Christ-followers are called to be pure and holy! That’s not easy to do when seductive media is so readily accessible and overflowing with negativity, disrespect, vulgarity, adultery, nudity, profanity, and worse. Have all the sermons that we have heard (and preached) made us able and willing to live a holy lifestyle, to avoid watching evil, and to think on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report? Perhaps we need more than sermons.
How many sermons does it take to make a person honest and kind; forgiving and pure? Even a million “messages” can’t do that! True transformation can only be found by continually surrendering to and daily obeying the living, risen Jesus Christ. “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Church centers on sermons. Ekklesia operates by surrender to Jesus.
Benjamin Franklin’s “Tell me . . .” quote inspired me to put it this way:
–Tell me about religion and I get bored; teach me doctrines and I get tired; personally involve me with the living, risen Jesus Christ and with the Bible and I am transformed and inspired to follow Him, obey Him, and do everything I can to learn more about Him!
(“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”)
–Ekklesia gets regular people personally and directly involved with the living Jesus!
Ekklesia goes beyond church and lets us everyday people “tell our own story” when we gather for worship, instead of depending on a “professional” to do everything:
–“God has equipped us with his Holy Spirit simply to tell our own story—the good, the bad, and the real. The best part is no one can argue with us. It’s our story. And when others realize you don’t need a degree in evangelism, they become empowered to tell their own God-story. It’s not that complicated. Maybe the early church thrived because they didn’t pay people to be the professional ‘church people’—they all were ‘it.” –Thom Schultz
Here is a cool quote from Origen, an Christ-follower in the 3rd Century, that illustrates that the real meaning of the Greek word “ekklesia” is “city council” not “church”! Origen compares two types of ekklesias (city councils): the ekklesia of city government and the ekklesia of God’s government assembled together in Jesus’ name to live out the will of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
–“God caused ekklesias to be everywhere established in opposition to those of superstitious, licentious, and wicked men; for such is the character of the multitudes who constitute the citizens in the ekklesias of the various cities. In contrast, the ekklesias of God which are instructed by Christ, when carefully contrasted with the ekklesias of the districts in which they are situated, are like beacons in the world. For who would not admit that even the inferior members of the ekklesia are nevertheless more excellent than many of those who belong to the ekklesias in the various districts?” –Origen in about 230 A.D.
Get involved! Learn more about ekklesia — Christ’s city council — here.