Exhortations

Matthew 16:18

What is a Church? Is it a physical building made by man?

When we keep on hearing lies over and over again, it becomes convincingly accurate. For generations of being falsely fed that the Church is the building, we gather to worship God with the wooden cross symbolizing Christianity and others with the cross on the stipple. We are also taught that the building is the house of God but made by man. If we want to worship God or to hear what God is saying, the place is where the people gather in a building. These concepts are so ingrained in believers that to take the Church away from the believers would bring separation from their faith. The spiritual being will not exist, and the natural will dominate life’s journey. It seems that churches are part of having faith works, and Christianity cannot function without its existence.

Since some believers were taught to meet and worship God, a building or a specific place is needed. However, it does not clearly explain the Bible’s meaning when it discusses the Church. In Matthew 16:13, when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Many may be surprised that the disciples did not know who he was. Through Peter, Jesus’ Identity was known, and as per Jesus, Peter received the revelation of his identity from his Father in heaven.

Matthew 16:18 – “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.” This passage is open for a proper interpretation. What represents the Rock? Is it a person, a group of people, or a building? What is the message? And what is our response?

The statement that Jesus said, “Upon this rock, I will build my Church.”, interpreted that Peter is the Rock, and through generations, Peter is the head of the Church and through succession. We inherited the notion that the supremacy of the Pope was based on that event. Rocks (Petro) are made of many stones (Petra). Rocks stand for solidness, strength, and courage, while the faithful are the stones that form a church that will not be shaken as hard as a rock. Peter cannot be an excellent example of the strength of a Rock because he denied the Lord, the Rock of our salvation, three times that he knew Jesus due to fear of being arrested.

Let the scripture support the truth concerning the Rock- In Deuteronomy 32:4, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright, and just is he. Many link this passage to Jesus the Son, but Jesus meant that he would establish the Father who perfectly created us in our hearts, yet the freedom of will put us to shame. Jesus reconciled us to God. We are the stones, when gathered together, that made us the Rock; the Church is the Body of believers, the Body of Christ.

Now that we receive the knowledge of the true identity of the Rock within us, the Spirit of God, which God whom the Church is built through the Son. As Paul said in –1 Corinthians 3:11, CSB: “For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.” The foundation of the Church that Jesus Christ poured with his blood and sweat is built for the purpose that the Holy Spirit of God may dwell among us. As it is written, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him because it neither sees nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17.

To say that Jesus Christ is the Rock on which the Church is built is only a tiny part of making the whole Body of Believers. Building a church needs more than one stone to be gathered to form a concrete foundation that will never be shaken. As a man, Jesus is a stone; as God, he is also a rock. The Spirit of God formed the Church, the Body of Christ, the Body of God’s chosen people…

“But now we wish to draw your attention to two instances of God’s doing as he pleases in the fashioning of the works of his hands— the case of angels and the case of men. Angels were the elder born. God created them, and it pleased him to give unto them a free will to do as they pleased, to choose the good or to prefer the evil, even as he did to man: he gave them this stipulation— that if they should prefer the good, then their station in heaven should be forever fixed and firm….” Charles H. Spurgeon’s Sermon —Volume 2: 1856

The Angels have been rejected, and man has been chosen. We are the chosen ones that may become priests and kings. “and might free those who, through fear of death, were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly, He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things about God, to propitiate for the people’s sins. 18 For since He was tempted in that which He has suffered, He can come to the aid of those tempted….” Hebrews 2:14-18.

Let the joy of being chosen to be a partaker of God’s divine nature be acceptable in God’s delight.

God Bless!

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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