Sunday, March 31, 2013



Although local religious establishments may come and go, the church or movement of Jesus-the gathering of His followers that He builds-will continue and thrive. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."
The "gates of Hades" means death, specifically the coming death of Jesus will not prevent the church or movement of Jesus from growing and thriving. The church of Jesus is built by Jesus and based on Jesus, the master of the followers who gather in His name. Jesus holds His movement together and will perpetuate it throughout the nations of the world. He is building His church and our responsibility is to be His church-His gathering-His movement.

What's interesting to me here is that the active agent is not the gates of Hades. It's not that the "gates of Hades" is the attacker of the church that Jesus builds. The active agent here is the church of Jesus-the Jesus movement itself-is so active and powerful that not even the gates of Hades-the power of death-can successfully withstand its penetration of light into the darkness.

This kind of power is not political power to legislate morality and righteousness. It's not a mega organization of any kind. Jesus is the only one who can activate this kind of power. He is the one who is able to empower His followers as they gather together in His name-Jesus. Note it's not the power of the membership of followers; it's the power of Jesus living and moving in and through His faithful followers.

The Jesus movement may appear small-just a few gathered together, but it's within the power of the few that the church of Jesus finds its greatest growth. Jesus taught this when He was describing what the Kingdom is to look like.

Matthew records this teaching in the 13th chapter, He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches." So, it looks small, yet the Kingdom-the Jesus movement-the church of Jesus-will experience incredible growth. It can't be stopped!

Jesus goes on to say in this same setting, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened." Here Jesus uses the illustration of a woman who puts a little yeast into about 60 pounds of dough and it permeates throughout the entire dough. No matter what you do, you cannot reverse this process. You cannot remove the yeast, once it is introduced into the dough. What He is teaching here is that the Kingdom-the Jesus movement-the church of Jesus-will experience irreversible growth. Again, once the Jesus movement is introduced into a community, it can't be stopped from spreading!

Within that same context of parables Jesus speaks of sowing seed on a variety of soils. The good soil is representative of a heart that has ears to hear and eyes to see. The good soil brings forth massive amounts of fruitfulness-some thirty, some sixty and some one hundred fold! What this says to me is that your focus on Jesus-making Jesus central to every dimension of your life-will naturally produce great fruitfulness in all you do.

Jesus speaks to this progressive increase in fruit when He uses the metaphor of the Vine and the branches. Jesus refers to those who have no fruit, then those who have fruit, then more fruit and much fruit. The whole dynamic of fruitfulness is directly correlated to your focus on your relationship with Jesus-whether you are abiding in Him or not.

All of these images-the mustard seed's incredible growth, the irreversible growth of the leaven, the highly productive nature of seeds planted in good soil and the "much fruit"-have to do with the spreading of the good news message of Jesus and the Kingdom. After Jesus spends His last forty days with His disciples to prove Himself to them and to teach them the principles of the Kingdom, He promises the coming of His Spirit to give them power. This power coincides with the spread of the good news message of Jesus and the Kingdom. He says, "When the Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power to be witnesses of Jesus in Jerusalem (local), Judea (a little further out), Samaria (to the most unlikely people in your world) and to the uttermost parts of the world (around the globe).

I had a fascinating meeting today with a brother, Vip Patel. Vip has a vision for introducing people to Jesus throughout the world-especially to the non-religious, atheistic parts of the world. He calls this action "making Jesus central to your life." Making Jesus central to your life has a natural built-in viral dynamic within it. If you are making Jesus central in your life, you will naturally want everyone, everywhere to know Jesus, too. This Jesus is just too incredible not to want to share it with the whole world! It's like the early disciples who said, "We can't stop talking about what we have seen and heard." We can quibble over the many differences within the religious groups of our world, but there is a huge number of people who have no thought of who Jesus is and have never even heard His name. Vip's passion in life is to introduce everyone, everywhere to Jesus and he is doing just that through his website:

There's no stopping the spread of the church or movement of Jesus. The Kingdom of God is on the move everywhere. So, whether you are attending a local religious establishment or not, always look for the Jesus movement in your community. You can be sure He is there and active in people's lives. So, pray that you will be aware of Jesus sightings around you, then do everything you can do to encourage the movement and embrace it for yourself. See what Jesus is doing and get there as soon as possible!