Jesus spoke about building His Church in Matthew and the services it would provide in attending to the weightier matters. The problem today is that the people do not understand what the function of the early Church was among the early Christian communities. It may be helpful to set aside our preconceived notion of the term "church" and look at the original Greek word ekklesia.
The word 'church' in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word 'ekklesia' which comes from two words 'ek' meaning 'out' and 'kaleo' meaning to 'call.' An ekklesia or 'calling out' was not just an assembly. The Greek words agora and paneguris as well as heorte, koinon, thiasos, sunagoge and sunago can all mean an assembly.
The word ekklesia was a political term, not merely a religious term. They term religion had decidedly different meaning than what is commonly accepted today. Jesus was the King and the Bible used the term ekklesia for a good reason that is often lost to the more modern views of church denominisations.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees as well as the Zealots included political ideologies and functioned as political parties vying for control or influence in the government of Judea which was considered to be the government or Kingdom of God at hand. The question of who was the rightful king of that government established by God through Moses and what should the policies of that government be.
Centuries of confusion and corruption had altered views, practices, and even interpretation of the Torah until the different groups were so diverse and antagonistic that intrigue, if not civil war, was a constant threat to any one who spoke the truth.
"CHURCH: In its most general sense, the religious society founded and established by Jesus Christ, to receive, preserve, and propagate his doctrines and ordinances...A body or community of Christians, united under one form of government by the profession of one faith, and the observance of the same rituals and ceremonies."
See also Churches
How do we get into or become a part of this one form government of Jesus Christ, this Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?
Must we die to get into the Kingdom of Heaven?
"He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." (Mark 12:27)
What is the form of His government? How does Heaven run its government, its ekklesia, here on earth?
"But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."(Matthew 20:25-28)
Are you in a government which exercises dominion over you?
Do you pray to benefactors who exercise authority one over the other?
Are you praying to the fathers of the earth?
If you are, then you are not in a government established by Jesus the Christ and the form of your government is not Christian.
But if the church does not seek to provide the benefits of the people through faith, hope, and charity and the perfect law of liberty then it is not the Church established by Christ.
The early Christians and the early Church are decidedly different in their practice of faith than the Modern Church and the Modern Christians who attend them. The difference is so great that the latter is clearly in apostasy.
If the people who assemble at the Modern Church are not supporting that effort of the Church to be a daily ministration of the entire network of churches as the benefactors of the people who do not exercise authority one over the other, then they are not showing the fruits of repentance.
Elements of the Churches
The elements of the Church are neither like nor are they a part of the elements of the world. While the Church has been legally defined consistently for more than a century, the Church has also been defined by some people back in 1883:
“The Church is a society; for she is named in Sacred Scripture a kingdom, a city that is set on a mountain, etc. These symbols clearly imply that she is a society. Theologians also prove that she is external, visible, and indefectable.”
Secondly, the Church is, “a perfect and independent society” because a “society is independent when it is not subject to the authority of any other society.”
Thirdly, it is “distinct but not separate from civil society.”
The Church is believed by some to be a corporate society established by Jesus who was the Christ or Messiah and Highest son of David who was a civil ruler but the Church was also a collegiumor society and therefore a part of a civil society of its own. Because of this origin and separation of the Church it cannot be “Ecclesia est in statu” and therefore it is “rightly named a Sovereign State.”
But it may not be counted as a "Sovereign State" in the same sense as many of the States of the order of the world because while it may have a form of hierarchy it has not been delegated the power by its founder to exercise authority one over the other as the governments of the world do. Because the ministers ordained of Christ cannot exercise authority one over the other the Church established by Jesus the Christ is a unique form of government. It was not established to bring men under authority nor place authority over men and any group that does that would be the antithesis of Christ's Church. Christ came to make men free and to return them to their families.
The sovereignty of the Church resides not in any single man but in Christ and Christ abides in the hearts of His brethren as Joint heirs. The ministers of the Church must learn to fit together like the ancient Altars of Stones and with the people gathering in free assemblies in ranks of Tens together they form Altars of Clay and Stone. Together these are the Living Altars of Men who may provide a daily ministration of faith, hope, and charity through love and sacrifice.
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- John 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
- John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
- Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church <1577>; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
- Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church <1577>: but if he neglect to hear the church <1577>, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
- Liddell and Scott define ekklesia as "an assembly of citizens summoned by the crier, the legislative assembly." [R. Scott, and H.G. Liddell, A Greek-English Lexicon, p. 206.] Thayer's lexicon says, "an assembly of the people convened at the public place of council for the purpose of deliberating" [J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 196]. Trench gives the meaning as "the lawful assembly in a free Greek city of all those possessed of the rights of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs" [R.C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, 7th ed., pp. 1-2]. Seyffert's dictionary states, "The assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the power of final decision in public affairs" [Oskar Seyffert, A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, pp. 202-203].From "fully after the LORD" by [Steve Flinchum http://www.bryanstation.com/flinchum-fully.htm]
- Black's Law Dictionary 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th eds.
- Luke 22:29 "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;"
- A collegium (plural collegia), or college, was any association in ancient Rome with a legal personality. Such associations could be civil or religious. The word collegium literally means "society", from collega ('colleague').
- Genesis 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
- “Ecclesia est in statu” means the "Church is placed under the power of the state". This is proved by Soglia 13 in these words : "Ex defmitione Pufiendorfii, Status est conjunctio plurium hominum, quae imperio per homines administrate, sibi proprio, et aliunde non dependente, continetur. Atqui ex institutione Christi, Ecclesia est conjunctio hominum, quae per homines, hoc est, per Petrum et Apostolos, eorumque successores administratur cum imperio sibi proprio, nee aliunde dependente ; ergo Ecclesia est Status." Elements of Ecclesiastical Law: Compiled with Reference to the Latest The Formation of the Nation-State, Religious Pluralism, and the Public Sphere in Brazil
- "The Church is not merely a corporation (collegium) or part .of civil society. Hence, the maxim is false, "Ecclesia est in statu," or, the Church is placed under the power of the state. The Church is rightly named a Sovereign State. This is proved by Soglia 13 in these words : "Ex defmitione Pufiendorfii, Status est conjunctio plurium hominum, quae imperio per homines administrate, sibi proprio, et aliunde non dependente, continetur. Atqui ex institutione Christi, Ecclesia est conjunctio hominum, quae per homines, hoc est, per Petrum et Apostolos, eorumque successores administratur cum imperio sibi proprio, nee aliunde dependente ; ergo Ecclesia est Status.""REV. S. B. SMITH, D.D., ELEMENTS ECCLESIASTICAL LAW, 5th Edition (1883), §185
- Leviticus 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
- Leviticus 25:41 And [then] shall he depart from thee, [both] he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
- John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.