Declaration of Purpose (Matthew 16:13-20)
Jesus, the Son of God has come with a stated purpose that he reveals to Peter. His purpose is to build his church. Everything that he does, then, is within this stated purpose of his promise to build the church. Christ is the rock foundation on which he will build it and as immoveable a Christ is, so the church that is built on him will be. This church will be protected by Christ and empowered to be on the offensive for him so that even the very gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Declaration of Process (Matthew 28:16-20)
These words to the Apostles before his ascension unpack the process of how Christ delegated the building of the church. The Apostles were to go to the nations to make disciples that they were to baptize and teach all he had commanded. The baptism pictures the baptism of the Spirit that identifies a disciple as purchased by the Trinity and placed in the New Testament church. The Great Commission is not to be severed from the task of building the church.
Declaration of Perpetuity (Luke 24:44-49)
The charge to the Apostles to preach forgiveness of sins is part of the fulfilment of the Law, Prophets, and Psalms. The OT is tied to the NT in God’s eternal redemptive plan that began with the promise of a Redeemer and continues with his display of his glory in his church that he builds in the unfolding plan of God.
Declaration of Power (Acts 1:6-11)
The second volume of Luke’s book unpacks the catalyst for the promised building of the church through the message. The Spirit will empower the Apostles to be the witnesses of Christ as the messages spreads to the unreached world. There will be no building of the church through the witness of His followers without the empowering indwelling presence of the Spirit on them.
Description of Community (Acts 2:42-47)
The message of Christ formed a shepherded community, not isolated individuals. This community was the church Christ promised to build through the Spirit. The forming of community through the Spirit was the overflow of love toward one another unselfishly. The description of the community in these verses could only be explained by a new humanity formed by the Spirit by the means of the Gospel message.
Description of Course (Acts 13:1-14:28)
The Great Commission extending to the Gentiles begins the local church and the Spirit directed leaders setting Paul and Barnabas apart for the work of church planting. Their practice is to target strategic cities, share the message of the crucified and risen Messiah with the Jews, share Christ to Gentiles after Jewish rejection, win converts, and form churches from the new converts. On their way back to Antioch, they followed up on the new communities formed, strengthened them in the Lord, and appointed elders over the congregations to shepherd them as they committed them to the Lord.
Description of Care (Acts 20:17-28)
The care these elders were to have over the community was compassionate, serving, shepherding leadership out of the Word. They were to continue the work of establishing believers in the faith as they watched over themselves and the church of God. Paul, through the Holy Spirit entrusted them with the care of the flock of God as under-shepherds with the expectation that the work would carry on without dependence on Paul.