Summary: Peter was a little stone in the church built on the Rock, and by the Rock! The church’s Foundation, The church’s Function, and Future. Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.
A Chip off the Old Block
Here we find the first mention of the church in the New Testament, coming from the Greek word [ecclesia], which means “a called out assembly.” The law of first mention urges us to take very seriously this word church.
1. The church’s foundation.
v. 18 Many have mistakenly interpreted this verse to be saying that Peter is the foundation of the church, the first pope, etc. But we know the church cannot succeed on the fallible foundation of a sinful man, who just a few verses later had thoughts inspired by the devil, and Jesus said ‘get thee behind me, Satan!’ This is the same Peter who cursed and swore and denied Christ publicly repeatedly. Even after he was filled w/ the Spirit, later in his ministry, he made a major doctrinal blunder in Gal. 2, and the Apostle Paul had to confront him about it. Can the church be built on a man? You can try, and may even appear successful in the eyes of some for a while, but it’s a shaky foundation that WILL crumble.
a. The person of Jesus Christ.
Let’s compare scripture w/ scripture:
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
How did Peter interpret being called a stone?
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
“On Christ the solid rock I stand...”
In the OT, the rock was always a symbol of God, not man...
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
Oh, the security, stability, and strength of our Rock that will not roll!
In the original language there is a play on words when Jesus said ‘thou art Peter = “petros” = a little rock, a chip off the block. But then He continues and says, ‘upon this Rock’ [new word] = Petra = a large rock, bedrock, a foundation stone.
Jesus said that to the Jews He was a stumbling stone [Rom. 9:32]
To the Gentiles He was the crushing stone [Dan. 2:34]
To Israel He will someday be the chosen stone [Is. 28:16]
And to the church He’s the cornerstone!
b. The plan of Jesus Christ.
v. 18 “I will build MY church.”
Jesus was born into the family of a carpenter. And a builder He became indeed. He’s involved in 2 building projects: one in heaven [mansions] and one on earth [church].
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Master Builder!
The church’s foundation...
2. The church’s future.
v. 18b ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’
a. We have an enemy.
The church has an enemy dedicated against it. In the days of Jesus rulers would gather at the gates of the city to meet and plan and strategize. [Like Lot, who was a leader in the gates of Sodom] Satan and his hordes meet and plan, and there’s a bulls eye atop a church like this one...he’s got us in his sights! I’m thankful that I Jn. 4:4 says
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
The devil tries to hurt the church from without and within. From without he uses persecution, and from within he uses many tools: