In the Scriptures the ecclesia ( the ones called out and assembled together) is likened to a growing human body. Acts.2:47 tells us that, “the Lord added to their numbers”. It’s a good idea to know what the New Testament ecclesia really is; as against what many think it is!
What is the “Ecclesia”?
In the early Greek cities the ekklesia was a duly summoned meeting of the citizens of a town or city. It is more correctly translated as congregation. The early use of ekklesia certainly implied a meeting rather than organisation or society. The Jews used the word to describe the “congregation of Israel” when gathered together for the annual feasts in the persons of its representative males.
The local New Testament ecclesia was not thought of as part of some world-wide ecclesia, this would have been a contradiction in terms. Early use of the word strongly supports the concept of self governing local ecclesiae (churches)
Discussion on why meeting together on a regular basis could be fruitful. Verbal commitment to an idea is a good way to strengthen actual commitment.
The Ephesian Scripture is a rich basis for discussion. The question of finding one’s place in the building of God’s temple, allowing the Holy Spirit to shape us to fit the place God has chosen for us, the need to be a living stone and what that implies and the need to understand the foundation upon which all is built are all basic fundamentals of the faith.
The centre of these Scriptures is the concept of oneness.
A good time to deal with this Scripture. The Roman church has used this to support the idea of a Pope and the correct exegesis needs to be discussed. The church is definitely not built on Peter (petros, masculine, a detached stone or boulder) but on Jesus (petra, feminine, a mass of rock, i.e. bedrock).
What Jesus said could betranslated ,”You are a STONE and upon this BEDROCK I will build my church.
A study of the many references to the rock would be profitable in this regard.Some suggest that the foundation (the bedrock) was the reply given by Peter, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God”, Which was also true.
A good reference is: The Gospel According to Rome, James G. McCarthy. Harvest House Publishers.
What did Jesus say?
A short exercise in Bible searching. Discussion might ensue as to the meaning of the keys and binding ministry.
Two ideas about the Ecclesia
The ecclesia universal is a spiritual body being built by the Lord and He is the head of the body called the universal ecclesia. There is NO other head.
List the basic steps needed to become a member of the ecclesia and to go on with God as a member.
Note: This study completes the preliminary introduction to the idea of Scripture studies and in this excursion you as tutor have had the opportunity to excite the beginner in the idea of finding out about God. A short question time might be appropriate to check that all has been understood so far. Both tutor and students could ask questions.