In the days of labels it’s important as children of God that we only bear the identity that Jesus through His sacrifice has given to us. We crave recognition from man therefore, we rise and fall by their acknowledgement. Yet, no place has become more segregated than the Houses of Worship. I cringe every time I hear the church of Jesus Christ being referred to as a “black or white'' church. If we follow the early church in the scriptures, what we will discover is that there were no labels given. They were called Christians for the first time in Acts 11:20-21, their only other identity was based on location. They were simply known as “THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST!” We’ll read titles like these; The Church in Rome, the Church in Colosse, the Church in Corinth etc. to prove my point you may go on your own time and read Revelation chapter 3. Man through religion, and wanting power, has slapped labels on buildings and called it the House of God. I said at the onset of covid that the closed church buildings have finally given God an opportunity to enter “His House,” because when up and running He’s not welcomed.
God did not intend for us to be Baptist, Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Muslim, Lutheran, Charismatic, Pentecostal or whatever. He didn’t give His life for a denomination, He gave His life for the Church, His body, a body of believers in whom His Spirit dwells.
He asked the disciples this question: “Who do men say that I AM?” They gave Him the world’s answer. Then He switched it back on the “Church,” to identify Him. He asked; “But who do YOU, say that I AM?” It’s one thing for the world to offer mistaken identity, it’s a whole different thing for the church to not know who He is. That, my brothers and sisters, is the problem we face as a church body. If we don’t know who He is, then we won’t know who we are.
Let’s read the scripture I referenced:
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 16:13-17 NKJV
It’s clear from Jesus’ statement that we cannot get a revelation of Jesus intellectually, but through revelation spiritually. He was mis-identified by many in His day. Whenever you don’t have a revelation, misinformation follows. Whenever you don’t have revelation into spiritual things, the foundation upon which you build your Christian life will not stand the test. Knowing and identifying the ONE you follow is key to your victory as a child of God. People have long misinterpreted Jesus’ statement to Peter regarding the “Rock” metaphor. Let’s continue reading:
“And I also say to you that 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 NKJV
He did not say Peter was “the rock” He said upon this foundation or revelation of who He is, “Thou art the Christ, The Son of the Living God” He will build HIS CHURCH. Notice what He did not say. “Thou art Peter, and on you Peter, I will build my church.” We all know that building anything on man will utterly fail. So He wasn’t building His church on Peter. Peter was soon to be rebuked for not understanding the purpose of Jesus’ mission; let’s read:
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.””
Matthew 16:21-23 NKJV
The rock huh. I don’t think so! Peter got full of himself, having just received a revelation led him to believe he could decide what was best for Jesus. Now we know why the church wasn’t built on fallible man; But on Jesus Christ. The impenetrable Rock. Scripture says ‘that which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3)The Church of Jesus Christ is not fleshy but Spiritual. Let’s clarify this with scripture shall we: “He existed before everything and holds everything together. He is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, the first to come back to life so that He would have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:17-18
Soooo..No. The Church was not established on Peter but on the One who was revealed.
So getting back to the question of whose are you? This is the Holy Spirit’s answer. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20-“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
I Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV. Or this one;
“Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”
Ephesians 2:7-10 MSG
Simply put, we are God’s workmanship. Purchased to be His. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11
The following scripture verses will also help us further understand not only whose we are but who we are in Him. Let’s continue reading:
“In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
Ephesians 1:11-12 KJV
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:13 I’ll add a quote from C. S. Lewis that sheds light on this verse: “Growth is much more than reading what Christ said and carrying it out. A real Person, Christ, is doing things to you, gradually turning you permanently into...a new little Christ, a being which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.” Amen!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
II Corinthians 5:17-21 NKJV Amen!!!
So if someone were to ask you the question I asked, What would your answer be? Baptist, Anglican, Muslim, Catholic, Methodist, non denominational? Black, Caucasian, Jew, Gentile, Hispanic? Jesus’ prayer in John’s gospel was that we would be ONE as He and the Father are ONE. ( Please! Pretty please! Read John 17) He didn’t give us labels, man did. So shake off the man made markers and embrace your true identity. WE ARE THE CHURCH Of JESUS CHRIST! WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST! Bought and paid for with His precious blood. I’ll close with this from Galatians 5:
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” Galatians 5:13-15
Heavenly Father, in a time of uncertainty, one thing is certain, we who are in Christ Jesus belong to You! We have this confident hope that as believers in Jesus Christ we’re overcomers and victors. We’re called your ambassadors, we’re called righteous, but more than anything we’re called to be Your body. Thank you that in Jesus Christ we’re more than conquerors, we’re more than the labels man puts on us or we put on ourselves, we are children of God! Help us walk in the revelation of who You are and whose we are in Jesus Name. 🙏
“So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.”
Genesis 1:27 GW
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit