- Ekklesia Series // Ekklesia and Intimacy with God
- Ekklesia Series // Ekklesia and Intimacy with God - GREG SIMAS
Hearing from God is the first prerequisite for the church. Before Peter had heard from the Father, Christ was unable to speak the truth about His church. Hearing from God prepares the way for the expression of the church of the living God. Christ builds His church upon this rock. In ancient days this word was a political word which was used of the gatherings of the people in the town square for political announcements. A magistrate sounded a trumpet as the signal for the townspeople to come to the square to gather as the ekklesia to hear the message to be proclaimed.
Those who stayed in their homes were not the ekklesia. The ekklesia, the church, was made up of those who heard the call and came forth to the town square to hear the message. The Church is those who hear and Obey The church is those who have heard the call of Christ to come to Him and have come forth to be with Him and hear what He is saying. If we do not hear Him calling, we cannot be the church because we do not come to Him and hear what He is saying. Hearing is the first step toward being the church. When we hear the Father we become a rock upon which Christ can build His church.
The word of God is a supernatural seed that when planted in seeking hearts will produce a new spiritual life and the corporate expression of the church 1 Peter His suffering, death, and resurrection provided the forgiveness, redemption, and power necessary for the church to be established. If the church is to conquer hell and express the fullness of God on earth it must be delivered from the power of sin, fleshly weakness and death and be infused with the supernatural, spiritual nature of God. All of this came through His death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit.
The true church is not merely another nice religion but the living, practical, expression of Christ on earth. It is people liberated by the cross and empowered by the presence and power of Christ. Peter, as many of us do today, succumbed to the temptation of the flesh when he responded to these words of Christ. Like so much of religion and the world, we often try to bypass the cross in our efforts to serve Christ and be the church.
Ekklesia Series // Ekklesia and Intimacy with God
No doubt, Peter thought He was doing Christ a favor when he admonished Him not to go to the cross. Religion always wants to provide another way of provision aside from the cross of Jesus Christ. Without the cross and the redemption and Holy Spirit empowerment that proceeds from it, there can be no church. We rebuke Christ when we try to build something that sidesteps His redemptive work and power and leans on human ingenuity and ability.
The prophecy of Genesis promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. That seed is Christ and the members of His body, the church of the living God Gen. The church defeats Satan in the end through Christ and His redeeming blood Rev. Much of institutional Christianity, which many equate with the church, is merely the result of people setting aside the things of God and becoming mindful of the things of men. Some so-called churches today are founded on a premise of pleasing men.
These user-friendly institutions are merely gigantic Christian clubs that cater to the fleshly needs of a spoiled generation of Christians. They are quick to hear from men about their fleshly needs while ignoring the voice of the Spirit. Instead of allowing the saints to be the church, they use the saints for the promotion of their institution. Remember, if we are not hearing from God, we are becoming something other than the church because the church is those who hear the call and come forth to Him.
Jesus told us that in order to enter His kingdom we must do the will of His Father Matt. We must hear and obey what He says.
The church, the ekklesia, is those who hear the call and come forth to Him. This, of course, is also a description of the bride of Christ. What else is the bride but those who commit to follow the Lord and be with Him? Jesus is not referring to those who get saved and then go their way.
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He clearly tells His disciples that in order to be the church we must first desire to come after Him, to be with Him, to hear and obey Him. Those who are saved experience the new birth and receive salvation through the grace of God but in order to be part of the church they must present themselves to Christ for His purpose. First, we must desire to come after Him because we are in love with Him. We must have a desire to hear His call to our hearts and then pursue Him. If we do not have such a desire, we cannot be the church.
In our pursuit of Him we must deny ourselves. If we put ourselves first we will never pursue Christ because our selfish needs will always take precedence over His desires. The primary hindrance to the building up of the real church is fleshly desires that the enemy constantly uses to keep us from Christ and His people. When we truly come after Christ and deny ourselves, we will find ourselves on a pathway with others who also are following Him.
That, simply put, is the church, those who are setting aside personal desires to seek the desires of Christ. These are those who have heard His call to come and have come forth to seek after Him and be where He is. How can we claim to be the church, His ekklesia, if we are not hearing Him and are merely pursuing our own interests?
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If we stay in the city when the trumpet sounds we are not the ekklesia nor can we be His bride. When we gather around Him when He calls we become His called-out people, the ekklesia, the church. Next, Jesus says that we must take up our cross and follow Him. Taking up a cross speaks of being willing to die in our pursuit of Christ. Physical death at the hand of persecutors may be part of this, but the real challenge is to die to self daily.
Taking up a cross means we are willing to begin the journey to the death of our selfish nature, which refuses to submit to Christ.
Ekklesia Series // Ekklesia and Intimacy with God - GREG SIMAS
The church is those who have died to the things of this world and self, allowing Christ to dwell in their hearts by faith. A bride is one who leaves her family and life to be with her groom. In the betrothal period that is the hope of her heart. Being born again is the first step of this journey but truly becoming the church demands that we follow the Lord and do what He says.
The building material for His church is people who allow Him to place them in His house. The church is the temple of God, a habitation of God being built as believers are placed next to other believers who likewise desire to be part of what He is building. In the consummation of all things the bride is the dwelling place of God Rev. If we are not cooperating with Christ in His spiritual plan, we are not part of His temple, the church, His bride.
If we are spiritual leaders who are building something apart from His direction, we are constructing something other than the church.
If the document is real, and Jesus did in fact have a wife, the implications could be tremendous, the article says:. There's only one problem, though. The Bible itself refers to Jesus' wife, repeatedly. Only that wife is not Mary Magdalene or any other earthly woman.
It's the church. Christ calls himself a bridegroom throughout the New Testament. When the finger-wagging Pharisees ask Jesus why his disciples don't fast, he answers :.
In other words, Christ is the groom and his disciples are his friends—and it would be rude of them to abstain from eating while they're in the presence of the groom. Later, as Jesus foretells the coming of God's kingdom, he also refers to himself as a groom: "The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
In John 3, John the Baptist echoes this description of Christ as a groom and refers to himself as a best man of sorts when he says :. If Christ is the groom, then who is his bride? The Gospels don't really answer that question, but the rest of the New Testament does. And the answer probably doesn't offer much help to people hoping Jesus' marital status could shift the debates over women in ministry or the definition of marriage.
In Ephesians 5 one of the more controversial passages of the Bible , the apostle Paul tells his readers , "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. That the church is Jesus' bride gets confirmed in Revelation, the final book of the Bible, which serves as a prophecy for the end of the world. In this apocalyptic vision, Jerusalem, a proxy for God's people as a whole, is described as "a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. The image of Christ as groom and the church as bride infuses Christian theology and writing.