The Apostolic Church: Word-Centered & Saturated

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18, ESV)

I will build my church . . .  When we see Jesus as the anointed one of God who fulfills the Old Testament promises to gather God's people (1 Chronicles 17:7-15), we see that the church (ekklesia/assembly) is the people of God gathered under the headship of King Jesus in fulfillment of the Abrahamic promises (Genesis 12:1-3).

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church . . .  Jesus builds his church on the foundation rock of Peter, the leader of the apostles, who is the first to make the formal confession and on the foundation rock of all the apostles, for they are entrusted with the divine revelation of God's work in Christ (Eph. 2:19-20), for Jesus is THE cornerstone of the foundation (Isaiah 28:15-19; 1 Peter 2:4-10).

And I will give you the keys to the kingdom . . .  The keys given to Peter open the door into the kingdom of heaven. When we understand that this key is the gospel, then we see that the authority Peter has to bind and loose or open and close the door to heaven comes through gospel proclamation (Acts 2). The entire church has this same authority (keys) by preaching the same gospel (Matt. 18:18). As the gospel is proclaimed, the door is opened to those who receive Christ by faith (Acts 4:1-12) and the door is closed to those who reject Christ in unbelief (Luke 11:45-52).

1. This means we must be careful how we build on the foundation of Christ's church (1 Cor. 3:10-17). If only the gospel forms the church, then we cannot build/form the church on anything else: i.e., programs, music/band, children's/youth ministry . . . We can only build/form the church on the gospel with the gospel - Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Try as we like, we can't make the gospel more palatable to an unbelieving world! Our evangelism and missions methods must be Word/gospel-centered and saturated.

2. This means that as Christians we must devote ourselves to the apostle's teaching (Acts 2:42). What do you devote your time to? School, work, entertainment, sports, relationships, etc. Do you devote your time to the Word of God? What do you devote your family's time to? Imagine how much time parents devote to their children's school, athletics, music, etc. How much time do you devote to the Word/gospel in your home? Is your home Word/gospel-centered and saturated? We should be gospel formed and re-formed people!

3. This means that as a church we must devote ourselves to the apostle's teaching (Acts 2:42). Our corporate worship must be Word/gospel-centered and saturated! Our singing must be Word/gospel-centered and saturated! Our praying must be Word/gospel-saturated! Our small groups must be Word/gospel-centered and saturated! We must be a gospel shaped/formed and re-formed church!

The church did not fare well in the twentieth century, and it is not doing any better in the twenty-first because it is trying to accommodate to culture in order to make the message of the gospel more palatable. Believers are fed up with this game and are abandoning the church. Unbelievers are not falling for it. Let us preach Christ and let those who hear and believe be gathered into the church.


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