Jesus is building His church with people who are called out to be citizens of the country where Jesus is King. The church is about people. I am a member. I have been called out.
The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.
I repeat. It is not a building.
It is a group of people called out of the world. I need to rethink all of this.
To Peter Jesus said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My assembly of people (aka church); and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”” (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus appears to be using a play on words. “You are Peter (petros) and on this rock (petra) I will build my church.” Since Peter’s name means rock, and Jesus is going to build His church on a rock – it appears that the Messiah is linking the two together. God used Peter greatly in the foundation of the church.
It was Peter who first proclaimed the good news on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-47). Peter was also the first to take the good news to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). In a sense, Peter was the rock “foundation” of the church.
Jesus is responding to Peter’s confession of faith in verse 16: “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.” Jesus had never explicitly taught Peter and the other disciples the fullness of His identity, and He recognized that God had sovereignly opened Peter’s eyes and revealed to him who Jesus really was.
His confession of Jesus as Messiah poured forth from him, a heartfelt declaration of Peter’s personal faith in Jesus. It is this personal faith in the Messiah which is the hallmark of the true disciple of Jesus. Those who have placed their faith in King Jesus, as Peter did, are the church.
Peter expresses this in 1 Peter 2:4 when he addressed the believers who had been dispersed around the ancient world: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus the Messiah and anointed King.”
Many people today understand the church as a building. This is not a biblical understanding of the church. Period. End of story. Please understand this!
Disciples are sent out by Jesus the Messiah: What is their mission? The church is a creation of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 17; 15:9), founded and owned by Jesus the Messiah.
It is ironic that when you ask people what church they attend, they usually identify a denomination and a building. At best, early on, it was a geographic location.