JANUARY 16

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 17
     Nehemiah 6
     Matthew 16
     Acts 16
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''and I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)
 
THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH
            It was in Caesarea Philippi where Jesus confronted His disciples with who He was. When Jesus asked, ''who do men say that I am?'' They all gave the same answer: ''one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked the most penetrating question, “but who do you say that I am”? God the Father revealed to Simon Peter the answer, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." Peter was right on target. God the Son was given a complete but sinless human nature, thus becoming the God-man, having two natures in one Person.
            Following this incredible revelation Jesus wanted him to know that He was the Builder of His church. He told them ''on this Rock I will build My church." Jesus - (who has all authority in heaven and on earth), said ''you are Peter (petros) - a little stone'', ''and on this Rock (Petra) - (a strong rocky ledge,) I will build My church." There is no question about it; Christ is the one foundation of His church. Jesus never intended for anyone to think that Peter was the foundation of the church. The language here indicates that Simon Peter was only a small building stone and Jesus Himself was the foundation.
            Christ is not only the foundation of His church, He is its architect and builder. The church is a Holy Temple, a habitation of God through the Holy Spirit. He is building His church on the foundation (doctrine of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone.) (Ephesians 2:19-22) Israel drank from Christ the Rock that followed them in the wilderness; now He is the foundation and chief cornerstone of His church. He is building His church upon Himself using only ''living stones'' - sinners saved by His grace. At no time did Peter believe that he was the foundation of the church. He spoke of Christ as the ''living stone...chosen by God...a chief cornerstone, elect, precious." But to unbelievers He is a ''stone of stumbling and rock of offense."   (I Peter 2:4-8)
            If the church of Jesus Christ is so closely tied to His incarnation and deity, then it is the rigid responsibility of every believer to be faithful as a ''living stone'' in the building of the church. Is your life planted and effectively serving in a local church being built upon the word of God? Are you involved today in building His Kingdom? Or is your life consumed for the kingdoms of this world?
            The words of a poem by an unknown author say it all.
                        This is the house that Jesus built, not of wood and stone and glass
                        But of hearts and sacrifice, His own and others and yours and mine.
                        The religious establishment of this great day
                        Concerned with budgets and buildings, seem to say,
                        Come to us but come on your own terms.
                        Come to our buildings, our meetings and learn.
                        Someday, perhaps, we will obey and go
                        To the market place, to the crowds and the homes,
                        And in conviction and confidence we can say;
                        This is the house that Jesus built.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
There are pockets of great evangelistic harvest throughout Africa. The great need is to train the pastors in the planting of indigenous churches that are doctrinally sound. The future of Africa depends upon the building of strong New Testament churches led by well-trained pastors who have anointing, wisdom and vision. Pray today for the church and its leaders in Africa.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''Most of the things upon which we congratulate ourselves, membership, new buildings, more money, promotions, as pleasant as they are for us to behold in our human pride are if viewed as the sole end for which our church exists repugnant to Almighty God."
John Huess