Jesus said, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18 NLT)
The church is the joyful company of all those who have been redeemed and brought into right relationship with God. Jesus declared that He was going to build a new community known as the church. Jesus did not use the more common expression of a “congregation” or a “synagogue” to describe His new community, but the word “church.” The word in the Greek is the word for being called to a public assembly. It simultaneously reminds us that we have been called out of a life of sin into a new community, and also that this community is a public assembly designed for men, women, and children alike who have been baptized and brought into this new redeemed life. It is not, like the earlier word, limited to Jews, but is now open to the whole human race, Jew and Gentile. It is a community of prayer, of teaching, of training, of discipline, and it is the place where we dwell in the presence of God and commune with Him at the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. We are not merely saved as individuals but we are saved as a people.
-- Timothy C. Tennent