15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Matthew 16:15-20

The above passage gives us the three main pillars of Christianity and understanding these rightly and building our lives upon them will provide a solid foundation for life.

Pillar #1   Who is Jesus?

Matthew 16:15 “Who do you say that I am?”

Jesus asked the disciples, who do people say that I am. The answer to this question is fundamental to you faith. Phillip Jenkins in his Book the “Jesus Wars” states that every religion is formed based on the answer to that question. Many religions revere Jesus as a good man, a great prophet or teacher. However, the bible does not give us those option. He was either God as the bible clearly states or He was a liar. Peter response “You are the anointed one, Son of the Living God” was blessed by Jesus as revelation that came from heaven not man. Everyone must personally answer that question. Who is Jesus to you? Is He your absolute Lord and King or something else? Those are the only choices

Pillar #2  What is the Church?

Matthew 16:18 “on this rock I will build my church”

In verse 18 the word “church” is used for the first time by Jesus when he says in response to Peter answer that He will build His church upon the revelation of Jesus and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. This word church translated Ekklesia in Greek  was not a religious term, but a governmental term and He only used it twice in the New Testament versus the Kingdom of God that He used about 150 times.  Young -Ho Park in His book “Paul’s Ekklesia as a Civic Assembly” helps us understand the People of God in their Political-Social World, describes the term church as a word located in a very crowded intersection of cultural, political, social, and economic forces.  God intends for His church to be located in the midst of this world affairs, a people who represent Him in all affairs of life bringing to bear upon all things the Kingdom of God. This idea of church being some building or religious order we all attend, led by a professional clergy who lead us as we sit passively in rows is foreign the original meaning of this word. I believe Jesus used this term precisely to destroy this image of His church of being a religious institution and place it right in the center of this world’s activities.

Pillar #3 What is the Kingdom of God?

Matthew 18: 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom”

In this same passage Jesus told the disciples that He would give them the keys to the kingdom of God. The question is, what is the Kingdom of God that He offered them and what are the keys to this kingdom. These are the big questions we must answer. This concept is so massive that Jesus He spent the majority of His time trying to help the disciples understand it. All the parables were designed to give us some insight into the kingdom of God. Jesus instructed us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In Matthew 6:33, He told us to make the pursuit of His Kingdom our number one obsession. There are volumes of books written on this subject and yet not even close in exhausting this topic. My encouragement is to seek to understand the kingdom of God and to make that your passionate pursuit. Our spiritual life depends on it.

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