by Jerry Vines

Christ and His Church
Jerry Vines
Matthew 16:18-20

Jesus is in an extended discourse with Simon Peter, who is destined to become the leader of His church on this earth. So in the verses before us the Lord Jesus discusses with Simon Peter the Christ, the church and the cross. These are three very vital matters of understanding for those of us who know the Lord Jesus as our Savior. In these three subjects the Lord Jesus is going to reveal the person of Christ, the plan of Christ and the passion of Jesus Christ.

For the first time in the gospel the word church is used.

You and I are familiar with the word church but this is the first time it is found in all of the Word of God, particularly in the New Testament. When you mention the word church today a variety of responses and emotions are found. There are some people who are antagonistic to the church, perhaps because of unpleasant experiences in the past or because they have seen only a caricature of what a church is intended to be. There are other people who are filled with misunderstanding when you talk about church.

There's a great deal of ignorance about what a church is intended to be, what the church is and what God-P atbsed on the earth when He established a church. I find along the way that there are very few people who really understand the church as it is taught in the Word of God. The Lord Jesus now sets before us the whole concept of the church which is very vital and important to us during the day in which we live. The word church was not an unfamiliar word to the apostles. It was a word that was in current usage at that particular time. Sometimes it is found in the Old Testament to refer to the gathering of the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. From time to time, they would gather together for religious purposes, so they were called the congregation in the wilderness - the assembly in the wilderness. Probably more familiarly, the disciples of Jesus would hear that word use ...

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