Building the Church Jesus’ Way

Until Jesus returns the church is a
construction site, not the finished project. 

Building Jesus’ Church by Confessing Christ

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build My church” and the last 2000 years of history clearly demonstrate Jesus’ powerful resolve and ability to build His church.  The context of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16 indicates that the church is built upon the rock of Christ and that Peter is a stone set in that grand structure which Jesus here possessively calls, “My church.” 

When writing in his 1st Epistle, Peter used this same metaphor of building stones to describe our relationship with Christ and to each other, saying,

Coming to Him [that is to Jesus] as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” (1Pe 2:4-6)

Both the Matthew 16 and 1 Peter 2 passages point to Christ as the Rock or chief cornerstone, while we are stones built on Christ.  It is a wonderful privilege of God’s amazing grace to be placed by the Master Builder into His spiritual house. So, how do we recognize if someone is a part of God’s spiritual house?  

 Look again at Jesus in Matthew 16 giving us an example to follow.  There Jesus pointed to Peter’s outward confession of his inward faith.  A faith given by the Lord (Mat 16:17) and outwardly professed was the criteria for identifying Peter as a living stone.  Peter was a stone that Jesus would use to build His church and his confession was simple, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mat. 16:16).  For some it may help to recall here that Jesus did not require Peter to be re-baptized upon profession of his faith, neither do we.  The baptism of our covenant children proceeds on the grounds of obedience to Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 and the example and instruction of Peter in Acts 2:38, 39 and the analogy of faith throughout the whole of Scripture. 

Our own profession of faith in Christ functions in the same way whether we are the children of believers or not.  Inwardly saving faith unites us to Christ, outwardly our profession of faith identifies us as appropriate building material for Jesus’ church.  If we have been baptized as children, we need not do so again.  If we have never been baptized and wish to confess Christ now, we must follow the Lord’s command (Mt 28:19).  But either way, it is neither right nor safe to build Jesus’ church with those who do not credibly[1] confess to Jesus, His church, and the world, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (Jn. 11:27).  Solo Christo!

[1] Communicant Membership is built upon a credible, believable, and trustworthy profession of faith in Christ.  Our church’s constitution tells us our profession of faith must be credible (RPCNA Directory for Church Government, 1.1).