Do you remember that at one point the church was made up of nothing more than a small band of terrified believers who were wondering how the Gospel would advance in the face of such powerful societal and governmental forces that they had even managed to kill their leader?
Don’t forget what happened next....
Within the space of thirty years after the death of Christ the gospel had been carried to all parts of the civilized world, and to no small portion of the uncivilized world. Its progress and its triumphs were not concealed. Its great transactions were not “done in a corner.” It had been preached in the most splendid, powerful and enlightened cities; churches were already founded in Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi and at Rome. The gospel had spread in Arabia, Asia Minor, Greece, Macedon, italy and Africa. It had assailed the most mighty existing institutions; it had made its way over the most formidable barriers; it had encountered the most deadly and malignant opposition; it had traveled to the capital and had secured such a hold even in the imperial city as to make it certain that it would finally overturn the established religion and seat itself on the ruins of paganism. Within thirty years it had settled the point that it would overturn every bloody altar, close every pagan temple, bring under its influence everywhere the men of office, rank and power, and that “the banners of the faith would soon stream from the palaces of the Caesars.” All this would be accomplished by the instrumentality of Jews — of fishermen — of Nazarenes. They had neither wealth, armies nor allies. With the exception of Paul, they were men without learning. They were taught only by the Holy Ghost, armed only with the power of God, victorious only because Christ was their captain, and the world acknowledged the presence of the messengers of the Highest and the power of the Christian religion. Its success never has been and never can be accounted for by any other supposition than that God attended it. (Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Acts, p.vii)
Jesus promised it then, and the promise still holds,
“I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”