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R1679 The Church of the Living God

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2022 8:00 am

R1679 The Church of the Living God

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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April 6, 2022 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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God has an encouraging word for you and me today, through the Bible-based teaching of Dr. Don Wilton, all about the Church of the Living God. We are headed to the book of Matthew chapter 16 in just a moment, but know that we're here for you 24 hours a day at 866-899-WORD. We'd love to pray with you, connect with great resources.

That's 866-899-9673. Join me, let's just ask God to bless our time as we open His Word together. Father, we just pray right now that you would put your hand of blessing, that the Holy Spirit would infiltrate everything that is said and done. Hide me behind the cross, Lord Jesus.

Let me never get in the way of what you want to say. Just use me as a mouthpiece, and may your Spirit speak to us. And Lord, bless your people today who worship you together. In Jesus' name, Amen. Alright, so let's take our Bibles, and I want you to turn in your Bible to Matthew chapter 16. So, if you have an opportunity or the means to be able to do that today, or perhaps someone is with you and can help you, otherwise just listen, and I'm going to read to you God's Word. In fact, I've only selected one verse that we're going to concentrate on today, and then I'm going to explain it to you. So, this is Jesus speaking.

Very important for us to say that. I'm going to say that like, again, you know, this is Jesus speaking. You know, you and I often say, you know, God said it, that settles it, right?

And something that our world really struggles with, because we want to have our say, and we want to determine what is right, and we want to set the standard, whether it's morality or direction or the way we behave. Jesus said this, and that just is an amazing statement there, but here's what Jesus said in verse 18. Jesus said, I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

Would you allow me to read that again? This is a powerful verse, I promise you. Jesus said, I tell you, you are Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I want to speak to you today on an unbelievable subject on the church of the living God.

That's the subject. So I want to put something here on the table so that we understand very clearly what Jesus was saying. Jesus was not saying that he would not bless and use people like you and me to be an incredible blessing for the cause and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. So I want us to just start out as we consider the church of the living God.

I want us to just think about that, because I think about you. God has used a people like you in an amazing way, and I just want to say thank you. I think it's very important, so if I was to say thank you to a people that have been used in an incredible way to impact our world and our society, where would I start? Educators?

Oh, you better believe I would. I've got a teaching background myself, my wife as a primary school teacher. I have a great affinity and affection, and where would we be without our educators?

And God uses you, those of you that love the Lord Jesus Christ and you're educators, God has used you to bring about great blessing for the gospel. All right, so what about our first responders? Wow, where do we start? Thank you. Thank you to you. I think about our police officers, men and women in blue. How do we ever say thank you to you? And I know many of them personally. I know many who so love the Lord Jesus Christ and every day they wake up and they put on that uniform, and they go out into the streets, and they protect us, and they guard our homes, and many of them get abused and maligned and belittled. They work for very low income, and yet they're so dedicated, and God has used thank you.

I just want to say thank you with all. What about our medical personnel? You talk about COVID.

It's not just about COVID, folks. Wow, how has God used godly medical personnel, doctors, nurses, people who take care of the physical health needs of others, and who are so devoted, and God uses you in more ways than we could ever imagine. What Jesus was saying here about his church was not that the church is the only instrument in his hands, whereby he would propagate the gospel, whereby he would share the life of Christ, and that would be a guarantee against the advance of Satan and the demons of hell.

Absolutely that's not what he was saying. So why did he say this about the church? And the church today in America is under attack, folks. The church is under attack. The devil wants to divide the church, and he doesn't always do it from outside. He does it from inside. He divides the church.

He causes strife, grievance, divisions, and the world out there and the enemy out there, the demons of hell, they don't want the church of the living God, and the word many times on the streets out there is church. Are you kidding me? I don't want to demean other countries, but you can go to other countries today. I'm a major advocate of the British people because that's part of my stock, right? I love to go to England. My wife and I, if I get an opportunity, I've been there many, many times, love the English people, love the English countryside. Oh yeah, and I love tea and a jolly good hot scone with cottage cream and jam. I love that.

I just love that. But I'm telling you, the church in England is in such disarray. I was over there last November preaching for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and my heart was so encouraged because believers from the entire region came together, and the power of God came down upon us. These were pastors and lay people. These were men and women who were part of the church of the living God. What I'm saying to you is I'm not saying that the church in England is over, but what I am saying to you compared to the great revivals that we know to be true, that swept across Wales and Ireland and Scotland.

When John Knox approached Scotland, he cried out and he said, give me Scotland or I die. That was not for a nation, it was for the soul of the nation. Through the church of the living God, the spirit of God, and the people of God, in the place that God has given to us. I love the church, the local New Testament church. This is why even at our church, like your church, wherever it is in whatever community, I want to thank you for being so faithful, for praying so much. That's why in our church we are passionate about Vision 2020. That's why we've been passionate about everything that has gone, and long before I became part of First Baptist Church many years ago, under the leadership of great men of God like Dr. Alistair Walker, who is now seated at the Feast Table of the King, one of the most precious men of God I've ever been around. Dr. John Slaughter, you can go through the history of our church, and you look at the community in which we live, and you consider the schools, and you consider the ball games, and the businesses, and you look at people everywhere, and God has placed his church right there, and he had something to say about his church. So if you don't mind me just posing this question, let's begin with you and me. How does God use his people who are his church?

We so often confuse it. We are the church of the living God, and we gather together as the church. That's why Jesus said don't forsake the coming together, the gathering of yourselves together, and he gives us instructions how the church should function, how it should operate, how decisions are made.

You can't make decisions in the church based upon a framework of the court of public opinion when Jesus is the head of the church. God's given to us, and he uses us as people. So let's begin with us as people in the church. How does he use us? Number one, he saves them.

He saves us from our sin, enters our lives. Number two, he gifts them when he uses his people. Every one of us is gifted by God. God has no giftless children, right?

You are a very gifted person for Christ. He equips them. Do you know that the primary purpose of the church is to equip believers for the sake of the ministry? And God has gifted you, and then he equips you. He trains you.

That's why small groups, Bible study, meeting and worship together is so critical. He equips us through teachers and pastors, through people who are trained to do that. Then he blesses them. God confers, he places his gracious hand upon those that he loves. And once having blessed them, he uses them. That little word there, that Jesus uses us as his church, in the church, through the church, means that he gives to each one of us everything that's necessary for each one of us to be able to functionally serve as cup bearers of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

And then he deploys us. He puts us to work. He uses us to bring great glory to the Lord Jesus. That's why I'm giving God thanks for you today. And some people say, but you know this is all I do.

Somehow I remember the widow's mite, don't you? And that's not just about giving. Jesus uses us as his people, who are his church, in his church, for the gospel ministry and purpose of the church. All right, let's go back to what Jesus said.

So you know the context. This took place here in Matthew chapter 16 at a place called Caesarea Philippi. Now you'll find Caesarea Philippi, it's north of the Sea of Galilee. So if you've got any perspective on your calendar, when you go north up into the Golan Heights, and if you kept going north, you'd run into Syria, right?

And then right next to that, you're running into Iraq and Iran. So this is going north of the Sea of Galilee, and you get right up there into the mountains. That's where Jesus gathered with his disciples. And this was a place where a lot of pagans met. Isn't it amazing that Jesus would have made this incredible statement about the church of the living God in a place where pagans met? Doesn't that sound like the church? Isn't it amazing that this encounter with his disciples, what he said to Peter about the church, the rock, about the gates of hell will never prevail against my church, and he did that right there in the middle of a community that defied and resisted the name of Jesus.

I want you to really let that soak in, folks. The church was never established to be a social club. The church was never established to be an isolated island. The church was plunked right in the middle of the unleashing of the demons of hell. Now let me get very specific about Caesarea Philippi.

I've been there many times. This is Jesus meeting with his believers, and right there at Caesarea Philippi, it's like a mountain. There's a big gaping hole in the side of the mountain, and the pagans, you know what they do? They would sacrifice people. They would throw live people through the gaping hole in the mountain, and it became known as the gates of hell.

I can get that. I mean, we don't like to talk about these things, folks, but I'm telling you, they were brutal. Those pagan governments that worshiped anybody else but the one true God, they had no compass. They placed all their faith and trust in people, in a man, in a leader, in a system, in a politic. God wasn't in their framework.

What's the end result of that? Well, let's just sacrifice human beings. It became known as the gates of hell. Jesus was right there, and he turned to his disciples, and he said, tell me, what are people saying about me? And they looked at him and said, well, Jesus, people call you this and they call you that, and people think you this person and that person. And then Jesus turned to Peter and said, but who do you say that I am? And Peter, good old Peter, he said, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And that's when Jesus made the statement. He said, you are Peter, and upon this rock, can you see the rock where they were standing? Jesus wasn't referring to Peter. In the Greek text, that name Peter, Petra, or Petros, is a little part of, when he said, upon this rock, he was pointing to himself as the Son of God, the sacrifice for our sin, as the only means of access, and get this, as the only one who can prevent anyone from being thrown into the gates of hell. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not be thrown into the gates of hell.

But will receive eternal life. What a powerful reminder that God provides a plan for living, a way for heaven, and a way to see our sins forgiven. If you'd like to talk with someone, we're here for you right now at 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673. Or meeting online as well at And that's the place you'll find great resources like this. My book, Saturdays with Billy, is about an extraordinary relationship with a precious man who impacted lives across the world. You don't want to miss this opportunity to be inspired by his life too.

Now that's just one of many great resources you'll find on our website at Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. And right then, Caesarea Philippi, Jesus made the most incredible statement about the Church of the Living God. The local New Testament gathering of believers, who each one is the Church gathering together in the Church, functioning as the Church for the message and the purpose of the Church. And here's what Jesus said. He said, I want you to know why the Church is so important. I listed a couple of thoughts down here for you.

You might want to write them down. Why did Jesus say the Church was so important? Number one, because it's founded by God.

Just let that mull around in your thought process. Who founded the Church? God did. Where does any vision, spiritual vision, need to begin? In the heart of man or the heart of God? The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ the Lord.

Isn't that great? What Jesus was letting us know was, ladies and gentlemen, I know you've got opinions, and boy do we. Our starting point is to get on our faces before a holy and righteous God and say, Lord, this is your Church.

What do you want? It's founded by God. Secondly, it's headed by Jesus. In Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 23, talking about marriage, Paul tells the Church at Ephesus, he says, let there be no mistake that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church.

We've got the fundamental blueprint. In the Church, leadership doesn't come from the top down. It comes from the bottom up. Now, how does that work if Jesus is the head? Well, because Jesus was servant of all. Jesus gave his life. He laid it all down for the Father. Your ultimate blueprint of the headship of Christ. And in Ephesians, he's talking to husbands, by the way.

He's saying, oh, just because you're male and because you're a dad and because I'm telling you the head of your home, let me just tell you how you ought to operate in your headship. It just turns everything. Everything about the Church is upside down to what the world does and tells us the Church is founded by God. It's headed by the Lord Jesus. Get this number three.

This is a big one. It is empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Isn't that wonderful?

Now, remember going back to what I suggested to you earlier. Every believer is filled with the Spirit. And every believer is the Church of the living God because we are the temple of the living God. And every believer who is the Church gathers together as the Church, functionally carries out the will of God under the empowerment of the Spirit of God, doing the work of the Church, which is the will of God, who is the head of the Church.

I know it sounds awfully complex. We're talking about the Church of the living God. And what Jesus wanted us to know when he established the Church of the living God, that we not only have the founding, which is unalterable, the headship, which is unchallengeable, but we have the empowerment of the Spirit of God, which is untouchable.

You cannot find that source, that combination of the triune God, all coming together and seen and expressed through the local New Testament Church. It is a powerful thing. So let me get on to my fourth and final point about why the Church is so important. It is fueled by converted people. I say, you know, God uses us, people, to fuel the trucks that carry the ministry. God uses us.

God uses you. And did you notice I said converted people? I didn't say just anybody. I said converted people, believers, believers who have encountered a holy and a righteous God.

And boy, that's a whole subject because there's so much else you can say about that. Do you know that you know that you know that you know that you're saved? And does your life speak to the evidence of a life that belongs to Jesus? The fruit of the Spirit must be evident in your life. God fuels the work and the ministry of the Church through people just like you. That's why I can't stop saying thank you. Some of you have fueled the work of ministry for generations.

What you've given financially, what you've done sacrificially, the number of people you've touched, the number of smiles and warmth you've passed on, the number of phone calls you've made, the number of mission trips you've been on, the number of things that you've done, seen and unseen. Some of you have been relentless in allowing God to use you to fuel the trucks of ministry. That's how God works. That's why Jesus brought Peter into this. I want to tell you, Peter, that's why Jesus was talking to those disciples. He said, let me tell you, I'm about to lower the boom on you. I'm about to let you know that the Church is founded by God, is headed by God, is empowered by God, and He said, here's what I'm going to tell you. My church, gates of hell, will not prevail against it.

Wow! I mean, Lord, thank you. Yes, thank you, Jesus. What powerful teaching you've been listening to from Dr. Don Wilton as he steps from the pulpit in the studio.

Open your heart to what he wants to share next. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today, I repent of my sin, and by faith, I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God. This is exciting news. If you just gave your life to Christ, praying along with Dr. Wilton, or rededicated your life, please know we would love to be a part of the next launch in your life to see you stay the course.

We have free resources Dr. Wilton wants you to have if you'll call us at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673. Or tell us about your decision on our website at And thank you. So many of you are prayerfully and financially supporting this ministry. That's the only way that we're on the air every day.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-10 22:55:58 / 2023-05-10 23:05:12 / 9

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