What is the Ecclesia?

Jay Forrest

"Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church" (1 Corinthians 14:12).
Most Christian don’t know their own identity. They don’t know what the Ecclesia is.

What would you answer if I asked you, “Where do you go to church?” The question would not be strange at all. You would answer that you go to such and such church at a particular address. To most people, a church is a building that one goes to on Sundays. Or Saturdays if you are a Seventh-day Adventist.

The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, which is brought over into English as Ecclesia. And it does not mean a building. As the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica explains, ecclesia means “gathering of those summoned.” Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says the word literally means “called out ones.”

Ecclesia refers to an organism, not an organization. Ecclesia can refer to the local gathering of Christians or the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth. It sometimes includes, says The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, “the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven.” 

For this reason, I prefer using the word “Ecclesia” instead of the word “Church” when referring to the children of God in Christ. When I confess that I believe in “the holy Ecclesia,” I am referring to the true Christian everywhere irrespective of their labels. The Ecclesia is the gathering of those summoned by God.

An in the passage above, the Apostle Paul says we should "seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church." Clearly he is not talking about encouraging a building, but the people of God. We don't go to church, we are the church. We are the called-out ones summoned by God. 

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