This exhortation is on the compelling and irresistible Jesus Christ, his revelation and the church of God.
Scripture: Matthew 16:16-19, Isaiah 44, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 61, Hebrews 13.8, Mark 13:31, Romans 8.28-32
Already very well known as a most unusual teacher, healer, it was a settled fact that Jesus was an actual modern day miracle worker. An authoritative figure and religious character, he was obsessed with fervently preaching and speaking about the kingdom of heaven.
Everything he did was just too perplexing for the custodians of the laws and scriptures. With unusual explanations, revolutionary understanding and ‘strange and radical’ interpretation of the law, they had no doubt there was something so significant about him they needed to do something to stop this man. The Pharisees and Sadducees were being confronted with evidence that Jesus knew more about their God and creator and had far greater access compared to them, the well established, recognised bona-fide authorities of the religious establishment.
If the very foundations of their faiths, institutions, culture and occupations were to be secure Jesus had to be the awaited Messiah – the anointed one of God who is so significantly powerful he had to be the saviour and liberator of their nation and future generations. There were just too many coincidences, circumstantial facts and the demonstration of authority, signs and wonders for the young man that grew up in the household of Joseph the carpenter, not to be the promised liberator and the son of God! Yet somehow somewhere in their minds something did not quite fit!! [Isiah 9, 61]. Jesus was just too irresistible and too compelling to ignore. They had to do something about him.
The discipleship Jesus was taking the soon to be apostles through was no less compelling. To help them consolidate the discipleship experience and set the foundation for their future life they had a revelation to discover and consolidate, and a big decision to make. His questions to them ‘Who do people say I am?’ and ‘but who do you say I am?’ prepared the stage for those revelations and launching out. With his response Simon Peter’s confession-revelation that ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ set the stage for Jesus to set some essential facts out, and make promises that are relevant for us right here today.
These facts directly relate to the things, find irresistible or compelling about their own very nature and existence; as well as what their attitude, decisions and eternal destination would be. Significantly to extract this most important of revelations Jesus had chosen Caesarea Philippi, a hub of politics thriving in idolatry and empty religious practice. Hence Jesus not only set the record straight about spiritual authority but also challenged those who will follow the living God to faith and assurances personally underwritten by himself.
After commending and blessing Peter for his sensitivity to receive the divine revelation Jesus proceeded to state these assurances. The church of God was going to be established upon the fact that the anointed one and messiah, the unblemished sinless lamb of God would go through death as the son of God. Of the church, the mercy and pardon for sin, grace and spiritual enablement, propitiation and victorious living, as well as eternal future all depend on this revelation and confession. Jesus took this revelation further by promising “I will build my church the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
On Sunday 19th of August 2012, exactly six years ago today (Sunday 19th August 2018) the Everlasting Father’s Arena parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God held its first Sunday Service at the Ron Cooke Hub, University of York.
The promise of God was and is never to leave or forsake us. God has been faithful! This parish was built upon the testimony, words and promises of the irresistible and compelling Jesus Christ: the Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace(Isiah 9.6). And through the power and determination of the Lord who is building the church himself, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Many have been the challenges, trials and difficulties; but the Lord has been faithful. Lots of lives have been impacted for Jesus Christ. The testimonies are innumerable and the forthcoming blessings guaranteed by the lord of the harvest himself.
Furthermore, we have his word and personal undertaking. Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
God has accompanied the compelling and irresistible fact (Simon Peter’s confession and revelation) that forms the basis that our faith, with many promises. The gates of hell shall not and cannot prevail against the church that God himself is busy building.
Trawling through internet archives to look for events that happened on the same day as EFA first held that first service, one could not but thank the Lord for protection, provision and determination to continue to keep his word.
Mark 13:31: Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Exhortation paused for a Prayer session for EFA York.
We thank God for the work he is engaged in and seeing through at EFA York. We thank God because he sees us differently from all other views. We thank God because he qualifies those he calls and makes all things beautiful in His own time. Romans 8.28-32
We thank God for the fact of his blessing for the foundational revelation, that he will personally build his church, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
We thank God for the authority and key of the kingdom of God, to utilise and benefit from to the glory of the infallible, compelling and irresistible living God.
The sermon, The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail, by Minister Yomi Sanusi, was delivered on August 19, 2018.