The Overcoming Church
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it . . .” Matthew 16:18-19 NKJV
Jesus spoke of “Kingdom” and the “Church” together as related terms, but they are not synonymous; there is a difference. The Kingdom is the Basileia (Greek) and the Church is the Ecclesia (Greek). The Kingdom is the realm, the rule, reign and dominion of God in the universe and the earth, and the Church is a group of called out believers (called out of sin and darkness). The Church that Jesus builds is a prevailing—overcoming Church, and an instrument of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus taught believers to pray for the advancement and the cause of God in the earth, not only here and now, but also in His coming earthly Kingdom that He shall establish in righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). Thus, the Church is an expression of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:10), presently expressed on earth through the agency of the Church (Universal). The Church is not an end, nor is the Church the “be-all end-all; it’s an instrument, a tool, a vehicle to transport us into a present reality of the Kingdom of God (Col. 1:13; 2:15). Over the ages, the instrument has changed but God’s purpose never changes, i.e., that believers be sons in the Kingdom (E.g., Israel (Ex. 19:4-6) and the Church—spiritual Israel (Luke 17:21).
Why is God’s Church an overcoming Church? The King of the Kingdom (Jesus) has overcome the world (Col. 2:15); therefore through Him, all sons of the Kingdom are also overcomers (John 16:33) because of: (1) Light (Col. 1:12-13; 1 Thess. 5:5); (2) because of Life-style (John 10:10). “Life in John 10:10 is Zoe (Greek), life as God has it; and to have it “abundantly” isn’t referencing money, wealth or possession but rather living a life that is full of joy and true happiness (Rom. 14:17); and, (3) because of power as a witness (See Acts 1:4-8 and Matt. 24:14). Thank God that in the Kingdom of God, believers are sons of the Overcoming Church!