Before my father left earth for heaven, he told me that all his sermons, his Bible lessons, everything he had ever written, would be mine; he further said that he hoped it would be a blessing to me. For those of you who knew my father and who were also blessed by his teachings, you will understand when I say that a million dollars would have greatly paled in comparison to the inheritance he left me in both his written teachings and in the example of the life he lived before me.
I often read and study his notes. The revelation that God gave to him blesses me with encouragements for my own walk with God. I was recently reading his notes on Matthew 16 and was challenged by the following which my father takes from John 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Following is a teaching from my father, Dr. Chuck Blair:
“Jesus had a conversation with Peter in Matthew 16:13:20. There is a very interesting, and often misunderstood comment by Jesus, in verse 18. Jesus says to Peter: ‘I’m going to single you out as a stone from the rock. You are going to be my spokesman. But Peter, when I build my church, I won’t build it on a stone — I need the whole rock. I need all of you. It will be upon the unified work of the church that hell will be hampered and that the program of God will be furthered.’ Take note that, although Jesus was speaking to Peter, He was referring to the whole of the church. Jesus was not giving a charge to a single person; He was giving a charge to all of us. Let us ponder further:
If I was the devil, and it was the unified movement of many stones coming together to make a spiritual house that would contain the power to knock over the purposes of Satan — what would be my primary goal? TO CAUSE DISUNITY AMONG THE STONES! If it takes the many stones coming together to make the one rock upon which Jesus will build His church, then what the devil wants to do is to keep these stones from coming together.
Now, we can look at every book of the New Testament from Acts onward and we will see one underlying problem in the church; it is the problem of unity. That’s why Jesus prayed in John 17 that, ‘they might be one even as we are one,’ because Jesus knew that, in order for the church to achieve the goal of stopping the onslaught of hell, the church would have to be moving in harmony and in unity.
When there is no harmony and unity in the church, there is no power in the church. When there is no power in the church, then the church cannot promote the program of God. Now, some mistakingly read verse 18 as the gates of hell are trying to overpower the church, but that Christ will keep the gates of hell from doing this. When we read it that way, it puts the church on the defensive, hell is on the offensive, and we are just trying to hold on. Not so! This verse is not talking about hell knocking over the church — but the church knocking over hell. It is not talking about you hanging in there while Satan knocks you down.
This verse is teaching us that, if we will put our personalities aside, focus instead on coming together for the purpose of My (God’s) church and My (God’s program) and My (God’s) Word, then the gates of hell won’t stop it.
Why do the gates of hell appear to be stopping the church today? Because, for the most part, we are not building His church; we are building our church! Jesus is not going to help us build our church. If we are building our church and not God’s church, Satan can do a number on us because Satan is stronger than we are.
If, however, we are building God’s church, then Satan has to take on Jesus, and Satan can’t handle Jesus. Satan is always weaker than Jesus. We must always be asking ourselves: Whose church are we building? If we are building our church, then we are on the defensive; but, if we are building God’s church, then we are on the offensive.
If we are on the offensive, then it is not hell knocking us over as we struggle to stand up and fight; it’s us rolling over hell, for as Jesus said, ‘all the power of hell will not conquer it.’‘
I hope you have been as blessed, lifted up, and challenged, as I have been by this teaching. How thankful I am to my heavenly Father for having given such wisdom to my earthly father. May we all stand together with the unified goal to build God’s church through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We are then a formidable force, allowing God to bring about His purposes in our lives.