Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Introduction:  The church of Jesus Christ is unlike anything this world has ever seen.  It is more than “going to church”, or something like that.  The church of Jesus Christ is a group of saved, scripturally baptized believers who have covenanted together to worship God. 

Church is not in a denominational name.  Many so called Baptists are not really Baptist, while there are probably churches that Jesus would accept as belonging to him, that would not be accepted by the leaders of so-called Independent Baptist churches.  It is more important to look at what a church believes than the name they have.  True churches will adhere to preaching the true gospel of Christ, practicing scriptural baptism, and holy worship.  Just because a church is large, and has a great following does not assure them that Christ accepts them.  It is more important that a church follows Christ, rather than many people following a certain church. 

A church is more than just where you attend.

1.       Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

2.       Proverbs 18:24 - A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

3.       Proverbs 27:10 - Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother‘s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

Today, many try to grow a church themselves, but Christ said he would build his own church.  Christ started building his church during his own personal ministry, and continues building his church today, as he is still the head of his church.  The church of Christ will follow their head, Jesus Christ, and he will grow them his way in his time. 

1.   Matt. 16:13-19 - Jesus is the foundation of His church.  He will build His church, the Holy Spirit will not do that.  Verse 18 records, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The church will be build upon the Rock of Ages, not Peter, who is a little stone, and not on the confession of Peter. 

2.   Matt. 4:18-22 - Here is the place Jesus began to call out his church (local assembly which followed him every day – just like we are supposed to do) during His personal ministry.  “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”  Why are the names of these men mentioned here?  Because Jesus wants us to associate these men with the founding of the first church.  Jesus wants us to remember the names of these men for future reference.  It is no accident their names are given, and that their names are repeated in direct relationship to the church Jesus organized during his personal ministry.

3.       Luke 6:12-17 - After Jesus prayed all night, he called his disciples unto him to the mountain top.  The disciples are followers of Christ.  Of those disciples He chose 12 whom he named apostles.  “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. 17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;”

a.       Now read the passage carefully, and you will notice some very important distinctions in the people that were present.

b.       Notice – some of the men mentioned in Luke 6 are the same men of Matthew 4.

1)      Simon called Peter.

2)      Andrew his brother.

3)      James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

c.       Verse 13-16 gives the names of the apostles.

d.       The 1st group – Verse 17 states that Jesus came down the mountain with the apostles and stood in the plain.

e.       The 2nd group – Then verse 17 mentions that the company of the disciples (these are disciples, not apostles) were with him,

f.        The 3rd group – Plus, verse 17, there was a great multitude of people (visitors – they are not called disciples or apostles) out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon.

g.       Isn’t this what we normally have today in all our church services?  (the leaders of the local church [pastor, deacons], the church members [these are what are called “lay people,” and visitors.)

4.   Note I Corinthians 12:28.  “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

b.       I Cor. 12:28 - The first official leaders God set in His church were the apostles.

c.       When did Christ set the apostles in the church?  In Luke 6:13-17 – after he had prayed all night, receiving instructions from his father about this very important event.

d.       It might be good right about here to note the qualifications of an apostle given to us in Acts 1:21-22:  “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.”

(1)    He must have accompanied Christ from the very beginning of His ministry.

(2)    He must be baptized with the baptism of John the Baptist. The names are given in verses 14-16. 

(3)    Acts 1:13 gives the names of the apostles (there were 11 of them at this time).  “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.”

(4)    Acts 1:14-16 tells us there were other church members present, who numbered about 120 people altogether.  “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”

(5)    Acts 1 takes place before the Day of Pentecost, and give us the same divisions of members as in Luke 6.  Of course there wasn’t any visitors present.

5.   These scriptures are either true or the whole Bible is a lie and we can’t believe any of it!