Updated: May 11
In today’s age of Jihad – Jesus said “I will build My Church – from all peoples” – sermon by John Piper
This an excellent missions sermon by John Piper, from Matthew 16:13-26, that is very applicable and timely to today’s American Christians and the threat of Islamic terrorism and Jihad. Very significant is the comments that the Jihadism and terrorism of Islam will cause the true believers to live for His kingdom and stop putting their trust in economic strength and military power and politics.
Please listen to Piper’s sermon; he says some convicting things that are not all written out in the print version. Here is an excerpt from the print version:
I listened to Oscar’s message last Sunday by tape as soon as I got home from England. It was, as I knew it would be, a powerful call to make disciples and prepare elders for new churches in the age of Jihad, by avoiding unnecessary controversy, being saturated with the Bible, and throwing yourself into difficult ministry where boldness in the Word is necessary. He said the outrageous truth that Jihad is a gift to the American church. Why?
Because it forces the nominal Christian bluff; either we get make disciples and plant churches or we will be converted. Islam is out to take the world.
It produces economic instability so we are pressed toward the wartime lifestyle we should have been living all along.
It helps us identify with the church in the rest of the world, which has known this threat and instability all along. Now we can learn how to prepare elders for the real church.
It presses us to center the discipling of our children in the home, because the church building and Pastor John may be blown up anyway. You can’t lean on the building or the preacher.
It wakes us up to the glorious truth that in the end what matters is the resurrection with Christ. To live is Christ and to die is gain.
Some of my own general comments, inspired by Piper’s sermon:
Jesus said, “I will build My Church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
The “Church” is not a building, as buildings can be blown up by Jihadists. Jesus’ Church is not local churches, although Jesus Church is made up of true believers who are members of local churches. Christ gave Himself for the Church and purchased the Church with His blood (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28; Revelation 5:9), so though the first church in Jerusalem was local and visible (Acts 2:37-46) and local visible churches were started and built all over the Roman Empire and all through history, Jesus’ statement about His Church has to be interpreted in the light of those three key passages. The apostle Paul described “the Church’ in very cosmic and universal terms. (Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-10; 3:20-21)
This has been proven in history by the fact that many local and visible churches have disappeared from history – especially by the advance of Islam in North Africa and the Middle East and Turkey; and the advance of liberal theology in western Europe and USA. Liberal churches are not true churches anymore. The Roman Catholic Church is not a true church anymore, since it condemned the Biblical doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone at the Council of Trent in 1545-1563. Part of the “rock” of the message is that one must repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation, apart from the merit of good works. (Romans 1:17; 3:28; 4:1-16; 5:1; 10:9-10; Galatians 2:16; Acts 15:9; 16:31; John 5:24; 3:16; 11:25; 20:30-31; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9; Acts 13:38-39) Christ Himself is the rock and foundation (1 Corinthians 10:4; 3:11); and the apostolic doctrine about Christ (Ephesians 2:19-20).
The Church is all the true believers from all nations and cultures who have been purchased by the blood of Christ, those who are truly born again. (Revelation 5:9; Ephesians 5:25-27, 32; Acts 20:28)
Hades means death. Hades does not mean the devil or demons or heresies or false doctrines. Local churches disappeared in history. (Revelation 2:1-7) But the one who perseveres and overcomes, that one will be saved. (verse 7)
Jesus enters the gates of hades and rescues people out of death, because He has the keys of death and hades. (Revelation 1:18; 20:14-15)
Jesus promised eternal life out from death to true believers. John 5:24; 11:25 Spiritual Death in hell (the lake of fire) will not overtake true believers – Revelation 20:14-15.
The rock that Jesus builds His church upon is the firm foundational truth of the doctrinal statement that Peter spoke: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16) That was the apostolic message that was also given to the other apostles and they preached this, and the doctrine of the Deity of Christ and Trinity are natural truths that are implied by the phrase “the Son of the Living God”, along with the explanation of more details of many other verses.