5/13/16 The Church

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Matt. 16:18

Morning Meditation 5/13/16

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

I have preached many times on “The Church that Jesus Built” addressing the issue of Jesus beginning his church during his personal ministry. There are several reasons I continue to believe this. But that is not the aim in this meditation. Jesus is in the process of building today what he began when he was on earth. Lets consider the Church that Jesus is building.

He is building it out of live material. Peter said in 1 Pet. 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” The word “lively” (zao) means, “to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead).” It is a present active participle. This means that those with whom Jesus is building his church are living right now. This word “living” is in contrast to death. An unsaved man is dead. I do not care if he joins the local church, or how right the local church he joins is doctrinally or any other way, Jesus is not building his church out of “dead stones.” The words “are built up” (oikodomeo) mean “to build a house, or to erect a building.” It is a present passive indicative. The present tense means that he is in the process of doing it right now. The passive voice means that the building is not building itself. It is being built by him. JESUS IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH. Some may have the idea that at his ascension and present session that he turned the work of building his church over to the church or to the preachers he has called. This is only in the minds of the Scripturally uninformed. Jesus is the Master Builder and is doing this himself right now and will until the end of the age. Acts 2:47 says, “...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The word “stones” (lithos) can mean “small stones” or “building stones.” It is the same word that Jesus used in John 1:42: “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” Peter was anything but a stone when Jesus named him “Cephas.” He was nothing but a blob of mush. Jesus named Peter “a stone” because Jesus knew when he started with Peter what he was going to make of him. Peter is using this same word to tell Christians that they are “stones.” He is saying that Jesus knows what he is starting with and names us what he will see that we become. Jesus is committed to making stones out of mush.

He is building a Spiritual house. The word “spiritual” (pneumatikos) refers to things originating in, given by, or controlled by the Holy Spirit. Paul uses this word in 1 Corinthians 2:15: “But he that is spiritual (pneumatikos) judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” Jesus is building a Church that is continually under the Spirit’s control. I can imagine hearing someone say, “Where is this church, if this is true?” I will not be the judge of that. I am committed to what the Scriptures teach on this subject. I will tell you this. I have been in a few Churches that it was evident that the Spirit was not in control. This really bothers a lot of folks. The flesh wants the whole thing worked out so that it can judge others who do not measure up to their concept of what is right and what is wrong. I used to say “that is of the devil” when I hear of other worship services that were not like mine. As I read and studied what Jesus said about the unpardonable sin, I have ceased to say that. I have not come to agree with what caused me to make that verbal charge. The only difference is that I keep my mouth shut. If there is the slightest chance that what is going on somewhere is the work of the Holy Spirit, I do not want to be the one who attributes the work of God to the devil (Matt. 12:24-31). The Church that Jesus is building is a spiritual house.

I do not want to leave this without a final explanation. I am not suggesting that we cannot take a stand against false doctrine, false religion and all kinds of heresies. We are supposed to do this. But what we are to stand against is usually well defined in the Scriptures and as we preach and teach using these Scriptures it is simply declaring God’s judgment against these things. This takes us off the throne of judgment and puts us in the pulpit with a open Bible declaring God’s judgment and grace.

He is building the church with gifted men. Eph. 4:11-12: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Jesus is building his Church but he is using gifted men to do it. Men of God are called.. It is not something a Christian just decides to become. I had no intention of becoming a preacher. I was working for Westinghouse making photo flash bulbs when God called me. I like what Amos said in Amos 7:14-15: “Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”

God not only calls men to the work of the ministry but he gifts them. Paul said to Timothy “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1:6). The word “gift” (Charisma) is the translation of a word that means “grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit.” A good commentary on a “gift” is described in Exo. 36:1 “Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded.” This gift has to be developed through study but he will be able to communicate God’s truths in a way a man without the gift can never attain. In Timothy’s case he needed to stir up this gift. God called me and gifted me as a pastor teacher. I did this for all but nine months of the 42 years I was in the ministry until I began my present ministry. I knew from the beginning that it was a gift and not a personal attainment. I knew when people responded to me in the churches I pastored that it was God at work. A man with a gift will have no problem giving God the glory. I do not know why God chose me. All I know is that he did and it is a grace gift because I know I did not deserve it.

I get the idea that many pastors go to the world to discover methods to use to build the church. Let me say this in no uncertain terms. The world has nothing to offer the church except corruption and human viewpoint. Besides, we are not building the church, he is.

May the Lord bless you.

In Christ

Bro. White

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