Beginning this last Sunday, September 30, and continuing through to the Last Sunday of November, the sermon series we will be using focuses on what it means to be a church member. And I want to assure you that this is not diminishing the previous blogs regarding discipleship.
As I mentioned in the August blog post, it is Biblically correct to refer to yourself as a member because you see yourself as part of God’s family. (Hebrews 2:11) It is Biblically correct to refer to yourself as a member because you see yourself as part of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
As a member of the body and a family, you are part of a gathering of people called ekklesia. Ekklesia is the Greek word that appears 115 times in the New Testament. In all but three of these references, the English word which was used to translate the Greek work ekklesia was church. However, the Greeks used ekklesia often and frequently in order to describe a gathering of people that had a specific purpose.
Therefore, a city council was called an ekklesia. The mob in Ephesus that wanted to run Paul out of the city because he had ruined their business as is recorded in Acts 19 wan an ekklesia. the early believers and disciples who gathered together for worship, prayer, and sharing with those in need were also called ekklesia.
All of this should remind us that the Church of God is NOT a building, but a people - a gathering of people with the purpose of fulfilling the mission Christ has entrusted to His disciples, which is, to make disciples by baptism and teaching. (Matthew 28:19-20)
In the sermon series for the next two months, we are going to examine what it means to grow as a disciple in the ekklesia - the gathering of God’s people. We will be examining what we will do in our gathering that will help us to full God’s mission of growing His Kingdom.
And it begins with a change of attitude. We need to examine ourselves to see where our treasure is. A good way to determine what is your treasure. is to evaluate where you focus your time and money. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, where your treasure is, hat is where your heart is. And Proverbs 4:23 reminds us that it is our heart that determines our attitudes. And we know from life’s experiences that our attitudes drive our decisions and choices, therefore, it is our heart that ultimately drives our decisions and choices.
And when we examine our heart, we often find ourselves running after other things, such as money, success, power, fame, material possessions, fitness and health to name a few. And when that happens, we need to repent and confess to God our brokenness.
We also remember it is God who forgives and God who restores. It is God who sets us back on the right path. And when He sets us on the right path, He reminds us, that as the ekklesia - now the gathering of God’s people - we are to be united in our desire and efforts to achieve the mission.
It’s a reminder that as a member of God’s ekklesia, walking the path of discipleship is not about my needs and wants, but about being actively working with others to share God’s love to build the Kingdom of God.
Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us also that this united effort is achievable when we are humble, gentle, patient, sacrificial and prayerful. When these items are sought after, it produces a joy in the ekklesia that generates excitement and openness to work together in a united effort to share God’s love.
Join us this fall as we learn how to be a member of the ekklesia - the gathering of God’s people - in order to strengthen our walk of discipleship as we fulfill God’s mission to grow His kingdom.