How Many Churches Did Jesus Build?

How Many Churches Did Jesus Build?Text: Matthew 16:18

This is the first in a series of lessons dealing with the church. In this series, we’re going to focus on some foundational principles, looking at four questions designed to help us and help others identify the Lord’s church. In this lesson, we’re going to ask the question, How many churches did Jesus build?

Jesus Built ONE Church

  • Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18)
  • Jesus is the head over His church (Ephesians 1:22-23)
  • The relationship between Jesus and the church is like the marriage relationship (Ephesians 5:22-24, 32) – one man and one woman (Ephesians 5:31; Genesis 2:24); Jesus and His one church
  • However, the NT also speaks of churches (Romans 16:16) – there is a difference between the singular and the plural; one we are added to, the other we join (Acts 2:47; 9:26)

The Universal Church

  • The ONE church that Jesus built is the universal church – it is the body of all those who are saved (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23)
  • There is no salvation outside of Christ (Acts 2:47) – therefore, if anyone is saved, they are in the church that He built
  • In the third lesson, we will talk about WHO is in this church – but the important thing to understand now is that GOD is the one who adds to it (Acts 2:47)

Local Churches

  • There is ONE universal church, yet MANY local churches (Romans 16:16; Acts 11:22; 13:1; Revelation 2-3) – how do we reconcile these passages?
  • God adds those who are saved to the universal church (Acts 2:47)
  • Those in the church work together as part of local churches (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 12:27)
  • Because these churches involve working together, we just join AND be received by a particular church – example of Saul who came to Jerusalem and tried to join the local church there (Acts 9:26), though he had already been added to the universal church (cf. Acts 9:18; 2:41, 47)

Other Churches

  • The reality is that there are MANY different churches in the world
  • Are those who make up these churches part of the universal church?
  • Are all congregations simply local churches like the ones we read about in the NT?
  • We need to ask three questions (which will be discussed in the remainder of this series) – (1) What rule does His church follow? (2) Who makes up the church? (3) What is His church to be doing?
  • By answering these questions, we will be able to identify the Lord’s church


  • Jesus built just ONE church and salvation is only found in HIS church
  • If we want to be saved, we need to have God add us to this church (Acts 2:37-38, 41, 47)

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