Summary: Just the basics about the Church. Jesus said, "I will build my church at the gates of hell will not overcome it". Also, some personal thoughts in the conclusion about the importance church attendance, involvement, and support.
June 1, 2003
Title: Church 101
Text: Matthew 16:13-18
1. When I was in college, some of the classes would be designated "101"
For example, Psych 101 (intro to Psychology)
Greek 101 (intro to Greek)
English Lit 101
and so on.
The "101" simply means an introduction...
or "back to the basics"
So, as we kick off our month long emphasis on the church...
2. I thought I would start off with "Church 101"
Obviously, there is much more about the church than we could cover in 1 sermon.
For that matter, we will hardly scratch the surface in a month!
But, as we have designated 2003 the year of putting "Christ 1st"
And the "C" among other things, stands for Church
It is my hope that during this month that:
we will have a greater appreciation of the church
we will have a greater understanding of the church...
and, we will have a great desire to participate in building Christ’s Church.
Read Text: Matthew 16:13-18 (focus on "I Will Build My Church)
1. First of all, Jesus said, I....will build my church...
Obviously that can’t be right...
I mean, it was men and women, just like you and me, who built this church.
Maybe there are some of you that were around 25 years ago when this church was built.
I’m sure they didn’t see Jesus out here pouring cement
I’m sure Jesus wasn’t up on the church pounding nails into the shingles.
Well, since Jesus didn’t build this church, I guess we should back up a little bit.
I remember taking a Christian Doctrine class at Olivet
and Dr. Sayes asked us what the Greek word for "Church" was...
of course, many of us had been in Greek 101...
so we knew the answer....ekklesia "Called out ones"
The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary says, ekklesia is a "gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly—Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
The Church doesn’t refer to the BUILDING....
the Church refers to people...
people who have been "called out" of the world...
called out of their homes...
to a common assembly.
But Dr. Sayes gave us HIS definition, he said that ekklesia meant "called FORTH ones"...
We aren’t "called out" in the sense of separating ourselves from the world...
Which, I’m afraid, many churches have become!
We have become little "monasteries" where just our own people come for spiritual blessing.
We are CALLED FORTH to serve and to work and to submit and to build and to grow and to reach new people!
So when Jesus said "I...will build my church...
He wasn’t talking about taking on the actual physical construction of a building that we call a Church!
He was talking about PEOPLE being called FORTH with a purpose!
and then Dr. Sayes asked all of us first year Greek students if that definition would be a proper definition of ekklesia.
And what were we going to say to the great J. OTIS SAYES!
We said, "yes sir"!!
If you go back to Matthew 16:16, you see that Peter had just responded to the question that Jesus asked, "Who do YOU say that I am".
And Peter says, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God"
And in the words of our text, Jesus says, "I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church " Matt 16:18 (NIV)
Some commentators indicate that Jesus was referring building the Church upon PETER; since Peter’s name (petros) means "stone or rock" and because Peter become a great leader in the early church.
BUT, others indicate, (and I agree) that Jesus was referring to the TRUTH that Peter had just professed...
Therefore, what Jesus was saying was that "Upon the truth that I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God and upon this rock (Petra)
So, Jesus is indicating that HE is the foundation upon which the Church will be built.
So, when Jesus says, "I...will build My Church"...
we know that it is only when the Church is built upon the Rock of Christ Jesus...
that the Church is truly being the Church as God designed it.
2. Jesus said, "I...WILL BUILD...My Church"
Some people think that the best days of the Church are behind her.
Some people think that the Church is in decline...
Some people think that the Church is ineffective...
But Jesus said, "I WILL BUILD My Church"
He didn’t say, "I will see My Church falter"...
He didn’t say, "I will just watch from a distance while the Church struggles"
He said, "My Church is going to grow"
"My Church is going to flourish"