Jesus said (in the original Greek) “I will build My ekklesia.” Ekklesia was the city council in Greek city-states. (The Greek word literally means called out ones. The Greeks chose it as the name for their city council because citizens were called out to conduct city business.) It does not mean church. Thus it would be translated: “I will build My city council and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Church meetings tend to be controlled by human concerns. Jesus “rebuked Peter” saying; “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mark 8:33)
–What about us? When we gather for worship, do we listen to Christ and let Him run the meeting in whatever way He wants to? Or do we simply follow human concerns that we are very comfortable with — a prescribed format and that has been done for centuries — call to worship, songs, announcements, offering, Bible reading, sermon, benediction?
Now let’s replace the word church with the English meaning of ekklesia (Christ’s city council) in some other New Testament verses. (It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t say He would build His sanhedrin or synagogue but chose a Greek word instead.)
“Paul, Silas and Timothy, To Christ’s city council of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1
“To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to Christ’s city council that meets in your home.” –Philemon 1:1
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved His city council and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant city council, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” –Ephesians 5:25-27
“He is the Head of the body, His city council.” –Colossians 1:18
“For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the city council of God and tried to destroy it.” –Galatians 1:13
“As for zeal, persecuting Christ’s city council.” –Philippians 3:6
“Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and Christ’s city council in her house.” –Colossians 4:15
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of Christ’s city council to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” –James 5:14-15
“If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the city council of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” –1 Timothy 3:15
“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to Christ’s city council; and if they refuse to listen
even to Christ’s city council, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” –Matthew 18:17
Learn more about Christ’s city council and how it is called to operate in the book Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia available on Amazon at this link.