Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Tonight we continued our discussion about the church, looking at what the Scriptures teach that the church is to be. I titled this section "The Prevailing Church", borrowed from Randy Pope's book by the same name which I'm using as a resource. Tonight was the overview, and borrowing an idea from Pope's book I contrasted the Prevailing Church with what Pope calls "the Precautious Church." But first, a definition of "prevailing"...

Prevailing: "Prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious; having superior power or influence."

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not PREVAIL against it. The church Jesus founded is to prevail against the enemy, but as we take a hard look at the church and its impact on the modern culture, it appears that we are being overpowered and losing ground. We seem to more resemble the Precautious church.

The Precautious Church
  1. Has a "protect what we have" mentality - more concerned with keeping the people we have happy, rather than reach lost people for Christ. 
  2. Provides a "comfort zone" environment - low expectations, and no challenges.
  3. Focuses more on attendance than discipleship - is more concerned with building a crowd than building a church.
  4. Resistant to change - a "don't rock the boat" attitude. While change is hard for all of us, the Precautious church is exceptionally resistant to change. The emphasis is on keeping the peace at all cost, and that usually means leaving things as they have always been. Change is seen as being too difficult and even dangerous. Jesus said, you can't pour new wine into old wineskins (Matt. 9:17). The precautious church would rather live with the rigidity of "old wineskins" than experience the power of the "new wine" of the Holy Spirit.

The Prevailing Church
  1. Passionately committed to the Gospel - Peter's confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" is the passionate cry of the Prevailing Church and the primary message proclaimed inside and outside of the church. Jesus is the focus in the Prevailing Church.
  2. Governed by Christ and His word - Jesus said, "I will build MY church." Jesus is the Head of the church and His word, the Bible, dictate the structure and activity of the church, as opposed to a church governed by a worldly business model, or the traditions of men ("this is how we have always done it.")
  3. Intentionally living out the Great Commission - According to Luke 19:10, Jesus came to "seek and to save that which was lost." That was His mission statement. In the Great Commission of Matthew 28, His last instructions to the church was to continue that mission by going and making disciples of all nations. The Prevailing Church intentionally and strategically lives out the Great Commission. 
  4. Overcomes the opposition of the enemy - Prevailing over opposition, temptation, trials, and resistance (spiritual, cultural and physical). Victory becomes the norm for the Prevailing Church.

Over the next few weeks we'll look at each one of the characteristics of the Prevailing Church.