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Series: The Mandate of the True Church
Sun am 23rd February 2014 – Kobus Swart
Matt. 16:13-19; Eph. 3:10; (Rom.12:1-2); 1 Pet. 3:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:17-21;
(Matt. 28:18-20); Gen. 1:26-28; Luke 14:16-23; Gen. 1:1-3; Gen. 1:31
Is the church fulfilling its mandate in the world today? Is the church effective? What is the true mandate of the church? Or have we become distracted along the way or tired or looking for easier alternatives? We want to see the church truly impacting its surrounding cultures, becoming an instrument in the hand of God to accomplish His purpose.
Jesus said: “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). God has decided it is going to be through the church. So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. (Eph. 3:10). How is this church constructed? Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:13-19). You cannot get this knowledge without it being revealed to you. Without the renewal of the mind there is no transformation (Rom. 12:2). Peter leaves the realm of speculation and speaks by revelation. Jesus continues and says that Peter was “petros”, a stone, a chip. And upon the rock “petra”, containing many living stones together, the body, the corporate – not upon the single individual stone – He will build His Church.
Let us look back at the cross: Jesus is hanging on the cross with two men, one of each side. On one side was the voice of Satan “if you are the Christ…” On the other side was the voice of Adam who recognizes the “I Am”. Jesus was the last Adam. Jesus turns to this man representing the first fallen Adamic race and He says, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. “Today” is an open door for those who can get the revelation. It is an open invitation and also means that nobody can shut that door, all we can do is reinforce it. Whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Nobody can shut that door. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison (1 Pet. 3:18-19). Jesus opened prison doors and what has been opened, no man can close. Whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven and the gates of hell shall not overpower it.
We must reinforce what has been accomplished in Christ in heaven. The world in total has been reconciled to God through Christ. We should not try to undo the finished works, but reinforce them. He gave us the ministry of reconciliation not the ministry of condemnation. We must align ourselves with the finished works of Christ. The prayer of decree is more Scriptural than the prayers of begging. Our prayers will change in line with what Matt. 16 says.
The church has a mandate. To fully understand the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) we have to look at it through the first commission in Genesis 1. Then we will understand what it means to disciple everybody. God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth”(Gen.1:26-28). We have been given an unbelievable mandate. We know Adam fell and with him his whole kingdom crashed but in Christ we became a new creation. Christ came with the same commission but in different terminology than was given in the garden. We are created in the image of God. Do we understand what it means to be created in the image of God? Nobody can see God but God wanted to be made known and he chose man to put Him on display in the world. There has been no problem with the first part of the commission, to be fruitful and multiply. The problem is that they failed to walk in their kingdom dominion mandate. “Fill the earth” means “replenish”, or to fill again; to fill completely, to stock abundantly.
Nature hates a vacuum. God wants His house to be filled. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Gen. 1:1-2). “The earth was formless” is a wrong translation. It originally said “the earth became formless and void”. There seems to be a gap between verse 1 and verse 2. I do not believe God created the world as formless and void and in chaos. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Gen. 1:31). “Everything was very good”. The earth became formless and void. The commission to Adam and Eve who had been created in the image of God was: go and replenish the earth and rule. The earth is going through strange convulsions lately. Something has to be arrested in the spirit. We have been called to be ministers of reconciliation, to walk in the kingdom mandate to subdue everything to the Lord Jesus Christ. But what are we doing? We are playing church! All of creation is in travail, waiting for the manifestation of that man, that Son-man manifesting through sons (Rom. 8:22).
Remember the church is not built on Peter. The church is in shambles because we major on minors. Church is not built on Peter but on petra “the Rock”. No individual, no super mega-Church has all the truth. We need each other; relationally, not organizationally, but bone to bone. The earth is waiting for the Son to be manifest in the sons.