“…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
In times of uncertainty, the message that we preach is a matter of life and death for many and where they will spend eternity. Whether you are exploring Christianity for the first time or growing and maturing in your faith, and walk with the Lord, my hope is to encourage and equip you as Paul said in Ephesians 4:13, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
We should set our sights on things above and not only on earthly things; we should have a view of eternity and operate from Heaven’s perspective on a daily basis. We have been raised up with Christ and should be striving for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1-2). God gives us the grace to endure what is going on in our earthly, physical world until we come into the fullness of our eternal destiny with Him.
Christ said in Matthew 16:18, He would build His church:
“Now when Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you yourselves say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My 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.” (Matt. 16:13-20)
Simon Peter was confessing his belief that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus tells Peter that he did not arrive at this knowledge through his own understanding. It was given to him through supernatural revelation. Jesus stated unequivocally that the gates of Hades will not prevail against His church.
The Greek word for “church” is eccelesia. It literally means “called-out ones”. “A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of the Church. The cornerstone is the rock upon which the weight of the entire structure rests. The Church is members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household being built on a solid foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone that we may be made alive in Him (Eph. 2:5, 20). Through Scripture we can see that Christ in all His glory is the sure foundation that our lives should be built upon. Scripture describes Jesus as the “Chief Cornerstone” of our faith. He is a “tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?” (Ps. 118:22; Lk. 20:17)
There is a difference between the Church Jesus meant and and the churches we see today. The Church is more than a congregation with a pastor where we gather in a building on Sunday mornings to worship. God is moving His Church into a new season, one that is shifting the pattern or way we do church from church-centered to kingdom-centered. In Matthew 16, Jesus was referring to a gathering of His followers who would deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him. Following Christ means becoming a disciple and making disciples. “…If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26)
In a world full of chaos and confusion, Christ makes “justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line (Isa. 26:16-17). He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast on Him, because they trust in Him and not the world system. In the days ahead, the Church will storm the gates of hell and nothing will be able to stop it. No darkness, no doubt, no deception—not even death will be able to stand against it.
All Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.