In Matthew 16:16-18, Jesus is having a conversation with the disciple, and He asks them a very important question, “Who do you say I am?” Peter, without hesitation, shouts,
“You are the Christ (anointed one), the Son of the living God.”
Peter’s confession affirmed that Jesus was the Messiah, not just a prophet or a good teacher. Jesus replied with a history-altering response,
“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.”
This “rock” that Jesus would build His church upon is Peter’s testimony of Jesus’ identity and Messianic mission.
Jesus declared that “I will” build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The church is God’s idea. The church was not an institution created by man but by God.
The term “church” comes from the Greek word “ekklesia,” which means assembly, called out. Together we demonstrate what unity amid diversity looks like. We reveal how love for God triumphs over all our opinions and differences.
In Hebrews 10:25, Paul instructs Christians not to neglect meeting together as some have are in the habit of doing. This weekly gathering is an integral part of having faith in Jesus. This community can’t be separated from faith living.
The idea that I can be a Christian and not go to or belong to a local church is erroneous. To suggest so is to miss the mark on the purpose of the church.
Paul explains how attending church is an opportunity to stir up one another to love and good works, Hebrews 10:24. Attending church is not just about what I get from it, but what I bring to church.
You and I are not meant to live by faith alone. God created us to be people in community.
The Bible is not a newsletter sent to individuals but a collection of letters given to a church! It was these ekklesia gatherings where God’s word was read and taught.
This, I believe, is one of the most fundamental roles and responsibilities of the church today. Everything for us as people of faith hinges on hearing, knowing, and obeying God’s word!
It is to be a regular part of life. As Romans 12:1-2 proclaims, it’s the word that renews our minds and transforms us into a new creation. Transformation is the primary activity of a man/woman of faith. Without transformation, we are merely religious. Religion can’t save you.
As humans, we are creatures of habit, and some of those routines may be counterproductive to living by faith. God’s word presents a new design that produces righteousness and holiness in us.
Before we can renew our minds, Paul first mentions that we are “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.”
Renewal is not a one-and-done event but a life-long pursuit. Not presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice is the primary hindrance to transformation.
The word “bodies” come from the Greek word soma, and it means an organized whole made up of parts and members. Our entire being, every part, nothing held back is to be a continual offering to God.
By having your mind renewed with God’s word and the Holy Spirit, “you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We need to immerse ourselves in God’s word so we can spot false teaching. The will of God is encapsulated in His word.
When bankers are trained to recognize and identify counterfeit money, they do not study the fake but the real thing. By handling it and looking at it continually, they instantly know it when they pick up a counterfeit.
The more we read God’s word and live it, the quicker we can identify false teaching. Only by being a living sacrifice can we renew our minds and know God’s perfect will.
The church is part of God’s divine design for men and women of faith. It’s the place where God’s word is to be taught and preserved. The church is God’s example to the world that unity among diversity is reality.