Mat 16:18-19 “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. 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 word church in Greek is ‘ecclesia’. It means ‘a group of people,’ in this case, Christians. It’s applied to a specific congregation in a city or a group of people in a particular city or a term given to the whole body on earth. Jesus died for the church, the entire body.
You need to understand what kind of ecclesia: ‘that which belongs to the Lord’, composed of true born-again believers. The church militant is what we call the church on earth, the church triumphant is what we call the church in heaven. The church brethren, this includes women and brings us together, no matter the culture, gender, age, language. Believers have an adherence to the doctrine. Saints is another word for the church. Also, ‘the elect’, you won by the only vote that counts—God’s! Disciples, those of the way, both are also ways of referring to the church.
Eph 4:4-5 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,”
1 Cor 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
There is only one church, according to the Bible. The church is one as far as race and nationalities are concerned, many different, but still one according to the Bible. Being baptized into the body means you are a part of the church as far as the Bible is concerned. It doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile. Past, present, and future it is still one church.
Eph 1:22-23 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
We must be partakers of Christ’s life in order to be members of His body.
The church is the temple of God, not a building.
1 Cor 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
The temple is sacred and holy, a different level of value than what man can say. There are certain things you do in the temple that you don’t do anywhere else. There are also certain things you don’t do in the temple!
Paul was saying just as you hold that temple in high regard, that building, you—YOU are now holy.
1 Cor 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
Acts 17:24 “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;”
Eph 5:32 “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
2 Cor 11:2 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
The church is a promise. The gates of ‘hell’ or ‘the grave’ shall not stand against the church. Jesus gave this promise to Peter. The church will never die out! The church is an eternal, living organism that will not die! It’s never going to stop!
The foundation is Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the prophets.
Peter never lost the keys, but Jesus didn’t build the church on him. Jesus is the rock. The rock is the Word of God, the written and the spoken Word of God.
You and I make up the brick and mortar of the church.
The church was born in a day—the Day of Pentecost.
Col 1:24-27 “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
Jesus told Peter, ‘I give you the keys to a kingdom,’ but Peter was never the king.
There are two things you need basically in order to have a kingdom: a king reigning and subjects.
The Jews wanted their Messiah to overthrow the other kingdoms and reign forever, but their Messiah came to do so much more than establish a physical kingdom.
The purpose of the Kingdom is for Christ to reign. ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.’ As Jesus reigns other things must be brought down in order for Him to rule. He must have full and complete dominion. When the King is in the throne room and reigns as King over His subjects, the church has authority.
Every heart has a throne and every heart has a cross. If you want Jesus on the throne, you have to get on the cross. The kingdom of God is where the King is God and where God is king.
1 Cor 15:25 “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
The church is not a place to find a spouse and new friends, those are byproducts. The church is a place where God rules and reigns over everything in your life. All things in your life, all goals, all dreams, all desires must be subject to God.
The kingdom that’s divided will not stand.
Luke 17:20-21 “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
God’s kingdom is not from this earth. He is king in His kingdom—within you.
Rom 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
God’s kingdom is not a material, physical kingdom. It is a spiritual kingdom. What does God reign as king over? ‘Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ When you need righteousness and peace and joy, that is what you can ask the King for. He is the King and will dispatch His army over our enemies that have stolen our peace or our joy or even our righteousness.
How do we get the king? If Jesus is the king and my heart is a throne, then I need to make sure Jesus is on that throne. ‘Let the peace of God reign in your heart.’
Eph 3:17 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,”
2 Cor 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
The Kingdom is Powerful.
1 Cor 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”
Jesus looked at a man named Nicodemus.
John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
If you have been born again, born of water and of the Spirit, you CAN enter the kingdom of God. He reigns over depression, addictions, nothing is too hard for Him.
Every day, let Him rule and reign. There is power in the Name of Jesus. He is the source of power. You have access to that power as a member of the Kingdom.
Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
There needs to be effort on your part. You must press into it.
Col 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!