Matthew 16:18: “I Will Build My Church…”

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:18

Two thousand years ago Jesus promised to build His church, a church which could never be destroyed.  The centuries since have proven Him right.  He died on a cross, but His death did not prevent Him from building His church.  Over the years many Christians have been murdered because of their faith, and yet the church still survives.

What I don’t understand is why many professed followers of Christ want to have nothing to do with His church.  I’ve heard people say, “Christ yes.  The church, no,” or “I love Jesus and want to follow Him, but I have little use for the church.”  I believe many do not understand what the church truly is and what the Bible actually teaches about the church.  If we would see what Scripture teaches about Christ’s church, we will come to appreciate her more and make sure our own concept of the church is harmonious with God’s Word.

The Bible says Christ is “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22), meaning that He exercises His authority over all of heaven and earth in the interest of the church.  He rules, and the church benefits because of it.  The passage continues by defining the church as “His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (v. 23).  Christ fills all in all; He fills up everything…but what fills Him?  It is His body, His church.

Do you want to be in Christ?  If you do, you have to be in what fills Him up.  You have to be in His church.

The Bible also teaches that Christ is the Savior of His body, the church (Ephesians 5:23).  Those who believe in Jesus want Him to save them, and He does offer salvation to everyone (John 3:16).  However, the only people He will save when all is said and done are those who are in His body which is His church.

Do you want to be saved?  You have to be in Christ’s church, because He is the Savior of His body.

Here’s another question.  How many bodies does Jesus have?  How many churches does He have?  The Bible says, “There is one body” and there is “one faith” (Ephesians 4:4-5).  That being the case, how many churches does Jesus call His own?

Think about this for a minute.  We typically look at the Christian church as made up of all the different sects, denominations, and cults out there which have sprung into existence over the years.  We assume that they’re all part of Jesus’ body and that they all follow Him…even though every one of them teaches something different from the rest.  They follow different creeds, leaders and authorities which all contradict each other.  They follow traditions which historically originated from themselves instead of Scripture.

Baptists refuse to venerate Mary while Catholics do.  Seventh-Day Adventists observe Saturday as the Sabbath while other churches observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day.  Mormons say Joseph Smith is a prophet and follow his books while the rest of the churches do not.  Hundreds more differences in faith and doctrine could be cited from literally thousands of different churches, all of whom claim to follow Jesus.

Yet the Bible says there’s only body and there’s only one faith.  Think about the implications of that.

God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  In fact, His Word specifically calls on all who follow Him to agree and have no division among them (1 Corinthians 1:10).  Does it look like that is happening?

The Bible also says that people no longer have God when they stop abiding in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9).  Jesus Himself said to people who believed in Him that they must abide in His Word to truly be His disciples (John 8:31).  He also said when we stop abiding in Him, we are “cut off” (John 15:2, 6).  To abide in Him, we must be “in Him.”  That means we must be part of what fills Him up.  Scripture says that is His church, which is His body…and there is only one body.

Something to think about.

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