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The Things of God

Updated: Mar 4

On the heels of King Jesus warning His disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees (their defective teachings and twisted traditions) in Matthew 16, the Lord confronts His followers with a searing and probative question: "Who do you profess Me to be?"

Peter said, "You are the Christ and Son of the Living God."

Jesus responded, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven... and on this rock (profession) I will build my church, and the Gates of Hades will not overpower it."

Then in Matthew 16:20, Jesus ordered the disciples to tell NO ONE He was the Christ!

In one moment (v.17) Jesus tells Peter, "Blessed are you..." and in the next (v.23) Jesus is harshly rebuking him, emphatically exclaiming, "Get behind Me, Satan!"

So what happened? What's going on here???

The reason Jesus told Peter he was blessed (present tense)… why Jesus said on this rock/testimony I will (future) build my church… Why He ordered them to tell NO ONE He was the Christ... was all because their gospel testimony was just as vile as that of the Pharisees. Any testimony about Christ that has the things of man added to it is not The Gospel.

In 16:21 we read, "Jesus began to point out to His disciples it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and raised on the third day." But that wasn't Peter's plan, so Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke Him saying, "Oh no Lord! This will never happen to You!"

Peter's "yeast" rejected the necessity of King Jesus’ suffering and dying a literal and substitutionary death as the Lamb of God to atone for the sins of humanity. Peter's gospel was just as defective and harmful as the Pharisees', therefore Jesus commanded His disciples (at this point) not to spread the yeast of their defective gospel.

Jesus pointed out to Peter, "You are a hindrance to Me because your thoughts are not about the things of God but on the things of man."

How often do we assume we're doing something noble or beneficial for Christ when in reality we are a hindrance instead? How often are our thoughts truly about the things of God - based on Scripture - rather than the things of man - merely our good ideas and intentions? How often are we like Peter - having a solid testimony but then soiling it by adding our own ideas to the unleavened bread of the Gospel... adding in our own yeast.

Discerning the things of God requires our having an intimate knowledge of God's heart through His Word. Ministry requires seeing and serving His vision as members of Christ's Bride - not serving our personal visions of Jesus as autonomous Christian contractors. Ministry requires our being actively involved in His mission to pursue, win, and disciple the lost, deluded and disillusioned as unified members of The Body of Christ - not as casual consumers of polite weekend religion.

2 Cor 13:5 compels us to examine ourselves (including our gospel, our budget, our ministries, our kingdom fruit, our gathering, growing, giving, and going with and for Christ, the number of churches we've planted, the missionaries sent and supported, the people groups reached, etc.) to determine if have we truly have done it with and for His Name and glory... or has it all been done for ours?

Scripture commands us to test ourselves to see if there is tangible evidence of a harvest 30, 60, or 100 times that which was sewn in us -or- do we find ourselves counterfeit? Are we more concerned with serving Christ or serving ourselves with the stuff we desire: the fun, the food, fellowship, festivities, programs, productions, polite religion, and the traditions of our personal, or even corporate, preferences?

After Christ's resurrection, the Lord met them on a mountaintop in Galilee. Peter now understood the reason for the Lord's rebuke... Peter understood the repugnance of his former gospel - the one that rejected the cross, death, and resurrection of King Jesus. It wasn't until after Christ's resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the disciples were ready to share Jesus, The unleavened Bread of Life, The Gospel, with the world! It wasn't until then they were ready to fulfill The Great Commission: "...disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

So who do you profess Jesus to be? Have you truly encountered the resurrected Christ and been filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit? Are you living to share the unleavened bread of the true Gospel (2 Tim 2:8) as one truly concerned with the things of God? Or are you more like the Pharisees and pre-resurrection Peter - spreading a false gospel - one with a dash of your own ideas, agenda, and yeast added in and spoiling the whole batch?

When Christ returns some will hear, "Well done my good and faithful servant!" while others will hear, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!"

Are you truly about the things of God?

Grace and Peace,





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