A daily Christian thought from:
ACP, The Church for the American Christian who is a Patriot
Pro-Christ, Pro-Life, Pro-Constitution.
34 Duck Pond Road
Harrison, Maine, USA
Pastor Rev. Robert Celeste ACP/MCAC
Associate Pastor Mr. Steve Burzlaff, Elizebeth, Kentucky
Special Guest Pastor Rev. Jim Marstaller, Pastor of The CornerStone Gospel Church in Naples, Maine
Important Note: Starting Wednesday March 29th, 2006, the thoughts will be posted at 7PM.. This is to assure that all thoughts are proof read before posting.
Rev. Bob Celeste
Thanks to ACP's Steve Burzlaff, we now have the Evanglical handout, "What If" in PDF format.
For the "What If" evangelical handout in PDF format, click here.
Thank God for Steve,
How often have you heard Matthew 16:18b&c linked to the idea that we as Christians are totally defeated in the end times? That in the end there will be very few Christians? What if I told you that the idea that in the end there will be few Christians and in the end the gates of hell will not be able to withstand the Christian onslaught, are both true. Sound like a contradiction? Sound confusing? To a degree it is confusing, but it is not a contradiction. By looking at both, at what Jesus prophesied and what He said here in Matthew 18:16c about the gates of hell being unable to withstand us, I think we can start to see that it is not a contradiction on the part of the Lord. It is instead His way of telling us of missed opportunities.
To set the proper context for 18c, we are going to read Matthew 16:1-18.
1 The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, "It will be fair weather: for the sky is red." 3 And in the morning, "It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring." O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas (Jonah). And He left them, and departed.
5 And when His disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread." 8 Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:1-18 ACP/KJV)
First, let us start by looking at verse 4a: "A wicked and adulterous generation" The word wicked doesn't just mean wicked as we use it today, it is wicked through and through, it is fulfillment of Isaiah 5:20. The word adulterous is the feminine, meaning adultery by women is rampant. A literal reading would indicate that adultery by women will be not only acceptable, but protected by law and expected behaviour. Not just here in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but worldwide.
Verse 4a, would have you thinking that towards the end, things are really falling apart, that things are truly evil and a time and place where that which is good is thought of as bad, and that which is bad is considered good and protected by law. Yet when you look at verse 18c, you get just the opposite understanding.
16:18b&c "and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The very first thing we must do is look at all of verse 18 and understand who the rock is. Verse 18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter(petros), and upon this Rock(petra) I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!
Thou art Petra, a piece of broken rock off of the larger boulder. And upon this Petra, huge mass of rock, I will build My church. What Jesus is saying here is that Peter is now a piece of the huge rock which is Jesus. And that it is Jesus in which Jesus has built His church upon. Peter was not the first pope, Peter is not the cornerstone of the church, Peter is simply a piece of Jesus, a branch out of the vine, the Vine which is Jesus.
Now that you understand that the church Jesus is talking about in verse 18 is built not upon some weak and humble creation, but upon the very Creator Himself, 18c starts to make a lot of sense. Just read it exactly as Jesus spoke it: "I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!" Jesus has built His church, His bride, upon Himself, what He did on the cross, upon the defeat of sin and death. And even the gates used to keep those in hell in hell, mighty as they are, can not withstand His church, the Christian movement.
So why does Jesus prophesy in verse 4a: "A wicked and adulterous generation" while telling us in verse 18b&c,"I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!" ?
Let's go back and look at Luke 18:8b "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"
In Matthew 16:18b&c we see the Lord making a statement, a statement of fact. He says,"I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!" but before that, He prophesies that one of the signs of His return as the conquering King will be that society will be "A wicked and adulterous generation". Around the time of the same conversation, Luke records eye witness testimony as Jesus having also added: "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"
So, what do we have here? We have Jesus saying that if Christians wanted to, they could attack the gates of hell and knock them down. He is saying that Christians, if they were to get out and do what Jesus tells them to do instead of worrying about money, hurting the feelings of the unsaved, and the things of this world, and went to work to expand the Kingdom of God, not even the gates of hell could stop them. But, He says that won't be the case and because the followers of Christ become more and more timid in the end, that society disintegrates into a "A wicked and adulterous generation". Things actually get so bad that Jesus says, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" Will He even find an evangelist around?
You, as a Christian, have it in your power to evangelize with such gusto that even the very gates of hell can not withstand you. But if you do, you will be in very scarce company. Your rewards will be great and you will be challenging me for one of those converted seats on the right hand and the left hand of the Lord, but if you take the challenge, you will never be sorry. Otherwise you can just go along to get along and help society to fulfill the prophesy of the Lord and become worldwide "A wicked and adulterous generation".
The choice is yours, but if you choose the sidelines, never ever forget this. If in your sitting on the sidelines, you deny Christ in dress, in speech, in behaviour, thought, deed, or the way you cast your vote, He will deny you before God the Father on the day of judgement! It is a lot safer to get out and evangelize and make a mistake than it is to sit on the sidelines and watch the word go by.
Thank You Jesus. Amen.
Sha'al shalowm Yruwshalaim.
Never ever forget this: There aint no purgatory!
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The difference between a true preacher and a false preacher comes down to this. The true preacher uses God's word to convict of sin, the false preacher twist God's word to justify sin. The Lord our God, Christ Jesus be with you always, amen.
The Lord our God, Christ Jesus, be with you all and please keep your pastor and me in your prayers. Amen. My prayer daily is "Lord please bless those tenfold who bless me."
Pray for the President, pray for Attorney General John Ashcroft, pray for me, pray for all those who open their mouths or take pen in hand in an effort to sway public opinion.
The Lord God of the Universe, Messiah Y'shua be with you all, amen.
It is better to be a horse fly in the stables of the Lord Jesus than the CEO of hell.
All Scripture quoted, in both sermons and daily thoughts, except when done by a guest, is from the ACP/authorized 1611 King James Version. The words in red are those quotes of God the Son, the Lord Jesus and the words in purple are those qoutes spoken directly by God the Father and the words in this sickly greenish color are of satan. But all of the Bible is spoken by God and should be viewed as God's handbook for us to run our lives by 2 Timothy 3:16.
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