Updated: Apr 27, 2022
PART 1 – Scripture Passages 1-4
Hello – this is Doug Krieger of ONE BODY LIFE. This nearly one-hour soon-to-be released audio presentation is written as a blog article and is designed to give a concise overview of God’s eternal plan and purpose based on key Scriptures from the New Testament given at the March, 2022 Vacaville Conference co-sponsored by four ministries and our friends at the JOURNEY DOWNTOWN COFFEE CO. in Vacaville, California, USA.
Passages were taken from the NT and highlighted by nearly 20 speakers with a stress upon the vision and practice of Ekklesia. Since most folks aren’t going to listen to 20 speakers—well, maybe this would-be audio/CD will make it easier to absorb! This blog with pics. is the overall content of this nearly 7,300 word document (25 min. read).
The purpose of the conference was designed to give a summary on this most enlightening topic now sweeping across the USA and throughout many places on the globe—especially, noteworthy finding resonance among those Christians who now consider themselves as DONES/NONES or unaffiliated; having abandoned institutional or denominational Christianity; yet, who are seeking—still considering themselves as ardent believers in the finished work of Christ on the cross for our salvation.
Just what is Ekklesia and what does it look like according to the Bible’s rendition of it? Yes, we know you can burn a “church building” down but the people remain—the emphasis that you will hear is not upon buildings and what goes on inside these “centers of worship” but what takes place or should take place among the people that fill them—the living Body of Believers, or His Ekklesia, which we all affirm is God’s eternal plan and purpose for the ages. Yes, those worshipers who desire to worship the Father in “spirit and in truth.”
So, let’s continue with PART NO. 1 of - AN OVERVIEW OF EKKLESIA – It’s Meaning and Practice – later, you can listen, pause the audio, look up the Scriptures yourself (taken from the New KJV—in the main) and do your own study of the material—hopefully, this will stir in your heart a desire to delve into the PURPOSE-DRIVEN GOD by pursuing His Plan and Desire for all humanity! This first passage will be followed by 9 other segments – so, a total of 10 passages/segments.
1. Matt 16:15-26 – The revelation of the Lord’s mission to build up His ekklesia in order to defeat the Gates of Hades.
This cardinal text initially declares the EKKLESIA is God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose for the ages – the supernatural entry of the Incarnate Son of God in the form of a MAN, the MAN, CHRIST JESUS, announced His ultimate intention to Peter in this manner (We’ll take excerpts from these passages…)
“He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Ekklesia . . .”
(Please note that the word “church” is NOT found in the original text—but “Ekklesia” is the original word whose actual meaning connotes “the called out ones” but much more—it is NOT associated with a physical building but humanity—flesh and blood . . . more on this later.)
“ . . . and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven . . . From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’ Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:15-26)
The revelation of Who is Jesus—the CHRIST, the Son of the Living God—is at the very core of what is true Christianity. Only the Father can reveal the person of Jesus as the Messiah, the Deliverer, to anyone, for that matter. Once one, like Peter, receives such a heavenly revelation, they too become, as Peter, “living stones” for the building or Temple of God: 1 Peter 2:5:
“And ye yourselves, as living stones, are built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
. . . without this revelation of Who Jesus is—there can be no living stones, no building up, no spiritual house, no holy priesthood, no offering up of spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God—it all must come from the Father through Jesus Christ!
This, as it did with Peter, triggers an additional response from Jesus: “And upon this rock I will build My Ekklesia and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” EKKLESIA is the operative word, once again, used here, not the word CHURCH which traditional Christianity has used—unfortunately, taking the emphasis off of the “living stones” or real people. The term EKKLESIA was taken from the Greek and ultimately the Roman practice of community engagement. The earliest forms of democratic involvement in society, in this case, Greek city-states wherein the various strata of society—like farmers, tradesmen, government, military, education, science, entertainment, business—would periodically come together to discuss and decide on what would be in the community’s best interest. A general consensus eventually shared by the majority wherein decisions were accordingly made concluded this Greco-Roman assembly.
Jesus’ disciples knew full-well after nearly 600 years of such a fundamental governmental practice at the local level of just what He was talking about – this would, however, be Jesus’ form of “spiritual democracy” – it would be far more inclusive than the Greek model which, for one, excluded women—it would likewise include slave and free, rich and poor, and all races of humanity (the nations). Furthermore, the very GATES OF HADES would not prevail against this “spiritual offensive” – it would NOT be stagnant or passive or defensive—to the contrary, it would be God’s OFFENSIVE WEAPON used against the very Gates of Hades and would utterly defeat them!
Moreover, it would unite “heaven and earth” by opening up the very keys of the Kingdom of Heaven so that “whatever His Ekklesia would bind on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever would be loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven.” It would be the very weapon used by Jesus in bringing heaven to earth and earth into heaven . . . for this Jesus is, as Nathaniel said in John 1:49:
“You, Jesus, are the Son of God” (bringing God to earth) . . . and “You are the King of Israel!” (bringing earth, if you would, humanity, into heaven) – “Son of God” = HEAVEN and “King of Israel” = EARTH. Of course, this revelation compliments the one given in Matthew 16 resulting in YOU WILL SEE GREATER THINGS!
Finally, how the EKKLESIA would accomplish its destiny in defeating the GATES OF HADES would be found in Jesus’ suffering, death, and ultimate resurrection—His very experience of the Cross and Resurrection would be the very experience of the Ekklesia wherein we too would bear our cross—“take up his cross and follow me” – the crossing out of the self-life would produce the prevailing Ekklesia defeating the very Gates of Hades. The self is AN OFFENSE to Christ; it savors the “things of man” and not those of God – His way is the WAY OF THE CROSS – Satan is behind us – the CROSS BEFORE US!
Let’s move on to our second set of Scriptures found in John 13 and John 17 concerning Ekklesia. Allow me to read some of the most salient parts of these passages having to do with the New Commandment, serving one another, and the Lord’s prayer for the oneness of His people based on three gifts given to us in order that the world would believe the Father sent the Son . . .
2. John 13 & 17 – The new commandment of love, serving one another, and the Lord’s prayer for the oneness of His people (and giving three gifts) in order that the world will believe.
First, John 13 . . .
“ . . . when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end . . . (He) rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basis and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded . . . What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this . . . If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me . . . If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him,. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them . . . A NEW COMMANDMENT I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Now – John 17 . . .
“. . . as You (Father) have given Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that He should GIVE ETERNAL LIFE to as many as You have given Him . . . I have GIVEN TO THEM THE WORDS, which You have given Me . . . I have GIVEN THEM YOUR WORD . . . sanctify them by Your truth…Your word is truth . . . And the GLORY WHICH YOU GAVE ME I HAVE GIVEN THEM, that they may be one just as We are one . . . I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in ONE, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me . . ..”
Thus, He gave us the Father’s Life – the Son as the very Word, the Truth and through the Spirit of God in us He has given us His GLORY that we may be One, so that the world would know that the Father loved the Son Who was sent and Who loved us as the Father loved Him.
In sum: The NEW COMMANDMENT is in reality the outworking of the New Covenant promised in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospel; however, only in John’s Gospel the New Covenant is NOT mentioned—but the NEW COMMANDMENT is!
It is based upon the New Covenant and is the very expression of His New Covenant which is unilateral and based upon Jesus LOVING through us—we LOVE WITH THE LOVE OF JESUS not by our own effort but by His alone! This can be contrasted with the GREAT COMMANDMENT whereby we are called under the First Covenant to:
“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength and to love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22, Mark 12).
But our natural strength simply fails in so loving the Lord and our neighbor as ourselves—however, via the New Commandment His love fulfills the greatest of commandments and through His Love we enter into a New Covenant whereby through His broken Body and His precious blood—He now lives in us to love through us!
This is the very BASIS of His Ekklesia—one of humility (washing of feet) and loving one another as He loved us.
But again—how can we accomplish such a love, if you would? If we are enabled to love as He loved based on the New Covenant of His Blood and Body—then such love would be sealed by His prayer in that Upper Room . . . THE LORD HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL GIFTS to become His LIVING EKKLESIA: The Father’s Life—we all have the same LIFE of the Father . . . it’s not “What church do you attend?” but, “Praise God, you and I have the same FATHER, the same LIFE! We are brothers and sisters, having the same Father.”
Furthermore, He has given us Himself as the Living Word, the very Truth for He said, “I am the truth” – His Word now abides in us – the TRUTH HAS SET US FREE and finally, we can express the Father’s Life and the Son’s Living Word because the SPIRIT OF GLORY is within us and through us all – thanks be to God for His UNSPEAKABLE GIFTS: Life, Truth, and Glory for now the world can believe the Father sent the Son into the World as the world beholds His love through us all. The very TRIUNE GOD has called us into His love and fellowship/communion—it is out from this unity and oneness that the world can see and believe the Father sent the Son into the world!
Our third set of Scriptures on Ekklesia is found in Ephesians 4:1-16 – the “seven one anothers” and the 5-fold gifts for equipping of believers to be one.
3. Eph. 4:1-16 – Endeavoring unity based on the seven "one-anothers" and the five-fold gifts for the equipping of believers to be one.
“. . . bearing with one another in love”. . . WHY or HOW?
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT in the bond of peace . . . FOR . . .
1. There is ONE BODY
2. ONE SPIRIT
3. ONE HOPE of your calling
4. ONE LORD
5. ONE FAITH
6. ONE baptism
7. ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL - - - Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4 is at the heart of the vision of His Ekklesia. It is absolutely imperative to grasp that this ONENESS and/or these seven ones commence with the phrase: THERE IS ONE BODY and that in verse seven “to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Every member of His ONE BODY has been given grace—each one of us—based upon the “measure of Christ” – this verse is supplemented by Eph. 4:13 wherein we read:
“. . . till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST.”
This, in turn, is connected with Eph. 3:18-19 in which the dimensional measurements are given:
“To be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height . . . the fullness of God.”
The FULLNESS OF CHRIST is the FULLNESS OF GOD – it’s the full measure of Christ comprised of all His saints—each one of us has a “measure of Christ” and together with all saints we constitute the FULLNESS OF CHRIST. Recognition that Christ’s measure of grace is in each one of us is a revelatory vision. Increasing the measure, cultivating that grace, is the task of all those especially gifted by the Head of the Body, Christ:
“He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).
These offices or functions are commissioned by the Head of the Body (He Himself gave) to EQUIP God’s people to “do the work of the ministry” where these equipped members will “edify the body of Christ” in such a way that those so equipped will be able to “come to the unity of the faith” which is wholly based upon the knowledge of the Son of God—then they will constitute His PERFECT MAN and then they will be designated as the very FULLNESS OF CHRIST.
There is a chain of “spiritual events” witnessed here in which the “measure of Christ’s grace” in each one of us is further equipped by these gifted members of the ONE BODY to DO THE WORK of the ministry themselves—edifying and unifying the Body of Christ. If a gifted member is not equipping others with their gift, but simply building up his or her own ministry of equipping—then the focus is upon the minister, not those who should be equipped to do the work of the ministry which in turn is the building up of the Body of Christ whereby the greater unity of the ONE FAITH is achieved among God’s people.
How debilitating it is when a gifted one simply gathers God’s people around himself! Is this gifted one . . . let’s say an evangelist . . . equipping more evangelists who spread the gospel of God’s grace and salvation to others AND draws the Body of Christ together? Is this pastor equipping God’s people and raising up other pastors, other shepherds to care for the flock under the Great Shepherd of the Sheep—none of His sheep belong to us—they are all the “sheep of His pasture!”? If the five-fold ministry is not building up the General Assembly—if all the gifted one is doing is building up his/her ministry and does not equip them with the goal being the unity of the Body of Christ, then that “equipper” has failed in the gift the Lord has given to him/them! The five-fold ministry must result in the expression of His Ekklesia!
4. 1 Cor. 11:17 through 14:40 – The description of ekklesia in practice: believers from factions, remembering the Lord, and everyone speaking (participating) with no one dominating nor monopolizing the gathering.
In 1 Corinthians 11:17 through 1 Corinthians 14:40 is the most pragmatic expression of how the Ekklesia is expressed on the earth. Several highlights found in these passages can be enumerated and greatly amplified; however, since this is but an overview, we will go quickly:
1 Cor. 11:17 speaks of the Lord’s Supper. Paul said that when the Corinthian believers came together he heard that there were “divisions” among them. Yes, in 1 Cor. 1:12 and 1 Cor. 3:4 there were “factions” based on “personalities” like Paul, Cephas, Apollos and even Christ. The word “faction” is akin to a “schism” in the gathering—we’ve misinterpreted the word from the Greek as a “heresy” but the word in Greek in the context the word is used here “denotes (1) a choosing, choice; then (2) that which is chosen, and hence, (3) an opinion , (3a) especially a self-willed opinion resulting in a “sect” (Strong’s 139, 138) and can be found as a “sect” in Acts 5:17—the “sect of the Sadducees”).
Such a “faction/schism” (NKJV) within the gathering, according to Paul—in this passage/context—is NOT to be persuaded otherwise from their belief in whatever personality or strong opinion they may have which constitutes their sectarian attitude in the gathering—but such “sects” are “mandatory”---MUST BE—there. Why?
“So that they who are APPROVED of God might be recognized (or made manifest) among you!” Who are these approved or “genuine” brethren? Obviously, these are they who earnestly desire to keep the “unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of Peace” – they don’t take sides – instead, they bring the Body, the assembly which is expressing these divergent opinions, back to the ultimate focus of the gathering—the Lord Jesus Christ—His Person and His Work in the life of the believer.
The Lord’s Table is expressly intended to REMEMBER JESUS (ME)—this DO in REMEMBRANCE OF ME.
The Lord’s Supper is likewise a time to “examine oneself” – are we/he/she “discerning the ONE BODY of the Lord” – are we in unity with the greater Body of Christ and those gathered in that particular gathering? If not, we need to both discern and to judge ourselves lest we be chastened by the Lord—otherwise, the fragmented world will condemn us!
In 1 Cor. 12 “For in fact the Body is not one member but many” – THAT realization seems obvious but if any member is somehow “cut off” from the flow of the other members—they are missing out on the LIFE-FLOW of the whole Body. Likewise, we’re all NOT the same—“If they were all one member, where would the body be?” No one is more necessary than any other member—in fact, those “unpresentable parts have greater modesty” and “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
1 Cor. 12:28 speaks of gifted ones, yes—apostles, prophets and thirdly teachers – oddly enough, it doesn’t speak of evangelists nor pastors but goes on to speak of “gifts of healings, helps, administrations, tongues, workers of miracles, interpretation of tongues” but then Paul says he shows us a “more excellent way”…
1 Cor. 13 is in the midst of these passages concerning the practical life of the Ekklesia—without LOVE – there is nothing!
1 Cor. 14 starts out that we should “pursue love” (this love of 1 Cor. 13), and to “desire spiritual gifts” – but ESPECIALLY THAT YOU MAY PROPHESY…because true “prophesying” edifies and exhorts and comforts—if you prophesy you build up the Ekklesia.
1 Cor. 14:26 speaks of the whole EKKLESIA coming together in which EACH ONE HAS…no one “has not” – all of us HAS and that which we HAS is obviously that portion of Christ’s grace/measure . . .
But more so: “But you can all prophesy ONE BY ONE, that all may learn and all may be encouraged” (vs. 30). Thus: EACH ONE HAS and ONE BY ONE—that’s the expression of a healthy EKKLESIA. No one dominates, monopolizes, maneuvers the Body such as “let’s all wait on the Lord” or “let’s all do this or that” – there’s no FORMAT of the Lord’s Ekklesia, no agenda, no “service of worship” in which the Ekklesia has to follow a set practice—yet: “Let all things be done decently and in order!” Far too often a dominating personality will “channel” the gathering into a certain way that is comfortable to them and perhaps others he/she has influenced. Each member of His ONE BODY has something to contribute—those who would subtly demand that any “sharing” be done this way or that way may have good intentions, but the thrust of those assembled is to share their portion, contribute, participate for the edification of the whole Body assembled together—“the same Spirit” will administer during the assembly. Prophesying may be a form of testimony (one’s personal encounter with Christ) but may manifest in other ways in song, teaching, prayer, praise, etc.
PART 2 – Scripture Passages 5-10
5. Gal. 1-3 – The perversion of the gospel: division; continuing by the simple faith in Christ: diversity in unity
Galatians 1-3 centers on the Truth of the Gospel—the “truth of the Gospel” is expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:4 and Gal. 2:14 and has everything to do with our unity in Christ. In this case between believing Jews and believing Gentiles or between Judah and the nations. To separate out and not commune, fellowship, or eat with one another is “another, perverted, distorted, different” gospel than what we should be preaching. The GOSPEL is this: Christ died for our sins, and was raised on the third day—taking upon Himself the wrath of God upon sin and providing an eternal pardon through His shed blood AND upon this reconciliation to God we not only now have PEACE WITH GOD but we likewise have PEACE with ONE ANOTHER—for we have been called into the SEED, which is Christ, and in that SEED abide all the promises made to Abraham.
Galatians does cover aspects of justification by faith, and sanctification through the Cross of Christ at work in the believer’s life manifested by our WALK in the SPIRIT—but the CENTRAL MESSAGE of the entire letter to the Galatians is being IN CHRIST:
“…baptized into Christ have put on Christ…There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise”—JEW and GREEK.
Finally, at the close of Galatians 6 neither “circumcision nor uncircumcision” matters/avails—the only thing that counts is being in Christ—in His NEW CREATION . . . all who WALK IN STEP (Greek is “as in a “marching group”) according to this STANDARD/RULE—“peace and mercy” be upon them, THE ISRAEL OF GOD. We are all in the NEW CREATION and since this is all that counts, we, therefore, are likewise the very ISRAEL OF GOD—not just the Jews, not just the so-called Church—but both the JEW and the GREEK – Judah and the Nations have been made the NEW CREATION, THE ISRAEL OF GOD.
6. John 11:49-53 – Jesus died to bring God’s scattered children into one
These passages in John 11 speak of making from lemons, lemonade! How’s that? Caiaphas, one of the High Priests that year (Alexander being the other one) told the Pharisees assembled that it was necessary or expedient that “one man die for the nation” (lest these religious leaders loose their own power base with the Romans who had conquered them).
However, John, who wrote this gospel, catapults Caiaphas’ statement into a major prophetical outburst—taken from the NIV:
“He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he PROPHESIED that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.”
So, we discover here that the dying of Jesus would benefit not only Judah, the Jewish Nation, but the “scattered children of God” (John 1:12—“but as many as received Him to them gave He the authority/power to become the children of God—even to as many as believe into His Name”) – and to BRING THEM TOGETHER AND MAKE THEM ONE.
Again, the death of Christ would not only provide redemption for all humanity but those so redeemed would be MADE ONE by His bringing us together with Judah. Is there any wonder then that John continued his statements here by stating upon Jesus’ departure from Jerusalem with His disciples: “Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called EPHRAIM” – one might suggest that JUDAH and EPHRAIM would find themselves under the UNITED KINGDOM OF DAVID, under the TABERNACLE OF DAVID as found in the conclusion of James’ statement in Acts 15:16-17 summarizing what was happening to the Jewish Assembly with the incursion of the Nations coming into it:
“After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things—things known from long ago . . ..”
James is quoting from Amos 9:11-12 wherein the phrase “rest of mankind” is translated in Amos as “the remnant of Edom” – the Edomites or the fame of Obed-Edom who was greatly blessed when the ark of the covenant remained in his household for 90 days . . . he with 69 other Edomites eventually became the gatekeepers, musicians, and keepers of the vessels at the very Tabernacle of David, expressing the very UNITED KINGDOM OF DAVID (i.e., they became Levite priests). Here we find Judah’s 2 tribes and Ephraim’s 10 Tribes, along with the Rest of Mankind (Edom), were found as ONE. Now, gathered by the death and resurrection of the Messiah, our King David in the here and now—not in the sweet by-and-by but NOW, we are so gathered together under the United Kingdom of David! THIS is the Ekklesia He is building, restoring, raising up its ruins—this has always been the plan of God: “things known from long ago.”
7. Eph 2:11-19 -- The gospel of peace (breaking down all walls) to create one New Man
Ephesians 2:11-19 is full of meaning. Paul informs the Nations, “you who are Gentiles” were once called by the “circumcision” (i.e., the Jews) as “uncircumcised” – those from the Nations, ethnos, were:
1. Separated from Christ
2. Aliens (non-citizens) of the Commonwealth of Israel
3. Strangers from the Covenants of Promise
4. Having No Hope
5. Without God in the world
6. Afar off
But now through the blood of Christ we have all the above! Brought NEAR.
NOTE: You are no longer separated from Christ NOR from the Commonwealth of Israel—you are a member not only of the Body of Christ but you are a fellow citizen of the Commonwealth of Israel!
Once there was hostility between those who established the ORDINANCES (“the law of commandments contained in ordinances”) – actually, this generated HATRED between Jew and Gentile because these man-made ordinances erected such a partition. But He, Christ, nailed this hatred/animosity to the cross and thereby He created ONE NEW MAN, SO MAKING PEACE.
Again, not only has He given us ALL the items mentioned above but in so doing He has broken down this middle wall of separation which had been erected through the “ordinances of the law” by nailing the hatred generated between the Jewish Nation and the Goyim or Nations from AFAR.
We must come to grips that the “blood of the Cross” has not only reconciled us to God but to one another—this reconciliation is, if you would, multi-directional—to God and to mankind—we are made ONE with God and ONE with one another! We are “Now, therefore, no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (vs. 20).
8. Rom. 9-16 – The gospel for believers breaks down the middle wall to experience ekklesia via greeting one another
Romans 9-16 is the latter half of Paul’s epistle “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints” – Paul’s preaching his “gospel message” to BELIEVERS. Firstly, in Romans 1-8 he lays out the complete Christian experience from sin through to the ultimate glorification of one’s body. Therefore, when we arrive at the latter half of Paul’s Epistle (Romans 9-16) we discover that, although we have been reconciled to God—we have also been reconciled to one another through the same blood of His cross. Therefore, Romans 9-16 has everything to do with the GOSPEL OF PEACE—whereas, if you would, Romans 1-8 has to do with the GOSPEL OF GRACE.
Romans 9-11 is connected to Romans 12-16 because the issue of the ONE OLIVE TREE and its Two Branches has everything to do with His ONE BODY found in Romans 12:
“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another . . . having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation, he who gives, with liberality, he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness—let love be without hypocrisy….”
The transformation spoken about in Romans 12:1-2 (“be transformed by the renewing of your mind”) in context deals with the RELIGIOUS MIND which separates us from the ONE OLIVE TREE—we need a change in our “religious thinking!” The “religious mind” separates us from one another—the “transformed mind” brings us into the reality of His One Body!
In Romans 13 we need to come to terms in recognizing that civil authorities must be viewed by believing they are as “God’s ministers” and “to be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.” Far too often Christians are separated by “politics” – we are not suggesting anyone change political parties but our ultimate identification is to: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
Romans 14 is altogether practicing His Ekklesia with one another:
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things” – what you eat or on what day you consider important for worship,” etc. . . .
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (vs. 13) . . . “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (vs. 5) . . . “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (vs. 19) – in SUM:
“The KINGDOM OF GOD is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” – So much talk today centers on KINGDOM PEOPLE and KINGDOM PRINCIPLES and expressing the KINGDOM OF GOD in the Public Square. But if God’s people are brought together through the blood of Christ (righteousness); and unity (peace) – they/we will have the joy of the Holy Spirit—THIS IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Romans 15 displays the FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST:
“But I know that when I come to you (the saints in Rome), I shall come in the fullness (COMPLETION) of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (v. 29).
This FULLNESS has everything to do with a COMPLETE GOSPEL—not one simply found in Romans 1-8 but the “rest of the gospel’s message” as found in Romans 9-16 which declares not only Peace with God (personally) but PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER, corporately. That’s the COMPLETE GOSPEL—the “fullness of the gospel of Christ.”
Romans 16 – wraps up Paul’s 9-16 COMPLETE GOSPEL. Nigh 36 names are given in which Paul desires the “saints in Rome” to “meet and greet one another.” This does not mean Paul wants the saints in Rome to just say HI from Paul to them but for all the saints to move about Rome meeting and greeting one another starting with the EKKLESIA that meets in Priscilla and Aquila’s home: “Likewise greet the EKKLESIA that is in their house” (vs. 5). A home or smaller setting is the normal place where God’s people gather to “meet and greet” one another.
Eventually, Paul declares to those in Rome: “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The EKKLESIA OF CHRIST greet you.” That’s what all the Ekklesia should be doing!
However, immediately stating this Paul declares:
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned (all found in Romans 1-16), and AVOID THEM. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (vss. 17-18).
Interesting, isn’t it, immediately following all this “meeting and greeting” and mixing it up with brethren who may be of many different ethnic and social groups (e.g., Jews, Romans, Greeks, slaves, poor, rich, Barbarians) there were apparently those “in ministry” who would gather saints together to “feed their own belly.” Indeed, those who would NOT SHARE God’s people with others in “meeting and greeting” but would HOLD THEIR MEMBERS TO THEMSELVES to feed their own ministry’s aims—and not the aims of the Body of Christ. How will you notice them? Simple—they are NOT into “meeting and greeting” God’s people. You’ll hear things like:
I need to be responsible to them whom God has given me—but watching over them as a faithful shepherd—I don’t encourage “my people” to “gad about town” meeting and visiting with other believers not associated with my denomination or ministry or church—better to stay put and not be deceived by others!
SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!
So—if we are meeting and greeting and expressing the ONENESS OF GOD’S ONE BODY—THE BODY OF CHRIST—then we hear this:
“And the GOD OF PEACE will crush Satan under your feet shortly!” (vs. 20).
We haven’t heard a thing about Satan throughout all of the book of Romans until now—and it has everything to do with the Unity and Fellowship of the Body of Christ: THAT will crush Satan’s head under our feet—for then and then only will we manifest THE GOD OF PEACE as the very Body of Christ!
“Now to Him who is able to establish you ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL and the preaching of Jesus Christ . . . ACCORDING TO THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY KEPT SECRET SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN BUT NOW MADE MANIFEST, AND BY THE PROPHETIC Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God….” (vs. 25-26) –
This is the GOSPEL – this is the revelation of the Mystery – Christ in you to make us one—the PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES permeate the entire book of Romans and all attest to the revelation of the mystery that He would make of the two ONE NEW MAN SO MAKING PEACE!
9. Phil 1:15-28 – Pastors and ministers teaming up for the gospel: destruction to the enemy and salvation for ministers
We should distinguish between pure “ministry” and direct Ekklesia contributing and participating—that is, “ministry” in the New Testament is primarily given to “gifted ones” for equipping the saints who in turn build up the Body of Christ. The HEAD OF THE BODY is Christ Himself—He has given “gifts in man” for the edification of the Body which builds up itself in love.
In the Ekklesia in Philippi there were a number of problems which Paul addresses. Apparently, there was a “ministry rift” between two sisters:
“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.” (Phil. 4)
Paul knew in jail, even, that some were preaching Christ “out of contention—out of envy and strife”—out of “selfish ambition”, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to Paul’s chains. But Paul could have cared less! He said: “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” Talk about an open-ended attitude—Paul was NOT in competition—he was into getting out the message however it was preached!
The entire thrust of Paul’s ministry was one of TEAMING UP FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL as found in Phil. 1:27-28. The phrase “striving together” is a Greek phrase taken from a wrestling match in which a “tag team” joins together and wrestles the opposition. They literally are to TEAM UP, TAG UP, but stay in the ring together. Not fair, you say—but listen to this: “And not in any way terrified by your adversaries (opponent(s)), which (your very teaming up) is to them a proof of perdition (their destruction) but to you of salvation (you’re going to win the match), and that from God (God, as ultimate referee, will ultimately declare you as the winner of the match).
Teaming up with other ministries demonstrates that that particular ministry is NOT sufficient in and of itself—but needs other ministries to compliment their own and to demonstrate the oneness of the Body of Christ when it comes to ministry. In order to do this—in order to see these two sisters unite together—it must be done under the BANNER OF THE CROSS seen in Philippines 2—“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” – He bore the cross and is highly exalted—even so we need the Mind of Christ to unite as one in ministry!
10. Luke 10:1-9 – Finding people of peace from house to house to initiate ekklesia
This is the 10th and final disclosure taken from the Ekklesia Conference held in Vacaville, California in March of 2022.
Luke 10:1-9 in reality is a “teaming up” for the faith of the gospel. Jesus sent them out 2 by 2. He speaks of praying to the LORD OF THE HARVEST—the Spirit of the Living God—to send forth more laborers into His Harvest field—He knows what and when to Harvest—He knows when it is ripe unto harvest!
Listen up: Jesus sent them, and us, as “Lambs among wolves” – He knew what they were to face—sharing the “good news” is not all love and oneness. They went out with virtually NOTHING, no knapsack, sandals – and shouldn’t be distracted . . .
“. . . greet no one along the road” – “but whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a SON OF PEACE is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you . . ..”
Yes, take your peace to another house.
Now hear this:
“Remain in the house, eating and drinking such things as they give . . . don’t go from house to house . . . Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.”
Sure sounds like a blessed fellowship around a meal! If you can find a SON OF PEACE or even a CITY OF PEACE that receives you—EAT WITH THEM.
What then happens?
“And heal the sick there!”
There will be healing of all kinds—anyone sick will find healing with you two with the “son of peace”—that can happen within and can be manifested in all kinds of healing of the body, the mind, and the opening of the spirit! The immediate manifestation of fellowship is HEALING!
Then what happens after the healing is this:
“. . . and say to them, ‘THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS COME NEAR YOU.’” (vs. 9)
Today we talk a whole lot about the Kingdom of God showing up in our meetings and in the public square. However, the KINGDOM OF GOD shows up in a home or city which welcomes the PEACE OF GOD – in FELLOWSHIP – in HEALING – and eventually THIS IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD . . . this is the very outreach of our Lord’s Ekklesia to the world today!
This concludes this 10-part series of the Scripture Passages expounded upon at the EKKLESIA CONFERENCE held in Vacaville, California in mid-March, 2022. If you have any questions—do not hesitate to contact us at onebody.life. Again, we will shortly have this out in audio format.