Jesus’ calling on first century Christ-followers

Understanding the calling on the first century Christ-followers, who Paul wrote letters to depends on understanding the Greek word that is translated as church. That word is ekklesia. There were two ekklesias in each of the Greek cities that Paul wrote to: 1) the group of believers who Paul was writing to, and 2) the participatory town hall meeting that was the governing body of the city. Both were called the ekklesia. Each of the ancient Greek cities had a governing ekklesia (town hall meeting) and Jesus is quoted in Matthew as saying, “On this rock (of direct revelation from God) I will build My ekklesia (His government).”

All the citizens of a city belonged to the Greek ekklesia and all the citizens of the kingdom of God belong to Christ’s ekklesia. Any person present could speak out in a Greek ekklesia. In Paul’s the letter to Jesus’ ekklesia at Corinth Paul says that everyone can speak in the meeting (see 1 Corinthians 14:26). The early Methodist participatory Class Meetings tended to function as an ekklesia more than as what we today call a church. In fact, Wesley refused to call (or to allow anyone else to call) Class Meetings a church.

Paul’s emphasis on spiritual gifts in the letter of 1 Corinthians indicates that the Holy Spirit is to be active and present and directing the meeting of a Christian ekklesia. People are free to speak, but not of their own accord. They are to speak as prompted by the Spirit and when they do speak there will be Spirit-led manifestations of words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophesy, interpretation of tongues, faith, discerning of spirits, healing, tongues, etc.

Thus, the calling of Jesus to His ekklesias in the first century (and of present-day) Christian ekklesias is to be a visible manifestation of the body of Christ with the Holy Spirit (the living, present Jesus) personally directing the meeting as the active Head (not as a mere figurehead like Queen Elizabeth or King Charles). Our calling is to follow and obey the risen Jesus both in the gathering of His ekklesia and in the world, thereby manifesting His presence and power.

Photo by Eirini M.G on

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
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