Strategy 3 The Church/Ekklesia Session 1 – summary

What is it?

It’s important to remember that the church first and foremost, beginning, middle and end, is a body of people in relationship with Jesus Christ, and first and foremost He calls us to Himself before He calls us to a task.

So the relational takes priority over everything. We have to have our right relationship with Jesus Christ before we’re ever going to have a right relationship with each other as a body.

The church is organic rather than organizational and that makes a colossal difference to how the church can function. It means in fact that the relational precedes the functional and that precedes the formal. So we need to be very very clear that the church Jesus is building is not an organization at all.

The Church’s Mission = The Father’s Business

We need to identify not so much what the church looks like but what the Father’s purpose, what the Father’s business, looks like and once we’re clear about that then we’ll be much more clear about why we exist.

The great commission is not a phrase that is actually used in Scripture. It’s how the church over the centuries has sought to express the sense of being tasked by the Master with His business, and His business is the Father’s business. When Peter addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost, he said that Jesus was crucified by the set purpose and foreknowledge of God. It was the Father’s business. So that if that’s the case with the Head, it must also be the case for the body. A body where the head has a different purpose from the head is a dysfunctional body.

We are in a great commission, which is a co-mission. We have been sent together with the Son. The body does not have a different mission from the Head and if it does it’s not His body.

We need to keep hold of the Head

We abandoned the church for a good couple of years, and then Sunday mornings, we would go out and we would walk in the woods, or have a prayer time at home, read our Bibles together, watch some good teaching on a video or something like that, and that was church for us. And then we found as time went on it really wasn’t satisfying and I cried out to God. I said “Lord, I don’t understand. What’s wrong here?”. And the Lord’s answer was dead simple and so logical it took my breath away. He said “You can’t have the Head without the body”. That was painful for us. We had to really start seriously considering how we related to the body of Christ because we weren’t functioning within the body of Christ. We were trying to go alone and it couldn’t be done.

We need to keep hold of each other

During lockdown, Zoom has proved to be quite a remarkable tool because, as you know no doubt, you can sit and chat here like this and have a really good level of fellowship with each other even to the point where you can have a very deep prayer life together by means of Zoom. The one thing that that is difficult to do is to demonstrate to the world our love for each other by means of online communication, because that side of the church is not visible to the world; it’s only visible to us. We can’t allow ourselves to be satisfied with a form of church that is effectively like a private members club.

One day when we can’t get access to each other online, we’re going to have to find ways of relating to flesh and blood saints in our own locality, because we won’t be able to talk to folks in other parts of the country or around the world

The Greek word translated church, ekklesia, has a dual sense of being ‘called out’ and ‘called together’. For us to advance in spiritual warfare, there has to be a concept of being together. We’ve discussed ‘called out’ extensively this morning, but how do we express ‘called together’? We will continue to explore this in the coming sessions.