Summary: Questions to consider: 1. Are you vested in inviting people to “come and see”? 2. Are you serving strategically as a partner? 3. Do you have Christ like characteristics?
Discussion Starter: We were all fish before becoming a “fisher of men”. Someone shared the message of Jesus Christ with us. Christ has called us to be His voice to a lost world. We have a clear message that must be told. A fishing adventure is always better when you share the journey. This lesson is about partnering with your church in this adventure.
What is a church and what is it built upon?
I want to give you the context here. Jesus is in the middle of His ministry. People are following Him around everywhere. Jesus actually leaves Israel and goes up to Philippi. He took His 12 disciples up there to get away. He wanted to get alone with them and spend some time with these guys. So He says… “Read passage”.
Who do people say that I am? This question implies that people are talking. People had opinions to whom they thought Jesus was, just like people have different opinions today. They answer John the Baptist which is interesting because John the Baptist had just died a few months earlier. Some say Elijah, whom been dead for a hundred years. Some say Jeremiah.
Then Jesus asks the million dollar question, “Who do you say I am?”
Who do you say Jesus is? Who is Jesus to you?
Peter answers and to my amazement he actually got it right. Peter was prone to getting it wrong. He often spoke before he thought. He says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” In other words he says, “You’re the one! You are the one who was prophesized. You are the one we’ve been waiting for.” Jesus responds, “You got it right, but not because of flesh, but because my Father in heaven.
v.18 Jesus refers to Simon as Peter. Read verse. What is Jesus saying? I picture this scene as Simon standing there and saying to Jesus, “That’s not my name Jesus.” Up to this point his name was Simon. In all of Greek literature there is no historical record of anyone having the name of Peter. So why does Jesus call him Peter? Peter here in the original text that Jesus uses was a word “petros” meaning rock or small rock.
1. Peter (petros) is translated as a small rock.(v.18)
“Rock” in v.18 is a totally different word translated in the original text is the word “petra” meaning rock or cliff.
2. The “rock” (petra) is translated as a large rock.(v.18)
Jesus is using a play of words here. So Jesus basically says, “Look, because of what you just said is so important, I am going to change your name and build something upon what you just said. Not because you said it, but because it is the truth. I’m going to build an organization… a group… a separated group, for a certain task and I’m going to call it a church.
A. Jesus says upon this rock He will build His church (ekklçsia), “…and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
B. Jesus is using a play of words again to show us what His church is to be and what it is to be founded on. The word “ekklçsia” translated as “church” in v.18 is the first time in the N.T. the word is used. Jesus is referring to the “church” as the true believers whose testimony is the rock (petra). Jesus is telling His disciples that Peter’s statement is to be the foundation of His church and not Peter himself.
This is the very first time the word “church” is used in the N.T. At the time there was no religious meaning to this word. It was a totally secular word. So than what is Jesus meaning in this context? Today the word “church” comes with a lot of baggage. When we hear the word “church” we think of walls, buildings, and bells. In the context here, the word “church” just meant a group of people that have been called for a purpose. So, I’m going to build a church and I’m going to build it upon who I am and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. What does He mean by build the church if the church is just a separated group of people?
C. In 1Peter 2:4-6 the Apostle Peter makes it clear for us to decipher between the two “rocks” Jesus is referring to. Christ is the chosen precious living Stone (petra; same word used by Jesus when referring the “Rock that the church will be built on”) Believers, possessing His life, are living stones (petros; the same word Jesus calls Simon, translated as Peter or little stone.). So, Christ is the cornerstone of this building made up of living stones (the church).