“Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished! Therefore, whoever nullifies one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“For I say to you that unless your righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:17-20 NASB2020
Jesus preached and taught the Kingdom of God just as John the Baptist first came announcing the Kingdom of God is at hand. The disciples were always asking Him when He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. We as believers do not know the difference between the kingdom and the Church—both instituted and ordained by God. One is not greater than the other, yet Jesus taught us to seek the Kingdom of God first. The word Church, gathering, is introduced by Jesus when Peter confesses Him as Christ the Son of the living God. At that point, Peter believed in Him and I believe was born again. We are born again to see the kingdom of God. The acknowledgment of Jesus as God’s Son was an acknowledgment also of Abba Father. Jesus told him, “The Heavenly Father has revealed it to you, not flesh and blood.” Jesus no longer saw him as Simon Barjona’s flesh and blood—man—but changed his name, acknowledging He saw Him as the Heavenly Father saw Him.
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. And 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.
Matthew 16:17-18 NASB2020
Simon, meaning “reed-like” or “wavering,” Barjona meaning son of Jonas—which can be translated as “wine-bibber.” Roughly translated, Simon Barjona means “unstable son of an alcoholic.” Now, Jesus gives him a new name. He is now Petra, stone, rock, one who is stable, and someone to build on. A new creation, a new man. Later Peter writes we come to Him as living stones and Jesus being the Chief Cornerstone, rejected by unbelief.
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by people, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone,
And the one who believes in Him will not be put to shame.”
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for unbelievers,
“A stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this they were also appointed.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:4-10 NASB2020
Jesus has begun to build a new house, a temple of living stones, a spiritual house, for a holy priesthood, offering up sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. No longer are we reed-like, wavering and tossed to and fro like drunkards, living for ourselves and the world. Paul exhorts us, “be not drunk with wine, which is dissipation—“a descent into drunkenness and sexual dissipation, the squandering of money, energy, or resources.”
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Ephesians 5:17-18 NASB2020
Being born again is just the beginning. We must also be baptized and continually filled in and with the Holy Ghost, the power of God. We are God’s spiritual house, built by the architect of our faith, made alive, new creations by our believing in the only begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. We have been called and appointed to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He Makes All Things New! Hallelujahs to the Lamb!
President, Triumphant Mercy Ministries