He began his message on the premise of the text from Matthew 16: 16-18. People have alot of theologies on this scripture, he explained. The emphasis is however on Jesus who says He will build His church. This is Jesus’ own agenda. The building of the church is not humanity’s duty but on Jesus who died and rose again. It means we are part of the materials He is using to build His church. This scripture was in the context of seeking out the identity of Christ. A person needs to come to the place of discovery before they can become part of the church. The revelation of Peter is the beginning of the church ( no other foundation). Peter was the first person to come to the faith before the cross. Some people have confused this text to mean that Peter was the rock on which the church would be built.
Each of us have become living stones and thus we are Petros'(1 Peter 2:22). Our work is to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. If He says he will build the church, it is not only about structures and administration, but building His people as well. This is a year we need to allow the Lord build us up, the man of God preached. God called Abraham from an idolatrous background. The Greek word for church, Eclessia means “the called out people of God”. “Kuriake” are the ones who belong to the Lord.
And so, we are called out to belong to Him, he said. God’s separation was not only elimination but additive components. God’s agenda for the church from the desert was that the church will be unique, a model church. This was God’s agenda for calling out Israel. Israel however started closing their doors to other nations and were not allowing other nations to grasp their God. But God was preparing in Christ to set a stage a new called out people. God calls people out of the world irrespective of race, tribe, gender. We are called to be unique so that in our uniqueness we shall draw others to God.
What are the typical parameters that will distinguish the new testament church from any social group? The church is characterized by these profound parameters.
- Proclamation of Christ (Cherigma). There must be a Cherigma movement.
- There should be communion or community with Christ in the centre(Koinonia). You cannot say you are a church and remain an island. If the church will be a church, it is not a dictatorship camp, but community.
- There should be teaching on the way of Christ; formation and discipleship. The people must be moulded and formed to look like Christ. Until all these parameters are met, you cannot call yourself a church.
- If it is the church, it must be serving Christ(Daiconia). This concept means placing others first.
- There should be liturgia( the worship of God and Christ). The new testament church is supposed to be christocentric and apostolic because our teachings are based on what the apostles taught and did.
A church which embodies these characteristics is a missionary church. Such a church will be a miraculous church. Signs and wonders should not elude us as a church. A church like this will be a militant church.
This church will be a multiplier, an organism that must grow. The church must become a model. This church will become a miracle movement. Movements are revolutionary, always hard to systematize. The reason some churches are not attractive is because the church has become predictable.
May the church not become a post modernism church because such a church will have no power to bring authentic conversions to people, the man of God prayed. We will be too weak. A post modernism church will become a monument. When the church becomes a monument, the things we do will not be as powerful as it used to be, a relic. If we move on, we become a memorial. A church that does everything they need to do, but they do not live the experience. The church becomes a monastery. When the church becomes a monastery, we tie people down by commitment. People don’t come because they want to come because they want to. The church then becomes a mall( a marketplace). A dead church becomes a military camp.