Jesus is the Head of His body; the church (assembly of believers). In Matthew 16, Jesus gave the promise and the blueprint of His church to His disciples. Jesus made clear, on what foundation His church would be build and what kind of authority His church would have upon this earth. In this blogpost I would like to discuss the foundation of the church. In the next blogposts I will discuss ‘the gates of hell’, ‘the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘binding and loosing’.
The foundation of the church
Jesus saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Mat 16:15-19)
Jesus asked His disciples, whom they thought He was? Simon Peter answered and said: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”
Jesus said to Peter (son of Jona), that he was blessed, because flesh and blood had not revealed it to him, but His Father, Who is in heaven. Because Jesus said in Matthew 11:25: I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
“On this rock, I will build My church”
Just like Peter testified about who Jesus was, Jesus testified who Peter was, and that He would build His church on this rock. Which means that Jesus would build His church on the testimony of Peter: that Jesus is the Christ; the Son of the living God.
Jesus wouldn’t build His church upon the wisdom and knowledge of learned man; Pharisees and Sadducees. He didn’t build His church upon the priests and high priest. But Jesus would build His church on the testimony of a fisherman.
Jesus promised Peter; the fisherman, that He would build His church on his testimony.
This promise, which Jesus gave to Peter, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost the loyal 120 disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, were baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:2-4)
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit came at the right time. Because at that time Jewish man from all countries were assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot. These devout men heard the disciples speaking in their own languages, about the wonderful works of God. They were amazed, but also in doubt, because they didn’t know what to think about it. Some even mocked the behaviour of the disciples, by saying that they had drunk too much wine.
The testimony of Peter to the Jews
But then it happened, that the promise of Jesus was being fulfilled. Peter, who was ashamed of Jesus before, and denied Him 3 times when he was the old creation, had become a new creation through the baptism with the Holy Spirit and that became immediately visible.
Peter testified about the fulfilment of the promise, that God gave to the prophet Joel. Peter witnessed of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. He testified about His walk, crucifixion, resurrection and how He had been exalted by the right hand of God, having received of the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit, He had shed forth, as they saw and heard. He spoke to the Jewish men, how God had made the same Jesus, Whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ.
On the testimony of Peter and by the power of the Holy Spirit, they were pricked in their hearts. They asked Peter and the rest of the disciples, what they had to do. Peter answered them: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2: 37-38)
The testimony of Peter to the gentiles
Peter was also the first apostle, who received a revelation of God, that salvation was also meant for the gentiles; those who didn’t belong in the flesh to the Jewish people. Through this revelation of God and in obedience to the Holy Spirit, Peter was instructed to go, to the house of Cornelius. Now, Cornelius was a gentile and not a jew.
While Peter testified about Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Holy Spirit fell on them. They began to speak in tongues, and glorified God. While Peter saw that the Holy Spirit fell upon the gentiles, he didn’t see a reason to not baptise them in water. Therefore he baptised them in the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 11). On that day, God also granted repentance unto life to the gentiles.
Peter was the first apostle, who testified of the new covenant in Jesus Christ and opened the door for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was the first one, who testified to the Jews and then to the gentiles.
This was the testimony, and this is still the testimony on which Jesus Christ builds His church. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of His church, and as long as we stay His witness and stay loyal to Him and His words, He shall remain the Cornerstone of His church.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner stone; In Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22)
The testimony of Jesus the Christ
The church is built upon the foundation of the testimony, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Only on this testimony, shall Jesus build His church. Jesus still builds His church on this testimony, which means that He doesn’t build His church on theology and the wisdom and knowledge of man (science). A church; the assembly of believers, can possess a lot of head knowledge of the Bible, but be spiritually ignorant and death.
The Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom and cannot be seen with the natural eye. Let alone that the old carnal man, who is being led by his senses, emotions, feelings, thoughts, intellect etc. can preach the Kingdom of God and bring the Kingdom of God on this earth. Theologians and leaders of a church can have a great (scientific) knowledge of the Bible and may speak wonderful enticing words, but on this foundation you will not be able to build a church, who is spiritually alive and victorious.
Only Jesus Christ is the Builder of His church and He uses people, who believe in Him, and are prepared to lay down their own life and daily pick up their cross and follow Jesus. He uses people, who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who represent Jesus; the Word in their lives and be His witnesses till the end.
‘Be the salt of the earth’