Summary: Understanding the New Testament church and it purpose.
Note: The introduction notes come from Andy Stanley's book "Deep & Wide". Great book.
Title: The Ekklesia
Theme: To understand what the true meaning of the church is.
Text: Matthew 16:13 - 19
Offering: 1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper,
Note the time-the first day of the week, indicating the reverence with which the early Christians regarded that day. The method-the definite appropriation for God’s work of a certain proportion of income, as it accrues. The proportion-as the giver may be prospered. Paul disliked vehement collection appeals, and advised that we should give according to a system, and not merely by impulse. - F.B. Meyer "Day by Day"
Matthew 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." (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."
From Andy Stanley's book Deep & Wide
" During Jesus’ earthly ministry there was constant debate about his identity. Was he a teacher? A rabbi? A prophet? Was he actually divine or simply endued with divine power? He had authority over nature, but where did his authority come from? Whether it was Nicodemus or the woman at the well, the question was the same: “Who is this guy?” (“And why won’t he come right out and tell us?”)
Eventually, Jesus decided to deal with the issue directly. He broached the subject with his disciples just outside the beautiful city of Caesarea Philippi. . . .Perhaps with Caesarea looming over his shoulder, eleven hundred feet up the slope of Mount Hermon, Jesus asked the Twelve the very question that men and women had been asking them, “Who do people say that I am?” What’s the word on the street? You will remember that the disciples responded based on what they had heard. Some believed Jesus was John the Baptizer returned from the dead (perhaps sent by God to take vengeance on Herod Antipas, whom John had denounced for marrying the ex-wife of Herod Philip). Others suggested Jesus was the prophet Elijah, whom many Jews believed would return to introduce the Messiah. Jesus then turned the question to the Twelve. “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered immediately, “You are the Messiah [the Christ], the Son of the living God.” Just as quickly, Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” For the record, that is my favorite Bible prophecy. "
This is a powerful verse. It tells us a few things about the church. First, its foundation is Christ. A church must be based on the fact of who Christ is. This is the common denominator between all churches and groups. Second, if this "church" is based on the foundation of Christ then he will build it and even if hell itself came against it, the church will stand.
The “gates of Hades” in the Old Testament (Job_38:17; Psa_9:13) and subsequent Jewish tradition referred to the realm and power of death; death itself would not silence the church. - IVP Bible Background Commentary
(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."
This shows the power and the mission of the church.
Matthew 16:19. The keeper of the keys was one of the most important roles a household servant could hold (cf. Mar_13:32-34); a high official held the keys in a royal kingdom (Isa_22:20-22) and in God’s house, the temple. Keys here refer to the authority to admit into the kingdom (Mat_23:13), based on the knowledge of the truth about Jesus (Mat_16:16).