By Henry G. Johnson
In Acts 12 we read of some discouraging circumstances that faced the early church. Herod had killed James with the sword and put Peter in prison, intending to kill him after Easter. If the early church had been inclined to become easily discouraged, it would have failed at this time. But instead of letting these discouraging circumstances drive them to despair, they drove them to their knees in prayer. A praying church is one that will never fail, for when a crisis comes it knows what to do; it is acquainted with the One who knows all things and can work all things out for good to those who love God.
Peter at this time was under guard of sixteen soldiers. The account says that when the angel came to deliver him, he was sound asleep. This is good evidence that he was not worried about his outcome and spent no time in self-pity. We need not become worried and fretful when we are fully consecrated to God.
We read in this same chapter that Herod died, “but the word of the Lord grew and multiplied.” I still believe in the ultimate triumph of the truth of God and his Word.
Many things called the church will not survive, but the real church of God will come through with victory and glory. Many things are bound to fail in the coming days and years. Many things will go down, never to rise again. But the truth of God will go on to triumphing, for it is the stone Daniel saw cut out without hands and which grew until it filled the whole earth. Daniel had this vision about six hundred years before the coming of Christ, but he was able to get a little insight into the fullness of the triumphing kingdom of God.
The Rock of Gibraltar has stood for centuries. The waves have beat upon it, but it still stands. Just so the church of God will stand all the tests of time and the shock of eternity. You may ridicule her, say hard things against her members, point the finger of scorn, but thank God she is going on to certain victory in spite of all the forces of evil. God’s church cannot be killed or its efforts paralyzed. People may fight her, but it is not the outer pressure but the quality of inner life that determines the outcome. Christ has said, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” I believe that the church has as much power to overcome all the forces of evil today as the early church had to overcome the pagan religions of the first century.
A church that has a vision will never fail. In Proverbs 29:18 we read, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Where there is a vision the church can thrive under any and all circumstances. A church with a worldwide vision is the church that will see the gospel fill the whole earth.
A witnessing church is a church that will never fail. Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). A church filled with the Holy Spirit will be a witnessing church. When a church ceases to witness, it is falling short of what Jesus intended it should accomplish.
A church that is teaching all the doctrines of the New Testament and putting them into practice is a church that will never fail. Many movements have thrived for a time. Then they have failed to accept new light on the Scriptures and have failed in spirituality and lost their power. The church of God, or the church that Jesus built, accepts all the truth contained in the Scriptures. If it does not at present understand all the truth contained therein, it is committed to all the truth.
The church that Jesus built will never fail because Christ is the head of the church. He said, “I will build my church.” He will lead on to victory the church which he has built. Voltaire, the infidel, predicted that the Bible would pass away with his generation, but he passed and the Bible still lives. The church of God cannot be stopped by opposition. God has destined that it should triumph, and no opposition is sufficient to stop it. There is power enough in the church to rise above every foe, for it was purchased by the blood of Christ. Hell itself cannot prevail against it. Just as the gates of the old prison swung wide open for the man of God to walk through, so the forces of evil and opposition must give way to the church of God, for she is going through to victory in the name of Jesus.
Article originally published in the January 27, 1951, issue of The Gospel Trumpet. Were you blessed by reading this story? Support the ongoing work of Church of God Ministries with your gift to the World Ministry Fund at http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/world-ministry-fund/.