Ask many people what do they do on Sunday morning and they will tell you they go to church. And, if you ask them why do they go to church, you’ll get a variety of answers: “To worship.” “To fellowship.” “To hear from God.”
All of these are good answers but, guess what, you can do these things anywhere. Why?
Let me tell you!
(Matthew 16:13-20 ESV) 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say 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 replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered 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 tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Today, we will see that the Church is God’s Government on earth, it is the Bride of Christ, and it is His Children.
In verse 18 of today’s text, Jesus is saying that upon this rock, He will build His church.
Quick stop here: this and verse 19 are where we get the concept of St. Peter manning the gate to Heaven. Unfortunately for many, this just isn’t true. What Jesus is saying to Peter is that he is a rock but upon a bigger rock (the truth, that is, Jesus, Himself) He will build His Church. There is no solid scriptural evidence that the church would be built upon Peter.
Moving right along — the Greek word for Church is ekklesia. This word literally means “called out assembly.” The Roman Empire called it’s legislative body by this term. Jesus isn’t speaking of something religious, here; He’s speaking of a new Government. This is why He preached so much about the Kingdom of God being at hand — or here-and-now.
This harmonizes with what Jesus commanded:
(Mark 16:15 ESV) And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
The imperative, here, is GO. Jesus did not restore a seated Kingdom on earth, He brought forth a mobile one. Notice Jesus’ example: He went from place to place, preaching and teaching. He did not have a set “base of operations.”
Jesus did not say “If you build it, they will come…” That ain’t the Gospel, that’s “Field of Dreams!”
The Government of God is focused on taking Jesus to people not getting people to come to church!
The Church is the Bride of Christ. She is to be presented to Him without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27).
It is incumbent upon the bride to prepare (Revelation 19:7). When Angela and I got married, I didn’t have to participate in her preparation. That was her responsibility. My responsibility was to make a place for her and provide for her. We, the church are responsible for preparing ourselves for the wedding!
We are to be married to Him, to Love Him, and be faithful to Him. Not out of fear of reprisal:
(1 John 4:18 ESV) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
You cannot be prepared to spend eternity with someone you fear!
Romans 8:14 tells us that if we are led by the Spirit, we are sons of God. We are to reflect his will, culture, and intent in the world.
Those who are born again have the very DNA of God in them (Romans 8:21). God loves us so much that it wasn’t enough for him to position Himself close to us, He chose, instead to place Himself within us.
As a father, I can tell you that my sons looking like me is a blessing but where I’m really blessed is when they reflect my influence. We are all created in the image of God (to look like Him) but He is really glorified when we manifest the fruit of His Spirit (acting like Him — Galatians 5:22-23).
Every parent wishes for their influence to be greater than the world’s in the life of their children God is no different. Romans 8:19 tells us that all creation groans for the manifestation of the sons of God. In other words, all of God’s creation is waiting for His kids to show up and take authority!
What Church is Not
Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 10:10 says we are sanctified once for all by Jesus’ perfect offering. Nowhere in the New Covenant is there spoken of a consecrated (set apart) building. Acts 7:48 tells us that God does not dwell in houses made by hands of men. No, God dwells in the hearts of men, made by the Hands of God!
Simply put, Church is not a building!
Don’t get me wrong, buildings are fine. But a church building is no more sanctified than a person’s home, a courtroom, or a shopping center. But if there are more believers in a Walmart than there are in a church building, which is more sanctified?
We need to be careful that we do not get into building- or people-worship. Better yet, we shouldn’t succumb to the mindset of worshiping worship.
Jesus said — before the cross — that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst. However, after the cross, the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer! So Jesus goes wherever we are! And wherever we stand is holy ground because we sanctify it with the Spirit of God dwelling in us.
But the church is not a building led by a man, it is an organic body led by Christ. Buildings are made of dead material; the Body of Christ is made up of living souls. The Church is not a place of worship, it is the body of saints who worship!
© 2015 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)