The Church Lesson 5: Power and Authority

The Church Matthew 16:18-20:

18 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. 19 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." 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

We saw already that Jesus does the work of building the church; and he is the authoritative owner of the church.

He also mentions the power that grace will extend to this church of his. He says the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

A lot of people read these words and think it means that God will protect us in the world, because we belong to his church. We will be safely ensconced within the shelter and the walls of his kingdom where the evils of the world cannot assail us. But that is nothing like what Jesus is saying here.

These are words of warfare, not words of protection and defense. What he is saying is that his church, living in submission and obedience to his directives, will live in a strategically offensive manner. The church of Christ is assaulting the gates of hell not being protected from those gates. His church is to take the weapons of warfare he has given us and declare war against the enemy; tear down the fortifications and strongholds of the enemy, and take back the prisoners the enemy has gathered.

And then as he talks with his disciples, he speaks about the authority that he will vest in the church; we see then that there is power in the church. The church has been given authority to use in this life; indicating that the church has purpose in the world today. Jesus has a purpose for his church; he has a master plan for how he intends to use his church in the world.

For example, that plan, among other things, involves defeating the works of the enemy and snatching the lost out from the enemies grasp.

As Jude said in Jude 1:23:

23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear - hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Who is doing this snatching?

Well Jude addressed his letter to those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. This is a description of the church.

The true church of Christ is fulfilling the purposes of the Savior in the world.

Church congregants therefore, have expectations that have been placed on them by God through the directives of his Scriptures and the spiritual authorities he has established in the church.

The church and each member are meant to operate in the power and the authority given to us by the Christ, the Son of the Living God!