Summary: The origin of the word Church can be found in the Greek word ecclesia which means “those called out.” So the church is made up of those who have been called out of sin into righteousness (I Peter 2:9). The word Church can refer to individual congregation
What does God desire for the Church in the year 2005? In order for us to answer this question we need to look at what the Church is and how the Church was started.
The origin of the word Church can be found in the Greek word ecclesia which means “those called out.” So the church is made up of those who have been called out of sin into righteousness (I Peter 2:9). The word Church can refer to individual congregation and to the world wide community of God’s people. Take notice the Church is made up of people, but not made by people. Jesus Christ is the builder (Matthew 16:18) and the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18).
In Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus lays down the foundation for his Church. We see in these verses many people are trying to figure out who Jesus is. So Jesus asks his disciples who do people say I am? So his disciples told Him. John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet. Jesus wanted to know who the disciples thought he was. Then Peter speaks up. “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
The disciples were not at all upset with Peter. There were no grumbles amongst them saying “boy, that Peter what a brown noser” or “Can you believe it he took my answer.” The disciples were in complete agreement with Peter’s answer. There is also no reason to ask if the other disciples thought the same thing, why did Peter speak up? You see as we read through the gospels we see that Peter spoke up quite a bit and this is one of those times.
As some of you may know from experience the more a person speaks up sometimes you give yourself the opportunity to be put on the chopping block so to speak. I can imagine what might have been racing through Peter’s mind, especially since just prior to this in 15:15 he asked Jesus to explain one of his parables and Jesus asks “Are you still so dull?” But Peter makes his statement any way. “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God.”
After Peter’s statement, Jesus “Blessed are you Peter.” Peter had to have felt good about this response from Jesus. But Jesus continued, “And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.”
This is the first mention of the word Church in the Bible. And it is referred to in the future tense. But Christ just laid down the foundation. Please understand Christ does not mean here that he is going to build his Church on Peter, but on the words Peter spoke.
So we see the foundation for the Church, a simple statement. A statement that some of us may have heard many times. But let’s take a look at this statement.
Peter says You are the Christ. The title Christ is something we today often don’t understand like those in Jesus’ time. For many in our world today Christ is simple Jesus’ last name, which is far from the truth. Christ is a title. Christ means “Messiah” or “Anointed one.”
The people in Peter’s time were awaiting the arrival of the “Messiah” to come. Because they knew the Messiah was coming to save them as the prophets in the Old Testament had foretold them. People were making preparations talking about what it was going to be like, how much better life would be, etc.
The coming of the Messiah would have been similar to the buzz a few years ago when we entered into the new millennium. You remember. People were stocking their pantries with food, calling people to tie up loose ends, making there computers and businesses safe for Y2K, people were even taking their money out of the bank to keep it safe. Everyone knew that it was coming. It affected more than just the US but the entire world.
The people knew when the Messiah came the world would be different from that point on. God had promised to save the world through the coming Messiah and everyone was ready for the Redeemer. And Peter tells Jesus he knows Jesus is the Christ.
Peter continues to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.
Peter statement also tells of his belief that God is a living God and not a god who is dead and no longer active. But that he is one who is still involved with the people he created.
These three parts of Peter’s statement form the foundation of the Church that Jesus was going to build.
It is this foundation that every Church should be established on. Procedures, appearances, size, are all secondary to Peter’s confession of Christ.
So what does God desire from his Church in 2003? It is His desire for the Church and it’s people to have as it’s foundation the belief that he “is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”