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The True Church



 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. 21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." 23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s."
Good Morning my beloved, 
What a joy it is to welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an honor and a privilege to come together with you today for the study God's Word. A much needed Word for the times in which we live. I thank God for those of you who have been moved by His Spirit to join us today, whether it's your first time or you are a faithful member of our family in Christ, I'm glad you're here. I also would like to thank each of you who have faithfully continued to share the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends. God has continued to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. We are reaching people and places as never before imagined, bringing more people to Christ. I ask you will continue to join us in praying, asking God to continue to bless this ministry in reaching the lost, the broken and the hopeless. May He use every one of us mightily in reaching the lost, that they come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. 

As many of you know, I’m always concerned about the church. In fact, the church is never out of my mind. I am so bound up in the ministry that God has given me, it literally dominates my life and heart. There is rarely a day that goes by that someone doesn't say to me, "We recently moved and we can’t find a church that’s really a church" Many years ago, when someone said they couldn't find a church, I'd sort of chuckle to myself and say something like, "Just look for a stained-glass window and a steeple." The church has certainly changed a lot in the last 40 or 50 years. Even the architecture has changed. In the area in which I live, there are 527 listings that claim to be churches, they are literally all over the place. Today, you might not even find a place that has a cross, much less a church that preaches the true Gospel. People that know the Word of God, can't find what they're looking for; a church that is really a church. 
When I was growing up, the clock used to be on the outside of the church, and the church bells would ring so that nobody would be late. Today, the clock is on the inside of the church, people often arrive late interrupting the service. The clock is usually located somewhere in front of the preacher, I suppose to insure that he won't talk too long. Frankly, I'm almost surprised it's not a stop watch; "OK pastor, you've got 10 minutes, so give it your best shot!"
I recently read that seventy percent of evangelical Christians believe that a person can be saved and go to heaven apart from any confession of Christ, and slightly less, fifty percent do not believe in absolute truth. In other words, the Bible might be true for me but not necessary for you. We live in a society that says everybody’s entitled to their own truth. I believe what we're seeing today is all kinds of places that call themselves churches, to accommodate these kinds of people. In a true church there is the belief that all Scripture is the inspired Word of God, the Word of God is the absolute truth, there is the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ as the One and only Savior and Who is the Lord of the church. In the true church, there is willing and eager obedience to everything the Word of God reveals on the pages of Scripture. The holy Scripture is authoritative. Christ is preached and the Word of God is exposited. How fast the church today is moving far away from these foundational truths.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Your Word for us today. How wondrous is Your Word, so rich in Truth. The depth of this passage is never really seen, no matter how many times we go over it. Thank You for Your grace, Your discernment. Cause us to be more thankful, more humble. We are so grateful that You’ve led us to this great confession through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Son of the living God, by this Truth we have been saved. Father, we pray for the lost, the deceived, that today would be that glorious day they would confess Jesus as the Savior, the Son of the living God, and embrace Him as their own Lord and Savior. May it all be for Christ's sake and for Your glory and increase in the Kingdom.
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Today's Message: The True Church

I’m so grateful to be back together with all of you, I love preaching through the Bible, verse by verse, it keeps us from shying away from those difficult passages we'd struggle with. As unbelievable as it may sound, I really dislike confrontational messages that makes people squirm in their seats. I'd much prefer that everyone leave with a smile of their face, feeling all warm and fuzzy. But that's not the calling God placed on my life, He's called me to teach the whole counsel of His word, in Truth.
In our last message, we studied Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. I confess, that's one of my favorite passage in the book of Matthew. In today's text, Jesus foretells His death. We understand that Jesus had to be crucified for the forgiveness of sin. And through His death, burial and resurrection we have the promised hope of eternal life. As I look back at my own life, when I consider all that Christ endured on the Cross for me, the indescribable pain He must have felt. This passage becomes very personal. I cannot help but to become emotional and cry out "My Lord and my God, I am so very sorry." 
The true church is made up of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him as our Lord. A people who from the heart have made a great confession that the One true living God has manifested Himself in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through whom those who have believed, have life in His name. The true church is not made up of those who gather together to hear some motivational pep talk about how wonderful you are. It's not a group of people who believe Jesus is some Genie, waiting to fulfill their every wish. Or those who mindlessly going through religious rituals to make themselves feel spiritual. Only those who are born again from above belong in the Kingdom of Heaven. 
The true church is a redeemed people, whom through faith in the One true Christ, make a common confession that Jesus is God, is Lord, Savior, and Redeemer. I hasten to add, there is no human insight or wisdom or knowledge that can lead you to that great confession. Heaven must reveal it to you by divine revelation. There is no other way. The church built on the foundation of Christ and the Scripture is invincible, as Jesus says not even "The gates of Hades will not overpower it." It sickens me that so many pastors today have become consumed by promoting cultural relevance, politics, social reform, and every other substitute known to mankind rather than preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their attitude toward Christ is indifferent, there's a lot more I could say about that, but I'll refrain as not to wander away from the main topic. If there is one truth that should penetrate our minds, it is that only the truly redeemed of the Lord have a place in the Kingdom of God. The Church ought to consist only of persons making a credible profession of conversion, of faith in Christ.
It is the Word by which we are saved. I find it interesting, I've actually had some people ask "How in the world can you call yourself a pastor, a man of God when all you do is preach and teach the Bible?" What a foolish statement. I believe the true man of God will spend his time exalting Jesus Christ and making His Word known, lest he fail to fulfill his high calling. Teaching Sound doctrine that agrees with the Bible. In Romans 10:13-14, Paul writes, "For "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" I believe if a church does not have sound doctrine, it's not a true church. Sound doctrine is life.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." In John 3:3 He said to Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 
That's why Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16 says "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." It is fashionable in many churches today to minimize the importance of doctrine. I believe the legitimacy of any church that teaches in contrast to Christ's teaching is to be questioned. Jesus not only preached the good news of God's kingdom, He also taught sin and Hell, and the importance of repentance. A true church is built on Jesus Christ and the Word of God. This is so important to enter the kingdom of heaven. Until you come to God in repentance and ask for forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, you’re bound in your sins. I have the authority to say that because that is what God has said in His Word.
Paul warned us in 2 Timothy 4 this day would come, when he said to young Timothy, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
Open our Bibles to the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 16:20-23. I invite you to follow along with me as I read them to you. Let us open our hearts and see what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us. I pray that the Lord would help us to hear and apply what He's saying to each of us today. Matthew 16:20-23.
"Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s."
Let's look at verse 20, "Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ."
Having just declared that He is the Messiah, that He alone is Lord, this seems counter-intuitive. We would assume Jesus would have said "Go and tell everyone." Instead, His warning is a strong prohibition. Why in the world would Jesus say that? You have to remember that the Jews had a warped view of the Messiah.
They had reduced the messianic expectation to politics, military might, and physical provision. They though that the Messiah would come and give them all of the promises to David and of Abraham, giving them the Davidic and Abrahamic covenant, all their land in prosperity and blessing and all of that and dispel all Gentile influence. Because of their warped view, the Jewish leaders wanted to execute Jesus.
Remember, Jesus said to Pilate in John 18, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." And back in John 6, when He created fish and bread and fed the multitude; "So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone." Jesus wanted no part in earthly kingdoms, so He tells the disciples, "Don’t tell anyone." The church is to have no role in making the culture more comfortable by accepting ungodly lifestyles, leading protests and joining in parades and marches that have nothing to do with the Gospel. That’s not what Jesus did, therefore, that's not what a true church does. As true believers we understand that we are called to influence the world around us, not the other way around! We are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How much time, money and energy professing Christians and so-called churches spend trying to please the kingdom of darkness.
I often hear churches and pastors say "We’re going to have to adapt a man-centered approach to the gospel rather than Christ centered. We have to share the gospel message in a way that’s meaningful to people." Let me tell you this, we cannot do that! We cannot change the message of the Gospel to please a sinful society. That's heresy! That's like trying to rearrange the deck furniture on the Titanic, no matter what, it’s going down. Our message is clear; "Repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!" We must be willing to suffer hostility and persecution and to put our lives on the line to proclaim the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 13:16, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him." Many professing Christians are all too happy to confront issues that personally bother them, but are unwilling to confront sinners with the Gospel for fear that they will offend them. As Christians, we have to see ourselves and our lives as being in absolute contrast to the world around us.
Verse 21, "From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."
A true church is centered on the great triumph of Christ on the cross. The cross reminds us of how wretched we are and the high price Christ paid for our sins. In fact, that dominates the life of a true church and we should therefore, rightly preach it. As we come to the Lord’s table, we go back to the cross and realize that even our most heinous sins were paid for there. I personally find it offensive that so many professing Christians act as if there was no price at all for them and so glibly continue living in sin. Abusing the love, grace and mercy of God. When we preach the sinfulness of man; we preach the righteousness of God! The true church is not here for modern philosophy, to make you feel better about your sin or for cheap entertainment. We’re here to worship and glorify God and exalt Christ. 
A true church is actively engaged in a war against Satan, understanding that the Gospel message is only thing that will rescue people from Hell. It proclaims the consequences of sin, and calls for repentance, which represents both God’s judgment and His mercy. In a true church you’re going to find a great contrast with the world around it. The problem today is, it's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the church from the world, there's because there is virtually little, if any difference between the two. It's no wonder the unregenerate world views Christians as hypocrites!

Verse 22, "Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." I have to believe that Peter didn't mean to cause any harm, that he really just wanted to help by offering a better way. Instead, he winds up being told "Peter, you’ve just taken up Satan’s agenda" That will stop you dead in your tracks! When you side against the will of God, trying to hinder His divine purposes and plan, you’re not setting your mind on what pertains to God. As Christians, we live in the midst of an unending conflict between God's will and Satan’s agenda. When you side with Satan, you are a stumbling block to the divine purpose of God, which is exactly what Satan exists to accomplish. When we insist on accomplishing our own, we set ourselves against God's divine will. That's why we must fight against all who reject the revelation of God. That's why we must fight against false doctrine and those who would come and corrupt the church by teaching heresy. We are constantly engaged in this spiritual battle.
That brings us to verse 23, "But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s." If the church is not engaged in the battle against the enemy, the deceiver who perverts the truth, then I submit to you, you're not functioning as the Church of Christ. That's foundational. We must confront everything and anyone that works against the divine purpose of God. That's the reason I believe church discipline is so important. We have to confront sin and error, and if they refuse to repent, you treat them like an outcast.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-17, "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." You have to remove them because they’re a stumbling block, in the way, hindering the purposes of God. We must rid the church of anyone who has taken up Satan’s posture of influencing the church for evil. When someone starts introducing deception and lies into the church, you cannot tolerate it.
Condoning sin and immorality, is a major problem in the church today, in most cases, they even celebrate it. That’s hard to hear for some of you. It’s even harder to sell, because it goes against the grain of a worldly church! But I believe it’s the most needed messages for the church today. It's better to give up everything and gain your soul, than to lose it for all eternity.
Back in verse 7, He said "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!"
In Closing..
How much is your eternal soul worth? Do you come to church to hear the truth of God's Word or so that you can feel better about yourself? If you're just looking to boost your self-esteem,  that’s not what the true church is for! I'm here to tell you what the Word of God says, "To deny yourself and take of your cross." To deny yourself means to refuse to associate with your former self. You have to come to the end of yourself, the place where you realize there’s nothing good in you at all. The Bible warns us against thinking higher of ourselves than we ought. Listen,  I don’t have any hidden agenda here, my goal is to expound the Word and instruct you in the ways of God. I look at things strictly from a spiritual standpoint.
I get so frustrated when I hear so-called pastors who are engaged in self-exaltation and self-promotion, caught up in the temporary pleasures of this world. I say to you, look at yourselves in the spiritual mirror and ask yourselves, "What is wrong with you? How can you allow that kind of corruption to ferment in your heart?" Come on, give me a break, you know better! Yet, you're straying into forbidden territory, now you have got the deal with guilt on top of that. You have a spiritual responsibility to get your life under control. Your thinking is messed up if you think for a moment there's not going to be a payday for your sinful behavior.

Jesus says in Matthew chapter 7, verse 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter." Beloved, this is so simple that even a child could understand it.
As Christians, we cannot stay there in that sinful place that we once were, we have to let go of all that! We must set our minds and our affections on things above, not on things on the earth. You have to examine your priorities. You can't have one foot in heaven and the other foot in Hell. It's one or the other. Is your eternal soul not worth much more than any temptation on this earth? If you are a child of God, you don't have to even think twice about that. This is a fallen world and you and I are fallen people, forgiven but fallen. Christ Jesus, gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession. I pray that you will get your soul in heaven, when we see Jesus face-to-face.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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