Riding the tide of God’s grace (an acrostic)

-An acrostic for GRACE–
Gathering
Reciprocally
As
Christ’s
Ekklesia

–Grace releases revival and spiritual awakening by allowing us the blood-bought privilege to ride the tide of Christ’s amazing presence. It allows us to freely experience His mercy, forgiveness, and love, in and through one another when we: 1) gather as His ekklesia; 2) obey the Spirit’s promtings; and 3) fulfill the New Testament one anothers.  Perhaps it is time for us to go beyond church and get on board the biblical concept of ekklesia. See more at this link.

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About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
This entry was posted in Beyond Church, Bible one anothers, blood of Jesus, ekklesia, forgiveness, mercy, New Testament, revival, spiritual awakening, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Riding the tide of God’s grace (an acrostic)

  1. johnwhite732758590 says:

    Steve, as you know, I love the work you have done on ekklesia. So, here’s my question… What was Jesus’ strategy for starting ekklesias?

    • Steve Simms says:

      Good question, John. I’ve never thought about that. In a way, I don’t think ekklesias are “started.” Organizations and institutions are started. However, ekklesias occur when two or three (or more) gather in Jesus’ name and allow His Presence (the Holy Spirit) to direct, lead and control their time together. Ekklesias are thus more spontaneous (or Spirit-prompted). They can occur anywhere or anytime. So I guess the strategy Jesus had was to show up when 2 or more of His followers met together and see how willing they are to allow Him to lead them.

      • johnwhite732758590 says:

        So, how do you understand what Jesus was doing in Mt 10 with the 12? And, then, a year later with the 12 plus 72 more?

  2. Steve Simms says:

    He was sending them out to share His love and good news with people and to heal them. However, there is no evidence that either the 12 or the 72 started any ongoing meeting until after Petecost. Even after Pentecost, it says “they met daily and from house to house,” not “they started a meeting or an organization.” They met like a family gathering together, perhaps at a regular time, or perhaps as they happened to come upon one another. Iv’e experienced ekklesia in both ways.

  3. johnwhite732758590 says:

    Let me suggest another alternative. That is, that Jesus had a very clear strategy for starting or birthing ekklesias. Consider…
    1. By your definition, the 12 disciples were already functioning as an ekklesia as they spent time with Jesus for 3 years. So, there was at least one “ongoing meeting” before Pentecost.
    2. In Mt 18:17, Jesus says that, if a brother sins and refuses to listen to those coming to win him over, the next step was to “tell it to the ekklesia”. The clear implication was that there were ekklesias already functioning.
    3. in Acts 2:46, as you mentioned, they met “from house to house”. Roger Gehring (“House Church and Mission”) suggests that three thousand people would require at least 150 house churches. It seems likely that these were ekklesias that had already been established. (Perhaps by the 84 (12 + 72) that Jesus send out (apostello) in Lk 10:1) Therefore, they would be led/facilitated by people who were familiar with “the apostles’ teaching” and not by brand new believers.
    4. We have to read the NT in it’s Hebraic context. (ie good hermeneutics) The Jews already had the tradition of the home as the center of spiritual life (see “Our Father Abraham” by Marvin Wilson). The home was referred to by the Rabbis as the “miqdash me’at” (ie, a small sanctuary or temple). This was the location of an ongoing gathering every week on the eve of the Sabbath. In this context, there was singing and worship, study of Torah and a special meal. The gathering included family members but also friends and neighbors. Everyone participated. These were the “house of peace” (“shalom bayit” in Hebrew) that Jesus refers to in Lk 10:5. It’s likely that this was the context for the first ekklesias. So, an “ongoing meeting” and “a family gathering” were not two different things. They were the same thing. (We have to move beyond our experience of church/ekklesia as an “organization” in our sense of the word. This was unknown in the NT.)

    • Steve Simms says:

      I hadn’t thought about it that way, John. Thanks for the insights!

      • johnwhite732758590 says:

        I hadn’t thought about it that way either, Steve, until I started doing some research.

        What this means is that Jesus may have been even more enthusiastic about starting ekklesias than you and I are. 🙂 And, if this perspective is correct, there may have been several hundred ekklesias in Israel by Acts 2.

        One other implication is that we may want to study what Jesus did in Mt 10 with the 12 and then in Lk 10 with the 84 (12 + 72). We may want to follow the pattern we see there in starting ekklesias. In addition, we can see that He was very focused on multiplying the number of apostles (ekklesia starters). Again, we may want to follow His pattern in this.

      • Steve Simms says:

        Good points. That sure challenges the traditional viewpoint that Pentecost was “the birthday of the church.”

  4. Phil Snow says:

    John White, one thing still bothers me about the idea of ekklesia’s existing before Jesus ascended. That is He of course promised to be with us whenever 2 or more met in His name. Before His ascension He could only be in one place at any given time. After His ascension He was not so limited.
    So, even if there were groups meeting before Pentecost as you propose, could they rightly be called ekklesia’s?
    Maybe I’m nit picking. I don’t mean to be, this just trips me up.

    • johnwhite732758590 says:

      It’s a good question, Phil. I don’t totally have the answer but there are some passages we have to wrestle with. And, I think we have to seek to understand the Hebraic mindset of Jesus and His listeners.

      Acts 7:38. “He (Moses) was in the assembly in the desert… and he received living words to pass on to us.” The word “assembly” is ekklesia. So, the ekklesia wasn’t something new that Jesus started. The concept of God meeting with His people in the midst of the assembly (ekklesia) was well understood by the Jews.

      Mt. 18:15 – 20. There is no sense that Jesus is speaking about a future situation. (“In the future, if there is conflict, handle it this way.”) Rather, He is speaking about a present reality. It seems clear that there were churches (ekkesia) currently functioning that were the context for conflict resolution.

      Mt 10 and Lk 10. While the word “church” (ekklesia) is not used, it is clear that Jesus was sending His apostles to start something in these “houses of peace”. And, these “somethings” had to do with the Kingdom. (Tell them, “The kingdom of God is near you”.) And, these something were clearly very important to Jesus. Multiplying these “somethings” was at the center of His mission. So, if you think they weren’t house churches, what were they?

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