Matthew 16:13-19 – “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” NKJV
I would also suggest reading Matthew 24:14 along with Acts 3:17-26 for a foundation. My conviction as to what God is saying to today’s church is embodied in those passages. Looking back over my life I realize that over two-thirds of my life has been spent in Christian ministry. That is significant only in light of the fact that I have served long enough to have seen some major changes and shifts in the overall Christian community. It is also long enough to come to the conclusion that the Work and Purpose of the Church are so large that none of us see it fully. It is truly multi-sided and multi-dimensional and unfortunately, we see in part.
I have long been concerned about the divisions and sects within the Christian world dividing up into “camps” and making those particular truths embraced as the whole truth. I believe that has been a significant detriment to the progress and development of the Church Jesus spoke of as His Church. I believe it has caused us (the Christian family) to miss much of what God is doing and wants to do in today’s world.
Let me give a word of caution and comfort – that this is not altogether our fault. We have had some help in developing that type of thinking. The devil promotes separation, fragmentation, and division, and in nudging people that direction he has, at times, weakened the thrust and effort of the Church both local and universal.
Obviously, that is not God’s desire and God did not inspire the fragmentation. Jesus made it clear in John 17 that the desire of God is Unity! By no means would I want anyone to assume that I mean wholesale acceptance of everything taught and done in the name of Christ.
Unity of Spirit is not only desirable but a requirement for the Church to be that which Jesus purposed. I believe there is a unity being developed, almost unseen, across the land. Many are beginning to realize that although we may not agree on all points, this thing is much larger than any of our individual visions or understanding and there might be something we have not yet seen. Grace is becoming a dominant force and that is awesome!
Let me illustrate it this way: No two members of any local congregation express themselves in the same way. In the human body, the right-hand and left-hand look alike and have the same basic function, but they fulfill their main function from opposite directions. If your big toe could see it would have an entirely different perspective of the entire body than would the nose because of its unique position in and on the body. We are not the same, do not think the same, and our experiences and understanding are different on many things. That does not mean we are not of the same body only different parts of that body.
You may remember the story of the five blind men who were allowed to examine an elephant and then asked to describe the animal. The first man felt the leg and said, “It is like a round pillar.” The next man felt the tail and described the elephant as a “rope.” The third felt the elephant’s massive side and described it as a “Great Wall.” The fourth felt the tusks and said, “It is like a Spear.” The fifth felt the ear and said, “He is like a Giant Leaf.” They were all right but their descriptions and perceptions were limited and therefore incomplete. We see in part and if you add my part to your part we have a much larger part to work with.
I believe that God is focused on The Church today and is in the process of “restoring that which has been lost.” There are some things the Church has allowed to become dormant or has lost and God is bringing those to light.
In many ways, the Church has lost its direction, abdicated its position, misunderstood its potential, and been stripped of its power. That is changing or will change! Tragically, some in the Body of Christ have lost consciousness of Who We Are and What the Church is supposed to be.
Some are still in the wilderness and God has been engineering our walk to bring us to the Jordan but rather than cross over we have been waiting for a bridge or a boat to get us to the other side. God wants to bring us to that place where we are truly The Body of Christ in this present world and living the words of 1 John 4:17, “…as He is, so are we in this world.” Not someday but today!
I have more I wish to present but will pause here until next time and pray that God will guard and guide you as you proceed through this day walking in victory!
Blessings abundant is my desire for each of you!