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Today I want to share something very interesting with you. I didn't know this, maybe you don't know it either, but it is worth knowing.
In his book, "No Room For Compromise, Christ's Message to Today's Church", Rick Renner writes: "It must be noted that nearly every word in the New Testament was borrowed from a secular source. When the books of the New Testament were written, the Church was in its infancy, and there was no established reserve of Christian terminology. Consequently, most words and concepts found in the New Testament were taken from secular sources in order to make spiritual points."
This helped the Gentiles (non-Jews) to understand the message of Jesus, for they understood the secular words and imagery the writers of the New Testament used.
One of these secular words is the word used for 'church'.
The Greek word is the word ekklesia.
It is a compound of the Greek words ek and kaleo.
Ek conveys the idea of an exit or separation.
Kaleo means to beckon, to call, to invite, or to summon.
When you put these two words together you get the word ekklesia. It describes those who are called and separated to a prestigious assembly.
In the secular world the ekklesia was a "prestigious public assembly of Athenian citizens who regularly met for sessions to discuss civil matters on a hill called the Pnyx that overlooked the city".
When they met together they made laws, they debated public policy, they made decisions on judicial matters, etc. In short, they made decisions that affected the lives of those around them.
It was a very great honour to be called out from society and to be invited to become a part of the ekklesia. Only those who held full citizenship were considered to be invited to this assembly.
When one studies the word ekklesia as it is used in the Word, the meaning of the word becomes clear: "The local church is a body of individuals who have been called out, called forth, and separated for the purposes of God."
All over the world the Lord has believers in every city. They have been called to make eternal decisions that will affect the very atmosphere of their local region. In short, the decisions and actions taken by God's ekklesia are supposed to influence and change the lives of those around them now and for eternity.
It is sad that most believers see the church as the building where we gather on a Sunday.
We have lost the true meaning of what it means to be a church, an ekklesia.
We have forgotten that we have been called out from the world and that we have been separated for God's purposes.
Most of the time we don't even realise that we are supposed to make a difference where the Lord has placed us. We don't understand that we are to follow the Lord's instructions in order to make eternal decisions that will affect and influence the atmosphere and the lives of those around us.
May the Lord, in His great mercy and grace, give us revelation as to who and what the church really is.
May He show us once again how we are to make a difference and influence the world around us.
May He help us understand that even though we are in the world we are not from it. We have been called out, called forth, and we have been separated for His purposes.
And may we fulfill His will and His plans as we walk in obedience to Him!
Information taken from the book "No Room For Compromise, Christ's Message to Today's Church" by Rick Renner.