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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Matt Hagee » Matt Hagee - The True Identity of the Church

Matt Hagee - The True Identity of the Church

Matt Hagee - The True Identity of the Church
Matt Hagee - The True Identity of the Church
TOPICS: Identity Theft, Church

The reason that the world we live in is so chaotic, so confused, and has a culture that would embrace a lie instead of a truth is because the church has forfeited its responsibility of shining. Listen to the conversation that Jesus is having here with his disciples in Matthew 16. He asks them two questions, and they're very important to understand the distinction between the two because they're close but not at all alike. And the first question is, "Who do men say that I am"? He wants to know, what does the community think? And the thing that's interesting about this first question is that the multitude, the entire team of disciples, they all could tell Jesus something. They could tell him, "Well, if you people think that you're John the Baptist, and some say you're Elijah reincarnate, I mean the market report is that shares are up and investors are looking optimistic".

But the reality of this conversation is not about the first question. It's about the second question, which is not, "What do other people think about me"? But "What do you think about me"? You see, Jesus doesn't care to know what others have to say about him. He wants to know, "What do you say about him"? And this direct question, only Peter answers. You ever been in one of those conversations where you ask a room full of people a question, and they all look to that one guy? I imagine that's what happened. Jesus asked the 12, and they all looked at Peter like, "Go ahead, man. Go. It's your turn". And Peter makes a profession, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God".

And this is a very important profession, because if you understand what's being said here, you'll understand all that is involved in the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus blesses Peter. He says, "You didn't get this from your flesh. You got this from heaven". And then he makes a very important statement. He says, "I say you are Peter". Now what's he saying right there? He's saying, "You are a rock. You are a small stone in the building". But then he goes back to the previous statement, and he says, "And upon this rock". What rock was he talking about? Not Peter. He was talking about the profession. "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God". That profession it was the foundation of the church.

What does that mean? That means that every church that has that profession is a part of his church. Not every church has that profession. Churches that don't preach the Bible don't have that profession. Churches that are trying to modernize doctrine and theology so that they can allow individuals to feel comfortable in their sin within the congregation don't have that profession. You need to understand, just because somebody calls themselves a church doesn't really make them the church of Jesus Christ. It could be just a Sunday social club with a good letterhead. The next statement says, "And the gates of hell," the government of the opposition, the other side, "They're not going to prevail against you". And then he says, "I'm going to give you the keys".

What do keys mean? Keys mean authority. So when Jesus is speaking about this church, he is saying this is a group of people that is authorized to do God's work here on earth in my name, and hell can't stop them from doing it. And anything that they require, in terms of power, I'm going to provide it, because I am going to give them the keys to the kingdom. And whatever they ask in faith, it'll happen. If they need it, they'll receive it, because they are my authorized church. Now what does this mean? This means that when you see a world that's out of order like ours is, it's because the church has fumbled the keys. We're not using the authority that Jesus gave us.

We're wrapped up and bound up in this bondage of sin, because we've allowed the devil to persuade us that Jesus did not solve the sin issue when he conquered it once and for all at the cross. We're traumatized by our past instead of praising God in our present and looking forward to our future. So many of God's kids that have been set free are still tied to the grave, because they won't let go of what Christ broke them out of. And we wonder what's wrong with the world. What's wrong with the world is that the church is not shining. All that you have to do to dispel darkness is shine. Jesus told his followers, "You are the light of the world. Shine".

When we gather in this place and we proclaim the power and the presence and the truth of God, what happens is that we start to shine. And when we start to shine, darkness is dispelled. What I'm saying to you is we have supernatural power when we gather in this place and in his name. And what we can do on earth is give God the opportunity to show us who he is! We have got to learn how to shine and we have got to learn how to retake our authority in this world, because the world is turning on people of faith. I'll prove it to you.

There was an article that was printed by the associated press in which the question was asked, "Is religious extremism a problem in this nation today"? And the answer came back. Eighty-two percent said, "Yes". Religious extremism, now in order for us to understand what they defined as religious extremism, let's play a little family feud. Survey says, here are the five characteristics that if you did these things, you are an extremist. The first, reading your Bible in public. That's extreme, man. Let's look at the second, sharing your faith with others. How dare you. The third, attending church on a regular basis.

Here's the fourth sign of religious extremism, volunteering your time. You ushers are extreme. What's the last sign? Giving financial support. If you do any of these five things, according to this associated press survey, you are considered a religious extremist. You need to understand something. This is going to continue to be an issue for the church. Right now, we're being labeled and called "Christian nationalists". You've got news anchors using that phrase. "Well, Christian nationalists," "Christian nationalists," "Christian nationalists".

That's ridiculous. First, I think it's really ironic that in a world where you can't use a label lest you be defined as someone who is bigoted, I mean you can't even call your mother a woman. They want to tell everybody who's believing in Christ that you're a nationalist. Why are they using that label? So that they can batch the church together and push us out. Let me tell you, I am a Christian nationalist. I am a part of a kingdom that is never going to end. My Lord and my Savior is the king above all kings. He is the Lord above all Lords. This book is my constitution. My pledge of allegiance is to the lamb who sits upon the throne, and of his kingdom, there shall be no end! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!

Our responsibility, as the church, is not only to shine, but it's to build and to grow. When you read the description of the church, Jesus Christ says, "Upon this rock," Matthew 16:18. And in Ephesians 2, it says, "Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, and Jesus Christ himself is the chief", what? "Cornerstone". Where did this church get its name? From that verse. Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone. Now in engineering, the Cornerstone is the stone that bears all of the weight of the building. Everything in the building is leaning on that Cornerstone. The good news is, is the Cornerstone of our church, the Cornerstone of the church, Jesus Christ, he is big enough to bear the weight of anything that you have.

Ephesians 2 continues to say that we are all being fitted together in this Cornerstone, growing into the holy temple of the Lord. The holy temple of the Lord is where God's presence is. It's where God's power is. It's where God's truth is. The temple was a sacred place for the children of Israel, and it is a sacred place to this day. But what this verse is saying is that when we build our lives on Jesus Christ, the things that the children of Israel went into the temple to experience, we can experience right where we are. "We're growing into the holy temple of the Lord, in whom you also are being built together", how are we being built? Together. "For a dwelling place of the Spirit of God". There's a building, and you are a part of it. When Christ said to Peter, "I say you are Peter," he was saying, "You're a rock. You're just one of the bricks in the building". What do I mean?

It's a beautiful picture of what Christ expects of his church, because he's saying, "I am the Cornerstone. I'm the one that bears the weight". And this building is being fit together. If you've ever laid brick, you understand that one brick has to be stacked upon the other, upon the other, and you have to utilize certain tools to keep everything in alignment. Because if a brick gets out of place, your wall doesn't come out right. And sooner or later, it's redistributed and it falls apart. You've got an engineering nightmare, right? When Ephesians is describing the building of the church, it's talking about these living stones being here for each other. Not only is the stone being supported, but it's also providing support. You see that?

Everyone who is a part of the church of Christ is not only to be supported by the church, but they are also to support the church. There's no free loaders in the family of God. And what happens when a brick gets out of place is you lose structural integrity. So you have your first brick. And your second brick comes along and lines up. But the third one, he just wants to do it his own way. He's just kind of got this idea that God gave him a different Revelation. And so if somebody comes and tries to line up with him, what happens? You lose structural integrity. The problem in society is the church has so many bricks in the building that are out of place: we don't have the strength to endure the weight that Christ has intended for us to carry. We haven't done what we're supposed to do, being created together in Christ for good works. We haven't taken our responsibility not only to be supported but also to support.

People say, "Well, what do you mean, 'support'"? I mean you have a role to play in the church. What role is that? I don't know. Ask the Cornerstone. He'll tell you. But I promise you this, if you start serving, you'll start seeing God's hand move in your life like you've never seen it before. And when you start these kinds of conversations, people say, "Well, I read that you're not saved by works". No, no, no, no. I'm not talking about salvation. I'm talking about service. It's true, you're not saved by works. Ephesians 2, "It is by grace that you have been saved through faith". But when you get to verse 10, you've got a problem with your doctrine of works. Because it says in verse 10, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ for", what? Uh-oh.

We're created in Christ for good works. Good works don't get you saved. But because you are saved, you better want to go to work. Go read 1 Corinthians 15:10. It says, "By the grace of God I am what I am". This is Paul speaking, and he says, "And his grace towards me was not in vain". Why? "Because I labored". Paul says, "When God gave me his grace by which I am saved, I didn't take it for granted. I went to work. I did something with it". Now everything that you do, you do in Christ. Jesus said this in John 15:5, "Apart from me, you can do nothing".

So everything that you do for Christ, you have to do in his grace. You see how this cycle works? You can't do it without him. But when you do it with him, his power is in it. One of the reasons that people don't see success in the church is because they're not doing God's work in God's name: they're doing their work in his name, and God's not in it. When God deposits grace in your life, faith is how you make the withdraw. And the Bible tells us, "Faith without works is dead". So, when you put your faith to work by the grace of God, you produce something. And what you produce, according to John 15, is fruit. "I am the vine," that's what Jesus said. "You are the branches". You were grafted into the vine by the grace of God. And he says, "He who abides in me, he bears much fruit".

God's grace is what brought you in. Your faith is what makes you productive. And the outcome of the production is the fruit that you bear for his name's sake. Verse 8, Jesus emphasizes what he previously said, "By this my father is glorified, that you", do what? "Bear much fruit". Production is part of the proof that you have Christ in your life. Everything that's in the building is not only here to be supported, but also provide support. The question is: what are you doing with the grace of God? What are you doing with the gift that he has deposited in you? One of the reasons that people don't do what Christ has asked them to do is because they carry around the fake i.D. Of religion. Religion and denomination is not what Christ said he was going to build upon. And anytime you have a denomination that you hold above your faith, you're carrying around a false identification. When you more identify with a doctrine than you do the word.

People say, "Well, I am..." and then they fill in the blank with the church that they attend. But how many times have we divided the church that Christ intended to build, because we haven't paid attention to what his word said, and we put more faith in the word of men than we have the God who came as a man? When you read what Ephesians has to say about the church, it says in verse 13, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought nearby the blood of Christ". "By the blood of Christ". And it says, "For he himself is our peace". Say that with me. "For he himself is our peace".

What does this mean? In order for a religious Jew to go into the temple, they would have to come with a peace offering. And the peace offering was for the sin that was in their life. They would have to go to the altar in the outer court and provide a peace offering. Because if they didn't make proper peace with God, they were not able to receive anything from the Lord as they went from the outer court into the inner court, into the holy place, and then eventually, into the holy of holies. It was a very burdensome and a very arduous task. What Paul is saying here is, because of what Christ has done, he is our peace offering. When we want to get into God's presence, we don't have to go through all of these steps and all of these times and all of these ways. We were afar off, but he has brought us near. He said, "He's made both one, and he has broken down the middle wall of separation".

Now I'm going to show you what this middle wall means and help you understand what it looks like to be the church that Jesus Christ wanted to build. This is the Temple Mount. You see that wall that we're getting ready to fly over? That's that middle wall. Now the reason that I call this the Temple Mount is because that's exactly what it is. This is the temple. This is the platform that Herod built so that the temple could accommodate all of its visitors. This temple is the one that Solomon originally built, and then was rebuilt later when the exiles returned.

Now because of this temple being the only place where you could get into God's presence, the only place where you could receive forgiveness, the only place where you could celebrate the feasts and the holy days, there were times of year when thousands upon thousands and tens of thousands of people would come and make Pilgrimage to be a part of the things that had to take place in this temple. So Herod the great, who was a master builder, seeing that it was inefficient, decided that he would build a massive retaining wall and a platform. Now, whenever you see pictures of the Western Wall where the Jews go to pray and we go to visit every time we go to Israel, it is just a part of the retaining wall on the temple platform. It's not actually the temple. You see that?

Now why is this significant? Because religious Jews would not allow anyone who wasn't Jewish into the temple. If you were a gentile and you wanted to go make a sacrifice to God, "No. You're the wrong kind. You don't belong here". So Paul is saying to everyone, this is the outer court. And we're going to go through another door. That's the inner court. We're going to go through another door. That's the holy place. And we're going to go through another door. And behind this veil is the holy of holies. How many of you see several barriers that you have to jump in order to get into the presence of God? And what Paul is saying is it doesn't matter if you're a Jew, it doesn't matter if you're a Greek, it doesn't matter if you're a gentile, it doesn't matter if you're educated, it doesn't matter if you are a genius, it doesn't matter if you are rich, it doesn't matter if you are poor, it doesn't matter if you are male, it doesn't matter if you are female, it doesn't matter what corner of the earth you come from: you have now all been made one in Christ Jesus.

And if that's not enough, the Bible says that when Jesus died, when he gave his life, and he declared, "It is finished," that veil in the temple, it was ripped from top to bottom. Why top to bottom? Because it was heaven's signal that every barrier had now been removed between God our father and man. And because of what Jesus has done, he is our peace, he is our portion, he is our sacrifice. And now because of him and his precious blood, we don't need a high priest to go in there on the holy day. We have a high priest, and his name is Jesus. And we can go in there any day. All we have to do is say, "Father, in the name of Jesus," and suddenly, we're boldly before the throne of God. We're not waiting for an intermediary.

We can stand in the presence of the Almighty and say, "This is what I need". And he can say, "I'll supply that need". We can say, "This is what I want to move," and that mountain will move in the name of Jesus. We can say, "This is the sickness I need to have healed," and the power of God can heal that sickness. "This is the power and the principality that I'm facing". And suddenly the name of Jesus and the authority of his word and the power of his blood defeats that power and principality. I'm telling you that because of what Jesus Christ has done and who he's made you and what we are when we come together in his name, the gates of hell shall not prevail! And we have the keys to the victory that we need, in Jesus' name! Church, give the Lord a handclap of praise in this house today! Would you stand in the presence of the Lord? We are his church. You have a role to play in his church. His power belongs to his church. Am I serving as he's asked me to?

Father, in this church service today, there are people whose lives have heard the truth. And now I pray in the mighty name of Jesus that when they leave this place, they would live the truth: that they would recognize who they are in Christ: that they are your children, your sons, your daughters: and that they would see the power that they have, in the authority of Jesus' name. Now let us break every chain and every shackle of doubt and death and fear, and let us shine for the glory of Jesus Christ, as we align ourselves with your truth and your son, our Savior. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen and amen.

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