By Blake Higginbotham
Matthew 16:13-20 Now when Yahshua came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim.” 17And Yahshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock [the revelation of Messiah by the Spirit] I will build My Ekklesia and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Messiah. NASB
Ekklesia – ‘A called out and gathered together people’
Note: It speaks of a people who have been called out of the religious systems of this world. They have been gathered together by Holy Spirit for the greater purpose of the Kingdom of Yahweh. They represent the judicial branch and legislative arm of the Kingdom of Yahweh. If you can hear it, they have been strategically repositioned and synergistically placed in order to advance the Kingdom of Yahweh. They have been divinely commissioned and empowered to represent Yahshua the Messiah in every area of life and ministry.
Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Yahshua, 20by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21and having a High Priest over the house of Yahweh, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, [The Ekklesia]-[What Yahweh is assembling and putting together by His Spirit] as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 12:22-29 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living Elohim, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to Yahweh the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24to Yahshua the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.25See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,26whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve Yahweh acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29For our Elohim is a consuming fire.
v Over the past few days I have been asking some hard questions concerning the issues that we are facing in the modern-day Ekklesia. The following represents some possible answers. These observations do not represent a comprehensive approach to the problems that we continue to experience; but they are some thoughts that we need to consider.
I. What did the first-century Ekklesia have that we don’t have?
1. They had eye witness accounts of the death, burial and resurrection of Yahshua the Messiah.
2. They had divine empowerment through the revelation of Messiah and Holy Spirit Baptism.
3. They had a better spiritual and practical understanding of the Kingdom of Yahweh.
4. They had the first-hand, personal testimonies of the Apostles of the Lamb. (Living Witnesses)
5. They had one another and the strength of the corporate expression. They had community and family that sincerely loved and cared for one another.
- They understood and embraced the City Ekklesia concept. They were the Apostolic/Kingdom Ekklesia of their time.
A. What didn’t they have?
6. They didn’t have a book (The Scripture, Holy Bible, The Word, Etc.)
7. They didn’t have nice, cushy places in which to assemble. (Church Buildings and Other Facilities)
8. They didn’t have celebrity preachers and king-pin ministries with whom to contend.
9. They didn’t have books, CDs & Christian television upon which to stand and depend.
10. They didn’t have as many walls, barriers and territorial boundaries in which to overcome.
11. They didn’t have a tolerant government or system in which to live and thrive. (The government and system of that time, was hostile to their operation and very existence)
II. What do we have that the first-century Ekklesia didn’t have?
- We have a Book. (The Scripture, Holy Bible, The Word Etc.)-(Multiple Translations with Commentaries)
- We have nice, cushy places in which to assemble. (One on every street corner in every major city)
- We have celebrity preachers and king-pin ministries with whom to contend.
- We have books, CDs & Christian television upon which to stand and depend.
- We have numerous walls, barriers and territorial boundaries in which to overcome.
- We have a government and system that is tolerant of our operation and very existence.
- The above statements of fact should not be used to summarily condemn all of these practices; but they do represent some things we need to consider as we move from a popular, acceptable way of thinking to a new way of seeing and processing the revelation of Messiah.