His Church: Matthew 16:16-20
“16) And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17) And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18) I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20) Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭17‬-‭20‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬
The Catholic Church holds that in this text Jesus was making Peter the first Pope. There are two problems with that viewpoint. First, the word “Pope” is not used in the text, nor anywhere in the Bible. Second, there is no clue of succession that Peter could pass on his position or authority to any successor after him. The whole notion is preposterous.
So what was Jesus saying? It seems that Jesus was referencing the answer that Peter gave; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus made it clear that it was His Father in heaven Who revealed this truth to Peter. It is the Father who draws every true believer to salvation. (John 6:44)
It was upon “this rock” that Jesus was going to build His Church. There is no need of succession because Jesus still holds His office over His church. He alone is head of His Church. (Colossians 1:18)
This brings up an important point; Jesus promised to build “His Church”, not “your” church, “my” church or any “denominational” church. Churches get in trouble when we take ownership. If Jesus is not head of the church, He does not obligate Himself to build it.
This is why so many “man made” and “man owned” churches are pitiful, powerless and plunged into shameful ruin. They are putrid and pathetic. Many become the antithesis of “His Church” and stand in opposition to Him and His clear teachings.
Jesus only bestows His glory and power on His church. He gives the keys of the kingdom of heaven to “His Church.” The fingerprints of “His church” are clear to discern. “His church” preaches the gospel, obeys His Word, moves in the power of the Holy Spirit, worships Him alone, and assaults the gates of hell. His church is made up of His sheep and is alive, powerful and victorious.
Dead, defeated and lifeless churches are everywhere. They display all kinds of names on the sign out front. How can you tell if it is a “man made” or “man controlled church” rather than “His church?” The following are telling signs.
If people are not coming to Jesus with dynamic conversions and being set free from sin and bondage… it is not “His church.” If people are not displaying the fruits of the Spirit or being empowered by the Holy Spirit… it is not “His church.” If worship is cold and mechanical… it is not “His church.” If Jesus Christ is not being lifted up and glorified… it is not “His Church.” If the Bible is not being held up as the final authority… it is not “His Church.” If the Holy Spirit is quenched and suppressed… it is not “His Church.” If unbiblical lifestyles and sinful living are being condoned or promoted… it is not “His church.” If there is no burden for the lost or passion for world missions… it is not “His church.” If prayer and worship are ignored or marginalized… it is not “His church.” The list goes on and on, but I think you are getting the idea.
Stop fooling yourself. If Jesus Christ is not Lord of the church it is either dead and in need of revival and awakening… or… it is not “His Church.” It is time to turn the reins of the church back over to Jesus… before it’s to late! As Jesus wrote to the churches in the book of Revelation… it’s time to repent and start seeking Jesus again. (Revelation 2-3) “His Church” of necessity reflects Him and Him alone.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global