The Church Lesson 4: He Builds His Church

The ChurchThe New Testament uses many different types of illustrations to describe the church.

In Matthew 16:13-20, we read about the church:

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 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. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

We have already noted from this passage that the church has been established on this one single truth: That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

This point is paramount to understanding what Jesus is saying here. To make a claim to be the Christ and the Son of the living God; Jesus is equating himself with God. He is saying: I am God when he acknowledges that he is the Christ!

The Old Testament promise of the Messiah makes it clear that God himself is the Savior!

Notice that Jesus says: I will build my church. It is not my job or your job to build the church; that responsibility belongs to Christ. You and I play a role in that process though. He typically uses us; our hands, our hearts; our labors to accomplish that feat, but the work is his, the strength with which we labor is his, the wisdom for the strategy is his. It is the Holy Spirit that draws someone to Christ and to the church, not me or you.

He said, I will build my church. Notice that not only is it his work to build the church; but the church also belongs to him; we are his; it is his church.

There is much implied here when he declares that the church is his. There is an implication of subservience on our part; and an authoritative role on his part. Members of his church are expected to surrender and act in obedience to his instruction. It isn’t the pastor’s church; or the board member’s church or even the church member’s church. The true church belongs to Christ. He has given us pastors, leaders and board members to act authoritatively over us; but in the genuine model of the church, these are acting in accordance with the wisdom and the will of Christ as revealed to them through the Scriptures and the council of the Holy Spirit.

The church that has had ownership usurped by man is not a part of the church of the Messiah.

He does the work of building the church.

He is the owner of the church, since he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!