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Devotion: The Promise of the Church

The Promise of the Church

November 6th, 2018 | Matthew 16:17-27

Valley Chapel waited 12 long years to erect their church building. Because they were a small congregation, the building plan was a modest one. The church was built on a slab of cement. Its walls were constructed in a factory. But when the first wall was raised, the watching members cheered.

The church that Jesus promised to build is not one of brick or cement. It is made of “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5). All those who are joined to Jesus Christ by confessing Him as their Lord and Savior are also joined to one another.

In today’s text we read Christ’s promise to build the church. Scholars differ over the significance of the phrase “on this rock” in verse 18. Some think it refers to Peter, others to Christ, and still others believe it points to Peter’s confession of faith. The obvious play on words with Peter’s name (the Greek name Petros means rock or stone) seems to link the statement with Peter. In saying this Jesus seems to be pointing to Peter’s character as a disciple. He was the first to confess that Jesus was the Christ. The church will be made up of all those who confess Christ as their Savior.

Hades was a term used to speak of the abode of the dead. Christ’s promise that the church will overcome the gates of Hades points to the power of its message. The church is not a religious club but an army with the power to liberate others from the power of hell and death through the proclamation of the gospel. Jesus promised to give the church “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” and the authority to “bind” and “loose” (v. 19). Through the gospel, the church frees from the guilt of sin those who respond to its message with faith.


Jesus promised ultimate victory to the church. He will build it and it will not be overcome. Since Jesus first made this promise, the church has had its ups and downs. Many times it has not been as faithful to its calling as it should be. But Jesus is not finished yet. The church may be opposed but it will never be overpowered.


Christian Pakistani woman Asia Bibi remains on death row for blasphemy after she offered a cup of water to fellow workers in a field on a hot day. Please continue to pray with us for Asia and her family and, ultimately, for her release.

Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries

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