Sunday, 6 February 2022

Building the Church

 Scripture: Ephesians 4 v 11 - 15:  "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 
14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"

The Church is not a building made with bricks, it is not a temple, nor a cathedral.  The Church is the Body of Christ, made up of living saints plus those who have died in the faith.  The foundation stone of the Church is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

That was the revelation God the Father gave to Peter and Jesus told him that upon the Rock of those words He would build His Church.  Any other foundation or name would flounder.  Jesus is the Door to the Father.  You cannot enter through any other name.  Not Mary, or any dead person's name, not any Pope's name.

The Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, claims to be the Vicar of Christ, His sole living representative on Earth.  Untrue.  They added Mary, the mother of Jesus, as Co-Redeemer, which is false.  They added Purgatory as a place you go before reaching Heaven to be cleansed of sin.  It's a lie.  Saints cannot be created by the Pope after death.  Complete fiction.  These are the foundations of a faith in something other than Jesus Christ.

There is no such place as Purgatory.  Jesus never mentioned it.  By His death on the Cross, the Blood He shed, we are cleansed of sin.  There is no other way except to repent, i.e. change your mind about doing sinful things, then confess those sins to God and ask His forgiveness.

1 John 1 v 6 - 10:  "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

The Church is made up of those who are born again, walking in righteousness, living in truth, serving Jesus in whatever capacity He chooses for us.  Whether we are pastor, teacher, evangelist, Intercessor, prophet or apostle, or one who works behind the scenes, helping where possible, this is what church is.  We do not go to church, attend church, we are the church.  When even two or three are gathered in His name, Jesus is in our midst.

To build up the living stones we need discipleship and fellowship.  Discipleship comes from discipline, or learning how to behave as a Christian rather than as the worldly person you were before you met Jesus.  Everything must change.

We lose our fallen nature in the waters of baptism, but the habits of that fallen nature have to be changed through discipline.  Fellowship is when Christians gather to celebrate our salvation through prayer, sharing what Jesus has done for us, having Holy Communion, enjoying the blessings.  

What is in our hearts comes out of our mouths.  The joy of Jesus in our hearts just bubbles to the surface when we meet together.  The more we love Him the more it shows up in our conversations.  If we still have walls around our hearts that need breaking we find such fellowship an ordeal.

Our aim is to come to the unity of our faith based on our knowledge of the Son of God.  Our knowledge comes from reading the Word of God.  Jesus is the Bible made visible in human form.  The more we read, the more Jesus is formed in us, the more unity we have with other believers.  It is what walking in the light means.  

The Word shines its light into our inner beings.  It purifies our thinking and behaviour.  We need to subdue our fleshly desires and ambitions to conform to what the Bible says is humble, kind, peaceful, loving, faith.  

Unity also means having the same belief, doctrines, gifts, understanding, truth and knowledge of God.  Right now there are thousands of different churches believing they are the only right way.  They stretch from mainline denominations who believe a person is saved when Christened as a baby and added to the church roll to the Salvation Army, salvation only and nothing else.  Baptist, salvation and baptism, no gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Charismatic Church which has added many strange, unbiblical teachings.

How do we begin to unify all these billions of souls into one common belief?  It can only come about through a worldwide revival with serious conviction of sin and zero compromise.  I truly believe that God is using this pandemic, and crazy weather, huge volcanic eruptions, the bunch of earthquakes in past few days, to bring us to our knees.  

The threat of war between Russia and Ukraine, sabre rattling with nuclear bombs is pretty scary.  The British Prime Minister causing his own party to want him out for breaking Covid rules, when stability is needed, is creating more tension in a world that's reeling.  

It is in times like these that people cry out to God for help.  And He is listening for that cry.  When there are a significant number of crying hearts, He will move Heaven and Earth to respond.  The Holy Spirit will increase the strength of conviction of sin and the power in the Blood will cleanse of sin.

God will establish a new flock with new shepherds who will live their Christian lives the way He wants it done.  There will be one body, the true church, that will be Raptured in due time.  No matter what drama we face right now, be aware that our Father is reading every heart to see if we mean business with Him.

Our Father is not willing for any to perish and be lost.  He wants everyone to be saved.  He will forgive the worst of sinners if they repent.  He will not tolerate sin, and anyone desiring to live in sin will face His judgment.  Those who live for Jesus must preach the Word without compromise and remain steadfast in the faith that the original disciples had.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father we honour You with praise and worship and give glory to Jesus Christ.  We love the gifts of the Holy Spirit that empower the preaching of truth and demonstration of Your love and power.  Unite us, O Lord, in the Word, that we may be like-minded in fellowship, peace and joy.  Cleanse our hearts with the Blood of the Lamb forevermore.  In Jesus's name.  Amen.