In 1966 John Lennon of the famous band the Beatles, made a very controversial statement that was published in a London newspaper and eventually caused a great deal of controversy around the world. He said:
“Christianity will go,” he had said. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I know I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first – rock & roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”
John Lennon had an elevated opinion of himself and unfortunately, an improper view of God, his Church, and the truth of the gospel. This left him believing that God’s gospel would somehow fade off into the sunset just as multitudes of pagan myths and godless ideologies have throughout history. However, for Christianity to die, God would have to die. For Christianity to vanish, truth would have to vanish. That’s simply not going to happen.
Jesus and His Church Will Never Be Overcome By Death
In Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 16), we find the first mention of the church in the New Testament. Jesus asked his disciples a very important question about his identity. He wanted to know what the word on the street was about his identity, and then he moved to ask this question, “But who do you say that I am” (Matt. 16:15)? Peter spoke up without hesitation to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16).
At this point, we find Peter pointing out that God is the “living God” as opposed to some dead and lifeless idol. The most common sin that Scripture seems to point out is that of idolatry. It can come in so many different forms from a golden calf to money to self-idolatry. Yet, just as Paul pointed out to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:14-16, the temple of Diana (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) was a temple of dead and lifeless idols, but the church is dedicated to the living God.
Consider the reality that all through history, religious leaders come and go, but God is very much alive. The climax of that truth is made visible in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The whole world is full of dead idols and graves full of dead men who purported to be the religious guru that people needed to follow. However, to this day, they are dead. This is true of ancient idols such as Diana, Caesar, Pharaoh, and more modern types such as Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, and Mary Baker Eddy.
Jesus went on to make the powerful statement, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Not only is God living, but so is his church. It will not fail. It will not vanish. It will not go out of business. It will not fade off into the sunset, because God’s church exists for the glory of God who will never be overcome by death.
God’s Word Will Never Vanish
In Psalm 119:89, the psalmist writes, “O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” God’s truth will never vanish. In fact, in 1 Timothy 3:14-16, we find Paul instructing Timothy regarding the mission of the church in this world. It is the calling of the church to be the pillar and buttress of the truth.
In Ephesus, a massive structure stood at the center of the city. In many ways, the entire city revolved around the Temple of Diana. It was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. The massive temple structure stood 425 ft. long and 225 ft. wide which was double the size of other temples of the ancient world. It was surrounded and supported by 127 columns which were 18.3 60 ft. high and 4 ft. in diameter. The columns were arranged in a double row on all four sides, 8 or 9 on the short sides and 20 or 21 on the long sides. The columns on the facades were decorated with relief figures from Greek mythology.
When Paul made his statement to Timothy about the church being the pillar and buttress of truth, he had an immediate vision of the vast pillars from the temple in Ephesus that was holding up the massive marble ceiling structure. It is the responsibility of the church—not the academy, the seminary, the Bible college—to uphold the truth of the living God. The church serves as the pillar to uphold the truth and the buttress to establish the foundation’s strength which enables the truth to be held high.
While temples fall and idols crumble into dust—God never dies and his truth remains. Today, John Lennon is merely a blast from the past, but Jesus is here to stay. Unlike John Lennon, when Jesus was murdered, he rose from the dead on the third day. His Word is true and there will never be a day in human history where Jesus is forgotten. His church will be present and his name exalted high until the day in which Christ returns. Today, people have largely forgotten John Lennon, but Christ and his Word is very much known among the nations of the world.
Don’t be like John Lennon and have an elevated opinion of yourself and a diminished view of God. When you die or when Christ returns, which ever event comes first, you will know on that day that Christ is the center of the whole universe. Worship him!