Ecclesia – Church – Minding your reference

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Reginald Efiom Bassey from the South Eastern part of Nigeria, from a place called Cross River State.

Having looked at the way people should act when they have come in the truth and how they should go to advertise their faith, we just want to add some words from Reginald Efiom Yves-Bassey, also called Calabarboy or ‘Papa Reg’, or just called Reggie, who lives in Lagos (Nigeria).

When he was walking by the online alley and heard some folks talking about the failure of “the church” or severally referring to its shortcomings and seeming division, he on closer examination, discovered that they have been confusing the object of their reference with what the lord Jesus meant when he used or uses the word.

Here you can find his brief attempt at a conceptual clarification, so we also do to conflate the issues.

This is not exegesis, but a mere ideological clarification and correction in a few sentences.

In understanding what “the church” is, we must look to its origin, particularly in scraping from the thoughts of its founder, through the documented words we have. When Jesus used the term “my church”, it was very personal and flowed from a deep conversation He had with His disciples. The Bible only records Jesus using the term twice; once for a personal cause, the other as a generally understood reference.

Jesus, in using the term “my church” (a spurious translation from the word Ekklēsia or in English Ecclesia), He was speaking of an active process of establishing and sustaining something by all Himself. The fuller comment is

“I will build my church and the gate of hades will not overcome it” Matthew 16:18). {Church: Mind Your Reference!}

Jesus knew what his task was here on earth and wanted to fulfil it, doing God’s Will instead of his will. Jesus was there for other people and wanted to have his followers also going to be there ready for others. Those who want to call themselves “Christian” or follower of Christ Jesus should offer themselves as servants of God, like Jesus was a servant of God. After his resurrection, when Jesus appeared to his disciples, he solemnly commissioned the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations. And that is what every follower of Christ should do. They must deny themselves and come together in unity, bounded by Christ Jesus. Together they should form a spiritual group or ecclesia.

The apostles understood what Jesus meant with the ecclesia to be build.

The term He used is that which everyone around Him at the time understood. This gives us some understanding if we care to comprehend.

  1. He said “I will build…”, which means He is entirely responsible for it. We cannot find any instance in scriptures where He transferred that responsibility to another or invited someone else to assist in building it. We therefore cannot assume that any activity of a man is a part of that process. Only the LORD Himself knows that.
  2. Only the LORD knows what His church looks like or its composition. He only mentioned His intentions (build my church), indicated its success (hades will not overcome it) and stated its function (using the Kingdom keys to bind and loose). None of these can be determined or influenced by men. In this case, only the builder, know what He is building.
  3. If the gates of hades are prevailing against anything, it cannot be that which Jesus is building. He was emphatic in saying His church will not be overcome. If we understand the power that backs His words, then we understand that it is an inviolable assertion. {Church: Mind Your Reference!}

We may not forget it is God calling people. They that feel they are called can come together and can try to make a community. But mankind should be fully aware that at the moment we still live in the period that Satan or the devil governs the world and that there are many adversaries of God trying to mislead people and to get them far away from the ‘ecclesia’ or ‘church’ Christ meant. For Jesus it was and is clear that ecclesia should be according to the wishes of the Only True God. In it there is no place for paganism or God unworthy actions. Though when we look at the majority of churches, we find lots of churches where people worship the wrong god and where people bow and pray in front of other gods and saints and having graven images of God and the other gods. Those main churches of several so-called Christian denominations which often have very recognisable church buildings, are certainly not the ecclesiae or churches of which Jesus is the head. Jesus only worshipped one God, and that was not him. Those churches which have taken Jesus as their god are the ones misleading people by their human doctrines. they also would claim people have to be part of their church and should come regularly to their church building. Their church building is mostly also their symbol of the denomination. By the structure of it and by the services one presents in those buildings one shall recognise the denomination.

Let me also state the following to disambiguate further the concept of “church” (Ecclesia). This should also help correct mindsets and assumptions about what it is.

  1. It is not a physical building and will never be. Do well to dissociate physical structures from what Jesus is building. In His physical ministry on the earth, He never built a physical structure that we know of, He never commissioned one, neither did He encourage one to be built. Interestingly, He even confused religious people by asking them to “destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days” – John 2:19

  2. It is not a gathering of religious worshippers. Yes! It sounds controversial but please understand it well. The church can gather to worship, fellowship, do ministry, etc., but that is not its core identity. To understand the real identity check John 12:26

  3. It is not the combination, confluence, or convergence of all known Christian religious denomination in the world. Those differences already point to potent admixtures of human views and preferences that create the present division and doctrinal difference we see. {Church: Mind Your Reference!}

The core identity of the church or ecclesia is the bound with Christ, wanting to serve Jesus, then following him and not human doctrines. It is trying to become like Christ and trying to be where he is, ready to serve at a moment’s notice.

“ If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.” (Joh 12:26 ASV)

In the ecclesia God’s Word should be the Guide and standing in the first place, not man’s rituals and wordly traditions. Those gathering to form an ecclesia should as “Children of Godworship the Only One True God, Jehovah, and should accept Jesus as their mediator by That God Who is One.

Men can build lots of buildings and as such also have built many churches. We also may find lots of church-systems or denominations, but we should know we shall always be responsible ourselves for the choices we make and as such also for our choice to join a meeting, an ecclesia or church. Whatever man may choose to build the Temple of God should be in the heart of each individual. The world also shall come to see that God’s Kingdom shall always have the last word.

It is your choice of going for this or the other church that is going to be of importance when the judgement day arrives. It is today that you have to choose for the right ecclesia. And when there is no such ecclesia in your neighbourhood it is up to you to try to create one.

Do not wait until it is to late!

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Preceding

Those Belonging to the called ones coming together

How to Form an Ecclesia

A breathing ecclesia

Christadelphian Halls

Advertising the Truth

Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism

Paul Wilson: Behind an old Delta door, banks made way for the Lord

Church buildings having become a liability

Being in isolation #7 Mission work

Germinating small seeds, pebble-stones, small and mega churches and faith

If we endure …

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Additional reading

  1. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  2. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  3. Not created to be on our own
  4. Fellowship
  5. Bringing Good News into the world
  6. Preaching Christ Is Not Enough
  7. Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected
  8. Demanding signs or denying yourself
  9. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  10. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  11. Witnessing Glad Tidings
  12. Only once and with consequences
  13. How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian
  14. Importance of Tikkun olam
  15. A House for God in our 21st century

+++

Related

  1. Probabilities
  2. Our Conduct (Philippians)
  3. Are We Loving Like Jesus?
  4. Acts 17:23 Meet Them Where They Are
  5. Mission Focus
  6. To Be in the World, but not Of it – Osho
  7. Mutual sharing | #ScripturalPrayers

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