“Ekklesia” is the Greek word used for “church” in Matthew 16:18. When Jesus said, “I will build my church”, “my Ekklesia” He was not talking about a building; He was talking about people: about YOU. And when 2 or 3 of you gather together, He comes to be in your midst.
Jesus intended that His Church be an embassy of His Kingdom and an extension of His government to engage the world and govern it. The Ekklesia would be the representative of His Kingdom on earth and exercise binding and loosing authority (keys of the Kingdom) to overcome principalities and powers and transform communities where each Ekklesia was established
The idea of the Church as a ruling Ekklesia has largely been lost and replaced with rescuing sinners from this world and living quiet, unconnected lives until our escape to heaven. WE went from changing the world to resisting the world and from engaging the world to escaping it.
- Most churches see themselves as sancruaries and healing centres and not also as armies and world changes
- Most pastors are happy to have a lot of people to show up on Sundays whether they affect the culture or not. So, church attendance is high; but cultural effectiveness is low.
- God has been raising up “Para-Church” ministries to function like “special forces” to fill the Kingdon void caused by the inaction of the Church.
The Early Church.
Radically transformed the hostile environment that it faced when it started.
- They faced Social pressure. (They confronted They faced Social pressure. (They confronted the culture.)
- They faced Political pressure. (They confronted They faced Political pressure. (They confronted the Lordship of Caesar).
- Yet, they impacted nations in a short period of Yet, they impacted nations in a short period of time. Acts 17:6 …These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”
How did they turn the world upside down?
Upside down: Became a force to reckon with. They created an uproar. They comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.
Yet they had:
- No buildings.
- No professional clergy
- No religious freedoms
- No social status
Today our influence appears to be diminishing in comparison.
Jesus gave two promises:
- John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
- 2. John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
When they preached the gospel people were forcing their way into the kingdom.
Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Luke 16:16 “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.
It appears that what we call the church is what Jesus is going to reject.
- When Jesus comes to judge the nations, those who though they were “in” will end up out,” and those who thought they were out will end up in. Matthew 25.
- Matt 25:44-46 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.
- How about those who will try and appeal the decision of Jesus in Matthew 7?
- Matt 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The church is called to go outside of the 4 walls.
The church is meant to be expansive, like salt, light, leaven and water.
- Salt left in the shaker is useless.
- Stale water turns putrid.
- Light that is hidden results in darkness. Light that is hidden results in darkness.
- Leaven in a container remains inert. Leaven in a container remains inert.
What did the early assemblies look like?
Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people.And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
- Members were devoted their leader’s Members were devoted their leader’s teachings.
- There was individual and corporate prosperity There was individual and corporate prosperity that provided for the needs of people inside and outside of the church.
- People were added daily. (They grew). People were added daily. (They grew).
- Favor with outsiders, authorities in the city. Favor with outsiders, authorities in the city.
- The power of God. Praise and reverence for The power of God. Praise and reverence for God.
- Leaders had power.
What did Jesus mean when He said, I’ll build my church? Matthew 16:18
What do we picture when we hear the word church?
- A building with a cross on top.
- A pulpit. A pulpit.
- A choir. A choir.
- Members in attendance. Members in attendance.
- A preacher, A preacher, etc…
When Jesus said “church” none of this was even in existence.
The word he used for church, “ The word he used for church, “Ekklesia” existed in his day and was used by both the Greek and Roman empire.
It refers to a secular institution that operated in the cities the Greeks and Romans ruled in a governmental capacity.
During the time of Jesus on earth, there were three main institutions in Israel.
- The Temple. The Temple.
- The Synagogue.
- The ekklesia.
The ekklesia was the only one that was non was the only one that was non religious.
The ekklesia that Jesus mentioned had no that Jesus mentioned had no building, it was people, designed to operate 24/7 for the purpose of having an impact on everybody and everything.
Jesus did not say, I will build my Temple neither did He say I will build my synagogue.
I will build my ‘EKKLESIA’! The Temple represented the indwelling presence of God, the Synagogue represented the central role of scripture and fellowship of the saints.
The EKKLESIA represented the mobility of the people, their location and their mission.
Ekklesia: The Coventus (σύνοδος, συνουσία, or συναγωγή) is properly a name which may be given to any assembly of men who meet for a certain purpose.
Where two or three Roman citizens were gathered anywhere together in the world, it constituted the constituted the conventus. Their gathering together wherever they were assembled brought the very power and presence of Rome into their midst. Jesus is saying just like the Romans make available their authority to their citizens that gather I do in a greater dimension. Matt 18:18 gather I do in a greater dimension. Matt 18:18-20.
Matt 18:18 Matt 18:18-20 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye 20 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
The disciples understood what he meant. I’m not building a temple, a building, I’m commissioning people.