II. PETER BEING A PATTERN FOR US
Peter is also our pattern for the building up of the church. Peter is the first one to whom the Father revealed Christ. He is also the first one to whom Christ revealed the church. Throughout the Old Testament, no one was clear about Christ and the church. In Matthew chapter 16, Peter saw the revelation of Christ and the church at the same time. He was very blessed. It is a blessing to see Christ and the church. Have you seen Christ and the church? If you have seen this vision, you are also very blessed.
He was faithful to the Lord’s vision, though not in himself. He failed in himself, yet he succeeded in Christ. After Christ breathed the Holy Spirit into him in John 20:22, and poured the Spirit upon the Body in Acts 2:4, Peter took the lead to preach the gospel to save the Jewish sinners and establish the church in Acts 2. This was the use of the first key of the kingdom of heavens to unlock the kingdom for the Jewish believers. He continued to preach Christ to save sinners for their regeneration in Acts 3 and 4 even though he was threatened by the Jewish rulers and charged not to teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). Peter and John were bold and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to hear you rather than God, you judge; for we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard’’ (Acts 4:19-20). He also used the second key of the kingdom to open the kingdom to the gentile believers in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10). He continued to preach Christ to build up the church despite the fact that he was threatened, beaten, and put in jail.
When he was older, he wrote in 1 Peter 2:5 that we are living stones being built up into a spiritual house. He did not forget the vision he saw in Matthew chapter 16. Praise the Lord for our brother, Peter, who was faithful to the end, preaching and laboring for Christ and the building up of the church. He certainly is our pattern for the building up of the church.
III. PAUL BEING A PATTERN FOR US
Paul is a very good pattern for the building up of the church. In Acts 26:19 Paul told King Agrippa that he “was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.’’ If he said that he was not disobedient, that means that one can be disobedient. He was faithful. He did not disobey what he saw. Will you obey or disobey what you see?
What did he see in the heavenly vision? He saw Christ and the church. At that time his name was Saul, and he was persecuting the church (Acts 9:1). On the day of his conversion, he was on his way to Damascus to bind all who call upon the name of the Lord (Acts 9:14). “And as he went, it came about that he drew near to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him; and he fell on the ground and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, Who are You, Lord: And He said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting’’ (Acts 9:3-5).
[Saul did not have this revelation, thinking that he was persecuting Stephen and other Jesus-followers in the way he considered heresy (24:14), not knowing that when he persecuted these he persecuted Jesus, for they were one with Him by being united to Him through their faith in Him. He considered that he was persecuting people on earth, never thinking that he touched anyone in heaven. To his great surprise a voice from heaven told him that He was the One whom he was persecuting, and His name was Jesus. To him this was a unique revelation in the entire universe! By this he began to see that the Lord Jesus and His believers are one great person—the wonderful “Me.’’ This must have impressed and affected him for his future ministry concerning Christ and the church as the great mystery of God (Eph. 5:32), and laid a solid foundation for his unique ministry.] The wonderful “Me’’ that he saw was the universal new man, the Body of Christ, with the Head in the heavens and the Body on the earth.
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)