Focus 40 Day 20: Extreme Living—The Mission: Multiply
Prayer Focus: Pray for unity in your district, state, and nationally – John 17:21-23
Extreme Living—The Mission: Multiply
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
—Matthew 16:18 (NRSV)
JESUS TOLD US HIS CHURCH we would be victorious. Sometimes when we read this verse we think of the word church in an institutional way. We think about a building, a program, or even the ministry that is unique to a denomination or particular tradition. Those are byproducts of that which Jesus spoke but are not the original purpose.
The Greek word we translate “church” is ekklesia, which is a compound word and gives us a clue to what Jesus originally intended. The first word, ek, is a preposition that modifies the verb that follows and is translated “out.” The second word is from the root of the verb “to call.” When you put them together, you have “those that are called out.” From that our European Bible translators focused on the people that are called out and chose the word church to translate ekklesia. Perhaps because in their day, the ministry revolved around an elite few working out of an elaborately ornate building also called a church.
I wish they had chosen the words fellowship or community. What was it that would be so powerful in nature that the best of hell could not stop it? It was the community of believers banning together to complete the mission of Jesus!
They were called out from the common way of selfishness and called out to a life that was sent–a life lived on mission. Jesus said, “As the Father sent me so I send you.” This purposeful, missional life will rob hell of its captives and set children of God free to be all that they were created to be. Jesus died for this, and we, the community of those who are called out, get to seal the deal. Hell cannot stop us when we live in a community that is living as he did—rescuing people from darkness and purposelessness.
Thank you, God, that hell cannot stop us when you are leading us and we obey. Amen.
Rev. Gary Kendall, Pastor