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Who are Christ's people?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Matthew 16:13 - 20

This wonderful passage from the gospel of Matthew reminds us that God's church is built upon the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is not simply a good man, a worthy role model. He is God, and this fact is what we are to build our lives upon.

The passage also teaches us that nothing will prevail against the church - those people who trust in the Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is a vital truth to keep in mind in a time when many people are rejecting God and turning against his people.

The church is made up of all those people, in any congregation, who trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour. They know that without him they would spend eternity in hell, and that solely due to his death and resurrection they can enjoy heaven with him forever. As a result, their lives reflect the holiness that he said would characterise his followers.

On my blog, I have several readers who believe that God has worked uniquely in one particular church. I cannot agree. I am familiar with the arguments, and have spoken to representatives of more than one church who believe this. I distinctly remember the time when a Russian Orthodox priest told me that I should not have the Bible because I am not a part of the church.

I have recently received many comments related to the history of the body of Christ, in this post and others, that claim that one church has the authority to give and to interpret Scripture. Some of these have been sent anonymously with no names attached. Although I did originally publish some of these, I have decided that from now on I will publish no anonymous comments that do not include a name within the comment - positive or negative.

If you want to know my perspective, I am happy to provide that. However, please accept that this blog is one that is based upon the Bible, and all answers will come from that foundation. If you believe that my answers are unacceptable, please feel free to let me know. I appreciate the opportunity to think through my faith. However, if I believe that your comments are a reiteration of prior comments that I have replied to, and simply indicate that you do not accept my attempts to answer, I will not publish the comments or reply to them. Please respect the fact that my time is limited.

Sherrin  – (November 22, 2007 at 8:27 PM)  

Just a quick note to say that those who would prefer to remain anonymous on the world wide web are perfectly free to email me. My address is readily available on my blog. Perhaps over email people would feel free to share a little about themselves, and I might feel like we were having a cozy fireside discussion. At the moment I'm inclined to feel like strangers are yelling at me from across the street.

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