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Summary: A message about the church. This is a series that we are doing about witnessing and being part of the church.

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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 [78] 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.

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