Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
What is the church?
Why is the church important?
Is it still relevant today?
Do I really need to be a part of the church?
These are questions that many people ask often about the church. Today, on the first Sunday of the year, it might be good for us to review our understanding of what makes the church the church.
Matthew 16:13-18 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
1. The church is God-ordained
(vs 18b I will build My church)
– Jesus builds our church
– church (ekklesia) A group called out for a particular purpose
– what we do here is not a construct of man, it is a God-ordained, God-planned movement
– And, when done according to His plan, there’s no stopping it!
(vs 18c and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.)
2. The church is not a building or an organization, it’s YOU!
I Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
– “the church” is not a specific place, title, denomination…it is “a group called out for a particular purpose”
– meaning, WE ARE THE CHURCH
(vs 2a To the church of God which is at Corinth)
3. Jesus is the Head of the church
Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
– The “head” (kay-FALL-ay) the leader, one responsible to care for
– “preeminence” (pro-TOO-oh) the first, the most prominent
– Any time that anything is placed in higher priority or importance than the proclamation of the Gospel and the preeminence of Christ in a church, the church ceases to be the church Jesus talked about in Matthew 16:18
4. Jesus gave us the plan for the church
Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
– the teaching, the gathering, the fellowship, the praying, the serving
– Worship, Bible teaching, Lifegroups, personal growth, service=
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
– The acting? The proclamation of the Gospel
– Outreach, missions, camping ministry, personal evangelism
5. Jesus gave us the keys to the church
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
– The keys? Belief in Jesus Christ as the only savior of the world!
Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.