The Foundation of the Church

MEMORY VERSE: “I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” —Isaiah 28:16


PAUL’S Epistle to the Ephesians is designed, in part at least, to promote the spirit of brotherly unity between the Jewish converts to Jesus, and the Gentile converts. To the Gentile converts he wrote, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”—Eph. 2:11-14

Our lesson opens with a continuance of this theme: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Here Paul presents the thought of citizenship, and also of household—the household of God being the family of God of the present age—and the security of citizenship in the kingdom hope which this gives to all the dedicated followers of the Master.

Then the apostle goes on to the idea of a building to illustrate the unity of the church, and explains that this building is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit”

The temple in ancient Israel was the meeting place between God and his people, and throughout the present age a symbolic temple is being built, with his people the living stones. This glorious temple will be the future channel of blessing to the whole world of mankind. Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone in this temple—according to our memory verse, “a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” Yes, Jesus was tried, and proved worthy of this honored position in the temple in which the Lord’s own people are the living stones.

MATTHEW 16:13-20

Jesus was interested to know to what extent the people of Israel had comprehended the significance of his ministry, so he asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” They answered, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” In a sense this was a good report, for it indicated that the general public had been impressed by Jesus’ ministry, and believed that he had been sent of God.

Then Jesus asked, “But whom say ye that I am? To this question Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To this Jesus replied “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”

The Greek word here translated Peter suggests a small stone, or pebble. But when Jesus said that his church would be built upon “this rock” the word in the Greek denotes a great boulder.

Divine power, operating through Christ and his church will, when the church is completed, unlock the gates of hell and set free all the prisoners of death.

Peter used the two principal keys to the kingdom of heaven when, at Pentecost, he opened up kingdom hopes to the assembled Jews, and later when he was again used by the Lord to take the Gospel to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert.


What is one of the main lessons emphasized in the Book of Ephesians?

What is the foundation of the true church?

What did Jesus mean when he said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church?”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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