“Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her…” (Ephesians 5:25, NLT) So many of us talk about ‘going to church’ like it was just another activity in life. But many of us don’t really stop to ponder more deeply what exactly that term means. “CHURCH” … it is more than a building or a place where perhaps many grew up attending with their family. Church is a place of God's presence where two or three have come together in Jesus' name (Matthew 18:20). It is a community of folks from various backgrounds, races, economic levels and experiences that are drawn together through the power of the Holy Spirit to journey through this life together. This local community was called an “ekklesia” (pronounced ek-klay-see'-ah) in the New Testament days – this term comes from the Greek word which means “assembly” or literally “called out ones.” The term “ekklesia” is made up of the two Greek words, EK—“out of,” and KALEO—“shall be called.” Thus, it is an assembly of Christians called out to become a unique spiritual family. Acts 2:42-47 shows us a deeper insight as to what this ekklesia is to be about, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer… all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had…They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.” (excerpted) This ekklesia is to be a family in whom we share all aspects of life together. This ‘called out assembly of believers’ is also to be God’s primary means for taking the Gospel into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20) and with this charge comes His divine protection, “Upon this rock I will build My church (ekklesia); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”(Matthew 16:18) To be a part of such a local assembly, an ekklesia, is God’s deepest desire for every believer for we were NEVER meant to journey alone through this quest called life. Theologically, this all sounds so neat and good and it is … but it sometimes gets messed up is when we add REAL PEOPLE with REAP PROBLEMS to His REAL CHURCH! You see, no church is perfect for every church is made up of sinners (Romans 3:23), some who have been truly redeemed /forgiven by Christ and some who sadly are Christian ‘in name only’ (i.e. do not have a true relationship with Christ). In every church there is the issue of responsive obedience / disobedience to His Word which every church family member faces…and as Dr. Henry Blackaby shares in his study Experiencing God, one’s obedience / disobediences affects not only themselves, but those around them as well. That all being said, His Church (His ekklesia) is a living, spiritual organism - not an organization – through which His Spirit spiritually lives and breathes and works. As we journey through this subject of Church / Ekklesia over the next few days, I pray that God will share with us insights to help us all better understand His desire and our need to be in community together with fellow believers. Despite the many lies and attacks which Satan spews out against His Church; despite the times we all have experienced hurt and disappointments by those who claim to be true members of His church; despite the imperfections of those who attend church every week – including each of ourselves … we ALL still need to be spiritually grafted into a local ekklesia because we were created to be a part of His family. As with any family, God’s family demands love, grace, forgiveness and much patience because as I shared recently in a WOTD devotion, we are all divine works of art that are being molded and shaped into the very image of our Creator, the Great Potter. And whether we like it or not, He often chooses to mold/shape our spiritual lives in full public view of a special family which He has divinely created so that we need not go through this spiritual transformation alone - that being His Church! …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led CCM video is by David Crowder Band and can be viewed by clicking on the on the praise & worship song title, "How He Loves Us" - G3 for sharing His power-filled words thru CCM & Praise!