Greek: ekklesia comes from two words: “kaleo” meaning to call, and “ek” meaning out from; to call out from; to call or summon; to call forth; to assemble together; to call out a gathering; gathering; assembly; congregation. 

The word ekklesia is used in reference to the whole Body of Christ(Matt. 16:18) but most often is used as a specific local expression of the whole Body in a city/town(Acts 13:1).  Acts 8:3 implies that the scattered ekklesia can also mean an unassembled assembly. 

The KJV translators  used an old English word, “kirk”, defined as a building for public worship.   Kirk is derived from the Greek word kuriakos meaning “belonging to the Lord” as in I Corinthians 11:20; Revelation 1:10 and thus  the term kirk was defined as “the Lord’s house”.  This word was used by the translators because the word “kirk/church” had already become known as a “place of worship” rather than simply, “to call out from”. 

Note: Different Greek words: Church(ekklesia); Temple(hiaron); Synagogue (sunagoge); Assembly(ginomai); Congregation(sunagoge), Gathering(sunago).

Main Body

  1. The Lord has been building His ekklesia for over 2,000 years!(Matt. 16:15-19) “I will build my ekklesia.” (I Tim. 3:15) “Household of God which is the ekklesia.”
  2. The Lord is building His ekklesia with “living stones”!(I Pet. 2:5) “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up as a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
  3. The Lord is building the ekklesia from a “Remnant”!(Rom. 11:5) “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
  4. The ekklesia is a “Family” not an institution!(Eph. 3:15) “The Father of our Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named”
  5. The ekklesia is “Relational” and not structured! (John 13:34-35)”A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” “Oneanothering”: kind, serve, submit, honor, forgive, bear, comfort, encourage, confess, pray, greet, fellowship, etc.
  6. The ekklesia is “God’s people” and not a Temple! “We are the Church!”  (I Jhn.4:12)“God dwelleth in us.”(Matt. 21:12) “Jesus cleansed the temple.” (Matt. 24:1)“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things?  Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”(Titus AD 70) (Acts 7:48-50)“The most high dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?  Hath not my hand made all these things?” (John 4:20-24) “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father is spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.” (Matt. 27:50-51) “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” (Acts 3:11) “All the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s greatly wondering.” (Acts 5:12) “And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”
  7. The ekklesia is a Body not a Building!  (Rom. 12:5) “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another.” (Synagogue: The only reference to synagogue in the O.T. is Ps. 74:8“They have burnt up all the synagogues(Hebrew=moed meaning an appointed place of meeting)of  God in the land.”  This is an incorrect translation since synagogues did not exist during David’s time.  Synagogues did not exist until the Inter-Biblical Times (400 years)between the O.T. and N.T. during the Macabees’ rebellion. We have erroneously patterned churches after the synagogue which has no Biblical basis.
  8. The ekklesia is a living “Organism” not an organization!(Eph. 2:20-22) “Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple of the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
  9. The ekklesia is the “Bride of Christ”!  (II Cor.11:2) “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (Rev. 21:2, 9)“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
  10. The ekklesia is to advance the kingdom of God!  Proclaim the “gospel of the   kingdom”! (Matt.24:14)“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  (Matt. 6:10, 13, 33)“Thy kingdom come.  For thine is the kingdom.  Seek first the kingdom of God.”  (Matt.25:34)“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”(Matt.26:29)“I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Lk.1:33)“Of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Lk.22:29-30)“I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Rev.11:15)“The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever.”
  11. What did the ekklesia look like in the New Testament? Jesus/Disciples-“Sharing life of Christ” (Matt.10:1-42;  10-53; 18:1-35); Apostles/ekklesia-“Sharing life of Christ”(Acts 2:41-47); ekklesia at Jerusalem(Acts 2:41-47); ekklesia at Antioch(Acts 11:19-26;13:1-4); ekklesia at Ephesus(Acts 19:1-10).
  12. How did the ekklesia express the “life of Christ” in their gatherings?( Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11 and 14)?
  13. How did the ekklesia express the “life of Christ” in their daily relationships?(“One anothering” as John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17)
  14. How and when did the ekklesia change historically over the past 2000 years? i.e. buildings; clergy/laity; hierarchy; secular/religious; communion; music; pulpit; the Reformation: doctrine and structure(theology & ecclesiology/orthodoxy & orthopraxy); other various reforms; Restoration to New Testament ekklesia
  15. What is the simplest definition of the ekklesia today?(Matt. 18:17-20) “Two or three gathered(sunago=to lead together; literally, having been led together) together in my Name.” (I Cor.5:4) “When you are assembled in the name f our Lord Jesus…the power of our Lord Jesus is presnet.”(Heb. 10:25) Not forsaking (eqkataleipo=to utterly abandon as a permanent state) the assembling of ourselves (episunagoge=gathering to together) as the manner(ethos=custom, habit) of some is; but exhorting(parakaleo=to call to ones side)one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
  16. How does the Lord see His ekklesia today?(i.e., ekklesia in the city/town)
  17. What is the Lord saying to us today in regard to His ekklesia? Unity-(Jesus Prayer: John 17) “Positional/Experiential”; Pools; Hewn stones; Apostolic; Prophetic; “Continue being one” as translated in the Greek in John 17

CONCLUSION  What should our response be in lieu of these things? Just as the Bereans did, we should also search the Scriptures to see if these things be so, and if so, be obedient to the Lord!


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