What is the purpose of being a part of the Church?
One day Jesus was with His disciples and He asked them; Who do men say that I am? The perception of the people concerning Jesus was that He was a powerful man and even a prophet. Their view of him was one of ministry. God’s view was that He was the Son. When people from the outside looked at Jesus they perceived He was a prophet. They saw that He was anointed. They saw that He demonstrated power. Things happen because of Him. He had all the indications of being a prophet or a mighty minister of some sort. In the story, Jesus turned to His friends and asked them who they perceived Him to be. These were the men who had been walking with Him for several years. Peter responded, You are Christ, the son of the living God. He was saying, You are the Messiah, the Deliverer, the Redeemer, the Healer and the Giver of Life in all things. Peter’s perception of Jesus was more accurate than the crowds, but there was a purpose in the revelation given by God to Peter. Jesus explains why Peter had this revelation.
Matthew 16:17 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.”
The response of Jesus to Peter was like this: Peter, you have a connection with God, My Father. You have experienced something that is relational. It is not an observation by what you can see from the outside looking in. It is not a conclusion you can make by what you see. You have an understanding in your heart. You are relationally connected to what is really going on. Something has come by the voice of God inside of you. Blessed are you Peter (little rock), but upon this rock (huge rock) I am going to build My church.
What was the huge rock? The huge rock was the ability for Peter to hear the voice of God the Father in his heart because of an internal relationship and a corporate connection. Upon this “rock” I will build My “church”. Jesus used a word that is not a Jewish word. It was actually a Gentile word. It was a Roman word.
|Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – STRONGS NT 1577: ἐκκλησία
ἐκκλησία, ἐκκλεσιας, ἡ (from ἔκκλητος called out or forth, and this from ἐκκαλέω); properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly; so used
|1. among the Greeks from Thucydides (cf. Herodotus 3, 142) down, an assembly of the people convened at the public place of council for the purpose of deliberating: Acts 19:39.|
It is literally a called out assembly for governmental decision. It’s a political term. To call people together to make a political decision concerning the community. In an ekklisea everyone comes together in a place of public view, a decision is made, and a change happens. An influence happens. Wherever there is an ekklisea, a church, a heavenly influence impacts the realms of the earth. Jesus choice of word is important here. He didn’t say temple, synagogue, house group or place of fellowship. A church is a place of God’s presence, the people’s presence, and God’s purpose implanted through an assembly of God’s people. It is a place of governmental decision. It is a place of the family of God making a decision that influences the world of and around the family. Jesus was making a point by His use of the word here that is essential for changing the world. The gates of hades will not prevail against it. It will not prevail against the ekklisea – the church. The word Hades means, the realm of the dead. Most of the world lives in the realm of the dead, but the church is stronger than the influences of death. The church is the realm of life from heaven made manifest in the earth as the body of Christ. It is the place of life that influences the world.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
Thank you so much to those of you who have been able to contribute to our cause. In this past month I have been in the Netherlands, Ireland, Wales, England, Spain, and again in England. This week I head to Bulgaria and after that I will be in Luxembourg. Without your prayers and support we are limited in our ability to do our part in the place of our calling in Christ. If God blesses you to bless us, please consider supporting House of Bread Ministry. Checks Payable to: House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA 98225
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