THE TRIBAL CALL

Issue Two

The Church, The Ecclesia

by General Jim, Ben Williams, plus an anonymous contribution (p. 3 in Issue Two of The Tribal Call)

 

The Ecclesia in the Book of Acts:

 

a) a congregation or assembly of people in a given locality (8:1).

 

b) an assembly of believers in Christ (5:14).

 

c) a place of teaching and discipline (11:26).

 

d) a complete unity in itself with corporate authority (15:22).

 

e) built by Christ Himself (2:57).

 

f) part of Christ Himself (5:14).

 

g) a place to which the Lord joins people, not man (5:13).

 

h) disciplined by Christ Himself (5:5).

 

i) structured having men ordained in positions of authority to exercise leadership, discipline, and oversight (14:23; 20:17-28).

 

j) a place of manifold ministry (13:1; 15:4).

 

k) joined in voluntary fellowship with other Local Assemblies (15:3-4).

 

l) a place established in the faith (16:5).

 

m) a place from which ministry is sent out. (The Book of Acts)

 


 

 

Acts 2:42 – And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 


 

 

As we read through the Book of Acts, we cannot help but be impressed by the importance of the Local Church to every born-again believer. Being a member of a Local Assembly is clearly pictured as a natural result of receiving the Lord. No one who is not saved has a right to be a member of a local congregation, and no one who is saved should be without a spiritual home. Even Paul, that great missionary-Apostle, maintained a firm relationship to the Local Assembly that had sent him out (Antioch).

 

The Kingdom of God (Jesus Christ being the Lion King)

 

Everything that is true in the absolute sense concerning the invisible Ecclesia should manifest itself in principle and in relative degrees in the Local Assembly. The ideal, as stated objectively in regard to the invisible Ecclesia, is the guiding principle for the local congregation.

 

How does the concept of the Kingdom of God relate to the Invisible and the Visible Ecclesia?

 

The Kingdom of God can be simply defined as the visible description of the body of professing Christians across the earth or an extension of God’s rule in the universe. The preaching of the kingdom is an important part of the vision of the Ecclesia. Jesus spoke for forty days on the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God to prepare His disciples for coming ministry (Acts 1:1-3).

 

See also Acts 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23; Colossians 1:13.

 


 

 

Psalms 145:10-13 – All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee. They shall speak of the glory of Thy Kingdom, and talk of Thy power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His Kingdom. Thy Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and Thy domain endureth throughout all generations.

 


 

 

The Great Commission

 

What is the Great Commission given to the Ecclesia by Christ?

 

There can be no proper study of the assemblies in the New Testament apart from an analysis of the Great Commission. Those who, through dispensational devices, discard the Gospel, and particularly the synoptics, find themselves in the embarrassing position of not having a commission to preach the Gospel. It is also significant that those who thus subscribe to this dispensational method of interpretation, do not expect the assemblies to fulfill the Commission, but unashamedly teach that the Jews will fulfill the Commission after the Christians are raptured (write to receive our FREE booklets exposing the fallacy of the rapture myth). The significance of the Great Commission is that it not only constitutes the most essential task of the assemblies, but that the assemblies themselves are born because of obedience by some to the Great Commission. Without the Great Commission there would not be any Ecclesias.

 

Before Christ left earth in His final ascension, He commissioned the Ecclesia to carry on in the ministry that He began. In itself, this was an impossible commission. With the commission, however, Jesus promised to send an endowment with power from on high that would enable these men to fulfill the commission. Both Matthew and Mark record the commission given to the disciples. It would do us well to examine each phrase of this commission to see what is fully involved.

 

The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-20

 

a) Jesus said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

 

When Christ commissioned His faltering and failing followers, He did it on the basis of the absolute authority available to carry out this super-human task. Nobody can begin to put a dent in the need, nor understand the problem unless they grasp this basis and resource in the exalted Lord. Mark gives a very practical definition of the phrases and aspects of this power and resource which is in Christ.

 

Christ gave power relating to:

 

1) the Spiritual Kingdom, for “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).

2) the Eternal Kingdom, for “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

3) the Satanic Kingdom, for they shall “cast out devils” (Mark 16:17).

4) the Universal Kingdom, for “they shall speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17).

5) the Animal Kingdom, for “they shall take up serpents” (Mark 16:18).

6) the Mineral Kingdom, for “if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them” (Mark 16:18).

7) the Human Kingdom, for “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).

 

ALL POWER!

 

Mark gives us a graphic portrayal of what the “all power” in Matthew’s Gospel speaks. This demonstrates for us the power that was given to Christ which He gave to the Ecclesia to carry out His ministry on the earth. What a wealth of power God has placed in the hands of His people! Some would rob us of the power of God by asserting that this section in Mark is not part of the original manuscript, but all one has to do is turn to the Book of Acts for a dramatic portrayal of all that is suggested in these passages of Mark.

 

GO AND TEACH

 

b) Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach (disciple, matheteuo) all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

 

This is the first command given to the Ecclesia. Mark says we are to “Go... into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The thoughts contained in these verses indicate that we are to preach the Gospel with the intent of making disciples. Our function as an Assembly is not merely to get people saved. God is not interested in a group of frail spiritual babies, even though we all must begin there. He is not interested in a Body of Believers that spend most of their Christian life backsliding and re-dedicating themselves. He wants disciples who are willing to lay down all, take up their cross and follow Him. For this to happen, we must not hide the cost of discipleship in our teaching and preaching the Gospel, but we must give everyone the opportunity to count the cost before starting to build.

 

GO AND BAPTIZE

 

c) Jesus told us to baptize “them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19) (Please order DVD series by Gen. James Green on baptizing in Jesus’ name entitled “To Baptize”).

 

The commission which Christ gave to the Ecclesia is to be seen in relation to each individual believer. It is completely established by the pattern of the New Testament practice that this commission was not limited to the Apostles ordained ministry or to any segment of Christians, but it extends to each and every believer in Jesus Christ. The Great Commission is the command of the risen Lord to His disciples wherever they may be found. Every person who professes faith in Christ must answer before God concerning his or her obedience to Christ’s command.

 

THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD

Why are there so many names given to the Ecclesia, the People of God?

 

There are more than seventy names given to the people of God in both the Old and New Testaments. The names given to the people of God in the Old Testament are to be applied to the Believers in the New Testament. The Old Testament was written for our admonition (I Corinthians 10:11). Therefore, when Israel is mentioned in the Old Testament, it was written for God’s people, to teach God’s people the ways and dealings of God. The TRUE Israel in God’s eyes is Spiritual Israel which is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, “That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Romans 9:8). Therefore, all the names that describe God’s People in the Old Testament can be rightfully applied to the Body of Christ (Romans 11:1-5, 17).

 

As we have said, the Ecclesia was conceived in the counsels of the Godhead. It is part and parcel of the very purposes of God. For this reason, it is a ‘mystery’ in the sense that finite man can never fully understand all that is involved in this Body and its relation to Christ. God has given us over seventy names and descriptions to the People of God to show us the many facets and aspects of truth concerning this infinite reality. Each name adds to the total concept and unfolds another facet of truth in regard to God’s People.

 

What are some of the names given to the People of God?

 

a) His Body - Christ is the Head of the Ecclesia. As the Head is the seat of authority which commands the rest of the Body, so Christ is the Head of the Ecclesia. As the head gives direction and the body obeys and carries out the desires of the head, even so does Christ direct His Ecclesia.

 

Ephesians 1:22-23 - And hath put all things under His feet and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

 

b) Holy Temple - Christ is the Masterbuilder who is building a Temple for His permanent habitation.

 

Ephesians 2:21 - In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.

 

c) Habitation of God - It has always been God’s desire to dwell with and in His People (Exodus 25:8; Psalm 22:3).

 

Ephesians 2:22 - In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 

d) God’s Building - The Ecclesia has its origin in God. It is not built by man.

 

I Corinthians 3:9 - For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

 

e) God’s House - God is the Lord of this Home and is to be the one in charge.

 

Hebrews 3:6 - But Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

 

f) Spiritual House - This House is not made with ordinary building materials, but it is a spiritual structure held together by the bonds of love.

 

I Peter 2:6 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

 

g) Holy Nation - This is to be a group or nation of people that is set apart to do the will of God.

 

I Peter 2:9 - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

 

h) People of God - These People recognize that they were bought with a price, and they are not their own.

 

I Peter 2:10 - Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

 

i) Israel of God - This is God’s chosen nation. He has set this Spirit people aside to be a peculiar people in the earth.

 

Galatians 6:14-16 - But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be unto them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

 

j) Mt. Zion - This is the mountain that God raised and upon which He places His glory.

 

Hebrews 12:22 - But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.

 

k) Heavenly Jerusalem - The Church is the spiritual city to which earthly Jerusalem pointed.

 

Hebrews 12:22 - But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.

 

l) General Assembly - This is an innumerable company from every nation, kindred, tongue and tribe who have gathered themselves unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Hebrews 12:23 - To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

 

m) Church of the Firstborn - This is the group that “in Christ” can lay hold of a double portion of the blessings of God.

 

Hebrews 12:23 - To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

 

n) Wife - There is a rich future for the wife of the King.

 

Revelation 19:7 - Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour perfect to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.

Ephesians 5:25-32 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord of the church: For this we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

 

There are many other names for the Body of Christ. This is a vast subject for which we can only give an introduction. For further study in this area, refer to Nave’s Topical Bible.

 

Churches Have Served As Subterfuge

 

A “church” is NOT an “ecclesia” - as the English versions of the Bible attempt to say. The churches won’t admit it, however. They prefer to just ignore the two words and avoid bringing any attention to them. Churchgoers get caught up in playing the game of church which dissipates and neutralizes them through useless rituals and countless activities.

 

Ecclesias are different in important ways. Understanding these differences causes a profound change in your understanding of the Bible and your grasp of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

 

Getting a grasp of this is important word may not be easy. Some commentaries prove to be little or no help because they condescend to the churches in equating “ecclesia” with “church.” Obvious differences are glossed over.

 

In part one of this study, we defined “ecclesia.” It is the Greek New Testament word meaning THE CALLED-OUT (ONES); THE CHOSEN; THE ELECT-[EK = out; from; KALEO = call].

 

Some of the earliest English translators chose not to use the word “church” to translate “ecclesia” into English. Rather, they kept “ecclesia,” or else they used the English word “congregation.” The word “church,” was later used to replace “ecclesia” for the purpose of justifying a different institution.

 

By 1611 (when the King James Version was published) the translators, and their public, had obviously become comfortable with the other institution – and the other word: “church.”

 

The “church” is a distinct religious system created to propagate religion and superstition under the guidance of the State. It does not fit the description of an ECCLESIA. An ecclesia is a political body of Christians, under Christ. It is free, self-governing, and made up of families and communities working under the Reign of Christ – otherwise called “the Kingdom of Heaven.”

 

The 1st-century Christians quickly learned that they had to get away from the churches (also called synagogues) because they stifled truth and freedom. They left churches/synagogues to the Judaizers, and began forming ecclesias (wrongly called “churches” by the KJV translators). All that exciting activity in the New Testament was “ecclesia activity” – not “church activity.” Its purpose and impact was quite different from the false scenario painted by the churches. The excitement was not over a new church, but a new government.

CHURCH


The English word “church” is derived from the Gk. Adjective kyriakos as used in some such phrases as used in some such phrases as kyriakos doma or kyriake oikia, meaning “the Lord’s house,” i.e., a Christian place of worship. “Church” in the N.T., however, comes from Gk. Ekklesia... Although we often speak of these congregations collectively as “the N.T. church” or “the early church,” no N.T. writer uses ekklesia in this collective way. An ekklesia was a meeting or assembly. Its most common use was for the public assembly of citizens duly summoned, which was a feature of all the cities outside Judæa where the gospel was planted (e.g. Acts 19:39); ekklesia was also used among the Jews (LXX) for the “congregation” of Israel which was constituted at Sinai and assembled before the Lord at the annual feasts in the persons of its representative males (Acts 7:38).


(New Bible Dictionary, second edition

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.,

   Wheaton, IL)

 

The apostles and disciples were “called out” of the Roman/Jewish synagogues/church systems and brought back to the real world. In this process, ECCLESIAS (i.e., independent Christian communities) were formed. This was also called “coming out of Babylon.”

 

  

EC-CLE-SI-A, n.; [L. ecclesia; Gr. ekklesia, an assembly of the people, from ekkletos, summoned; ekkaleom, to summon, call out.]


1. The political assembly in the ancient Greek states, at which all free citizens could vote.


2. The early Greek and Latin name for the church; a congregation. (This secondary definition reflects its subsequent incorrect adaptation to the churches).


(Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary

Standard Ref. Works Pub. Co., Inc. NY, 1957)

EKKLESIA (ἐκκλησἰα), from ek, out of, and klesis, a calling (kaleo to call), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens gathered to discuss the affairs of State, (Acts 19:39). In the Septuagint it was used to designate the gathering of Israel, summoned for any definite purpose, or a gathering regarded as representative of the whole nation.


(Expository Dictionary of New Testament

Words, W.E. Vine, Zondervan

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




ALSO INCLUDED IN THIS PUBLICATION:

 

            “Love Like Crazy!”

           “I Am Who I Am”

           “Spiritual Warfare: The provision of Weapons for Warfare”

           “Discipleship”

           “Thy Kingdom Come”

           “What is the Ecclesia? Is It A Church? Is It A Cult? Is It Important?”

           Words of the Spirit

           “No Other Gods”

           “An Ideal Prayer and Its Answer


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