The Solid Rock

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Nothing can withstand the power of the gates of hell but the assembly of the living God, for that is built upon "the living Stone." Now the local expression of that assembly may be but "two or three" gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, a poor, feeble, despised handful.
What is the material of which the assembly is composed?
It is, in one word, those possessing salvation, or eternal life. We do not enter the assembly in order to be saved, but as those who are saved. The word is, "Upon this rock I will build My church." He does not say, On My Church I will build the salvation of souls. One of Rome's boasted dogmas is this-"There is no salvation out of the true Church." Yes, but we can go deeper still, and say, Off the true Rock there is no Church. Take away the Rock, and you have nothing but a baseless fabric of error and corruption. What a miserable delusion, to think of being saved by that! Thank God, it is not so. We do not get to Christ through the Church, but to the Church through Christ. To reverse this order is to displace Christ altogether, and thus have neither Rock nor Church nor salvation. We meet Christ as a life-giving Savior, before we have anything to say to the assembly at all.
It is important to see clearly that the materials of which God's assembly is composed are those possessing salvation, in whom is eternal life; so that whatever be the object of that assembly, it most certainly is not to provide salvation for its members, seeing that all its members are saved ere they enter it at all. God's assembly is a houseful of saved ones from one end to the other. Blessed fact! It is not an institution set on foot for the purpose of providing salvation for sinners, nor yet for providing for their religious wants. It is a saved, living body, formed and gathered by the Holy Spirit, to make known to "principalities and powers in heavenly places... the manifold wisdom of God," and to declare to the whole universe the all-sufficiency of the name of Jesus.
Now, the great enemy of Christ and the Church is well aware of what a powerful testimony the assembly of God is called and designed to yield on the earth; and therefore he has put forth all his hellish energy to quash that testimony in every possible way. He hates the name of Jesus, and everything tending to glorify that name. Hence his intense opposition to the assembly as a whole, and to each local expression thereof, wherever it may exist. He has no objection to a mere religious establishment set on foot for the purpose of providing for man's religious wants, whether maintained by government or by voluntary effort. You may set up what you please. You may be what you please; anything and everything for Satan but the assembly of God, and the practical expression of it in any given place. That he hates most cordially, and will seek to blacken and blast by every means in his power. But those consolatory accents of the Lord Jesus Christ fall with divine power on the ear of faith: "On this rock I will build My assembly, and hades gates shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18); J.N.D. Trans.).