Saturday, May 29, 2010

ARE WE THE EKKLESIA? OR JUST CHURCHES?

EKKLESIA—Part One
A. Brother
©2009 Narrowgate Publishing



          The Greek word ekklesia is used over 100 times in the New Testament to describe what happens when God’s chosen and called out people gather together wherever they are.  This word has been translated “church” in our Bibles.  We need to see that this translation has become completely inadequate for describing what should happen when those who love God gather together.
          One of satan’s greatest and most important tasks on his daily agenda is to keep true followers of Christ apart.  He is dedicated to separating those who love God from each other in any way he can.  The enemy of our souls knows that when Christ’s men and women become filled with the Holy Spirit, and begin coming together not just to worship for an hour on Sunday, but gathering in earnest, in constant prayer, confessing their sins to one another, sharing with each other their earthly incomes and possessions, giving love with open hearts and hands, and in general being like Jesus—and so becoming His Body on earth—then he has lost a huge battle in his war on God.
          Does any of this sound like the definition of “church” the way you’ve known it?  Perhaps that’s why our “churches” in this day and age have been allowed to grow vastly in numbers without opposition by the enemy.  Our mega-church society, with its watered down version of “churchianity” has not been difficult to create or maintain. 
          We need to think about this.  Why would Jesus tell us that we will be few, and persecuted, and suffer all kinds of opposition from the world, if it weren’t true? 
          If we are flourishing in a godless society, and experiencing a virtually unchecked ability to publish our books, and make our music, and build our great buildings, and preach our great sermons in our beautifully designed sanctuaries, and organize hundreds more “Christian” organizations and institutions every year, ad infinitum, then shouldn’t we question what we’re doing and test ourselves to see if we’re really practicing in any way the gospel we’ve been given in the Word of God?
          Why would Satan and his minions, and a world that is plunging headlong into every conceivable depravity, not give us a hard time about all these things we’re doing?  Should not this be cause for falling on our knees and asking God why?
          And why, if the large group, numbering in the millions, of evangelical believers in the western countries, are practicing, true, unadulterated Biblical discipleship to Christ, is our society-at-large descending into sinful degradation?  Where is the salt and light described by Jesus as accompanying His true followers?  If we are being these things to the world around us, then why are our neighbors and business associates going to hell just as much today as yesterday? 
          The ancient world of Rome and other nations was turned upside down by a handful of people filled with the Holy Spirit.  When millions who claim Christ in these United States cannot make a ripple in the pond of evil, then something is very definitely wrong.
          It’s time we gained the biblical perspective on what it means to be the ekklesia of God.  This perspective was held by the small, insignificant group of believers who turned the world upside down, rocked empires, and with only the weapons of spiritual warfare spread the gospel far and wide over the earth.  Their blood, shed for the Christ they loved, cries out to us as the blood of Jesus does, as an example of what it means to “lay down our lives” for the truth.  Shouldn’t we listen to this cry?

(PART ONE OF FOUR INSTALLMENTS)

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