A Strong Fortress

The Church, A Mighty Force for a Mighty God

Matthew 16:13-18


A confused and divided world must see a strong and unified church.

Listen to Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

What is the Rock?

  1. 18 On this rock (epi tautēi tēi petrāi) Rock- Petros.

This is a highly contested statement in which the Roman Catholics believe that this passage refers to Peter as the first Pope. 

My opinion is the rock is the message of the gospel, the Word of God! Why do I hold to this and not to Peter being the first Pope. First I use the context. Jesus is asking the disciples who He is. The answer was revealed by supernatural means. What is Jesus praising Peter for? He’s praising him for his faith in Christ! The message, the confession, the rock of strength for a lost world. I believe Matthew 7:24 displays this: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” What is the rock in this context? It’s the message, the Word of God! It’s the truth of the gospel.

The Fortress will Stand for the Message v.18 “…on this rock…” v.18

“Church history has repeatedly and clearly proven one thing: once the highest view of Scripture is abandoned by any theologian, group, denomination, or church, the downhill slide in both its theology and practice is inevitable.” Dr. James White

2 Timothy 4:1-4 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”


I will build my church (oikodomēsō mou tēn ekklēsian)

Build- To strengthen, construct. Matthew 7:24 would be a great illustration of building upon the foundation of the message of Christ. Listen to being built on a personal, individual level. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” and 1 Peter 2:5 “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Fortress will Strive Towards Maturity “I will build my church…” v.18


I will build my church (oikodomēsō mou tēn ekklēsian)

Church- ekklēsian in the New Testament this word is usually of a local organization, but sometimes in a more general sense. What is the sense here in which Jesus uses it? The word originally meant “assembly” like in Act 9:39, but it came to be applied to a large broad assembly as in Act 8:3

The Fortress will Strengthen as we Meet  “I will build my church…” v.18 The writer of Hebrews would reiterate this in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (pulai hāidou ou katischusousin autēs)

The Fortress will Survive During the Moment of Death “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” v.18

I want you to see an Old Testament picture here of hades, or gates of death. Its described this way in (Job 38:17; Ps 9:13; 107:18) Death will not overpower the church. Politics are important, but they don’t raise the dead! The only one who raises the dead is Christ! The grave is not final. Everyone will experience eternity, heaven or hell, smoking or non-smoking. 1 Cor. 15:55-56 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”

As the fortress we will stand for the message of God, we will strive towards maturity for God, we will strengthen as we meet, and we will survive during the moment of death!