Jesus promised that His Church would be unstoppable.
“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18, NLT)
Unfortunately, in many cases it seems the church has been stopped. In my previous post, I shared “3 Ways Churches Stop Themselves.”
One of the primary issues is that we’ve taken church to be a noun when it’s supposed to be a verb.
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20, NLT)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are given one simple task: GO! That’s it. Two letters: G-O! And we can say whatever we want about what that means and what it looks like, but one thing is for sure – GO is a verb.
Francis Chan points out the disconnect for many Christians:
“Simon says, ‘Pat your head’ and we pat our heads. Jesus says, ‘Go therefore and make disciples,’ we memorize that verse.”
How can churches become the truly unstoppable force and presence that Jesus promised?
HERE ARE 4 WAYS CHURCHES BECOME UNSTOPPABLE
1. Go and Show
Many churches have adopted the strategy of “come and see,” but Jesus says, “Go and show.” Jesus’ commission was a radical change from the common Jewish belief of the day which saw the temple as the center of worship and teaching.
“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.” (Isaiah 2:2, NIV)
Jews believed that the whole world would come to the Temple to find God. And really many of our churches today hold the same belief. But instead of waiting for people to come to church, Jesus says, “Take the church to the world.”
To be the church means to be a movement, not a monument.
2. Be an Organism
Really, nothing changed with Jesus except the understanding of what and where the temple is. With Jesus, the temple is no longer a place, but a people.
“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, NLT)
The temple/church is wherever God’s people are. Church isn’t somewhere you go. It’s something you are.
Church is an organism, not an organization.
Being the Church is like being a citizen. You don’t stop being an American citizen because you leave the country. And you don’t stop being the Church because you leave the building. Wherever two or three Christians are gathered together, there is the church.
3. Make Disciples
This may seem obvious, but making converts is NOT the same as making disciples.
Converts are made by believing. Disciples are made by obeying.
Converts agree with a proposition. Disciples follow a person.
“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.” (Matthew 4:18–22, NLT)
A convert says, “I agree with the theological proposition that Jesus is the Son of God.” A disciple says, “I am giving up everything to follow the Son of God.”
So when Jesus tells his disciples to make more disciples he’s not just saying, “Convince people to believe in me.” He’s saying, “Teach people to obey me.”
A Jewish rabbi, which is what Jesus was, would choose his disciples on the basis that they have the potential to be like him. But instead of choosing the best of the best, Jesus chose 12 ordinary men to follow him, to learn from him, to be like him. Then he tells these disciples to go and make more disciples – not to make disciples of themselves, but to make more disciples of Jesus.
To be a disciple of Jesus means to make more disciples – to reproduce.
If we, as Christ’s Church, are not growing, not reproducing, then we are not doing our job – not doing what we were commissioned by Jesus to do.
We are commissioned – not to go to church – but to go to the worldand reproduce disciples of Jesus Christ who multiply churches.
4. Be Dangerous
Have you ever heard someone say that “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will?” It sounds so comforting, but it’s a load of crap! The center of God’s will isn’t the safest place. It’s the most dangerous place!
But Jesus says, “You will be unstoppable because I will be with you. You will have my power and my presence wherever you go, whatever you do.”
Remember what he said about the gates of hell? “Gates” represent, in the Bible, power and protection. Every city back then had walls around it with a main gate. The city was only as powerful as its gate. If the city gate was weak, it could be easily broken into and conquered; whereas, a strong city gate would, of course, be difficult and discourage intruders. But no matter what kind of gate a city had, one thing is for certain: Gates do not attack. Gates are attacked!
It seems to me that the Church over the years has taken a defensive stance instead of an offensive strategy. “Oh no! The gates of hell are attacking! Lock the door, batten the hatches, keep everyone safe and inside.”
And while we’re hunkered down in our bunker, Satan’s roaming around free like a lion seeking whom he may devour.
Church isn’t meant to be safe! It’s supposed to be dangerous. Because war is hell. But hell will not prevail!
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31, NLT)
If Jesus is with us, nothing is going to stop us!
So stop playing “not to lose” and start fighting to win!