by Terry J. Hallock

His Plan, Your Vision, and This Church
Terry J. Hallock
Matthew 16:13-19; Acts 2:14-18
February 20, 2000

Though we identify the season of Pentecost with the birth of the Church, its actual conception took place in a scene recorded in Matthew 16.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (vs. 13-19).

In that moment Jesus unveiled His plan for His Church. It would be a family of born-again children who would be given the "keys of the kingdom". They would be granted the power to create on earth what already existed in heaven and defeat on earth that which was already defeated in heaven. Jesus' Church would be His anointed body in a dying world. He would empower it to preach good news to the poor, free captives, give sight to the blind, release the oppressed and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus' Church would be so filled with His sin-cleansing, life-renewing, devil-busting and death-defeating power that when it came up against the very gates of hell they would crumble and fall like so much chaff in the face of mighty wind.

That was Jesus' plan but His disciples had to catch His vision and for a long time they could not. They wavered back and forth between faith and fear. Following Jesus' crucifixion fear seemed to have won out. Even follo ...

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