When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)
God has veiled much of what he has given to man in mystery form.
Even though God has all the answers and is the fountain head of all wisdom and knowledge, He has chosen to conceal His true knowledge and wisdom from three classes of people.
If we are lazy in our approach to God we cannot expect to find answers to our questions.
It is only as we are diligently pursuing after the Lord with all our heart that we can expect to find Him as the revealer of Secrets.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
God is also careful to reveal Himself to fools.
Biblical definition of a fool is one who is void of true understanding and perspective.
A fool is one who is not able to handle truth properly.
A fool is one who will use truth for his own selfish gain.
A fool is one who will hear the truth and yet that truth never becomes part of his life.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were much like this.
In addition, God hides the riches of His glory from the unregenerate that have absolutely no appreciation for the eternal things.
The unregenerate man is living in the realm of the tangible, the earthly, the sensual, the temporal.
The true riches of God are
To the unregenerate all of this is mere nonsense and utter foolishness.
But God desires to reveal the mysteries of His kingdom to all those who have separated themselves unto Him.
Mysteries in the Bible
Mysteries of the Kingdom
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. (Matthew 13:11)
Mysteries of Iniquity
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
Mysteries of Godliness
15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:15-16)
Mysteries of Faith
They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. (1 Timothy 3:9)
Mysteries of Translation
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51)
Mysteries of Seven Starts
The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20)
Mysteries of the Gospel
Mysteries of God
Mysteries of Christ
And he list could go on…But we are dealing today with,
The Mysteries of Marriage of Christ and the Church
This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)
I have come to realize that God’s purpose for the church is much grander than many people have experienced or even know is possible.
We must remember that God’s purposes and ways are from eternity to eternity.
He seeks to bring salvation to humankind and expand the kingdom of God through His people.
Jesus established the church as a divine institution for the proclamation and extension of the kingdom.
The church is not need-centered or people-centered but God-centered FIRST.
When the church is God centered, then we will know His awesome presence.
When God grants His presence to a church, He expresses His wisdom, His power, and His activity to accomplish His purposes.
‘This is a clear picture of the incredible transformation in a believer’s life- whereas SIN leads to INDEPENDENCE and SELF-CENTREDNESS, SALVATION leads to radical INTERDEPENDENCE and CHRIST-CENTREDNESS.’ (Henry Blackaby)
One of the signs of a healthy believer, who has been set free from sin, is interdependence with other believers and commitment to function within the body of Christ.
As Paul said to the Romans:
…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)
As followers of Christ our Lord, we are bound together for common purpose.
Children are born into the human race yet belong to a specific human family.
In the same way those who have been born into the kingdom of God are also entrusted into the care of a loving church family.
The more we grow in our relationship to the Lord, the more intimate and loving we grow in our relationships to one another.
Jesus said ‘I will build my Church’.
Jesus calls people out of the world and gathers them together into a living body in which He lives and carries out His purpose.
Jesus is Building His Church
And I tell you that you are Peter [Petros], and on this rock [Petra] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus will draw up the plans and oversee the construction.
All those who work under Him in the assembly of this building will follow His plan explicitly and take their orders from Him.
The Church will be built!
No Doubt about it!
Meaning of the Word Church
Church in Greek is ekklesia, i.e. “that which is called out” to assemble together.
It appears 115 times in the New Testament.
In the Greek world it was used of people “called out” by the messenger for the discussion and decision of public business.
The word Church refers to people and not a building.
The word Church was first used in
And I tell you that you are Peter [Petros], and on this rock [Petra] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
The word Church is used two ways in the New Testament.
It is used to describe the UNIVERSAL CHURCH.
1. Matthew 16:18 (UNIVERSAL CHURCH)
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Refers to all the redeemed, bought by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, including those who have died in Christ, those who are in Christ on earth, ad those yet to be called in the future.
When the word is used in this way it is never used in the plural.
There is ONE CHURCH of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ goes beyond any denomination or organization!
These passages refer to the UNIVERSAL CHURCH:
to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect… (Hebrews 12:23)
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 3:10)
23 … Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 …the church submits to Christ, …in everything.
25 …Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless…
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:23-25, 27, 32)
It is used to describe the LOCAL CHURCH.
2. Matthew 18:15 (LOCAL CHURCH)
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
In this passage the person who has been sinned against is urged to go to his erring brother “alone’…
It is obvious that the first meaning of the word Church could not apply here.
It would be impossible to speak to the Church in the sense UNIVERSAL.
So we have the Universal Church and the Local Church.
Out of 115 times that the word Church is used in the NT, at least 90 times it is referring to the LOCAL CHURCH.
“That smaller company of people who in any given community are gathered in Christ, for Christ, under Christ.”
References to the LOCAL CHURCH:
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (Acts 14:23)
Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. (Romans 16:5)
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours… (1 Corinthians 1:2)
For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17)
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews… (1 Thessalonians 2:14)
I do not believe it was the intent of God to have Para-church ministries.
Just as we see modeled by the Church of Antioch, all ministries should be an extension of the LOCAL CHURCH.
Para-church ministries by and large exist because Local Churches at times lack the vision and abilities to be inclusive, or immature and carnal leadership.
And most times the Para-church ministries depend on Christian to exist anyhow!
They need prayer, finances, and man-power, which mostly come from Local Church believers anyhow!
Music ministries, evangelist, missionaries would not be able to function without the help of the LOCAL CHURCH!
I have noticed in the years that by and large, Para-church ministries want the assistance of the Local Church but not the covering of the Local Church!
The Church Is the Called Out
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28, 30)
And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:6)
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ… (Jude 1)
1. The Call Is to Christ
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20)
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (John 10:3)
2. The Call Is to Repentance and Fullness of Spiritual Life
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:13)
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
3. The Call Is to Fellowship
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
4. The Call Is to Power and Wisdom
But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24, AMP)
5. The Call Is to Humility
For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. (1 Corinthians 1:26, AMP)
6. The Call Is to the Grace of God
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. (Galatians 1:6)
7. The Call Is to Liberty
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)
8. The Call Is to Hope
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people… (Ephesians 1:18)
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called… (Ephesians 4:4)
9. The Call Is to Peace
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
10. The Call Is to Kingdom and Glory
Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)
11. The Call Is to Holiness
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time… (2 Timothy 1:9)
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do… (1 Peter 1:15)
12. The Call Is to Preservation
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
13. The Call Is to Eternal Life
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
14. The Call Is to Light
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.(1 Peter 2:9)
15. The Call Is to Suffering
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)
16. The Call Is to Goodness/Blessing
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)
17. The Call Is to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9)
Pictures of the Church in the New Testament:
- The Church is a family and the goal is maturity.
- The Church is a field and the goal is quantity.
- The Church is a temple and the goal is quality.
- The Church is a body and the goal is health.
- The Church is an army and the goal is order, unity in battle.
Jesus said his church would be:
- The salt of the earth.
- The light of the world.
- Greater in works.
The primary purposes of the Church:
- To worship God as a way of life.
- To evangelize the world.
- To disciple people.
- To fellowship as a body of believers.
- To minister to one another as gifted.
Responsibility of the Leadership
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
The leaders are here to serve, not because they are forced, or because they are salaried, but because of love.
We are here and desire the best for you, as Paul says to the Colossians,
So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.
That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me. (Colossians 1:28-29, NLT)
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.’ (Hebrews 13:17)
We Are to Love His House
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:1-2)
“I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.” (Psalm 26:8)
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
How Do We Love God’s House?
1. By Being Planted and Rooted in the House
We are not floaters or drifters.
We are here for the long haul.
We are like trees planted with a deep root system.
What is pleasing to the Lord is that we are planted, joined and supporting His house.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.” (Psalm 92:12)
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:16)
2. By Faithfully Going to God’s House
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. (Psalm 66:13-14)
These things I remember I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. (Psalm 42:4)
3. By Our Conversations, Our Words, and Our Attitudes
What do we say about the house?
How much zeal do we have for this House?
…for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. (Psalm 69:9)
When someone speaks unjustly about your family, children, spouse, doesn’t something inside of you rise up?
What about when people speak against the house?
Don’t let anyone talk down this house!
This is God’s house! This is your house!
You may have your mistakes and shortcomings, but you are the house of God!
4. By Our Behavior in the House
When we love God’s house we respect God’s House.
We really believe that the Holy Spirit dwells here.
A corporate gathering unto Jesus is sacred.
We are in the presence of Almighty God Creator of Heaven and earth!
Paul said to Timothy,
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:15-16)
What speaks of RESPECT FOR GOD AND HIS HOUSE?
- Come in on time.
- Come in modest attire.
- Do not use your cells or IPads other than for the service.
- Don’t chew gum
- Don’t be distracted by anything or anyone.
5. By Serving in the House
Find a place of significant service.
Don’t just be a taker, be also a giver.
Remember this is your house!
6. By Prayer, Worship and Receiving of the Word
7. By the Giving of Our Tithes and Offerings
God loves giving, He is a generous God!
And if we love God we love to do what He does.
God Loves His House. Do You?
The Church will be built!
No doubt about it!
We do well to remember that we are being permitted to be part of, and workers in, the building of our blessed Lord’s Church.
What are you doing with your life that matters?
What are you doing that will last forever?
Jesus is building His Church, will we build with Him?
The Church is the visible manifestation of the Kingdom of God.
The Church is the manifestation of Jesus Christ.
The Church is the hope of the world!
Let us keep in touch with the Architect and the Contractor, our Lord Jesus Christ, and study carefully and prayerfully the blueprint, the Word of God, and let us build His Church!