Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 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. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The Greek word here translated as “church” is the same word shown as “assembly” in Acts 19:32 & 41. It is defined as “a calling out.” Therefore it is not seen from the human side of those just deciding to join a religious group. It is set forth as those chosen by the Father to be “members of Christ’s body.” Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
And herein our text we have it used in a declaration from the Lord to Peter. And it is so very important that we keep in mind the two questions the Lord asks. For the whole of the identity of the church and its rock foundation are identified. For the questions are solely concerning the identity that human beings ascribe to the Lord Jesus Christ, and how they came to this conclusion!
First, there is a difference between those who religionists believe the Lord Jesus to be, and those who the God-called, born again believers believe him to be. Because the source of these two beliefs is entirely different! The source of the religionist’s belief is only that of “flesh and blood.” While that of the true believer’s confession of his identity is none other than the Heavenly Father! The former makes up all organized religion in the world. But the latter is exclusively the organism of the true, Spirit-born and Spirit-indwelt church! This is the difference between the tares and the wheat; the good fish and the bad fish; the good tree and the evil tree; the sheep and the goats; those on the broad way and those on the narrow way; between the true converts and the counterfeits!
For it is in the relationship to the identity we place on the Son of God upon which our salvation rests. John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
The blind man of John chapter nine, first received his natural sight, then he was separated from religion and shown that Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord of glory! John 9:34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. 35 ¶ Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
As we have often revealed, it is like the young prophet Samuel answered Eli when the Lord calls, many join religious circles seeking the Lord. But in his absolute sovereignty the Lord even uses religion to bring his called-out ones finally to himself. He can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line! Therefore the first question concerns who men say the Lord is. And of course their varied answers reveal the wild imaginations of their darkened hearts. Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
But the question posed to those whose knowledge of Christ comes by the revelation of the Holy Spirit yields an approval and blessing from the Master himself! For this one is blessed in that his declaration of who Jesus is which does not come from flesh excited from seeing miracles, but by the impartation of God the Father’s revelation to that individual soul! John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
We need only see Nicodemus as an example. John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
Therefore the second question and its answer should be greatly noted. – But whom say ye that I am? For these are those who shall be God’s commissioned witnesses to declare him throughout the entire world! Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And to hear them is the same as hearing the Lord himself! Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
Therefore the Lord warns us not only concerning WHAT we hear, but also HOW we hear! Mark 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
The opportunity to effectually hear the powerful gospel is a rare privilege. Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
“Tell me the old, old story.
For those who know it best;
Seem hungering and thirsting,
To hear it like the rest!”
And this brings us to properly consider the matter of the rock upon which the Lord states that he will build his church. First of all that rock IS NOT PETER! Peter is not the ‘first pope.’ How ignorant is that! For the holy organism of Christ’s body – his church – his called out ones – rests not upon such a flimsy foundation! 1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. It is true that both the apostles and prophets are involved in this double foundation. Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; But this also sustains the truth of the identity of the “rock.”
For that Ephesian 2:20 does not state, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostle!” For if it were the person of Peter it would be stated in the singular! And it would not have included all the prophets! All those used in the revelation of the Holy Scriptures are included in the foundational beliefs of the true church. For all of them had only one purpose of writing. They were to manifest the true revelation of their Sovereign Master! They were to manifest the unique Being of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ! Moses and the prophets and the Psalmists all were set forth to manifest the glories of the Lord Christ!
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Carefully consider these important words: Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
When the actual Sacrifice – the Lamb of God – came into the world everything which the Old Testament writers had stated was shown its true purpose. For although none could approach God without blood, it was not the blood of innocent animals which could please God or remove one single sin! Only Christ could do that! John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Therefore the foundational rock of the true church cannot be a person. For the rock is not those to whom the revelation was made, but the effectual work of the revelation itself from the Father, creating the faith of regeneration in them in order to match the Life of Incarnation in Christ! Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. “…when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 Jn 3:2
Pastor Gene Breed
March 04, 2022