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PFOA Apostles' Creed: I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints.

I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints.

Jesus didn't say very much about the church, but His words in Matthew 16:18,19 are most significant, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (ESV). These verses have been interpreted in many ways - some of which have led to the popular understanding of the church as an institution or building. You can easily check this out next Sunday when you ask a taxi driver to take you to your church.

The word translated "church" in every instance in the New testament is the Greek 'ekklesia', which generally means 'an assembly' of people. 'ekklesia' itself is derived from the word "to call", which is fitting for us to think of the church as the gathering of people who have been called out.

Jesus said "I will build my church". Let's think about this statement a little - "Who will build whose church"? (a) There may be some who would say in his heart that he will build his church. He believes that by his hard work, his leadership qualities, his preaching and people skills, or his personality that he will build and shape the church in the way he wants it. (b) Others believe that the pattern for the church has been given in the scriptures and that this is accomplished by good planning, strategy, management and other human efforts - they try to build Jesus' church. (c) on the other hand, some churches recognize that building the church is spiritual work, and has to done in God's way, with full dependence on him; but to be relevant and attractive, the church must have programs and messages that conform to the needs and expectations of the world - they expect Jesus to build their church.

Jesus said "I will build my church". This church is holy because it has been set apart for God; it is redeemed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, prepared and ready for service. The church is catholic, meaning that it is universal. There is only one church with Christ as the head and all true believers are members of it. Hence it is the communion of saints, or those who have been set apart. The church is not a crowd, not a collection of unconnected individuals. It is a communion, a fellowship of Christ followers who are related to one another as brother and sisters, all being adopted inot the kingdom as children of God.

And God has a mission for his church, his people. The church is to be a light to the nations, showing the way of reconciliation with God. The mission the church has been given is to make disciples for all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This is the church we believe in.