Summary: Jesus says, "I will build My Church." Our growth comes through the church. The church make an impact.
Read Matt 16:13-19
16:18 - And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
JESUS: I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH That’s our confidence!
The word CHURCH is used only TWICE by Jesus, and recorded for us only in the Gospel of Matthew.
• Matt 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the CHURCH; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
By now I believe we do know that the church is not a building. Jesus did not build any building or monument.
• He died leaving behind a group of believers, whose lives were transformed.
• Clearly the church refers to the body of believers. It is not a building, it is not an institution. It is not an organisation.
The church was not even the believers’ idea. They did not come together to form it. It was prophesied by Jesus here. He builds the church.
• The word CHURCH in Greek is ekklesia which means the “called out ones”.
• We are called out from the world by God to live as His people under the Lordship of Christ.
Church is not something we attend; it’s something you are. Church isn’t a place; it’s people.
• We are the church. You are the church. We don’t need a building to exist.
• In fact, for the most part, the first church in ACTS do not have a building. They met most of the time in homes.
When Peter eventually understand what CHURCH means, he describes it in 1 Peter 2:9-10 “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
• That’s the church. The people of God. We are the church.
Where we are, that’s where the church is.
• The church does not come to life only on Sundays. It is the living Body of Christ and is capable of expressing the life of Christ every day, everywhere.
• We worship Him every day, not just on Sundays. The difference is worship is more prominent on Sundays because we congregate in large numbers.
In fact, the first church meets every day. Acts 2 tells us. They meet to praise God, learn His Word and in meeting one another’s needs.
• The coming together of the believers is not by accident. Jesus says He will BUILD His church. It is clearly intentional and planned for.
• When this was finally fulfilled in ACTS, we come to understand WHY.
GROWTH COMES THROUGH THE CHURCH
God designs it for our spiritual growth and support. This community therefore is indispensable for the believers.
• It is where we can be encouraged and strengthen in their walk with Jesus.
• Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It is clear Paul is making an emphasis here.
Can I be a believer and not go to church? (I’ve been asked this a few times.)
• You will not lose your salvation in Christ because you are not a church-goer. Going to church will not make you a Christian.
• But skipping church will mean you will be deprived of many things you need for your growth, because God has designed this community to provide those needs.
• You lose the protection and support that can only come through the Body of Christ.
The Bible has no concept of individual spirituality. Christianity is not something personal that has nothing to do with anyone else.
• Almost all the writings in the NT are done in the plural, addressing to the churches and hardly to individuals. (Greek distinguishes between singular and plural ‘you’.)
• The Christian life is not meant to be lived solo. As Christians, we are members of God’s church and brothers and sisters to one another. It’s a spiritual family.
It is near impossible to live a Christian life alone, it runs counter to everything God says. I doubt if anyone can grow healthily, spiritually, apart from this community.