Summary: Jesus had a lot to say about His church. It may not be what you think.
What Jesus to His Followers
“About His Church”
Each year, Outreach Magazine does an issue called “Outreach top 100” they list the 100 largest churches in America and the 100 fastest growing churches in America.
Topping for the fifth year in a role was Lakewood Church in Houston with 43,500 attendants, followed by Second Baptist Church in the same city with 23,659.
Of course we are close to Willow Creek which is number 4 at 22,500, (Outreach Magazine Sept 2008)
Even though the size of the American church says something of her strength, the influence and ministry of the church is more important than the size of the church.
The churches listed in Outreach’s 100 are “above average” the average church in America still hovers around 100.
We are on our tenth message in the series “Jesus Said.” We are focusing a few weeks here on what Jesus said to His followers, and particularly today what he said to His followers about His church.
Turn to Matthew 16:13-20 --- grab your point guides --- stories about the PGs.
We want to break this down:
Who? – Not that Jesus was unaware. He knew full well what people were really saying.
I think he was encouraging the Disciples to work through the answers as they were telling him. You’ve got to dissect all the options.
You don’t buy a car (our shouldn’t) without looking at several. You’ve got to kick a few tires before you lay out the cash or sign the loan.
Jesus said in Luke 14, that we should “consider the cost” before following Him.
What were the people saying?
John had been beheaded by now and some of them thought he was John the Baptist Reincarnate. Others thought he was Elijah, still others thought he was the great prophet Jeremiah --- all of them note: ---- people who would prepare the way for the Messiah. But so many couldn’t get their brains around the truth that Jesus was the Messiah come to redeem the world.
Many people today, will call Jesus a great prophet, teacher, sage, but fall short of acknowledging Him as Lord.
Of course His initial question was a lead in question—right. Jesus really wanted to know what they thought about Him.
Peter, as he did many times spoke for the rest, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God!..” ---- Greek ---- Aramaic ---- doesn’t matter the language. He was acknowledging Jesus, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth as the “Son of God,” the Savior of the world.
The Apostles had been with Him for three years. They had vacillated between times of great faith and times of great doubt. Now at last the truth of Jesus’ divinity was firmly planted in their minds.
Jesus then lays out His plan for the church before them
Jesus lays the foundation first.
Now we want to look at this passage closely
For over 1500 years the Roman Catholic Church has used this passage to teach that the church was built in the person of Peter, making him the first pope and bishop of Rome. So, each pope thereafter is in succession of Peter and is considered the supreme authoritative representative of Christ here on earth.
That is a gross misinterpretation of this passage and the rest of the New Testament that clearly says, Christ alone is the head of the church.
So what does this passage say?
The biggest question is, “What is the ‘rock’ Jesus is referring to?”
Jesus said, “You are Petros, and on this Petra, I will build my church.”
Petros (Peter) = Small rock or stone.
Petra = Large rock or Mt. Peak
What is the Petra? Could it be Peter? Two things tell us it is not. One, the rest of the NT. Two, Petra is a feminine word. Greek words a masculine, feminine and neuter.
So, Peter is a small stone, but the Mt on which Jesus will build His church and the antecedent of petra is “Peter’s confession.”
We could say that Peter was speaking for the 12 and Ephesians 2:20 says that the church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…”
And in the same breath pointing out that Jesus is the head of the church by referring to Him as the “chief cornerstone.”
BUT, Ephesians is referring to the message they carried, “THE GOSPEL” as the foundation.
The foundation is the gospel message of Christ.
After Jesus lays the foundation, he tells us who the builder is--- “I will build.”
Jesus is the builder of the church.
We are called to work. We are called to spread the gospel, but it is Christ who builds.
Then Jesus tells us who the owner is--- “I will build MY church.”