Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Trevor Hartwig

Trevor Hartwig has some really good insights into the word ekklesia in his book called My Sheep Hear His Voice.

The word ekklesia does not mean what we think of as church. Ekklesia, which is used around 115 times in the New Testament, means the called-out ones, an assembly.” In Jesus’ day, it was a secular word that was commonly understood, being used by the rulers and government of the day. The Romans even adopted from the Greeks this method of governing with the people.

The whole idea was to have the called-out ones assemble for the specific purpose of hearing what the business of the government or rulers was, then going and getting the job done. It is like a boss of a business assembling his workers in the morning to issue instruction and then setting the workers free to go and put legs on those instructions.

Jesus gathered his disciples, they heard and saw what to do, and then went and did it.

Jesus assembled his disciples for final instruction and told them to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which would empower them to live like Christ. That’s the ekklesia in action.

On the day of Pentecost, we see the people assembling in the marketplace because they heard the sound of a might rushing wind (the Holy Spirit). After hearing Peter proclaim the good news by the Holy Spirit, their response was “What should we do?” Hearing from God involves action—always action. Action is central to the life any ekklesia (pp76-78).
Paul and Silas were kingdom builders. They were dethroning rulers in the minds of the people and alienating them from the mental hold Caesar (the world and their government) had upon them. They were teaching the principles of Christian government (Christ’s kingdom). Jesus is King and it is His Domain.

They were putting forth the call of god to whomever would hear and obey, and those whose hearts responded to the call became citizens of Christ’s kingdom and joined themselves to the ekklesia, a common unit of believers.

When you consider the fact that an ekklesia was a civil body politic, this is a strong proof that the Christian ekklesia we read about in the New Testament were independent civil bodies of Christians under the headship of Christ, ruled by the theocratic government of God’s Spirit. They wanted freedom to serve King Jesus”.

We must allow ourselves to be formed into actual communities under the headship of Christ called out and separated from the world, with none other than Jesus Christ as our ruler and King (pp.141-142).

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