The Church at Ojale – 12th & 13th Oct.
We had a wonderful time in the Word for the two-day teaching ministry among the church as Ojale. My exposition was from Matthew 16:15-18 with the theme, “Becoming a Member of the True Church.”
Whatever the world says about the Lord Jesus is not as important as what you say of Him as one who claims to be His disciple. Your conviction and confession of Christ determines your membership in His church.
However, Peter’s confession of Christ as the Messiah was by revelation of the Father to him [v.17]. The Lord says, “no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by my Father” [Jn.6:65]; Knowing who Christ is and coming to Him is by grace.
“Messiah” means, “Anointed One.” In the Old Testament, the “anointed” is the one who had the oil poured upon him for the service of God. This was characteristic of the priests and the kings of that age [Ex. 30:30; 1 Sam.15:1; 16:13].
It was revealed to Peter that Jesus is the One Mediator between God and man [1 Tim.2:5]; not Mary, a sinner saved by grace [Lk.1:46,47; Eph.2:8,9]. Christ is our great High priest [Heb.4:14-15], sinless and sympathizing. He is the Ruler/law Giver of God’s people, the One we are to obey.
“Hear Him” [Matt.17:5]! He is the only way to the Father [Jn.14:6], the only Word of the Father [Jn.1:1; Heb.1:2] and the only Judge from the Father [Jn.5:22]. He is the Son of God, “the image of the invisible God” [Col.1:15]; “for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” [Col.2:9]; “Who is over all, the eternally blessed God…Amen” [Rm. 9:5].
What you understand, confess, and are committed to about this Jesus is what will determine your salvation and true membership in the true church!
Roman Catholicism is not Christianity. [Editor: There is a higher percentage of Roman Catholics in Benue than in Yinnkah’s Ibadan area]. That Church of Rome is exactly what it claims to be: of the paganism of Rome, not of Christ! Christ is the foundation of His church, “for no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” [1 Cor.3:11].
He is the Bedrock and chief cornerstone [Matt.7:24,25; 1 Pet.2:4, 6-8; Eph.2:20]. Peter is a “living stone” with other believers who are also “living stones…being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” [1 Pet.2:5].
The humble and true confession of Peter himself was, “I myself am also a man” [Acts.10:26]. Peter, being a man in his weakness, was withstood “to his face [by Paul], because he was to be blamed” [Gal.2:11]. At that point in time, along with some others, God’s word about him was that he was not “straight forward about the truth of the gospel” [Gal. 2:14]!
How can Peter then be the foundation of the church as taught by the creed of Roman Catholics? “Come out of them my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” [Rev.18:4]! Christ said, “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH” [Emphasis added: Matt. 16:18]. When those words were spoken, the Church was not being built. Christ was talking of something He would do in the near future.
The church is a new dispensation apart from the Israel of old [Eph.3:1-6 cf. Lk.5:36-39], hidden in God’s mind from creation [Eph.3:9,10]. Therefore, we may not directly apply everything said in the Old Covenant to ourselves as Christians in the literal and physical sense that Israel could.
The Church is the “new wine in the new wine skin.” Christ ALONE is the OWNER and FOUNDER of the church. He called her, MY CHURCH [Matt. 16:18] which He purchased with His own blood [Acts 20:28].
Any organization called “church” with another president, prelate, primate, archbishop, founder, General Overseer/Superintendent, or presiding Bishop/Pastor/Reverend, is just another man-made organization different from the organic body of Christ of which He alone is the “Head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” [Col. 1:18]!
Simply put, installing another head in the church apart from Christ, is making a rivalry of anti-christs [instead-of- Christ] in the church; “even now many antichrists have come by which we know that it is the last hour” [1 Jn.2:12].
The word “church” means “called out ones.” They are “called to be saints” [ 1 Cor.1:2], called out of the world by God as “a people for His name” [Acts 15:14]. Members of this church belong to “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” [Heb.12:23 cf. Lk.10:20; Rev.3:5].
Their register is not here on earth. Heaven keeps their record; and how many names there are in man’s denominational organizations which are not recognized in heaven! Members of Christ’s church are only those He has saved from the slavery of sin. It is only “those who were being saved that the Lord added to the church” [Acts 2:47].
Are you a heaven-recognized and registered member of this church? If you are a member of this church that we are talking about, “Blessed are you” [Matt.16:17]!
“All authority has been given to Me [Christ] in heaven and on earth” (Matt.28:18). We can therefore be sure “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against us” [Matt.16:18]. All the accumulated wisdom, power and entirety of evil cannot prevail against the church of Jesus Christ, and death will never be able to hold down those regenerated by the Spirit, for “Christ is the firstborn from the dead” [Col. 2:18].
“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” [Rom.8:11]. “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Cor. 15:35, 57]. Amen.