Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:13-18
One well known pastor said “The great confession of the church is summed up in “Jesus is Lord”. This is the confession that establishes the church. It’s not a group of people who come together for a motivational talk. It’s not people who are seeking help for their addictions, not people who feel somehow spiritual and mindlessly go through religious or quasi-religious ritual. It is an assembly of people who make the great confession, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God. The church is a gathering of people who not only know who Jesus is, but they know Him as their own Lord and Savior. This is the great Christian confession. It’s not that you believe in a religion. It’s not that you’re associated with some moral or ethical worldview. It is that you know Christ.”
Peter had a foundational, biblical and personal understanding of who Christ is. Every true church has a biblical understanding of who Christ is. It is foundational that Christ be preached biblically. Jesus is God, Lord, Savior and Redeemer. A proper understanding of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation.
The Church is also a gathering of true Christians wo believe that Scripture is true and authoritative and is to be preached. The great commission was given to the Apostles and also to everyone who believes Jesus is Lord and Savior. It seems the Gospel is not being preached everywhere as one poll by the Barna group showed that “A slight majority of people calling themselves Christians (55%) strongly agree that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches, with another 18% agreeing somewhat. About one out of five either disagree strongly (9%) or somewhat (13%) with this statement, and 5% aren’t sure what to believe.” A proper understanding of scripture is absolutely necessary for true Christians.
The poll also showed that most people calling themselves Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is God. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure. A proper understanding of the Trinity is absolutely necessary for salvation.
According to a Pew poll only 30 percent of U.S. Protestants believe in both faith alone and scripture alone. Another 35 percent believe in either “faith alone” or “scripture alone” but not the other. The remaining 36 percent believe in neither. Clearly there are churches out there that are all about making sinners feel good on their way to hell. Is the church you attend one that exalts Christ, is committed to scripture, centered on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, loving the sinner but humbly obedient to speak the truth that apart from repentance from sin and turning to Christ as Lord and Savior there is no hope of salvation.
Peter and the other apostles understood all this. John 6.67-68 says.
67 So Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave too?”
69 We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus Christ will ask everyone. “But who do you say that I am?”
Your eternal destiny depends on the answer.