founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.
The word church or churches is found in the New Testament over
100 times, and always it retains its primary and simple meaning—a
public assembly or congregation. The majority of times the word
church is used, its reference is unmistakably to a local congregation or
assembly, in keeping with the primary and simple meaning of the term.
The remaining instances refer to churches in general (Matt. 16:18; Eph.
1:22; 3:10, 21; 5:23,24, 25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 12:23). For
example, if a pastor announces that he will begin a series of messages on
“The Home,” he is not referring to a particular home but to all homes
in general. When Paul announced that “Christ loved the church and gave
himself for it,” (Eph. 5:25), he meant not only the church at Ephesus, but
all true, Bible-based churches that have ever existed or would ever exist.
IT IS A DIVINE INSTITUTION
It was born in the heart of God, not in the mind of man (2 Cor.
1:1; 1 Tim. 3:15). Scripture writers refer to “the churches of God” or
the “churches of Christ” (1 Thess. 2:14; Rom. 16:16). Such expressions
denote not only the divine origin of the church, but that every Bible-
based church looks to God as its source of authority.
The church is ﬁrst mentioned by our Lord in Matthew 16:18. In
response to Peter’s confession that Christ was “the Son of the living God,”
Jesus stated that it would be on “this rock” He would build His church.
This revelation had been hidden from previous generations, but was
now made known to Peter and the rest of the disciples.
The statement was not meant to imply that Peter would be the rock
on which the church would be built, as Roman Catholic’s contend.
When Jesus addressed Peter, He used the Greek word Petros for Peter’s
name. It means a speciﬁc stone or rock. When Jesus added, “On this
rock I will build my church,” He used another Greek word for rock—
petra, which mean a rocky crag or bedrock. Jesus did not say, “On you,
Peter (Petros), and on your successors, I will build my church.” Instead,
it would be built “on this rock (petra)”—the divine revelation given to
Peter, his confession that Jesus Christ was “the Son of the living God”
(16:16). In other words, every Bible-based church would be built on
Jesus Christ, not on any human being. The apostle Paul declared that no
one can ever lay any other foundation than the one already laid, which is
Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).