How Jesus builds a church
A message brought by Andre Pelser at Harvester Birmingham where the church met in Stuart Colam’s house November 2010.
Jesus used the word ‘church’ for the first time. They were used to synagogue, temple and tabernacle, but never heard the word ‘church’ before. It was a totally new concept to the disciples. When Jesus promised that He would build His church, they probably asked each other, ‘what is the Master talking about?’
The word church in Greek is ‘ekklesia’ (ek- out; klesia- called ones) and it refers to the group of highly ranked officials that had the privilege to sit around the table with Caesar to listen to all his ideas and dreams about enlarging the Roman Empire. These men were carefully ‘called out’ or ‘selected’ for that purpose. They would go out and deliberate about what Caesar mentioned and then came up with practical solutions to fulfil Caesar’s dreams. They would advise to build roads that would connect the cities in order to improve the trade routes; they suggested walls, aqueducts and many other improvements that gave Caesar a greater ability to rule.
During Jesus’ time on earth Caesar even ruled over Palestine. The disciples thought that Jesus was going to overthrow Caesar and become the new political leader of the Jewish nation, but Jesus had to change their way of thinking to remind them that His Kingdom is not of this world. He told Pilate if My Kingdom was of this world, my disciples would fight…and they didn’t.He had something else in mind: a kingdom within the hearts of men, women and children. An inner sanctuary, the bodies of believers would become the temple of the Holy Spirit. The ones who respond to that inward call would become the ‘ekklesia’ or ones called out of the religious systems of the world and out of the world of paganism into the new kind of structure Jesus envisioned. He called it ‘Church’.
Jesus never said, ‘I will build my ministry’ or ‘I will build my organisation’ or ‘I will build my business’. He said, Church, and that is what He meant. There is no plan ‘b’ for Jesus. Church is His only plan.But we have veered off the original concept given to Apostle Paul. Peter and the other disciples did not fully understand what Jesus meant by ‘church’. They still had too many Jewish ideas in their mind. Paul had to be knocked off his horse and blinded by a strong light of Christ’s presence in order to change his mind. He received the Gospel he preached by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Therefore we need to look at his concept of church in order to reform our thinking and re-align ourselves with the original design intended to promote the Kingdom of God in the earth (in the hearts of people, rather than in buildings: buildings are a means to an end, not an end it itself). Eventually the other apostles got the message. Peter, James and John wrote about their new revelation concerning the church and the kingdom of God.
Here are several aspects of church building Peter finally came up with after reading Paul’s writings which were at first hard to understand.I Peter 2:1-91.
Desire the sincere milk of the word to grow. 2. Be a living stone3. Allow yourself to be built into a spiritual house4. Let Jesus Christ be the Chief Cornerstone that holds the building together5. Don’t be offended at correction6. Be part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.
After Jesus announced that He would build His church in Matthew 16:18 He unfolded three phases of the mystery of the church:1. Receive the prophetic word and understand it2. Pay the price to follow Him (deny self, take up cross)3. See the possibilities in a church that Jesus builds
In order to be part of the Church that Jesus Christ is building in the earth today there are three pre-requisites: (in the words spoken to Simon Peter after he had the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the son of th