“THE CHURCH” – BUILDINGS OR PEOPLE? MATTHEW 16:18 KJV
Matthew 16:18 KJV
“And I (Jesus Christ) say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
If you read and study your Bible carefully, from the book of Genesis to the book Revelation, you will discover that this is the first time the word “church” appeared from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ. He (our Lord Jesus Christ) is the first person to mention church in the Bible.
Christians always refer to buildings that accommodate church services as “the church”. And the reason why when they are going to the building structure, they say, “We are going to church”. This is wrong.
The building structure is just a meeting point or place to assemble together for the fellowship since the word of God commanded us not to forsake the assembly of the brethren but that building structure is not the church – Hebrews 10:25 KJV “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…”
Let us carefully look at Matthew 16:18 KJV “And I (Jesus Christ) say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The Lord Jesus Christ said He would build His church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Question (1): Is it building or Christian believers that the Lord Jesus Christ being referred to here?
Question (2): Is it building or Christian believers that the Lord Jesus Christ being referred to as the gates of hell shall not prevail against it?
Answer to the above two questions: The Lord Jesus Christ is referring to the Christian believers only. It is never the church buildings!!!
The gates of hell have nothing to do with the church buildings but against the Christian believers.
The church the Lord Jesus Christ is referring to is the body of Christ. That is, the body of Christ is the church.
The church is the bride of Jesus; it is never the church buildings. The bride of Jesus Christ means Christian believers that He died for – Ephesians 5:23-25, 27 KJV “….Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body…..the church is subject unto Christ….Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish…”
From the above quote, the Lord Jesus Christ loved and died for the church, that is, He died and loved the church, the Christian believers – not the buildings. He is the savior of the church (not the buildings).
The Lord Jesus is the bridegroom (human personality – Living thing) of the church ( not the buildings – non-living thing) while the church itself is the bride ( human being – not the building structure) –Ephesians 5:29-30, 32 KJV “…nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we (the Christian believers) are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The Scripture teaches that His people (Christian believers) are the church and that each believer makes up the temple of the Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 3:16 -17, 23 KJV “Know ….ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you….for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are… And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” The building structure is never Christ’s!
The erroneous mindset of the average Christians is that the temple of God is the building – and the building is the church in contrary to what the word of God teaches. God does not live inside any building structure built with hands but He lives inside every genuinely born Christian.
God is not in buildings but in the lives of His people, the church.
God is not in any mountain, any camp, any special building; God is not dwelling in any place but God dwells in the life of every genuinely born again Christian – the Holy Spirit lives inside every genuine believer – He resides in the body of every true believer. Every genuinely born again Christian is a carrier of the Holy Spirit; that is, a carrier of God : John 4:21 KJV “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”
The true worshippers are the true individual Christian believers (the church) who have the Holy Spirit resident inside them individually to worship God in spirit and truth – John 4: 23 – 24 KJV “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
When the rapture takes place, all building projects on earth will die naturally and will be consumed in fire: 2 Peter 3:10 KJV “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” This Scripture is telling us all the genuinely born again Christians that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back for the people (the church), not for the buildings – it is people (His church) that the Lord Jesus is coming back for not a structure with a roof and walls. It is people (the church) that He will take back with Him to Heaven at rapture.
The Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the church (the true Christian believers) instead of the building. Why? This is because God does not dwell in the building (temple) built or made with hands; God lives inside human being: Acts 7:47, Acts 17:24, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6: 19 and 2 Corinthians 6:16 (biblehub.com) “But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet…. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands……. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?…..What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?…..And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Nigerian Church is making what God called secondary primary – what God called minor major as the building is secondary and minor while human beings (people, the church) are primary and major in the sight of God – Acts 17:24 KJV “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;” God is highly interested in the individual hearts of the people – and NOT the buildings.
Building is good but the church (the heart of individual Christians) is the best and excellent!
Building is good and secondary but the church (the heart of individual Christians)is primary (most important), the best and excellent!
God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit dwell in human beings not in buildings – John 14:17,23 and 2 Timothy 1:14 “Even the Spirit of truth (The Holy Spirit); whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him (The Holy Spirit) not, neither knoweth him (The Holy Spirit): but ye know him (The Holy Spirit): for he (The Holy Spirit) dwelleth with you (human being), and shall be in you (human being)…… Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me (Jesus), he will keep my words: and my Father (God) will love him, and we (God and Jesus) will come unto him (human being), and make our abode with him (human being)……. the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”
We need to have the scriptural understanding and change our mindset with our language to agree with the scriptural reality that the building or cathedral we meet in is not the church but merely houses for the church (the body of Christ) to meet or assemble fot corporate worship, biblical instruction/teaching, the Holy Communion, etc.
The kingdom of God on earth is spiritual which is translated to mean the church (the body of Christ) – the genuinely born again Christians worldwide – and it is never the building structure which is physical.
The church is made up of two (2) or three (3) true Christian believers gathered together in the Name of Jesus Christ – Matthew 18: 20 KJV “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
From the above quote (Matthew 18: 20), the spiritual requirement is gathering, meeting, assembly, congregation of 2 or 3 true Christian believers together in the Name of Jesus to form the church – and not the building.
Every true Christian believer is a spiritual house – 1 Peter 2:5 KJV “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
To study in detail for a better and deeper understanding, read for free this rich and Holy Spirit filled publication at KDP AMAZON, my book : “Pastor’s Little Foxes: The Secrets Of Pastor’s Little Foxes In The Vineyard”
Note: Proverbs 23:23 NKJV “Buy the truth, and do not sell it…”
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