We are going to begin exploring the origins of the Christian Church in this post.
It may seem strange to begin a discussion about the early Church in Matthew. Acts is the record of the Church following the resurrection of Jesus but the story actually began in the Gospel account.
Jesus took a rather common Greek word and gave it a totally different meaning. The word is “ekklesia” which means “a select group of specially called citizens for a public gathering”. This was more of a political organizational word than a religious or spiritual word but it is what Jesus used to reference His followers.
By using the word “ekklesia” Jesus was making a statement that His Church would be made up of a select group of people. These would be individuals who would be called out individually to be citizens of the Kingdom of God. Citizenship in God’s Kingdom is limited to those who will choose to believe and follow Jesus.
At the time that Jesus walked on the earth, citizenship was a highly restricted privilege. Roman citizenship was automatic if a person’s parents with citizens but it could also be earned by an act that was judged as being worthy of having citizenship awarded.
Paul was born a citizen but in Acts 22:28 we see that it was also possible to purchase citizenship. The commander speaking to Paul did this by raising the needed money.
Roman citizenship was out of the reach for most people. Jesus introduced a new kind of citizenship that would not be defined by natural boundaries like birth.
Paul tells us in Galatians 3 that our citizenship is not based on man’s divisions of race, gender, or geographic location. We were all made on in Christ Jesus and that is the basis of our being citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus has taken away all boundaries and anyone who believes in Jesus is now part of the family of God and a citizen of His Kingdom. Unfortunately the Church has created boundaries that were never intended by God. We need a fresh revelation of what Jesus provided through the cross. Each one of us may be from different backgrounds, nationalities, or have different skin color but we each are in the family of God and therefore brothers and sisters.
Our citizenship is in heaven which means that our vision needs to be lifted. Whatever distinctions may be in place from a natural perspective do not exist in heaven. All of the bias, bigotry, and hatred that seems to be so prevalent in our society do not exist in heaven. Paul said there was no Jew or Gentile and could equally have said there is no white or black. God does not award status in His Kingdom by our natural looks or abilities. Our status is based solely on the blood of Jesus!
Jesus’ purposes for the Church is that we would make the invisible realities of God visible through the way that we live and love each other in this world.
The Psalmist was speaking of something that is rare in this world but should be normal in the Church.
Something must happen in order for us to be able to dwell together as Jesus has purposed for His Church. We will begin examining that in our next post in this series.
We recommend Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin’s book “Right & Wrong Thinking” (https://amzn.to/2LiFvxc) as a supplemental resource for this blog series. You do not need to purchase this book in order to “credit” our account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first clicking on the included link, will credit this blog and support our ministry. We are truly grateful for each of our readers and appreciative of those who will help us. There is no cost to you for using our links and they provide an easy way for you to support us!