The Greek, New Testament word translated , “church” is ekklesia (from which English words such as “ecclesiastical” come). It is a compound term composed of ek = “out of” and kaleo = “to call.” That means the church is a body of “called out persons.”
But what does that mean?
The word goes back to the Greek city states which were composed of three sorts of persons: citizens; freedmen; slaves. The slaves and freedmen made up the bulk of the population. These cities were little democracies each having its own constitutions, rules, etc. They were true democracies, rather than representative bodies. That means that every citizen could vote on every issue that arose. When a city meeting was called for, the citizens gathered, heard speeches, and then dropped a stone into a pitcher indicating their votes (black stones = “no”; white stones = “yes”). Only citizens could vote.
Whenever a vote was imminent, the “herald” would go about the city shouting the fact that a vote was to be taken. In that way, out of the mass of people in the city, the citizens were called out and from the general populace to gather and cast their vote.
So, the picture of the herald, going forth to call out from the world those who would believe the Gospel lays behind the idea of the church as composed of the “called out ones” who are called out to transact God’s business. As people believe the Gospel preached by Christ’s heralds (preachers), they become part of those whose “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), the church.
Have you heard the call to faith in Jesus Christ? Are you a citizen of heaven?
Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog
The original article can be found here.
Via: Tim Phillips
Last November, Grace to You
started providing free downloads of Dr. MacArthur’s sermons. It only took ten months to reach the ten millionth download. Soli Deo Gloria!
Question 60: How are you righteous before God?
Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, have never kept any of them, and am still inclined to all evil, yet God, without any merit of my own, out of mere grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ. He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me, if only I accept this gift with a believing heart.
—The Heidelberg Catechism
Via: Of First Importance
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)