Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Upon this Rock

In the recent post "Which Ship Are You On?" I mentioned three different ship analogies of how we can perceive the church. One is a bunch of individual sailboats, perhaps all headed the same direction. The second is a cruise ship where the church leadership does the "work of the ministry" and everyone else is along for the ride. But perhaps the analogy most consistent with scripture is the clipper ship, where everyone is on board, doing individual functions, but all working together under one Captain's command.

This last example obviously requires more commitment. In an individual sailboat, one could decide not to go along any more and turn back. One might decide to sail a different direction, of have a different agenda. But on the clipper ship, one must be committed to the good of the whole, and committed to the purpose of the Captain. One couldn't on the spur of the moment decide they don't want to participate. Everyone is needed for the proper function of the ship. People couldn't avoid others with personality conflicts. In this ship people have to learn to work together.

The Gates of Hades
Jesus had an interesting response when Peter acknowledged that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus said to Peter in response, "You are Peter (Petros - a stone), and on this rock (petra - a large rock) I will build My church..." Jesus wasn't saying that He would build His church on Peter, a stone, but "upon this rock", this principle that Peter referred to.

Jesus' Place as Authority
Christ means Messiah, the Anointed One, anointed as King, Priest, and Prophet. The fact that He is the Son of the Living God connotes ultimate Authority. Jesus would build His church upon this principle. He is the Captain of the ship called His Church.

His place as King, Priest, Prophet and Ultimate Authority is fundamental in our understanding of His church. He is in charge, and He has the right to command His ship, and everyone on it. And for those who participate in His church in this way, have certain privileges.

One of the privileges is that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His church. Do you feel overwhelmed by the gates of Hell? Are you on His ship or your own ship? Are you submitted to the Captain's authority? If so, then Hell will not prevail against you. Additionally, you will walk in authority: "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."


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