Confession and Mission: On this Rock I will Build My Church
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus made a powerful confessional and missional statement, “On this rock I will build My Church.”
There are three important parts to this powerful declaration:
On this rock – Confession.
I will build – Builder.
My Church – Owner.
Peter answered the king of all questions posed to the 12 disciples in Caesarea Philippi, Who is Jesus? The answer we give to that question determines our identity. Peter unknowingly received a powerful revelation with the help of God’s grace. That confession — that answer Peter gave — didn’t come from flesh or blood. It is not something that comes from inside of us. It is not something that comes from our intellectual maturity. It is neither the product of our emotions nor our reason.
The true person and identity of Christ is what God reveals to us through his saving grace. The person of Jesus was revealed to Peter, and he confessed it in the presence of all of the apostles and in the presence of Jesus. Right away Jesus responded by saying, “This truth is not revealed to you by flesh and blood but by my Father from above.” That means it was not a rationalized philosophical human truth nor was it a religious traditional truth. It was a pure revelation given to human beings by God’s pure grace. It was a revelation that led to the great confession.
That great confession was what Peter declared in Matthew 16:16, “You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!” That is the heartbeat of the Christian confession. Whoever believes in Jesus as the anointed Messiah who came and died for our redemption and who believes and confesses that Jesus is the Son of the living God shall be saved. There is no salvation apart from that truth.
Based on this confession Jesus mentions the word church for the first time. “On this rock I will build my church.” That rock is Christ Jesus. He is the rock on which the church is built. He is the cornerstone and the foundation that is laid beneath the church.
The church of Jesus Christ is built and owned by Jesus himself. He said, “I will build,” which states in clear terms that he is the builder of the church. He also says “my church,” which tells us that he owns the church.
In simple terms the apostolic church is built, by Him, through Him and for Him. It is all about Jesus and not about us. Then one may ask one critical question, “What is our role in the mission of the church? What is that we are called to do?” The answer is simple: We are called and sent to make disciples of all nations.
Making disciples is our mission. Discipleship is done in the context of relationship.
Relationship with God – Love the Lord your God.
Relationship with Neighbor – You shall love your neighbor.
Relationship with Self – … as yourself.
In the Great Commandment, love is given as the key driver of Christian relationships. According to the Great Commandment given by Jesus there are three objects of this love. The first is God, next is our neighbor and finally ourselves. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the basis for all human relationships. Relationship with God is the basis of our redemption. Based on that redemption we are sent into the world to connect with people and share the saving gospel of Jesus.
Based on this we are traveling throughout North America offering regional discipleship and mission conferences.
Our goal is to train at least six people from every congregation and equip them to be congregational agents of transformation. In each conference we offer four major presentations:
1. Biblical foundations of Discipleship and House Churches
2. Planting House Churches — Processes and Best Practices.
3. Missional Hospitality — starting the congregational mission cycle, inviting, hosting and sending.
4. Be fruitful and multiply — congregational growth and multiplication.
Based on these four topics we aim to challenge, inspire, equip and encourage every ordained and lay disciple of Jesus throughout our church. What we are proposing is simple. There are many who are filled with fear when looking into their neighborhoods and into the trends of the times. They are overwhelmed by their circumstances just like the women who were going to the tomb of Jesus. “Who will roll away the stone for us?”
The cry of the 21st century church is, “Who will roll away the stones of unbelief, skepticism, revisionism, atheism and many of the other ‘isms’?” I have good news for you. The stone is rolled away. Have no fear and be of good courage. Jesus has gone ahead of you into the world. Our task and our mission is one — and only one — confessing our faith boldly as we live and move in and through this world. Based on our bold, zealous, joyful and open confession, He who is the builder and the owner of the church will build His own church. Now let us gather in our congregations, in our house churches and in our regional conferences and confess Jesus as our Lord and our Savior.
*Originally published in the NALC’s Newsletter – March 2013