Ask Your Preacher
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells Peter He is going to build His church on him. Why would Jesus build His church on a man? I know, in a sense, it also had to do with Peter's confession in the previous verses, but Jesus specifically says He will build His church on the apostle Peter. Why was Peter given a higher level of authority?
Dear Building Inspector,
Jesus didn’t build His church on Peter; He built it upon a much sturdier foundation – Peter’s confession. This is one of those times where what Jesus said can be a little confusing to us English-speaking folks because there is a little bit of color that the Greek text gives that makes the text a little clearer. In Matt 16:18, when Jesus tells Peter, “You are Peter”, He uses the word ‘petros’, which means ‘a small stone, boulder, a detached stone’. Then Jesus says, “Upon this rock I will build my church”. The word used for ‘rock’ is ‘petra’ in this case. ‘Petra’ means ‘a rock ledge, cliff’; ‘petra’ is the word used for a massive and immovable rock that is attached to the earth. Jesus is making a play on words in Matt 16:18. In essence, He is saying that even though Peter is a rock, Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God is an even sturdier foundation than Peter is. Peter is a small rock, but faith in Jesus as God’s Son is a massive, living rock that you can build the church upon.
What is faith?
Faith is belief, trust, and loyalty to something or someone. If you have faith in your friend, you trust them and are loyal to them through thick and thin. If you have faith in your car, you believe that it will run smoothly even though you aren’t a mechanic and aware of everything going on under the hood. Faith always involves trusting something you can’t see or control (Heb 11:1). You have faith in your friend’s judgment to give you directions; you place your faith in the author of a manual or instruction book to help you properly assemble a piece of furniture; you have faith in a traffic light to properly change colors and not direct you into cross-traffic.
In the case of God, our faith is built upon His Word (Rom 10:17). We trust God’s Bible to guide our lives and direct our steps (Ps 119:105). Our faith in God is shown in our actions – it is impossible to have faith without action (Jas 2:17). If someone says they believe in God, but they don’t obey His Bible, they are no better off than the demons (Jas 2:19). Faith in God is a lifestyle. We hear what His Word says, and then we act upon that command. After all, if we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15).
Is there a certain age to get baptized with the Holy Spirit?
You do not need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. In fact, the book of Acts gives a clear example of a group of people who were christians but hadn’t been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:12-16). The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a miraculous event that endowed people with the ability to perform miracles. Holy Spirit baptism happened to the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), and it happened to Cornelius and his household when the first Gentiles were preached to (Acts 10:44-45). Holy Spirit baptism doesn’t save you; water baptism is what saves you (1 Pet 3:21, Mk 16:16). In fact, when Cornelius and his household were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said that they still needed to be baptized in water (Acts 10:46-48)! Holy Spirit baptism was a temporary, miraculous gift used to spread the Gospel in the first century before we had the completed Bible, but now that we have a perfect Bible, there is no longer any need for miracles (1 Cor 13:8-10). If you want to have your sins forgiven, you need to be baptized in water. Read “What Must I Do To Be Saved” for further details.
God says all gays are going to hell because they are gay, but God also said anyone who eats hoofed animals is going to hell, so does that mean anyone that has ever eaten at McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. is going to hell also? Also, it says a women has to kill a goat when menstruating. Isn’t sacrificing animals a pagan thing? So won’t they go to hell for that, too? Also, if God gives us free will, why do we even have commandments? The irony in that is just too blunt. Free will, then we have laws??? Why is Jesus born for man but made a god?
We think you have an issue of receiving a lot of misinformation. God does say that homosexuality is a sin (Rom 1:26-27), but the dietary habits and sacrifices that you referred to are Old Testament commandments. First of all, it wasn’t all hoofed animals – just certain types (Deu 14:4-8). Beef is from cattle and perfectly permissible, even to an Old Testament Jew. As for animal sacrifice, that was a consistent part of Old Testament worship, but now that Jesus has come, we no longer are bound by the old law (read “Changing Of The Guard” for further information).
Last but not least, let’s address your concerns about Jesus and freewill. Freewill doesn’t mean that you are incapable of doing anything wrong – it actually means the exact opposite. Freedom to choose means that you can choose to do the right thing or choose to do the wrong thing. God didn’t make us to be robots; He gives us the ability to live by His rules or to rebel against them. He has set life and death before us, and we get to decide for ourselves how we want to live (Deu 30:19). All mankind has sinned (Rom 3:23), and Jesus, God’s Son, came down from heaven and died on a cross, so we might have forgiveness of those sins. Jesus is Deity (Jhn 1:1), and He emptied Himself that He might give us the freedom to choose life in Him (Php 2:6-8, Jhn 3:16). If you would like more information about what it takes to choose Christ and be saved, please read “Five Steps To Salvation”.
Why did Jesus quite frequently refer to himself as the "Son of Man" (Matt 16:13) when it is so essential to our faith and salvation to recognize and confess him to be the "Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16-19)?
Dear Name Confusion,
Jesus was both Son of Man and Son of God – it is one of the great and awesome truths of the Bible. Jesus was completely Deity, and completely human at the same time. Verses like Jhn 1:1-3 and Col 3:15-17 make it clear that Jesus was and always has been God. He is eternal and existed before man – Jesus even said so Himself (Jhn 8:58). However, if Jesus had simply been God pretending to be a human, His sinless life wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive. Instead, we are told that Jesus suffered in all things exactly as all other people do – yet without sin (Heb 4:15). In all things, Jesus was a flesh-formed human just like the rest of us (Heb 2:17-18). Jesus often used the term ‘Son of Man’ because He spent a lot of His life emphasizing His humanity and empathy with the pains of mankind. Jesus spent little time pointing out His deity – His life did that for Him (Matt 27:54).