Matthew 16:15-18 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

What is the church, and how is it built? The church is God at work - calling, gathering, enlightening, sanctifying and keeping. Because the church is God at work – the gates of Hell will not prevail against it – because God is stronger – God has already conquered the devil, and all the powers of Hell. How do we know? Because God has chosen to reveal this to us. God has revealed that the foundation of the Church is Christ. God has revealed that the Christ has come. God has revealed that Jesus is the Christ – and we have seen this in word and in mighty deeds (or miracles).

But it is one thing to say that Jesus is the Christ – and it is another thing to understand what it means. Jesus is his name – we know it means God saves. Christ is his title – it is what he does – we know it means "anointed" – we know that it means the same as Messiah. But just who is the Christ – knowing this will help us to understand not only the way of salvation – but also how it is that God has planned to build and preserve the church. Count how many ways the Christ is described, and let us consider what they mean to us.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (child)

Deuteronomy 18:15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren -- him you shall heed – (listen)

Isaiah 53:3-5 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . . . Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed… (suffer)

Isaiah 53:12 . . . he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (die)
Isaiah 59:20 "And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD. (redeemer)

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass (comes to us)

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (crush Satan)

The scriptures reveal to us who the Christ is, and what He has done to bring us the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. The scriptures reveal how God is working to call and gather all people into his everlasting Kingdom. The scriptures reveal how in Christ, God is providing for all our wants, and helps in time of trouble. And the church is built, as we, having heard the word of God, having received forgiveness of our sins, remind one another – and tell all we meet – of this Christ, who is come – and who has done such great things for us.

We may not be perfect – sometimes we are afraid, sometimes we make mistakes – but God has chosen to use us, as the voices that tell the good news of who Christ is. God chose us, the least of all people, so that others might say – if God could do this for them – surely God can also help us. God chose us sinners, so that in the forgiveness that comes in Christ, he might call all. But the best thing is that we don’t build the church, we don’t preserve the church – rather God builds and God preserves the Church, and nothing can beat our God.