Eccl. 4:12 π Mt. 4:19 π Mt. 13:25 π Mt. 13:30 π Mt. 13:41 π Mt. 13:42 π Mt. 13:47-50 π Mt. 13:51-52 π Mt. 16:18; 2nd π Mt. 18:20 π Mt. 22:37-38 π Mt. 24:5 π Mt. 24:10 π Mt. 25:5 π Jn. 7:38 π Jn. 17:21-23 π Acts 7:48 π 2 Cor. 7:1 π Gal. 3:3 π Gal. 5:20 π Eph. 4:16 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π 2 Pet. 2:1 π 1 Jn. 2:16 π Rev. 2:6 π Rev. 2:15Greek Words Mentioned in This Article
Assembly, “Church” (KJV) – Ekklesia – 
Perhaps author David L. Williams has said it the best: “Frankly, we don’t know how the power of God might have spread the Gospel, if the foundations that had been laid had properly been built upon.” (Opening Spiritual Eyes, p. 41) Since upon the original foundation false structures concocted by men and demons have been built, we simply have no ability – apart from direct, divine revelation – of knowing what the body of Christ is supposed to even look like.
Thus it can be rightly said that the people of Christ desperately need a new picture of and for themselves - a new corporate “self-image,” if you will. For centuries, even millennia, it has been presumed appropriate to gather in groups where passive crowds of people (deemed and treated as spiritually ignorant and stupid – though rarely, if ever, publicly called that) sit at the feet of one man (sometimes at the feet of a few men but this is not the norm since there is rarely room for more than one man at the tops of these one-man shows most commonly called “ministries”) who possesses or is perceived as possessing a superior education in the Bible. In this way, these “men of God” can instruct the “spiritually” inferior crowds (who quite conveniently give the “man of God” an inflated sense of his own worth in what is believed to be the kingdom of God) in “the ways of God.”
This process has been lamented by a few wise and insightful observers as ineffective and counter-productive almost from its inception. In contrast to this trickle-down human and demonic method, the original outpouring of God’s Spirit was very effective – it produced believers of sufficient spiritual stature to change their whole world from the bottom up in only a few generations. But this non original plan now enjoys nearly universal acceptance but has little or no real (especially eternal) success to boast of. Yet it remains the most accepted, most widely practiced form of “Christianity.”
The plan includes:
- “Church” buildings (temples in which God will never dwell – Acts 7:48; top );
- a bishop or “pastor” (a Nicolaitan overlord – Rev. 2:6 , 15 ) who claims (and wields power) to be the alpha-prime possessor of the right (the “anointing”) to preach down to the people ( Mt. 24:5; top );
- a group of people who passively (in direct disobedience to God’s most important commandment – Mt. 22:37-38 ) like to hear stories that give them the option of obeying God (or not, as they prefer) while they retain their right to be called “Christians” and to come back when they want to hear more stories ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4; top ); and
- stealthily introduced (over centuries) divisions (sects and heresies – denominations – Gal. 5:20 ) that keep the body of Christ from being one in spirit, mind, faith, etc. ( Jn. 17:21-23 , 2 Pet. 2:1; top )
Perpetuators of this scheme will defend their 3 to 5% “success” rates (“success” being measured in terms of faithful “church” attendance, that is) and cannot see that such “success” simultaneously indicates a failure rate of 95 to 97%! The “church” has devolved into little more than a spiritual baby mutilation factory and abortion clinic from which virtually no one gets out intact or even spiritually alive in Christ – yet no one still inside the system (and even very few outside of it) seems able to think outside the box called “church.” The apostasy, the great falling away from the faith, is indeed upon us and is happening most inside our little “church” boxes. ( 2 Ths. 2:3 , Mt. 24:10; top )
One of the most useful keys to unlocking this dilemma is found by recognizing that Jesus was speaking literally when He said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name there I am in the midst.” ( Mt. 18:20 ) This is a literal statement but not one to be obeyed legalistically. The “church’s” focus on (often relying on a mistranslation or misquote of this instruction as “two or more” is the same kind of foolishness the Galatians practiced by beginning in the Spirit but returning to the flesh by way of law. ( Gal. 3:3 ) The people of Christ, who truly became members of His body, kingdom and people (Greek ekklesia, English church [ 1577 ]), did so as a result of His work. ( Mt. 16:18 ) That is, after their one on one encounter with Christ (quite often in a subgroup of two or three!) in which they were born anew of the Spirit, these were taught to follow and chose to remain faithful to the spirit-numbing traditions of men that allure and cater to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and/or the pride of life. ( 1 Jn. 2:16; top ) It is a sign of the strength of the devil’s deceptions that the deepest and profoundest “church” writers and speakers most often end their exhortations to a deeper life with Christ and God with a plea for faithfulness to the local “church” and “pastor”! Yet it is an insight into the power, faithfulness and wisdom of God that, even in the midst of the slickest and smarmiest of modern “evangelism crusades,” one’s initial encounter with God (when it really happens) is quite often inconspicuously done in a group of two or three. We will address why this is so vital later.
In the one place in the Scriptures that most clearly describes how the body of Christ is built up, we find all the same elements of Jesus’ literal statement. Paul wrote, “from [Christ] the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” ( Eph. 4:16 ) Christ the Head personally gives something of Himself to one member of His body who presents that something of Himself to one member of His body who presents that something (in truth, little more is needed than simply exuding His abundant life from the depths of our innermost being – Jn. 7:38 ) to one or two other people. When that one or two receive what Christ has given the first member, every part has done its share. The authority and purpose of Christ has, respectively been used and fulfilled for that particular moment. An insoluble bond has been created between Christ and each one of that circle of two or three. A cord of three strands has been formed that cannot be easily broken. ( Eccl. 4:12; top )
It is this picture that dovetails directly into how Christ builds His body. Jesus said, “I will build My ekklesia…” ( Mt. 16:18 ) and “I will make you fishers of men.” ( Mt. 4:19; top ) Both of these are promises Jesus made – is there any chance He changed His mind or failed to accomplish His goal? Why then is all that we see done in His name so corrupted and perverted with “church” deceptions?
It is precisely here that our need for a new “self-image” picture of ourselves becomes critical. If, instead of seeing ourselves as needing isolated groups sitting at the feet of one man hoping to participate (or to avoid participating) in the work of God, suppose we saw that we were intended to be more like a net. This net is comprised of all the “knots” of two- or three-sized encounters where Christ showed up and His will was done. Thus we can see that while men slept ( Mt. 13:25 , 25:5 ) and fell into the deceptive “church” practices, Jesus was, quietly and without interruption by the foolishnesses of mere men, simply tying and knotting His net. Each new believer who interacted on this level with other believers were parts of that net even when they at other times participated in the “church” deceptions that warred against the making of the net. And since God Himself allowed the tares and wheat to grow together ( Mt. 13:30; top ), we will have to wait and see how much, if any, punishment is meted out on those who in the past practiced “church” right alongside Christ’s patient, quiet tying of knots in His net.
Today we would call Christ’s tactics “networking” and it is this networking that underlies all the “church” lies, schemes and distortions which, though much more visible and most often confused with the real ekklesia, have not been able to prevail over Christ’s quiet networking of groups of two or three. The net is simply the best picture of the nearly invisible, incredibly strong and unshakeable kingdom of Christ and God in this world!
As the end of the age comes upon us, however, God is being certain to warn the tares and instruct the wheat about the intricacies of the cross-pollenization that has gone on for centuries and millennia. The angels will soon come and “gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness [what is right in their own eyes].” ( Mt. 13:41 ) All these piles and tangles of knots and rips in the net men call “churches” will be removed – suddenly, swiftly and permanently. The tare who has refused to be purified of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit ( 2 Cor. 7:1 ), will be “cast into the furnace of fire where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” ( Mt. 13:42; top )
We should not be surprised at this picture. It is one Jesus Himself used. He said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven…” That is, the people called out of the kingdom of darkness in this world, who now live under Christ’s Kingship and Headship – “…is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea [a picture of the world and its peoples] and gathered some of every kind, which when it was full, they drew to share; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” ( Mt. 13:47-50; top )
For centuries, Jesus has been quietly tying up His net, the demonic has been stealthily inserting its deceptions into the hearts and minds of men and men have responded in all manner of ways to these deep underlying currents, most often without knowing much of what was going on around, in and through them!
That there would be a “missing piece of the puzzle” of the gospel at this point that would need restoration, clarification and confirmation is also alluded to by Christ. Immediately after giving the parable of the dragnet,
“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Have you understood all these things?’
They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’
Then He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.’” ( Mt. 13:51-52; top )
Whether Jesus’ disciples truly understood all of what Jesus was saying to them, Jesus still pointed to new things that would come from the treasures possessed by a scribe (in this case, one taught in the true knowledge of the Scriptures by the Spirit of truth) who had been “instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven” (that realm where Christ is King and the will of God is sought after and diligently performed.) Thus, even though this parable appears only once in one gospel, it is the picture we most need in these last days to overcome all the traditions of men and the teachings of demons that have attached themselves onto the true work and way of following Christ and God. And only those who will follow the Spirit of Christ wherever He leads them will know that this picture is truth and that it is life. All others will reject this picture and return to their favorite spiritual guru (“pastor,” “teacher,” “prophet,” “apostle,” “father,” etc.) or to their comfortable “church” or to whatever other part of this world wherein they felt most secure and comforted in their preferred sins.
Let he who has ears hear – and ponder – what the Spirit is saying to His people.
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