Jesus Said, I Will Build

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God, said,

“I will build my church”

New JerusalemThis building work is not in the material realm. Rather, it is to produce “a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). Matthew 16 is the context of Jesus’ word about building. There are many factors here which indicate that the building of the church is spiritual, not physical. Consider:

We must be men of faith, taking the Lord’s word as our bread and being watchful not to take impure teaching, which is leaven (v. 5-12).
Peter received a heavenly revelation from the Father (v. 16-17).
There is spiritual warfare around the building work (v. 18).
Prayer is necessary (v. 19).
The Lord must pass through death and enter into resurrection (v. 21).
We need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord (v. 24).
We need to lose our soul life (v. 25-26).

Jesus said, “I will build.” He alone did the initial work by His ministry recorded in the gospels and by His death and resurrection. Now He builds the church, which is His Body (Ephesians 1:22-23), by working through all His members. Since the building of the church is spiritual rather than physical we should realize that its successor and magnification, New Jerusalem, is also spiritual rather than physical.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry.

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  1. The three major New Testament lists of the gifts are all introduced by a description of the unity and diversity in the body of Christ. Paul’s metaphor for the church could not be more appropriate, because both the universal church (all believers) and the local church (geographically localized groups of believers) are unities which are built out of diverse elements. All believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Christ is the head, the ruler of the body (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:18), and believers are the individual members or components. In this analogy, each Christian has been given a special function to perform and the ability to fulfill it in a way that will benefit the other members. There is quantitative and qualitative growth when believers discover and actively use their spiritual gifts. Each part of the body depends on the rest for its well-being, and there are no useless organs. This is why edification through teaching and fellowship is so necessary in the local church. The biblical concept of koinonia or fellowship communicates the fact that isolation leads to atrophy. Just as no organ can function independently of the others, so no Christian can enjoy spiritual vitality in a relational vacuum. The Spirit has sovereignly distributed spiritual gifts to every member of the body, and no single member possesses all the gifts. Thus, growth does not take place apart from mutual ministry and dependence.

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