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CHURCH - What is the Church?

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  • CHURCH - What is the Church?

    Church as ekklesia

    Matthew 16:18 MOUNCE
    And I · say to you, you are Peter, and on this · rock I will build my · church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

    The popular understanding of the English word “church” has come to mean one of three things.

    1. Church - a building where members participate in Christian religion.

    2. Church- an association of members meeting in a building where they participate in Christian religion.

    3. Church – meaning all the congregations holding a specific doctrine and polity. Examples are the Roman Catholic Church, The Church of England, The Eastern Orthodox Church, Church of the Foursquare, Church of the Brethren, Church of the Nazarene, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, The Anglican Church in North America, The North American Lutheran Church, and The Episcopal Church.

    These meanings do not have a corresponding Greek word in the New Testament.
    If someone understands the English word “church” in any of the above meanings when reading “church” in an English version of the New Testament their understanding of the actual Greek New Testament text is wrong.

    So, what is the meaning of ekklesia?

    In the English versions the word translated “church” is from the Greek word “ekklesia.”
    A form of ekklesia occurs 114 times in the New Testament. In all but three verses it is translated church in the KJV. Those three exceptions are found in Acts 19:32, 39, 41. In these instances the KJV translators rendered it "assembly" instead of "church." But, the Greek word is exactly the same as the other entries where the KJV reads "church."
    In Acts 19, "ecclesia" is a town council made up of a civil body in Ephesus. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica “ecclesia” was the name given to the governmental assembly of the city of Athens, duly convoked (called out) by proper officers and possessing all political power including even juridical functions. Outside of the New Testament “ekklesia” is used just as it is in Acts 19 to mean a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly.

    The Etymology of ekklesia is from the root word for “summoned” (ékklētos) or “to be called forth from” (ekkaléō). A correct English meaning for the other 111 times the Greek word ekklesia occurs would be as a reference to a group of believers “called out” by the Lord or “assembled” by the Lord. This is the reason the Assembly of God chose the word “assembly” so as to be more in line with the biblical meaning of ekklesia.
    What is the ekklesia?

    Answer: The Body of Jesus
    Ephesians 1:22-23 ESV also Colossians 1:18
    22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
    What did Christ do to obtain the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ died on the Cross.
    Acts 20:28 ESV
    28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained (or purchased) with his own blood.

    What is the purpose of the ekklesia?

    Answer: To make known the wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places according to pupose of God the father realized in Christ Jesus our Lord..
    Ephesians 3:10 ESV
    10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,

    What is realized through the ekklesia?

    Answer: The glory of God the Father in the ekklesia and in Christ Jesus forever.
    Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
    20 Now to him (God the Father) who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him (God the Father) be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    Who is the Head of the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ is the head of the ekklesia.

    Who is the Savior of the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ is the savior of the ekklesia
    Ephesians 5:23 ESV also Colossians 1:18, 24
    23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

    To whom does the ekklesia submit?

    Answer: The ekklesia submits to Christ.
    Ephesians 5:24 ESV
    24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

    Who loves the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ loves the ekklesia.

    Who gave Himself up for the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ gave Himself up for the ekklesia
    Ephesians 5:25ESV
    25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

    Who sanctified the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ sanctied the ekklesia.

    Ephesians 5:26 ESV
    26 that he (Christ) might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

    Why did Christ sanctify the ekklesia?

    Answer: So Christ might present the ekklesia to Himsef.

    27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

    Who nourishes and cherishes the ekklesia?

    Answer: Christ nourishes and cherishes the ekklesia.
    Ephesians 5:29 ESV
    29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
    What is the House of God?

    Answer: The House of God is the ekklesia of the Living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

    1 Timothy 3:15 ESV
    15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
    Whose names are inscribed in heaven?

    Answer: The ekklesia of the first born.
    Hebrews 12:23 KJV
    23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn (the first born being Christ), which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

    What did God appoint in the ekklesia?

    Answer: God appointed apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues in the ekklesia.
    1 Corinthians 12:28 ESV
    28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.


    What does the profound mystery refer?

    Answer: The profound mystery refers to Christ and the ekklesia.

    Ephesians 5:32 ESV
    32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.


    When believers use the word "church," what the Bible reveals about the church must be at the fore thoughts of their mind. To speak with a negative connotation or to speak slanderous of the church ignores what the Bible reveals. If believers wish to speak about the modern institution as defined at the first of this post a careful distinction ought to be made. Believers will not speak evil of the ekkiesia. This is what the devil and the world does.

    How did the English language come to use the word “church”?
    Answer: see the following links.

    CHURCH Meaning: "place of assemblage set aside for Christian worship; the body of Christian believers, Christians… See origin and meaning of church.
    Last edited by glen smith; November 19, 2017, 10:51 AM.

  • #2
    What is this word "Ecclesia"? We use it in English as "ecclesiastic;" the French have "l'Eglise." In the Greek New Testament it is used for the Church. The evangelists took it from classical Greek, where it means an Assembly. Literally it means "CALLED OUT." The famous Ecclesia in ancient Athens was a special Assembly of leading citizens, who were summoned or "called out" from time to time to decide on urgent matters of government. It usually met on the Pnyx Hill or the Acropolis. A herald with a scroll would ride on horseback through the beautiful streets of Athens, calling out the names of the councillors in the Ecclesia. As each man heard his own name, he would stop what he was doing and hurry to the meeting place on the hill.

    We might translate the word Ecclesia as "paged." In the old days before electronics, a page-boy would go through the lounges of a hotel, "calling out" the name of someone wanted at the desk. Today it is done on a P.A. system. Have you ever been paged at an airport? It gives you quite a shock to hear your own name booming out over the loud speakers! You feel everybody is looking at you, as you straighten your tie or pat your hair and set off proudly to meet the one who has "called you out."

    The early Christians thought of themselves as having been paged, or "called out" by the Lord Jesus Christ, summoned to a special meeting with him. This shows very clearly in the Book of Revelation chapter 18, where after a powerful description of Babylon with all its wealth and corruption, the author reports: "I heard a voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE!" The early Christians believed that not merely had they chosen the Lord, but, incredible as it might seem, He had chosen them! "Come out of her, you, and you, and you; that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues." What a thrill! Those who responded to the summons, setting themselves apart and refusing to conform to the ways of a wicked and adulterous generation, were in the short term persecuted by the pagan world, even put to death, as their Master had been; yet they knew in their hearts that their beloved Lord had taken them to himself. The Christian Ecclesia grew rapidly, even during the period of the most intense persecution. After three hundred years, converts had been "called out" from many nations to enter the new nation, the Kingdom of God.
    Last edited by glen smith; December 29, 2017, 03:32 PM.