Summary: A divine decree that cannot and will not fail.
I Will Build My Church
"Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 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. 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. Matthew 16:16-18
Upon hearing Peter’s words, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, Jesus made a most important decree. He said “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”. True to his word Jesus has been building his church and continues to do so to this very day.
Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” is the confession upon which God acts and every time that confession is made in repentance, humility and faith, a person is added to the church.
The New Testament contains several analogies that describe the nature of God’s work on earth. One analogy is that of a builder and his building. God is the supreme architect, Jesus is the master builder. The Holy Spirit is the agent who gathers the material needed for the project. We are the material he gathers and uses to construct the building. Like other buildings, the church has a foundation, walls, a roof and a point of entry – a door. We will consider each component in this message.
Previous Construction Projects
The church is not God’s first construction project. He designed and built the universe itself. He designed and built the earth on which we live.
Every builder begins with a foundation. The Psalmist said:
"Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands." Psalm 102:25
After God created the heavens and earth he looked at all he had done and said it was “good”. (Genesis 2:31). But something terrible happened. A terrorist destroyed the earth. That terrorist was sin and the whole human race has been held hostage and has lived under his cruel tyranny ever since his encroachment began.
Mankind, the crown of God’s creative works, destroyed the beautiful building that God had lovingly gave him for it was through man that sin entered the world. The earthly father of the human race, Adam, changed everything. He altered, the place of man’s habitation and destined the whole family to a perilous and eternal end. In His mercy God expelled man from the Garden of Eden, a place of absolute beauty and blessing. In mercy? Yes, in mercy! If he hadn’t, man may have eaten of the tree of life and had he done so there could be no remedy for his failure. He would live forever in a state of separation from God. Our first parents found themselves struggling for survival in a place east of Eden called the “land of Nod”. The land of Nod is the place of “curse” and it is where the human race has lived since Eden. It is a cold and barren land in which none survive. It is a land void of God’s blessing.
Amazingly and wonderfully, the master architect in his foreknowledge knew well in advance of the coming of mankind’s self-inflicted mortal wound and immediately God began working on plan B.
The Bible says:
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
When God laid the foundation of the world, he also laid another foundation. He laid the foundation of the church and that foundation is Jesus, the Lamb. As a lamb he died for the sins of the world. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, is the price God paid in order that there could be a church. When Jesus finishes building his church, plan B will be more glorious than plan A.
The Church’s One Foundation
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hasitly." Isaiah 28:16
Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which the church is built and he is also its cornerstone. A cornerstone marks the identity of a building. Wise men and women build their lives on this foundation and find their identity in Christ. Jesus Christ is the only sure foundation. He is invincible in strength. He is eternal in duration.
Jesus is the only immutable foundation. No attack against him will prevail or prosper. Storms, heat, cold, the passing of time do not erode this foundation. He is indeed a “sure” foundation.