. But it is here in the midst of such grandeur that Jesus makes this incredible promise.

I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)

I can't tell you how that statement struck me as I stood in front of our church last Sunday. It hit me like a brick. A statement so powerful in its proclamation. Especially in light of the condition we find the world in today. With all things that are tenuous on this planet, the church is one whose foundation and future are fully secure. Which, as a leader, should give you great comfort. No matter what ""hell"" is being thrown at the church it will not only survive but thrive. Something that has been proven true for the last two thousand years as the church has weathered every kind of attack against it. What truly bothers me, besides the distress of the world we live in, is the ongoing news concerning the condition of the church. I can't tell you the number of newsletters I receive decrying the state of the church in North America. Youth are leaving in droves and the number of people claiming no faith affiliation is rising exponentially. Bothersome news for sure, but then again...

I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)

The passage reminded me once again of some very basic truths. Questions that we need to ask from time to time in order to keep us grounded whenever we begin to feel overwhelmed by the world around us.

1. Do I really believe that God is sovereign over all creation?

2. Do I really believe in the power of the Gospel to transform lives?

3. Do I really believe that the church is the hope of the world?

The world may seem more troubled than usual, but frankly, that's to be expected. But the place of the church in the scheme of things is never without question. Despite whatever the appearances, it is exactly these moments where the church shines. Where its mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus gets the most traction. As leaders I want to encourage you to believe in the church, and in what Jesus says about his church! There are times when discouragement can get the best of us, but it should never make us lose hope in the promise that Jesus made concerning the church. That he will build it and nothing, absolutely nothing, will stand in its way. My history professor in seminary said something in class that I've remembered all these years later. He said that believers today will say, ""Look what the world has come to?"" But the believers in the early church would say, ""Look what has come into the world!"" That change in perspective can go a long way as we lead our churches, despite what is happening all around us, because it is exactly the darkness that permeates our news channels that makes the church so important for today."


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