Title: The Church
Theme: To show the importance and power of the church in the life of a Christian.
Text: Matthew 16:13 - 19
Mat 16:13-19 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" (14) So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." (15) He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" (16) Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
We looked at this passage back in February. We established a few things as we looked at a lesson that Jesus was teaching his disciples. 1) People view Jesus in different ways. Some say he is just a great prophet, some say the greatest of prophets, others say a revivalists and finally a prophet.
Yet the most important question to answer is not what others think of Jesus but what do we think.
Illustration: Sharing Jesus with man cleaning the van.
(17) 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. (18) 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. (19) And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed  in heaven."
The Church Defined
G1577 - Original: ἐκκλησία - Transliteration: Ekklesia - Phonetic: ek-klay-see'-ah
- Definition: Strong's: From a compound of G1537 and a derivative of G2564; a calling out that is (concretely) a popular meeting especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly church. Unity in the Church
Before here we never find the word church. After this in the New Testament the word church is used 79 times.
This is who the church is. The church is a group of people who have been called out and called together for a purpose. We join together for one purpose and that is to follow Christ.
In Defense of the Church - The Gates of Hell
I was studying this passage once again last week. I began to pray and ask the Lord what does this mean. I was trying to get my head wrapped around this idea of the "gates of hell". What is the big deal. I know that gates represent entrance and authority.
Yet I had a vision of something different. The Lord showed me that the enemy surrounds the church with gates all around. What he wants to do is keep us from moving forward for his kingdom.
The dread of hell is that you'll wake up to the power that God has given you.
THE WORST NIGHTMARE TO THE DEVIL IS THAT YOU WILL DISCOVER WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST.
HELL’S WORST NIGHTMARE IS THAT YOU WILL WAKE UP AND BELIEVE THAT
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Greater is he who is in me
No weapon formed against me shall prosper
I am more than a conqueror
I am not bound I am free
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
The Called Out Ones - The Unity of the Church
Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing; Life forevermore.
Precious Oil - The anointing.
In Unity there is the presence of Christ
Matthew 18:18-20 Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (19) Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. (20) For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
Acts 2:1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord* in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
In Unity there is power
Deuteronomy 32:30-31 How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had surrendered them? (31) For their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves being judges.
2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Why do we need the Church in our Christian Walk?
Purpose of the Church - Structure and discipline
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (24) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (25) not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
God has given us this church and called us to unity for a purpose. We are called together to help one another. We are called together to provoke one another. To stir one another.
Leadership of the Church - Help us find our purpose
In this unity there is a system.
Overall: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastor, and Teacher
Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
NIV 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
MSG 12 to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church,
Deacon (ministers) Acts 6
Acts_15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Act_20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
So what does it mean to have a Godly church? A church of unity that works together we see great things happen.
The Praying Church
Acts 12:5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant  prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
Act 4:31-33 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (32) Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. (33) And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
The Powerful of the Church
The Praising Church
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
We are not Christians who are suppose to live in private.
Matthew 5:13-16 "Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. (14) "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. (15) If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. (16) Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand--shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
It is important that you don't take on this "story" by yourself. You are most powerful when you are together.