I Will Build My Church
Speaking to the apostle Peter prior to His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ, said “I will build my church.” The church our Lord Jesus spoke of is still under construction with ongoing repairs. Most of what the current church commonly looks like is quite different from what we see in the Bible as depicted in the Book of Acts and other New Testament examples. The portrayal of the existing church today as an example of His building and “My church”, has certainly been questionable. Various believers of the past, such as Luther, Calvin and Knox are referred to as “Reformers.” They focused on needed reformation of what was portrayed as Bible truth. Luther caught a misplaced truth, “The just shall live by faith,” which he then preached from his changed life. Since then many famous ministers such as the Wesley brothers and others crossed North America and the world with the message that a person must be “born again” to receive salvation. They understood what our Lord Jesus said, that unless one is born of the Spirit, they will not see, (receive understanding of) and cannot enter the Kingdom of God. They as the apostle Paul taught, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13) Many "Evangelical" reformers of the 18th and 19th centuries correctly taught that relying on religious rites or membership affiliation does not make one a Christian bound for heaven with sins forgiven.
This building of Christ’s church is still in progress today. Not all that is commonly named “the church” is of Christ’s building. When the word “church” is mentioned, it evokes many different thoughts to many people. Some immediately think of a building with steeples. Others think of their family root affiliation to some church following, whether headed up by a Pope or a pastor. Some cult groups even claim to be a church, while denying the Lordship of Christ.
Based on numerous scriptures, the church which our Lord Jesus spoke of building, are a specific people, born of the Spirit and having a specified Biblical ministry government and structure. These people are “the temple of God” although they may meet in a consecrated building for fellowship purposes. These believers are biblically referred to as a royal priesthood and sons and daughters of the living God. (1Peter 2:9, 2Corinthians 6:18, John 1:12, 3:3, 15:15) Peter calls these believers “lively stones” built into a “spiritual house,” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1Peter 2:5)
This spiritual house has a Christ intended appointed and called ministry government. This government is mostly denied, ignored and rejected by most traditional denominations. This government is being focused on today by the many believers, believing in what we term, “fivefold ministry.” This term “fivefold” is chosen because it depicts and recognizes the five differing Christ appointed ministries which lead in the Christ intended church government, 8 Wherefore he says, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:8, 11)
The Christ ordered government authority structure for the church that Our Lord builds is clearly set out. Paul taught this in 1 Corinthians 12:18, 28, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” There is no scriptural teaching or directive stating Christ Jesus has changed this intended setting. Many denominations and church works deny this truth with no supporting scriptural, textual reason for doing so.
Those who desire to see the church become all that our Lord Jesus intended, are believing and fighting for this very glorious reality. These believers in humility bow before God's Word and Christ's Lordship repenting from any place where we have erroneously denied this by our unbelief and traditions. May His Kingdom come and will be done, as we submit and join with Him and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to see this church arise. This church was overseen by clearly identified apostles and prophets who are given their place, operating in a right spirit. Teachers were honored and had their respected place along with evangelists and pastors.
All of these churches were in order having a plurality eldership who both oversaw the work and all fed the people spiritual truths, (Acts 20:17, 28) “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
These believers were capable of discerning the callings of the differing ministries, (Revelation 2:2) “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."
These believers were expected to have a higher knowledge and ministry ability than what we expect today, (Hebrews 5:12, 6:1) “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat”. 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
These believers as well as the elders were respected in decisions as to doctrinal truths, (Acts 15:23),“And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord.”
These believers were looked to with an expectation that they would all be capable from time to time, to contribute to the spiritual ministry in the church body gatherings, (1Corinthians 14:26) “How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”
Deacons were ordained to administer the “storehouse tithes" offerings, ministering to the needy. (Malachi 3:10, Acts 6:3)
Why should we have a different church and believer ministry today? Our Lord wrote via holy men of old declaring what He expected. Can we accept less? We must ask the question of what does it take to get to this renewed transformation so that we again will see the realities portrayed in the Book of Acts and elsewhere. The New Testament is our holy example. As Moses was faithful, may we also see with eyes of faith and pursue the building of the one who said, “I will build my church,” (Hebrews 8:5) “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, says he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” When we build according to the pattern shown us in holy writ, then the gates of hell will not prevail against the church and the church will greatly overcome the devil’s power and strongholds. May it be!