Sunday, 30 November 2014 14:41
(BY: ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO) (LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS:“… Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power…” (Ephesians 6:10, the Holy Bible).
GOD’S CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES:Two Bible verses that are complementary to each other confirm that God wants to build His own Church in the Philippines. These are Isaiah 46:11 and Matthew 16:18. Isaiah 46:11 talks about God calling his “bird of prey” from the “east”, from a “far off land”, to fulfill His purpose.
Matthew 16:18 on the other hand talks about Jesus building His Church over the “rock” of faith that He is God and Savior, and this Church is going to be the Church of Salvation, because, as Jesus carefully explained, the gates of hell will not triumph over His Church (see Matthew 16:13-18).
Of course, there is no mention where Jesus is going to build His Church. But if one believes that Jesus is the God who came to earth and became flesh (John 1:1-14, Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6, and Matthew 1:18-25, among others), there is no escaping the truth that the “bird of prey” God will call from the “east” or, from the “far-off land” is the same Church that Jesus will build.
History, during World War II, already gave a concrete proof that the “far east” referred to in the Bible is actually the Philippines. To fight victoriously against Japan and its allies, the US and its allies stationed their military force in the Philippines, and called it as the “United States Armed Forces in the Far East”.
WHEN WILL JESUS BUILD HIS CHURCH IN RP? A question has been raised: when will Jesus build His Church in the Philippines? There is no exact time provided for by the Bible, but Jesus certainly gave signs which will indicate the time or the circumstance during which He will be building His Church. What are these signs?
The first sign is given by Isaiah 46:11: the Church that God will call from the east or the far-off land (or the Philippines) is mandated to fulfill His purpose. What is this purpose? To save believers when the world ends. This is made clear by one of the Books of the Bible which deal with the end of the world, Matthew 24. In verse14 of Matthew 24, it is there said that the Gospel of Salvation will have to be preached to all the nations before the end comes. The preaching will be done by God’s Church, of course.
Why is there a need for the Gospel of Salvation to be preached to all the nations before the world ends? For them to know the truth, because this truth shall make them free, as Jesus Himself said in John 8:31-32, and will therefore save them from hell. What is the truth that the Gospel of Salvation will unravel for the salvation of believers? It is the truth that Jesus is God and Savior.
THE “ROCK” OF FAITH: Is there any Biblical basis that Jesus wants His believers to believe and accept Him as God and Savior? I believe that the story narrated in Matthew 16:13-18 is the firm basis of that desire of Jesus. In that story, Jesus asked His disciples what the people were saying as to who He was. They said the people believed He was one of the prophets and, therefore, a man.
Yet, Jesus was not satisfied with that perception of the people about Him. So He asked his own disciples as to what they, the disciples, thought about who He was. It was Simon who gave the answer that Jesus accepted. In Matthew 16:16, Simon said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (the real translation of what Simon said could have been “You are the God and Savior”).
This prompted Jesus to proclaim, in Matthew 16:18, that the faith spoken of by Simon Peter—that Jesus is the Christ—was the “rock” upon which He will build His Church. This faith, Jesus was quick to clarify, comes from God Himself and, as John 1:12-13 asserts, makes anyone who possesses it a “child of God”, because having that kind of faith grants him the status of being “born of God”. -30-
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