Jesus said, “I will build my Church.’” ( Matthew 16:18 )
Jesus never said, “I will build my social service agency.”
Jesus never said, “I will build my para-church ministry.”
Jesus never said, “I will build my university or my Christian college or my Christian school.”
Jesus said, “I will build my Church.”
Only one community in the entire universe is given this iron-clad promise from the Lord of all Creation. “I will build my Church.”
So if you are passionate about the Church then I want you to be encouraged today. You are involved in something extraordinarily important … because you and I and all of Jesus’ disciples have been called to join Him in His Church-building mission. But we must never, ever, ever forget that it is HIS mission – from start to finish.
Last night I was reading Mark 4 and in verses 26-27, Jesus says, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” We do not know how to grow the kingdom of God. We do not know how to build the Church. I have been to many Church growth conferences in years past. I have read many Church growth books. I have lost count of the seminars and workshops I have attended on Church growth and Church planting.
The truth is, we do not know how to plant a Church. The Bible says we cannot know this because that job belongs to Jesus, not us. It is mysterious, it is deep, it is awesome. You go to bed at night. You get up in the morning. You sow your seed. And it sprouts and you don’t know not how. In fact, if anyone claims they doknow how to plant a Church or grow a Church, it isn’t the Church they’re growing. This is, and always will be, a work of the Lord of the Church. It is a profound and supernatural mystery but it’s also a promise.
So our calling is not to Church planting or Church growth. Our calling is to sow the seed. We are called to take this glorious Word of God and we preach it. We preach Christ. We preach the cross. We preach the Bible. We are surrounded by a whole society full of people who don’t know what’s in the Bible and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Jesus and nobody but Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus said that He will do the building, not us. Any conference, seminar, preacher or book that tells you that you can build the Church is dead wrong. We don’t know anything about how God saves and transforms sinners at the depth of their being. We can’t bring about new birth in a person’s spirit. This is a profound mystery and God won’t do this without the faithful proclamation of the Gospel. If we are faithful to His Word, Jesus will use us to help Him build His Church.
What a privilege. What a responsibility! What a promise!