GOD’S CHURCH LIVES ON!
On the News. “Christianity is dead in
Europe. Islam is
the new reality.” [But God may have
other plans. “Horses & chariots of fire.” 2 Kings 6:16-17.]
John wrote to suffering Christians to strengthen their faith at a time they were being destroyed. The God of Heaven is in control even when He seems not to be. The “gates of hell” cannot prevail against Christ and His church. Paul wrote: “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:10-12 (NLT)
Christianity may seem to be dying. John wrote in Revelation.
“When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called
where also our Lord was crucified.” Rev
11:7-8 (NKJV) Egypt
1. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the one
. Satan is allowed to oppose the church through
the antichristian world. He seems to
defeat the church, and the dead bodies lie on the street. But God the Holy Spirit sends a life-giving
breath and Christianity is reborn – again and again! Spiritual Kingdom
a) Righteousness comes from God.
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen
rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" Now
Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying,
"Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said,
"See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with
rich robes." And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his
head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on
him. And the Angel of the Lord
stood by.” Zech 3:1-5 (NKJV) Jerusalem
b) Come Up Here!
“Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Rev 11:11-13 (NKJV)
“The death of the two witnesses is not the end of their ministry. God was not defeated in the death of Jesus and he will not be defeated in the slaughter of his witnesses. The God of the resurrection breathed life into the dead so that they stood up (see Ezek 37:3-5,10), leaving no doubt about God's power. • Terror struck: It is a fearful experience for sinful humans to face the power of the living God (see Heb 10:31). they rose to heaven in a cloud: The event is reminiscent of the ascent of Jesus (see Acts 1:9) and others (see 2 Kgs 2:11-12; 1 Thess 4:17).” —NLT Study Bible
c) Central idea. Evil cannot permanently conquer good. God is the Power and the Glory. Rev 11:7-13 shows a continuing cycle of events. Satan himself fights against the
antichristian world] and seems to destroy it.
But after 3½ days, God sends a life-giving breath into it. The church seems to die and is reborn again
and again. The one spiritual church does
not terminate. It is taken up to God and
continues to be with Him forever, in the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Rev
19:7-9). God’s eternal purpose in the
first Coming of Jesus Christ is stated in John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have
everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn
the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 (NKJV) church
“The truth that God loved the world is basic to Christian understanding (1 Jn 4:9-10). God's love extends beyond the limits of race and nation, even to those who oppose him (see "The World" at John 17:5-26, p. 1807). • The Son came to save—not condemn (John 3:17)—men and women who habitually embrace the darkness (John 3:19-21). As light penetrates and exposes the world's darkness, God's judgment on the world has already begun. Those who see this light and recognize the tragedy of their own situation have the responsibility of believing in God's... Son.” —NLT Study Bible