Jun 24

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Have you ever questioned where the English word “church” came from? Or, have you just accepted it, because it appears in our English New Testament and you have never thought anything else? Do you know what Greek word is translated into the English word “church?” It may be the case, you have no interest in the word at all. If this is the case, you need to understand, that Jesus said: “I will build my church,” as it appears in our English versions. This statement, standing by itself, makes the word important.
Jesus said: “I will build my church;” but what Greek word did the Holy Spirit put in the pen of Matthew, when he wrote, “The Gospel According To Matthew,” wherein the words of Jesus appear? The word the Holy Spirit had Matthew to use is the Greek, “ekklēsia.” However, if we do not know the meaning of this word, then, we will have little understanding of the true nature of what Jesus promised to build. The Greek word “ekklesia” means: “a calling out” (Strong, E-Sword). It is a compound word: 1) “ek,” meaning; “out of;” and 2) “klesia,” meaning: “to call.” Thus, the word “ekklesia” means, to call out. Now, let us simply put the meaning of the Greek word, into the statement of Jesus: “I will build my called out of!” This gives us two questions that need, must, have our attention: 1) called out of what, and 2) called into what?” No! It is not the “church” that those who “believeth and is baptized,” are added to; but these are the “ekklesia:” “the called out of” Jesus! When Jesus commissioned his apostles in Mark 16:15, he said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In these words, Jesus was telling how he would build his “ekklesia;” the “gospel” would be the means and those who “believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” are Jesus’ “ekklesia!” This means, the “ekklesia” of Jesus are the “saved!”
Now, with this understanding before us, we can read with better understanding these words: “And the Lord added to the called out of daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47). As one is being “called out of” the world by the gospel, they are being added to the saved, upon their obedience. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, who calls through the gospel and adds as one has obeyed the gospel. Let us see if we can put what the Greek word “ekklesia” means into a few texts written by the inspired writers. First, “Unto the called out of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). Second, “And all the brethren which are with me, unto the called out of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2). Third, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the called out of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:1). This is enough to see that we can put the meaning of the Greek right into the text and it reads correctly and is easy to read. What is all this about, you ask?
Well, let us call to mind one other verse: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the called out of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15). Now we learn that “the called out of” the world is the collective “house of God, which is the called out of the living God.” Please notice here, that it is one, singular, “house of God; and that it is made of “the called out of God!” Once more, it must be kept in mind, that the calling is by means of the gospel of Christ and those who are “the called out of God,” are those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ; thus, they are “the house of God!” If we put the fact that “the called out of” are also the saved (Acts 2:47), which is “the house of God,” it becomes clear, that all the saved are “the house of God!” That they all got into “the house of God,” by one means; which is the gospel of Christ and obedience to it! If you are having trouble with the word, “obedience” (obey), give thought the Paul’s words: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). If one is lost, as Paul says some are, he is the one who does not obey the gospel; then, it is implied, not by me, but by the inspired apostle Paul, that those who obey the gospel are saved! Once more, it is heard: “What is this all about?” It is about understanding the truth!
One more thought! What if we put on the sign in front our building, “The Barnes Called Out of Christ Meets Here?” Would it help those who pass by understand, just who we are, better? Then, there is this, would it express the truth better to those who drive by?

Frank R. Williams

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