TEXT: Matthew 16:13-17; Matthew 18:15-20
INTRO: A brief study of Ecclesiology, the Church, as founded by Jesus.
I. THE BASIC REASON THE CHURCH EXISTS. (13a)
A. The church exists to offer God’s truth in a world full of false options and religions of the world. Two reasons Jesus chose to introduce His church at Caesarea Philippi that help explain its purpose: 1.) It was a symbol of the world outside of Israel. A place of Gentile ideas and hopes.
B. It was a place dedicated to pagan and idolatrous religions. It had been an unusually beautiful place that attracted people and was inhabited by several cultures through the ages: Canaanites, Israelites, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans. Each had brought their own ideas of religious practices and ideas: Ba’al, the enemy of Yahweh; idolatry of calf worship by Jeroboam; Zeus and Pan, mythological Greek gods, who taught ungodly interaction between humans and gods; Emperor worship of Caesar Augustus. A large cave was considered to be the “gateway to Hades,” place of the dead.
II. This was a major turning point in the ministry of Jesus: He began to teach them about His upcoming death and resurrection (Matt. 16:21); the transfiguration took place on Mount Hermon (Matt. 17:5); it was the perfect place to introduce the idea of “ekklesia”, ” an “anointed or called out assembly of His people to carry forth His ministry” Jesus’ church would carry forth His name and His purpose in opposition to all other assemblies of human religious cults, all vying for control of human destiny.
A. THE BASIC QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH. (vss. 13b-14)
B. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, other prophets: people who had offered the truth to people, even those who rejected it.
Modern translation: “Jesus was a good man, not afraid of those who hated Him, a righteous man who a great preacher and teacher. He was “in touch” with His spiritual guide and called others to be free from the vanities of life
Vvs. 15, “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” the most important question ever asked because the answer decides the eternity of the responder.
Peter: “You are the Messiah (Grk: Christ), the Son of the living God!” The response of Jesus:
1.) Peter has been given a great gift from God. His answer had not been given to him through human reasoning (who had ever thought of such a thing??). It came from the revelation of God alone.
2.) READ vss. 18, “You are petros ( a little rock), and on this petra (a big rock) I will build My church.”
Eph. 2:19, “members of God’s household, are built on the foundation of the prophets (Law?) and the Apostles (Peter, etc.,?), with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.” 1 Pet. 2: 5, “you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
C. In short, the true church is made up of human beings, men and women, who have been convicted and called by God to recognize Jesus Christ as the Anointed One, the One and Only Son of God, come down among us.
Vs. 18. “and the forces of Hades will not overpower [My church ].”