He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.Matthew 16:15-18 ESV
The “Church” is that group of people who know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He is building His Church upon that rock of revelation: Jesus is Lord. I find it instructive that in this first use of the word church in the New Testament, Jesus chose to emphasize the authority of His church over the powers of darkness. No matter what’s going on in the world around us, hell will not prevail. The first use of a word is always important in understanding it’s meaning throughout the Scripture. Here we find that, from the beginning, we win!
The Greek word for church, ekklēsia, refers to a group that is called apart for a particular purpose. It is also translated as a meeting or an assembly. The idea of gathering together is inherent in the word “church.” Jesus said He is building His church, the people He is calling out and assembling together, to exercise corporate authority over the powers of darkness. Remember the admonition in Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together?” I hear folks say all the time, “We need to be the church, not just go to church.” Please understand, you can go to church without “being” the church, but you can’t “be the church,” without being part of the assembly. Assembling is who we are, and it multiplies our ability to exercise dominion over darkness. Let’s do this!