Kingdom.16 Called out ones.

May 20, 2008 at 10:30 am 3 comments

One of the biggest problems we have understanding what the Kingdom is and what the Father’s intention is related to it, is confusing Kingdom with the church.  The church and the Kingdom are not synonymous.  The Kingdom is not a religious system, an institution or something that can be organized into committees or study groups.  If we are to capture this culture with true Kingdom values and invite people into relationships with Kingdom people that mirror in their lives what it is to relate to God as Father, we are going to need to start using terms that are unique and don’t carry the baggage that the word “church” does.  You mention church to most people in this country today and they will have a picture in their mind of something that doesn’t bear much resemblance to what Jesus had in mind for the people who would take His name and advance His Kingdom.  Once they have that picture in their heads it is very hard to try and explain that Jesus had a plan for His followers and for those who are seeking truth, quite different than “church”.

When the New Testament writers referred to this group of people who were passionate about Jesus, steadily advancing the Kingdom through a radical lifestyle of relationships, servant hood, sacrifice and living out the values of the Kingdom that Jesus taught, they chose the word Ekklesia.  Like most Greek nouns ekklesia is a combination of two words,  a preposition, ek-meaning “out of” and a form of the verb kaleo-meaning “to call”.  In a literal sense the word means “people who are called out”.

The word was commonly used to refer to any group of people who were ouside the mainstream of the culture but were having some kind of effect on the culture, good and/or bad.  Three times in the Scripture, ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people gathered into a mob or gang.  It often was used in reference to any group of people, called out from a larger group, to form another group for some purpose, whether to riot, lead a city, or even to be part of the Roman senate.

But when the followers of Jesus began to refer to themselves as the Ekklesia they were describing the bond they had together in Christ.  The word took on special meaning when Jesus said “I will build my ekklesia” referring to the spiritual gathering together of those who He had called out. 

Called out of what?  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. a special people; that you should show forth the praises of Him, who has called you out of (koleo humas ek) darkness into His marvelous light. (1Peter 2:9)

The word translated church has nothing to do with a building.  The writers of the New Testament had a perfectly good word available to them that they could have used, had they wanted to communicate a place where people gathered, or a religious institution (kuriokos-house of the Lord).  But they never chose that word, instead they chose a word, more than 115 times, that communicated something much different than we think of, when we hear the word church today.  Ekklesia is a spiritual fellowship of all those whom Jesus has called out of spiritual darkness to walk together in union with Him.  This relationship of called out people transcends time, place, gender, race, age, culture, and includes all true followers of Jesus, Who, has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4)

I don’t know that the word Ekklesia will catch on as the descriptive word for the Family that is serving together to advance the Kingdom, around the world, but it more defines something that the word “church” no longer does.  Words matter, because they communicate meaning, and meaning is what defines what and who we are. 

I for one do not want what I am investing my life in, to be thought of as a building or a gathering place for uptight, bigoted people, religious institution or a group of religious men sitting around building hoops for others to jump through.  But isn’t that what most people think of when they think of “church”?  It sounds similar to what the “church” was in Jesus day, doesn’t it?  No wonder He created something else.

More on the Ekklesia in future posts.


Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Bible, Bible topics, Christian, Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Family, Institutional church, King Jesus, Kingdom, Kingdom Gospel, Kingdom Life, The Father, Theology, Thoughts.

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.45 Tornadic activity.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. BS  |  May 28, 2008 at 4:43 pm


  • 2. Sara  |  May 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    “You mention church to most people in this country today and they will have a picture in their mind of something that doesn’t bear much resemblance to what Jesus had in mind for the people who would take His name and advance His Kingdom.” from above blog

    Do you think this is the same in the nations as well?

  • 3. amanda  |  May 20, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    this is interesting. a good point is not only the stigma church has but Christian, too, unfortunately. what is one to do? i consider myself a follower, a “Christian”, but it is funny (and i don’t mean ha ha) how people pigeon hole me (or try to anyway) for how and what they think i believe. it is very frustrating sometimes to see this pregidous on how i live (or they think i should live) my life. i frustratingly at times find this happens not only with my secular friends but those who i know that profess to believe. i would be curious to see more on this and also your ideas on those of us who are still “floating” or not tied to a church for various and sundry reasons

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