The church is an easy target.
We follow a perfect Saviour (but are far from perfect ourselves); we have a moral voice through the Scriptures (but often find ourselves on the “wrong side” of shifting contemporary values); we have a history of building hospitals, feeding the poor, working for justice, and providing free education (but also have dark chapters that are all too obvious).
If we’re not careful we can give the critics too much clout and then cower in our seats. However, as God’s people, we are the “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27), a people of the Spirit (Romans 8:11), the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:23), and the “family (or household) of God” (1 Timothy 3:15).
In my recent interview with Jon Thompson about spiritual warfare [see link below], he pointed out this much-neglected fact: “Every local church on earth—that is a genuine local church—is the ongoing billboard of Satan’s defeat.”
Think of how significant that is! Every genuine local church—big or small, hymns or Hillsong, doing well or struggling, well-known service projects or behind-the-scenes servanthood, over-budget or under-budget, cathedral-style or storefront—is the ongoing billboard to Satan and his demonic helpers that he lost, is losing and will continue to lose because of the risen Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus himself said that the “gates of Hades will not overcome” the church.
Don’t pretend you’re too good for the church Jesus died for, or that you’re somehow above it, or that it’s man-made. In Christ—and alongside other flawed but redeemed people—you are the body of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Bride of Christ and a part of the household of God.
You’re also a reminder to Satan that he’s a loser and Christ is King.
—SPIRITUAL WARFARE PODCAST – What is spiritual warfare? Why do some avoid it? Isn’t the Bible just ‘out of date’? Who is our enemy? Does possession still happen? How do we win?! I discuss all this and more (put on your seatbelts) with Jon Thompson, author of Deliverance, on ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan.’ Click here. You can also find it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn.
—Reopening. The church I pastor (Westminster in Barrie, Canada) is now fully open on Sunday mornings (with certain rules, guidelines and masks). Click here to watch the full announcement video about rules and what to expect.
–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on March 21, 2022.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.