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Three Reminders to Remain a Healthy Church

Watermark has been meeting for 1087 weeks. In this message, David Leventhal reflects back on the three things he has most consistently been reminded of: “God loves you,” “This is Jesus’ church,” and “We are better together.”

David LeventhalSep 6, 2020

In This Series (24)
Three Reminders to Remain a Healthy Church
David LeventhalSep 6, 2020
Sunday, June 7 Watermark Fort Worth Service
Tyler BriggsJun 7, 2020Fort Worth
“Races” Don’t Reconcile, People Do: How to Love, Listen and Live like Christ
Todd WagnerJun 7, 2020
When Racial Tensions Rise, So Must The Church
Todd WagnerJun 1, 2020
Devotion to Christ While We Disagree about How to Respond to the COVID (or any other) Crisis.
Todd WagnerMay 24, 2020
Sober Minded Living That Leads to Sanctification: How We Make War Against Sin
Todd WagnerApr 26, 2020
A Message from the Elders on Membership, Connection, Care and Community Formation
Todd Wagner, Beau Fournet, David Leventhal, Brian BuchekApr 26, 2020
The Gift of Trials
Tyler BriggsApr 19, 2020
Easter, It's Impossible to Overreact
Todd WagnerApr 12, 2020
Good Friday | In the Waiting (Plano)
Jeff ParkerApr 10, 2020Plano
Good Friday 2020
David Leventhal, Blake HolmesApr 10, 2020
Announcements
Todd WagnerMar 21, 2020
Plagues, Censuses, and Leadership
Todd WagnerMar 15, 2020
Weekend Update
Todd WagnerMar 14, 2020
Leaders That Create Churches Others Are Thankful For: Plano Launch
Todd Wagner, Kyle Kaigler, Brian Buchek, David LeventhalMar 1, 2020Plano
Evening with the Elders
Todd Wagner, Beau Fournet, Brian Buchek, David LeventhalFeb 23, 2020
The Gospel Through Marriage
John McGeeFeb 16, 2020
Our Lens: The Gospel
Harrison RossFeb 16, 2020Plano
Biblical Authenticity
Drew ZeilerFeb 16, 2020Fort Worth
A Biblical View of Marriage
Connor BaxterFeb 16, 2020
Who We Are
Tyler BriggsFeb 9, 2020Fort Worth
The Richness of the Gospel
Jeff Parker, Grant MacQuilkanFeb 9, 2020Plano
Fort Worth Transition Update
Steve AbneyFeb 9, 2020Fort Worth
Experiencing Our Purpose in Christ
David MarvinFeb 9, 2020

In This Series (30)

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • Do you see your sin as a big deal? To where does your brokenness in sin take you?
  • What promises of God are you prone to forget?
  • When you experience conflict with others, do you own and ask forgiveness for your part?

Summary

Watermark has been meeting for 1087 weeks. In this message, David Leventhal reflects back on the three things he has most consistently been reminded of: “God loves you,” “This is Jesus’ church,” and “We are better together.”

Key Takeaways

  • God loves you and has provided a way for you to be reconciled and restored to himself and to each other.
  • God proves his love through the death, burial, and reconciliation of his Son.
  • If you don’t know Jesus, your root problem is that you are separated from God.
  • If you do know Jesus, your root problem is that you are prone to forget the goodness of God.
  • All sin is a big deal. (Romans 3:23)
  • If anyone is in Christ, we should view them as a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Whatever your story, you are loved by the God of the universe.
  • Our reconciliation to God allows us to be reconciled to one another.
  • There are two parts to any reconciliation process: confession and forgiveness.
  • Take the log out of our own eye before addressing the speck in another’s (Matthew 7:3-5)
  • Leave the altar to be reconciled with your brothers and sisters. (Matthew 5:23-24)
  • This is Jesus’ church. It has been for 1,088 weeks. Pray that it always will be.
  • Jesus Christ has purchased his church (Acts 20:28). He is the one who bled and died for it.
  • Too many churches today have made church about men, rather than making it about the man: Jesus. (Colossians 1:15-20)
  • If we build the church on anything other than Jesus Christ, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.\
  • We are better together.
  • Because we are one body, it is our responsibility to make sure every part is healthy. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
  • Part of being one body is taking care of one another when anyone is not at their best.
  • If we see a brother or sister caught in sin, we should run to them in love. (Galatians 6:1)
  • We all have a pack to carry, but sometimes, when we get weighed down, we need one another to come alongside us and help us with our burden. (Galatians 6:2)
  • Restore one another in humility and gentleness.
  • If you are not part of a local church, where you are yoked together with other believers, jump in with us.
  • Jesus is no mere man nor prophet. He is the Christ, the Son of God. (Matthew 16:13-18)

Mentioned or Recommended Resources

  • Suggested Scripture study: John 3:16-17; Romans 5:7-8; Romans 3:23; Mark 5:1-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Matthew 7:3-5; Matthew 5:23-24; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 6:1-2; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8
  • Sermon: The Church Matters
  • Sermon: A Relentless Activity

As I have spent this week praying and processing and begging the Lord to give me clarity on what he would have me share with my friends this morning in light of what was just shared, I feel like the thing I kept coming back to was the Lord telling me, "Hey, I want you to remind them of what's true." I was like, "Well, that's helpful, but there's a lot that's true, so could you help me focus that just a bit, Lord?" As I continued to process and pray, he did. He helped me bring it into focus.

What I want to share with you this morning are some things that are true. I don't know if you know this or not, but today is our 1,088th weekend together as a family. On November 7, 1999, we met for the first time as a local expression of the bride of Christ. My wife and I were a part of that first service. We had been married about a year. We had no kids. Life was great. And life is great now 22 years later with seven kids. Different but great.

For the past 1,087 weeks together, there have been three things that I think have marked our body that Todd and others from the stage and from various stages across the years where we have gathered together have shared with us. This morning, I want to remind us, church, of these three things that we've been reminding each other of for the last 20 years, the last 1,087 weekends together.

First, God loves you, and because he loves you, he has provided a mechanism, a means, for you to be reconciled to him and restored to him. The second reminder is that this is Jesus' church. The third reminder is that we are better together. So, that's what we're going to spend our 1,088th weekend together talking about.

Now, I recognize that there are some of you who have walked in today, and maybe this is your very first time on our campus, and you're trying to figure out who this Jesus is, or you're watching online and this is the first time you decided to tune in. I want to share with you two things I want you to know.

First, what we're going to talk about, this first reminder, is really important for you. I would say that your eternal destiny hangs on how you respond to this first reminder that God loves you and has provided a path of reconciliation and restoration. So I'm begging you. I want you to dial in. I want you to stay with me, because this is really important. Your eternity depends on it.

Secondly, if this is your first time here, what we're doing this morning may seem odd. We're kind of having a family conversation this morning, and if you've not been a part of the family, then this whole idea of confession of sin and coming around brothers to exhort and encourage and spur on to godliness may feel weird to you. I want you to know that's okay. I'm hoping that by the time we're done this morning with this little bit combined with what was already shared, it will be less odd to you. It might make more sense to you.

1 . God has provided a way for you to be reconciled and restored. I'm speaking of two parts to this. I'm speaking of a vertical reconciliation and restoration with God, and I'm speaking of a horizontal reconciliation and restoration with your fellow man. There are two verses you have probably heard (or if NFL ever shows up on TV, you'll probably see them from the stands) that I want to read to you.

These might be the two most important verses I quote from God's Word this morning. John 3:16-17: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." God loved the world, so he sent his Son to create a path back.

Then Romans 5:7-8. Paul writes to the church in Rome. He says, "Listen. Nobody is going to ever die for a righteous person, though for a good man some might die." All he's saying there is there are very few people who any of us would be willing to die for. There are probably one or two who you may know, but the list is short. That's what Paul is trying to communicate there.

"…but God shows his love for us [who are neither good nor righteous] in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God has demonstrated his love in that while we were sinners, he sent his Son to die for us. Sin is a really big deal. Whatever your story is, whatever your brokenness, whatever expression, whatever fear or shame or anxiety is telling you right now, you are loved by God, and he sent his Son to die for you to create a path back.

Your sin struggle, the expression of your sin, may be out there for the world to see…you may be an adulterer or a murderer or a liar…or you may struggle with something a little bit less out in the world…alcoholism or maybe anger or apathy. For some of us, it might be gluttony or gossip or greed. Whatever it is, it's a big deal. Sin is a big deal.

What I want you to hear is that those expressions of your sin are the leaves, if you will, on the tree. They are pointing you to a root problem. If you don't know Jesus, the root problem is that you are separated from God because of your sin. In your brokenness, you are pursuing things that you think will lead to life, and they don't. They will lead to death, because sin is a big deal.

Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death…" The paycheck you're earning for your sin is death. "…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Now, for those of us who know Jesus and still go astray in our brokenness… We're prone to wander. We're prone to leave the God we love. We are forgetful. We are shortsighted sometimes.

We think that in moments in our hearts we're going to pursue something else because we don't believe God's way is best, and we are prone to leave the God we love, which is why Paul says in Colossians 2, "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught…" Sin is a big deal.

If you were to ask me, "Hey, where does David Leventhal's sin take him…?" What is my brokenness? When I am not yielding to the Spirit of God, where do I drift off to? I would describe it to you as anger, lust, a tendency to want to assign blame to others, an unhealthy anxiety, and a lack of faith about God's promise to take care of my tomorrow, and my sin is a big deal.

I don't know how you would answer that question if I asked you, "Where does your sin, where does your brokenness lead you?" but I can tell you however you fill in the blank, it's a big deal. Let me be clear. All sin is a big deal. Not just the big sins, but the respectable sins are a big deal. There's no such thing as a respectable sin. They're all a big deal…the pride, the internal arrogance, the looking down on others, invalidation, the quiet coveting, the gossip, and so on.

As I've stated, God sent his Son to deal with that sin issue to create a path back, and through Jesus we can be reconciled and restored to that relationship, but that's not all. We can be reconciled and restored horizontally. I love the story in the gospel of Mark. I mentioned it last week when we taught about the storm. Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee into the area of the Gerasenes, and he runs into this man who is not well.

This man is broken. He's demon-possessed. He's cutting himself. He's living in the tombs. He is isolated and alone, and Jesus brings healing and wholeness to this man. The man says, "Please…" He begs Jesus, "Let me come with you, Jesus," and Jesus says, "No, no, no. I want you to go home to your friends. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he had mercy on you."

Jesus said, "Go be restored and reconciled to your family and friends where there has been previously isolation and a lack of reconciliation." Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5, is teaching to the church in Corinth. He's writing them a letter. In light of being convinced about Jesus' death and resurrection and all that comes from that, he says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come."

We talk about that verse, and the way we talk about it is in relationship to Jesus and to God, that in Jesus I've been reconciled. I'm a new creation before God. That's true, but that's not true here. What Paul is talking about in this passage is not our reconciliation to God, which is true. He's speaking about our reconciliation to one another.

That's why he says, "We no longer view anybody from a fleshly perspective," because if you know Jesus, you are a new creation. I no longer see you as anything other than my brother or my sister in Christ, because you have been made new. Jesus allows us to be reconciled not just to himself but to each other. What you saw this morning is men being reconciled and restored to each other.

As we think about this whole reconciliation and restoration process, I am confident it's going to occur in all of our lives in the coming months. I want to be clear that there are two parts in any reconciliation and restoration process. If the Spirit of God is working in my heart and if he's working in the hearts of those around me, then these questions are going to be asked and answered by all.

"What part do I have to play in this process? How have I not been the man God has called me to be toward my friend or my wife or my kids? When have I grown weary of doing good? When have I let fear keep me from being courageous with my friends? Have I done anything that has not been helpful or loving?" If the answer is "Yes" to any of those questions, the only acceptable biblical response is for you to confess and repent and seek forgiveness.

What I want to say to you this morning is that Beau and Brian and I have gone to Todd and Alex, and we have asked his forgiveness for not being the friend we could have been to him when we saw some of these things. Alex and Todd were gracious and extended forgiveness, but here's the deal. We need to seek forgiveness from you, because part of the role of being in the office of elder, as Brian mentioned this morning, is to shepherd each other.

When we don't do that well, we are not serving you, because part of the reason we are in the office of elder is to shepherd and love our friends. So, I want to let you know we did not love our friend, and that means we did not love this body. I want you to know we're sorry. Would you forgive us for not being the men we should have been in some of those moments? I'm asking all of us to recommit to following God's Word in conflict.

Jesus has made it very clear. If you're at the altar and you're presenting your gift and you remember anything your brother has against you, go and be reconciled to your brother. That's Matthew 5. Then in Matthew 7, Jesus gives some more clarity. As you go to be reconciled, make sure you're examining the 2x4 out of your left eye before you go looking for the splinter in your brother's eye.

That's a process I'm asking all of us, the elders included, to recommit to, to double down on. So, on week 1,088, let me remind you again that God loves you and has provided a way for you and me to be reconciled and restored to himself and to others.

2 . This is Jesus' church. Colossians 1:16-20. I read it last week. I want to read it again, because it is so rich. This is about Jesus. "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

Paul, when he was visiting the church at Ephesus and he was dialing in to the elders at Ephesus, says to them in Acts 20… He's encouraging them. He says, "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood." Jesus purchased the church with his blood. Todd Wagner hasn't done that. David Leventhal hasn't done that. Beau Fournet, Brian Buchek, Brett Johnston… Go down the list.

Jesus is the one who has bled and purchased the church. The problem with a lot of the churches in America today is they make their church about men instead of the Man, and it has created a weakness and an ineffectiveness, and it has been harmful. Here's what I want you to know. We believe that if you build the church on anyone other than Jesus Christ you are setting yourself up for dire disappointment.

Watermark is not a perfect place. How could it be? I'm a member. You're a member. We're all dropping the ball. We all go our own way from time to time. But thank God, from the very beginning, for 1,087 weekends together, we have done our best to not make this about any one personality. Watermark may not be a perfect place, but I will tell you this: the Lord has used this place and is continuing to use this place for his glory and the good of thousands of people.

I want to be clear here. The walls are not on fire. The sky is not falling. Your pastor Todd Wagner is not in unrepentant sin. As hard as this is to believe because of how great the last 20 years have been, our greatest days, I think, are in front of us. The mission continues today. Re|engage is going. Re:gen is going. Student ministry is going. Blake Holmes is leading the Dallas Campus. Connor is leading the Frisco Campus. Kyle is leading the Plano Campus.

The ministry continues today. God still wants to use this place, and he is still using this place in spite of imperfect leadership. So, while Todd is shifting his time to more personal reflection and self-leadership, I am not worried about Watermark, because it has always been about Jesus. We're following God's Word as best we can through a plurality of elders who are committed to shepherding one another, and we can get better at it.

We have a mature, godly staff team who is and has been equipping the saints for the work of ministry, and we have you, the hands and feet of Jesus, who are going out into the community every week and loving on your neighbors and your family and your coworkers, and you are being the hands and feet of Christ in this world.

So, we're going to keep doing what we have been doing for 1,087 weekends before. We're going to be and make disciples, because that's what Jesus has called us to do. On this 1,088th week, let me remind you this is Jesus' church, and let's pray it always stays that way.

3 . We are better together. We have always been about connecting people in authentic relationships that lead to spiritual transformation. This is the biblical model. This is how God has designed it to work. Let me read to you from 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul is encouraging this church in Corinth. He says, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body…"

He's saying, "Listen. You have a hand. Leventhal, you have a knee and a foot. You have an ear. You have a big nose. You have all of these different parts of your body, and guess what? Together, they are your body. If you cut off your hand, that hand is no longer a part of your body. All of the parts of your body are there to make up your body."

"…so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." Because we're one body, guys, it has been given to us to make sure that all of the parts of the body are healthy and working together. We are our brother's and sister's keeper. That's a fact. It's the job of each one of us who call ourselves Christian to live out the "one anothers" of Scripture.

We have read this paragraph before over the years. I want to read it to you again. What does it look like to be better together? It looks like a place where we live out the "one anothers" of Scripture before a watching world; where we love one another; we care for one another; we serve one another; we admonish one another; we show forbearance to and forgive one another; we keep fervent in our love for one another; we're hospitable toward one another.

It's where we employ our gifts in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. It's where we greet one another, are of the same mind toward one another. We're kind to each other. We speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. It's where we build up, we comfort, we pray for, we encourage, we live in peace, and we seek after that which is good for one another.

It's where we clothe ourselves in humility toward one another. It's where we live in subjection to one another, where we stimulate one another toward love and good deeds. It's where we confess sins to one another. You've seen that this morning. It has been happening all week. It's where we live in peace with one another and give preference to one another in honor. It's where we encourage one another day after day, lest any of us become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Paul's words in 1 Corinthians and in that paragraph… It comes off the tongue really smooth, and it's kind of pithy, but let me make it clear: it's hard work. Living this out is exhausting at times. It takes time, effort, and energy, because I can be difficult to shepherd. I can be difficult to lead. My pride can swell up. I can be really hard to be around, and I need you, and I need the men in my Community Group and my fellow elders to say, "Come on, Leventhal. Let's stay focused on what's important."

Part of this caring for one another is to love us when we're not at our best. That's what this is. I want to read to you from Galatians 6:1-2. Brian mentioned it earlier this morning. "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Let me unpack that a little bit.

What does it mean if we see someone caught in a transgression? It's when you see someone who says they're a Christian doing anything that is going to be damaging to themselves or to the ministry. It's when you see somebody involved in sinful practices, if it's flashy and out front or if it's a respectable sin, which, again, doesn't exist. If we see somebody caught in a transgression, we don't want to watch and say, "I think they're going to get what they deserve. They're going to get what's coming to them." We jump in.

Well, who's going to jump in? He says, "You who are spiritual." Okay, Paul. Who's spiritual? Well, Paul has already answered that in the chapter before. Do you want to know who's spiritual? Paul says, "If you walk by the Spirit, you'll not gratify the desires of the flesh." Paul says if you are walking in the Spirit, congratulations. You are the spiritual one in this context. So, if you're walking with Jesus as best you can in the Spirit and you see somebody caught in transgression, you, by the Spirit of God, have been deputized to go love them and help them, restore them.

What does it mean to restore? It carries the idea to put back in order. In usages outside the Bible, it's a medical term used to talk about restoring a broken bone or putting a dislocated shoulder back into place. That's what we do. We go and try to fix and help mend what is broken, and we do it in a spirit of gentleness. Why? Because it's broken, and you want to be tender with that. You want to be compassionate. You want to be focused on what Paul has already said in the chapter before, in chapter 5. He has used this word gentle before.

He says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, because against all of these things there's no law." So we go in a spirit of gentleness to help our friend, not in anger, not trying to extract a pound of flesh. Then he says, "When you do that, you should keep watch on yourselves, lest you are tempted." Paul knows what is hidden in the dark recesses of our hearts is an ability and a temptation to be prideful.

Anytime I'm telling somebody else, "I see something in you that's not helpful," there is in me a thought that will follow quickly, like, "I'm sure glad I'm not you right now" or "I would never do that," and that is pride. Paul says, "Listen. You'd better keep an eye on yourself, lest somehow you think you're better than your brother or your sister you are trying to restore. Don't let that happen. Keep watch over your soul."

Then he follows this with "We need to bear one another's burdens." Paul puts this verse here right after the prior verses, and he wants you to know they're connected. What does it mean to bear one another's burdens? Paul is going to say in a couple of verses that we're all to bear our own burdens. Which is it, Paul? Do I bear my own burdens or do I bear others' burdens? The answer is "Both." Walking with Jesus, we all have a backpack. It's part of walking with God. We have to bear our burdens.

Sometimes, when I find myself under great temptation or in sin and my backpack is getting heavy, I need you to come say, "Let me help carry your backpack with you…not for you but with you. I'm going to bear it with you. We're going to do it together." That's what Paul means. When you do that, Paul says, you fulfill the law of Christ. If you go back to your Gospels, Jesus says, "All the Law and the Prophets can be summed up in these words: love God and love others."

Paul says, when you bear one another's burdens, that's what you're doing. So, you and I are a part of the body of Christ. We are a part of the local church. We need to be dialed in in a place where we can be shepherded by godly leaders. This is church. Welcome to church. What you have seen this morning on the stage, the humility of Todd, the willingness by his brothers to say, "Hey, let's go, brother. Let's go, let's go, let's go…" That is what church is supposed to be.

The truth is there are a lot of churches that aren't doing that. I don't want to be tempted to think that we're better than other churches. I just taught on that. We need to be humble. We want to pray that this is always a mark of this place, that we are going to love one another and pursue one another. If you are not a part of a local church where you can be led by local elders, where you can be encouraged and exhorted in the context of community, find a place and jump in.

If it's in the Dallas area, jump in with us here. If it's not here in Dallas or if there's another place in Dallas that's doing it, jump in there, but be a part of the local church, because you are a part of the body of Christ, and that's what you were designed to do. So, on our 1,088th week, let me remind you again that we are better together.

As I try to land the plane here, I shared with you guys last week that all of us have to wrestle with and deal with the question…Who is Jesus? I want to take us to a passage in Matthew where Jesus actually forces the issue with his disciples. Let's look at Matthew 16:13-18.

"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'

Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah [son of Jonah] ! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'"

Let me highlight two things from this passage. First, Jesus is no mere man and he is no mere prophet. He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. If you're able to sit here today and say, "Yes, I believe that," I want to remind you it is because the Spirit of God has allowed you to see it, not because of anything you've done.

You're not smarter than anybody else. You're not better looking than anybody else. You don't have more tricks in your bag. God has allowed you to see this truth. If you can't say that you know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, I'm going to pray that God would give you eyes to see what you cannot see today.

The second thing is that Jesus' church is unstoppable. Not even the gates of hell will prevail against it. But I want to remind you, as Paul has pointed out in Ephesians 6, our battle is not against flesh and blood. There's a spiritual battle going on. We have an Enemy. First Peter 5:8 says, "You need to be sober-minded and watchful, because you have an Adversary, the Devil, who prowls around like a lion, waiting to devour you."

Guys, we're at war. Your enemy is not your spouse. It's not the guy in your Community Group. It's not Todd Wagner. Our enemy is Satan, and if he could, he would bring the roof down on us right now. But you know what? The church of God will prevail. Not even the gates of hell are going to overcome Jesus' church.

No matter what happens to this place, this local expression of the bride of Christ, Jesus wins. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It's our privilege to get to say in this season, "I'm a part of the bride of Christ," and no matter what comes our way, Jesus wins. The gates of hell will not prevail. Let's go, church.

Father, I want to thank you for this time this morning with my friends. I thank you for Todd and his willingness to share with us how you are growing him and what you are teaching him. I thank you for your Word. I thank you for 1,088 weekends together we can be reminded that you are the one who has provided reconciliation from us to you and from us to each other. I'm thankful for the fact that on this 1,088th weekend together we can be reminded that this is your church you bled for, you died for, you purchased, and you protect.

I thank you that on this 1,088th weekend together, I can say, with more confidence today than I have ever been able to say it, "We are better together." I pray that those three truths would resound in our hearts as we leave today and go out into the world. Might that true be of us. Might it be even more true and more rich in our hearts tomorrow. We give this to you. We give this next season to you. We give our very lives to you for your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.