The Church Invincible
Jesus was dead. Both His friends and His foes knew He was dead. They had seen Him crucified. They had seen the soldier thrust a spear through His heart. There was no doubt. He was dead. And of course the church He sought to establish was also dead, aborted before it was born. “Turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) Not those frightened few! The heroic dream was shattered, the hope was destroyed.
Then the unbelievable report! Some women who went to embalm His body declared He was alive as He had predicted He would be! Two of the apostles raced to the tomb to investigate. They found it empty.
Was His body stolen, even though it had been guarded by Roman soldiers? That was the report spread by some who wanted it to be true. But there was no action against the guards who had been on duty at the grave. No official believed the soldiers had failed in their responsibility.
Then other believers met the Risen One! Some especially the Apostle Thomas, first doubted, but quickly was convinced that Jesus was risen from the dead! Soon more than five hundred had seen for themselves and witnessed to others JESUS IS ALIVE!
To His apostles “He presented Himself alive…after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days” (Acts 1:3). Once more the beginning, struggling church had hope. Led by One who had conquered death, the church was alive! Jesus said He would conquer death, and He did!
But then He went away! He was gone and they knew He was gone. They had seen Him rise. His body ignoring gravity, had left the earth, had risen into the clouds and disappeared from their sight. The Conquering One was gone!
Upward they gazed, hoping He would return and lead them to victory. But it was not so. Instead “two men in white clothing stood beside them; men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11).
Jesus was gone! Yes, He promised to return sometime in the distant, indefinite future, but what about now when they needed Him the most? Had He left a helpless church with a hopeless task in a hostile world? NOT AT ALL. He had promised another leader, another Power, to insure their success. They must follow the direction Jesus had given, “not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, Which, He said, you heard of from Me. For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5).
And what would that Holy One do for them? Jesus said in Acts 1:8, His last recorded utterance before going home, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth“.
Two words sum up the Master’s final instructions to His church: (1) TARRY and (2) GO. First TARRY until the Holy Spirit comes. Then GO! Go to all the world and present the gospel to every creature. We ignore either word at our peril! And we must obey in the proper order, neither going when we should tarry, nor tarrying when we should go.
Through Faith and Obedience the Church WILL accomplish its God-given mission. The Spirit filled church will witness to the living Jesus both at home and abroad, yes, even “to the end of the earth“. No outside force can stop the testimony and the message concerning Jesus. Properly empowered, properly directed, His church is invincible. Have we joined that church?
Jesus IS ALIVE, and may His name be glorified.Come and worship with us
With Confidence and Hope…