Matthew 16:13-28 – I Will Build My Church

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

We find in this text the first reference to the church in the New Testament.  It comes to us directly from the lips of Jesus.  The church was not something that mankind dreamed up after the ascension of Christ.  Rather, the church was God’s idea.  It was something that Jesus said, “He would build.”  The word used for church is “ekklesia” and it was not a new word that Jesus coined.  It already had meaning and it was precisely this meaning that caused Jesus to use it in reference to His New Testament people.  The word was used for town hall and other important meetings where people gathered together for a specific purpose.  This is exactly why God’s people gather together today as His church.  We come together to lift up and glorify Jesus Christ.  We assemble to echo the proclamation of the apostle Peter that, “Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Obviously Satan hates our gathering and proclamation and stops at nothing to destroy us.  However, for 2000 years his efforts have been thwarted and will continue to be thwarted until Jesus returns for His gathered people.  The gates of hell will never prevail against the will and plan of God.  He wants His church.  He is building His church.  No power can stand against His church.  We should be incredibly thankful to be a part of what Jesus Christ is doing in this world.  Praise God we are members of His church!

 

OUR BEST LIFE NOW

Jesus begins to illuminate His disciples of the future suffering He will endure.  The cross is coming.  It is at this time that Peter takes Jesus aside and tries to pastor Him.  Let us learn this lesson from Peter.  We never pastor Jesus… we simply follow Him and do what He says!  There  will never be a time when Jesus needs to hear our advice to Him.  Instead, we should always have our ears open to everything that Jesus says.  We need Him and it’s never the other way around.   Peter doesn’t take Jesus aside because he is a false teacher.  Peter loves Jesus and believes that Jesus is the Christ.  His intentions are good, but he is ignorant of God’s plan to save sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Peter takes Jesus aside and says, “hey, I’ve been reading this book about having your best life now.  Surely you don’t need to suffer.  Let’s think more positive thoughts and claim some of God’s promises and avoid the suffering.”  Again, his intentions are good, but he misses the purpose of the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).  The words and encouragement of the apostle Peter are actually satanic, which is why Jesus has no trouble calling Peter Satan.  Satan has a major influence over this world and all humanity.  Like Peter, we need to grow in our study of God’s Word so we can identify what is God’s will and what is satanic thought.

 

THE CROSS OF THE DISCIPLE

Jesus carried His cross.  He warned that those who followed Him would have to do the same.  There is a cost to discipleship.  Salvation is a free gift, but to follow Jesus will cost you your life.  One thing that Jesus makes very clear is that He doesn’t see the world the same as everyone else.  When Christ speaks, His words are usually completely opposite of what humanity normally sees.  We see in terms of building our lives, earning more money, and making ourselves more valuable.  This is how we get ahead in this world.  Jesus says, “if you want to gain your life you have to lose it.”  Jesus says, “you want to be great, then you have to serve” (Matthew 20:26).  To follow Jesus is to deny yourself.  To follow Jesus is to do away with all your natural instincts of self-preservation.  To follow Jesus is to trade all of your dreams for His desires.  To follow Jesus will cost you everything.  It is only in this trade-off that true life and greatness can be realized.  The world will never adopt Christianity because it is full of itself.  Only Christ can remedy our passions and set our compass for true reality.  Those who lose truly do gain!

 

Study Questions

  1. Why is the gathering together of God’s people for the purpose of lifting up Jesus as the Messiah so important?
  2. Think about the conversation between Peter and Jesus.  Peter wanted a better life for Jesus than what Jesus said was going to happen.  Why was this satanic?
  3. Discuss how it’s possible to gain life through losing it?  For those who have never experienced this principle in life, discuss some action steps for losing your life over the next 30 days.
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