The Church in These Days
* See Marvin’s bio at the end of this article.
I remember as a kid hearing in church that terrible and perilous times will come in the last days and how difficult everything will be. Many dire warnings were heard from the pulpit about these last days, admonishing us to be ready when Jesus would come back again. Fear was prominent in our thinking as we thought about the coming days.
Surely we are now living in the latter part of the Church Age. Conditions and circumstances are changing rapidly in the economic, social, political, and religious arenas. Many have questions concerning the future of the Church and how local congregations will be affected.
Many Christians are living in fear of what may happen in the near future. Some have gotten angry and bitter over what has happened in the last several years. Some have given up in despair, resigning themselves for the worst. Others have developed a bunker mentality, some buying survival kits to hide out until bad times are over.
But we as Christians should not be afraid or dismayed in these last days because the Bible has already told us about these things. It also tells us the Church will triumph and prevail in the midst of challenges, difficulties, attacks, persecution, and changing trends in our society.
WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT THE CHURCH
The word “church” is first mentioned in the Bible in Matthew 16:18, (NKJV) “. . . I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” This sets a precedent for whatever else is said in Scripture about the Church. The revelation of this verse shows us how God looks at the Church, and how we should view the Church as well. By what Jesus said in this verse, we can see that He already has a plan in place for how the Church will begin, what the Church would need, what the Church should focus on, and how the Church should operate. He also tells us He planned for the Church to exist victorious and triumphant until He returns.
This verse also says “. . . the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” In other words, Satan may try to come against the Church but he will not come out victorious! Satan came against Jesus’ during His earthly ministry but Jesus always triumphed over him. In these last days the devil is not going to stop persecuting and trying to destroy the Church. But God said we would prevail and triumph over every attack of the enemy.
A CLEAR PICTURE FOR THE CHURCH
For Matthew 16:18 to be a reality, the Church must be scriptural, spiritual, and supernatural! We must make the Word of God our scriptural foundation of faith. God intended for the Church to believe His Word literally—to believe that God meant what He said and said what He meant. When we literally believe the Word, we can exercise strong faith to literally receive what it has promised us!
The Church is a spiritual organization—it is the Kingdom of God on earth (not a natural nation or kingdom). Although it is necessary to organize things and have programs, the Church should be spiritually minded—focused on developing the spiritual fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in people, and using our spiritual authority in the Name of Jesus to stand and prevail against the evil forces of darkness. The Holy Spirit has been assigned to the Church to dwell in all believers and help them accomplish great things, even in these last days.
In his book The Gentle Love of the Holy Spirit, A.B. Simpson wrote, “The Church was never intended to be a natural and intellectual organization, but a supernatural instrumentality wholly dependent upon the direct power of God.” We must depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we make plans and develop strategies for our churches. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to help those in the Church who believe. He will show them where to get supernatural supplies and provisions, ways to impact their communities, and how to minister effectively to people’s needs.
THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
Matthew 16:18 also tells us, “. . . the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it [the Church]. Many are afraid that humanistic and atheistic trends in society or governmental restrictions will not let the Church continue on. But here Jesus has already declared the Church will exist throughout the Church Age.
In the midst of changing ideologies in our society, local churches may have to change how they facilitate their worship services, how they minister to people, and how to continue ministering the Word of God. No matter what comes in the future, the Church must decide to be scriptural, spiritual, and supernatural. The Church must rise up courageously, believing what Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 about its future. We should ask the Holy Spirit for His plans on how our churches will prevail and fulfill its mission in these last days and then obey His direction.
Jesus assigned the Holy Spirit to help the Church to continue throughout this age until He comes again. His plans will help us and our churches to succeed and continue on. When we follow the Holy Spirit in our churches, our labor will not be in vain, and He will be glorified.
Marvin Yoder grew up in the Old Order Amish Church, driving a horse and buggy until he left the family farm. Marvin was destined by man to never leave the farm, but God has raised him up to minister throughout the United States and in numerous other nations.
He has served as Dean of Rhema Bible Training College and as Dean of Christian Training Institute. Currently he serves as an instructor at Rhema Bible Training College and travels extensively, both nationally and abroad. He is a frequent speaker at churches, seminars, leadership meetings, and conferences.
Marvin and his wife, Leah, have pastored several churches, both denominational and nondenominational. They have also traveled extensively for a number of years ministering in churches as guest speakers, conducting seminars, and as a conference speaker.
He brings life-changing insights from God’s Word mixed with practical and often humorous illustrations. His sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as he ministers helps people believe they can receive what they need from God and fulfill God’s plan for their lives.
Marvin is a 1984 graduate and Leah is a 2003 graduate from Rhema Bible Training College. Marvin has authored several books and study guides, including Movin’ On Up! and The Traveling Minister’s Handbook.
If you desire to contact Marvin Yoder, you may contact him in the following ways:
- Phone or text: 918-728-5717
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org