Read Matthew 16:15-20
15 ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’
17 Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Jesus was a builder. A Tekton. He built stuff. When He talks about building a church, what did he have in mind?
The word Jesus uses for church is Ekklesia – meaning a people called out, a gathering or a congregation. A gathering of people who are part of a movement. Part of what God is doing to change everything. People who will join with Him in the renewal of all things. Who will be outposts of the Kingdom: A gathering of people for a specific purpose. A Kingdom Community
Ekklesia was never a building or a place but a gathering of people for a reason, a purpose. People united by a common identity and purpose.
When Constantine in Ad313 made Christianity fashionable. It became the state religion. Christian worship became formal and hierachical. The priests were now in charge and the congregation became spectators. The Ekklesia soon stopped being a movement and settled in particular locations. Church became a place, a location, a building. The Romans called these buildings basilicas, goths called them Kirika, which became “die kirche” in modern german, which became church in english.
So when we read that Jesus will build his church, we should read that he would build a purposeful gathering of people not a building. The purpose of any church is to make disciples. To live life as God intended it to be lived.
So do you belong to an Ekklsia – a gathering of people with a mission and purpose or do you simply go to church?
Our vocation as ‘church’ is to be agents of God’s Kingdom bringing restoration to the world, assaulting and removing evil wherever we find it.What is your role in this? Or are you leaving it to others?
Today, pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done” and then look for ways to be bring the Kingdom, and do ‘God’s Will’ in the world around you.