In Matthew 16:18, Jesus makes the strong, clear, defining statement, “…I will build My church…” With these words, at least 3 foundational realities about the church are clarified:
1. The church is God’s idea, not men’s.
2. The church belongs to Jesus Christ, not men.
3. The church is built by Jesus Christ, not men.
These realities are profoundly significant concerning our understanding of and involvement in the church. Because the church is God’s idea and not men’s, then the purpose, priorities, and patterns of life in the church are defined by Him rather than any person or group of people. Thus, it is not for us to determine what the church should be, what it should do, and how it should function. Rather ours is to grow in our understanding of what God has revealed in the Bible, and live accordingly.
Because the church belongs to Jesus Christ and not men, the very reason for the existence of the church is God-centered rather than man-centered. We learn in passages like Eph. 3:8-10 and 1 Pet. 2:9,10 that the church exists for the display of God’s glory and the proclaiming of His excellencies.
Because the church is being built by Jesus Christ and not men, then He is the one who designs and supplies all that is necessary for the church’s growth and health. Scripture makes it clear that Jesus builds His church according to the counsel of God’s Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through His people whom He has gifted and equipped to be used by Him as ministers of His grace and truth. Ephesians 4:1-16 is one of numerous passages that clearly reveal God’s plan for church growth.
Thinking about all of these truths in the context of River City Grace, how wonderful it is to see Christ’s work as He is building His church among us and through us! Every single believer whom God has brought to share in the life of the body at RCG represents His active work in fulfilling what Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18. What a privilege, blessing, and responsibility to be a part of what God is doing for His glory!
One aspect of what Christ is doing in building His church among us is bringing Steve Meister to serve as our new Associate Pastor. As the church has grown in size, it has become increasingly necessary to have another full-time pastor on staff so as to more effectively shepherd God’s people at RCG We have been praying about this for a number of years, and in the Lord’s timing and way, we believe He has answered this prayer with Steve.
Over the next month or so, Steve and his wife, Jenn, will be relocating to the Sacramento area from Los Angeles (definitely a move UP!!). We anticipate Steve formally beginning his ministry as Associate Pastor in mid-January. Please keep the Meister’s in your prayers as they make this significant move, and as all of us share in this unique time of transition as Christ continues to build His church among us.
Please also keep in mind that as we share in what God is doing in building His church, it is inevitable that we’ll experience various growing pains along the way. Though purchased by His blood and indwelt by His Holy Spirit, we are still sinful people who are in an ongoing process of sanctification. And change never comes easily. But the very nature of God’s activity in building His church means that we’ll always be in a process of change, both individually and corporately. Thus it is imperative as we follow Him and seek to walk worthy of His calling in our lives, that we do so “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2,3)
What a joy to share in Christ’s building project with you!!