By Clifton Angel
The word ekklesia is first found in the New Testament first in Matthew 16:18. It is most often translated as "church," "assembly," or "congregation." It is used to refer to variety of assemblies (even Israel in the wilderness, cf. Acts 7:38); however, when it is referring to the church that Jesus built, it becomes much more specific. If you will, read Matthew 16:13–19, and let us consider some details revealed.
The ekklesia (church) of Christ belongs to Jesus. He said, "I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). A man in Coldwater once asked me, "Why do you call yourselves the church of Christ?" In short, I noted we belong to Christ. Our name shows His possession of us. We are His church. This is how Jesus would have it.
The ekklesia of Christ is built upon Jesus. He had asked His apostles, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter responded, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:15–16). Jesus noted that Peter's knowledge of this was revealed by God, not man. He continued by giving Peter his most popular name: Peter. His name was actually Simon from birth, but Jesus gave him this name that means "small stone." Jesus followed this with, "Upon this rock, I will build my church." (Matthew 16:18). Many say that "this rock" points back to Peter's new name. Rather, it points back to Peter's confession of the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. The word Jesus used for "this rock" is a very large rock, a bedrock, a foundation. This also coincides with the fact that He is the chief cornerstone, which gives the pattern and foundation for every other stone of the building (1 Peter 2:5–7; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11).
The ekklesia of Christ is built by Jesus. He said, "I will build" (Matthew 16:18). He builds His church by adding to it those who are saved (Acts 2:47). Those who are saved are those who believe and obey (Mark 16:16; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 11:6). Those who make up the church are "small stones" (e.g., Peter, Matthew 16:18) compared to Jesus, yet "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5) because of Jesus.Are you a "living stone" following the pattern of the "chief cornerstone," Jesus? Has He added you to His church because you believe and obey?