20th January 2019

Declaring the Beginning From the End

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted.”
Matthew 28:16-17 (NIV)

As Sylvia Caldwell boarded, a crew member told her “Not even God himself can sink the Titanic.” This proved untrue. Only the Triune God is all-knowing and has the power to declare the end from the beginning and make such proclamations which are ultimately fulfilled.

Jesus made a powerful statement that has brought hope to the church throughout the ages, that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church, but that it would remain until his second coming. These words of Jesus are good news for GCI. We are similar to other evangelical churches in that we have many congregations which are aging and shrinking in numbers, and yet we have the promise of our Saviour that he is Lord over the church. Jesus already demonstrated his great love and care for this body of followers when he laid down his life. Anticipation of eternity with him fills us with even greater assurance.

As Head of the church, this is crucial to understand: Jesus is present with his church. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gave instruction to his church which has been called ‘The Great Commission’: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”

We see this as the central work of the church from the first century forward. Then Jesus makes this promise: “And surely I am with you until the end of the age” (verse 20). The making of disciples and the growth of the church is not something the church does ‘for’ Jesus—rather it is the work we do ‘with’ him. Apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit none of us has the ability to call and convince another person to have faith in Jesus.

During the Advent and Christmas season Christians celebrated the coming of Emmanuel (God with us). And certainly Jesus came as a babe born in a manger, but Jesus remains ‘God with us’ now and for always. Isn’t that comforting, knowing Jesus is the active Head of the church? And that he is working in and through his followers for the growth and preservation of his church? I personally find great comfort and joy in that reality. While an iceberg could take down the Titanic, even the gates of hell and the power of the devil cannot prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. That truly is the unsinkable ship!

Mighty Father, the assurances you have given us should motivate and encourage us. But, as ever, we continue to need your help. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Greg Williams

About the Author:
Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and resides in North Carolina, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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