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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: A Brief Study on the Various Aspects of the Assembly

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# 07688 :  A Brief Study on the Various Aspects of the Assembly

Dear Readers,

If any of you have questions, I request that you hold your questions and comments till I complete the postings on this subject.

Of course, you could start a new thread to post your questions and comments.  You may do so, at any time.

Shalom Malekim!!!

Post by : George P. Koshy  View Profile    since : 5 Jan 2015


Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 5 Jan 2015 6:04:17 PM Close

Introduction:

The Assembly as the body of Christ, the house of God, and the temple of God are clearly taught in the Gospels and the Epistles. The aspects of the lamp, the temple, and the bride are given in the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see that the four aspects of the Assembly–the body, the house, the temple, and the lamp (candlestick - KJV)–are seen on this earth, while that of the temple and the bride is seen in a heavenly scene in Revelation 19 and 21. It is seen as coming down from heaven to the new earth. These are the distinct relationship in which the Assembly is related to her Lord Jesus Christ and to God. This relationship is by the Holy Spirit and began at the Day of Pentecost when He came down to abide on this earth as a Comforter of His like. The descending of the Holy Spirit to dwell on this earth is positively connected with the Man who was ascended and sat at the right hand of God in glory.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 6 Jan 2015 9:16:55 PM Close

Covenant Theology and the Relation between the Head and the Body:

By ascending and sitting at the right hand of God in glory, Christ became the Head, and the Holy Spirit descending and abiding in the believer, the body on the earth was formed. This body—the Assembly on the earth, is connected with its Head—Lord Jesus Christ, in glory. The Holy Spirit accomplished this union of the Head and the body through the baptism of the body, as we read in Acts 2. This Head of the body never died. The Son of Man died on this earth before His ascension, He was not the head of the body at that time. He is the head of the body on the day of Pentecost and after and not before. The Assembly did not exist before the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, it is scriptural to say that He who became the Head of the Assembly at its birth died before its birth; He rose from the dead; after that He ascended to the Father in heaven; and He became the Head after His ascension. The Head did not die.

Those who hold Covenant Theology teach that the body was without its Head on this earth in the Old Testament times, because Jesus was not born at that time.  They may also be saying the Head died while it was on the body that consisted of the Old Testament saints. What will happen when the head dies? My understanding is that when the head dies the body also dies. The Head of the Assembly never dies.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The body of Christ, the Assembly, does not die. The covenant theology may claim to be teaching this truth, while it maintains the death of the Head. This problem should be explained by the covenant theologians or those who holds the Reformed Theology.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 12 Jan 2015 4:20:33 PM Close

Baptism of the Body:

 In Acts 2, the 3,000 believers were not baptized with the Holy Spirit into the body. They were added by the Lord to the Assembly that was already baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is a literal interpretation of what is written. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 we read, “For also in the power of one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body.” We are not told of “being baptized,” but “have… been baptized.” In Acts 1:4-5 we read, “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” That baptism was to take place in Jerusalem. Therefore, the disciples were asked to wait for it in Jerusalem. Obedient to that command from the Lord, the disciples waited for this baptism in Jerusalem at the upper room along with the apostles and on the Day of Pentecost, the baptism took place. After that those who believed were added to the Assembly, the baptized body. “For even as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). Into this one body, that is called the Assembly, is into which we are baptized (1 Corinthians 12:13). This truth is what the Apostle Paul received on the road to Damascus. There, Paul was told, “I am Jesus whom you persecute.” But he was persecuting only those who were on the Way, the Assembly, the people who were His disciples. Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as the body that was persecuted by Saul.

 Shalom Malekim!!!

 (To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 20 Jan 2015 1:57:21 PM Close

The Body Loses Its Identity as the Woman Loses Hers at Her Union With Man:

A parallel is taught through the marriage between a man and a woman. The loosing of the identity of the woman when joined with ‘her man’ is not new. In Genesis 5:1-2, we read that the woman lost her identity and her individuality and merged with the identity of the man, “This is the book of Adam’s generations. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him. Male and female created He them; and blessed them and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” Adam was their name--singular. At the same time in Genesis 2:19, Adam was the name of the man before the woman was created. Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 12:12 the body is called by the name of the glorified Head.

Into this body we are joined or added. If God calls the body into which a believer is added by the name of its Head, is it justifiable to call the body by another name? When one realizes this truth, he will have the desire to be known only after the Head of the body of which he is a member. He or she will refuse to hold membership in any group of Christian with a different name. There is only “one body” and its Head is Christ. It is sad to say that we live in a time where there are many bodies. Each claims Christ as its Head. This many bodies with one head are not in the scriptures. As soon as one subscribes and entertains the idea of belonging to an ecclesiastical body upon this earth, not the body of Christ, there is a rivalry to the truth of the “one body.” This rivalry results in our Lord Jesus Christ not having His right place on His body. This is the reason why we should not be ‘Brethren.’ We should be Christians having fellowship with the saints who gather “unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” We are all baptized into the one body of which the Head is the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Paul received this knowledge at the moment of his conversion, while lying on the road to Damascus. We must have it too. This truth was hid in God as a mystery and revealed to the new creation through Paul.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 24 Jan 2015 2:12:26 PM Close

The Assembly and Its Three Expressions;

 There is a three-fold expression used for the Assembly. They could be expressed as local expression, time expression, and eternal expression. The local expression is seen in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are Christ’s body and members in particular.” The Assembly at Corinth is called the body and that is the local expression. The time expression is seen in Ephesians 4: 12, “For the perfecting of the saints; with a view to the work of the ministry, with a view to the edifying of the body of Christ.” From the context, we see that from the time the Holy Spirit baptized the body of Christ (Acts 2), there was not a moment when the body was not in unity with its Head. The perfecting of the saints was necessary, but they were not lost as some think. They were still in the body. This is the time expression. The body, as seen on the earth, is to be in unity. None should divide it. Those who do so are in violation and are not in obedience to the teachings in the scriptures.

The eternal expression is seen in Ephesians 1:19-23, “And the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe, according to the working of the might of His strength, in which He wrought in the Christ in raising Him from among the dead, and He set Him down at His right hand in the heavenlies, above every principality, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name named, not only in this age, but also in that to come; and has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the assembly, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Christ being the head over all things to the Assembly, which is His body; we could see that the Head and the body complimenting each other. The body is not complete without every member of the body being added to it. The one Spirit baptizes all those who believe into the one body. This is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. There is a relationship between the body and its Head, the members of the body and the Head. This is an eternal relationship. Therefore, when we say that the Assembly is the body of Christ, we are talking about an eternal relationship. Thus, we could say that the Assembly is a local expression, time expression, and an eternal expression of its Head, the glorified Christ.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2015 2:05:20 PM Close

The Responsibilities of the Assembly:

We are added into the body on this earth that connects us to the Head in glory. This connection makes the truth of the habitation of God and the house of God. We read, the Assembly as the house of God, or the tabernacle of God, on the earth in Ephesians 2:22 and in heaven in Revelation 21:2-3. As the house of God, it is the temple of God. In Ephesians 2:19-21 we read that we are no more strangers and foreigners. We are fellow citizens, saints, and members of the household of God. We are part of the temple of God whose corner stone is Lord Jesus Christ and the foundation is the apostles and prophets. We should remember that there is only one corner stone and also one foundation to a building. If anyone claims to have more prophets and apostles than that are named in the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit, they are holding a false teaching of many foundations. In this respect, we should not forget what Christ said to the Assembly at Ephesus in Revelations 2:2, “I know your work and your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot bear evil men; and you have tried them who say that themselves are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars.” Even in the lifetime of Apostle John, there rose some who claimed to be apostles, when they were not. They are similar to those who claim apostolic succession, in our time. The Assembly at Ephesus tried them and found them liars. Lord Jesus Christ commended them for testing and exposing the liars. Do we do that? Do we have the courage to do that? On the contrary, are we willing to tolerate such actions?

Shalom Malekim!!!

 (To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 4 Feb 2015 8:07:30 PM Close

The Building of the Assembly and the Inspiration of the Scriptures:

 The foundation is already laid; we are expected to build on it with gold, silver, and precious stones; and not with wood, hay, and stubble. Are we fitly joined together into a holy temple in the Lord? In the Book of Revelation, we read that it is a holy city, the tabernacle of God with men. Each stone is precious in His sight. He took the dead stones from the quarry of this earth and fashioned it and made it living stones and placed them it their right places. This is similar to the giving of the Word of God in human language by the inspiration of God. It is written in Psalm 12:6, “The words of Jehovah are pure words, silver tried in the furnace of earth, purified seven times.” This newly formed building is the tabernacle of God in eternal glory with men. When we realize this truth, then we recognize the Lord as supreme as the Head of the Assembly.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 11 Feb 2015 2:25:18 PM Close

The Lesson From the Old Testament on the Difference Between the Members of the Assembly and Those Who Are Not:

In the Old Testament we do not read about a habitation of God or redemption of man in the book of Genesis. The reason is that it is the book of the Beginning (ﬡיִ -- BARASHITH). There we read about the creation of man, the beginning of sin, the beginning of man going away from God in his own will. On the other hand, in the Book of Redemption ( ﬡﬥﬣ -- VALLEH SHEMOTH), known to us as Exodus, we read about redemption through the blood of the lamb, salvation of Jehovah, and a habitation of God after seeing the power of salvation at the Red Sea. The first time we read about the habitation of God is in the ‘Song of Redemption’ sung by Moses and the children of Israel on the banks of the Red Sea in the wilderness. They were a people that were sheltered from judgment, because an innocent life of a lamb was paid for theirs. They were a people who were saved and redeemed from the enemy and separated from the land of their oppression. They were freed from the slavery and bondage of Egypt. A free people, saved from the judgment, and saved and separated from the world’s bondage sang about a habitation of God. There was not a single foe to oppose them or interfere with their worship of Jehovah. They saw their enemy as defeated and dead at the Red Sea, as the power of salvation from God alone.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 2 Mar 2015 3:20:49 PM Close

How the Assembly should See the Enemy:

How do we see our enemy? Do we see him as defeated? If casting into the Lake of Fire is the second death for man, the Enemy will also be cast into the same Lake of Fire, at the end of days. Redemption placed the children of Israel on the ground where they erected the tabernacle of God. Do we realize that we who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb are upon the ground where Christ is, where He is building the temple of God. If we do, then we must be holy, as He is holy. Being in His presence, we are in a holy place. That is the reason why we rejoice in remembering Him, especially on the first day of the week as enjoined by the Scriptures. We should not have time or opportunity to name our worldly comforts and riches in such occasions in the name of testimonies. It is He, who saved us and placed us in the heavenlies that should fill our hearts and mind.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(DV, to be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 27 Mar 2015 2:44:42 PM Close

Who Should Manage the Affairs of the Assembly:

Do we consider the Assembly, this house of God, as ours or as of God’s? If it is of God, then God should manage its affairs. Yet, many Christians think that they are the one who should manage the house of God. They arrange, order, and appoint who shall minister, and all that to take place. They think that they know better than God to manage His house. They even make fun of those who rely on the Holy Spirit to guide each believer in worship meetings. In a gathering of believers, every child of God has his or her place. When they submit to His authority and exercise their gifts, then we see the beauty of God managing His house, especially at the Lord’s Table. In an Assembly, the worship goes up to God and the ministry comes down from God to man. We should not confound these two together. Their difference is vital for the proper decorum of our gathering together. This is what we read in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. When we gather together, we must remember the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our worship and ministry. He will arrange, He will order, He will appoint, He will take care of all things for the glory of God, the Father and the Son. He could do it better than any one of us could.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 1 Apr 2015 4:44:54 PM Close

The Full vs. the Partial Truth:

Do we have the right to introduce teachings that are contrary to His Word or partial truths from His word? In the Scriptures, we are repeatedly told to watch those who bring false teachings into the Assembly. What about those who reject partially the truth and accept the other part, which they do not reject? We should be aware of such also. The creeds and confessions of Christianity have no place in the house of God. By making creeds and confessions, they are introducing rules and regulations that results in placing us in trenches of our actions. That also curtails our liberty that is in Christ Jesus and hinders the guidance of the Holy Spirit into all truth. Their actions are marked by omissions of adequate recognition and testimony of the personal presence of the Holy Spirit in the house of God, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In all creeds and confessions, certain kernel truth of Christianity is conspicuous by its absence. An example is that they have forgotten that the Holy Spirit is here and dwells in all believers. They continuously ask for His coming from above, as if He is not here. That is, they deny the continual presence of the Holy Spirit in His temple. They also claim that the temple of God is being built with those who do not have the Holy Spirit, unholy stones. After the Assembly is built, they pray for the dead stones in the temple of God to be made living stones by making it the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is contrary to what is in the scriptures. We are made living stones and are built up a spiritual house. We must avoid all interventions of man and all inventions to hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in the house of God. They deny the authority of the Master in His house. They proclaim the authority of servants in arranging, ordering, and in all activities in the house of God. They make themselves greater than God in His own house. Remember, the Assembly is the habitation of God, and has the real presence of the Holy Spirit that is ever abiding.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 8 Apr 2015 4:27:14 PM Close

Christ is the Judge:

In 1 Corinthians we read that God will judge those who fail. We also read the same in Revelations 2 and 3. This aspect of judgment is given to us by the Lord walking among the assemblies. We should not build on another foundation, other than what was laid by the apostles and prophets. The endurance of the building that we are expected to build on that foundation depends on the material we use. Be careful to use only gold, silver, and precious stones. It must be built on the Rock. At first, the Assembly consisted only of real believers, as in the Day of Pentecost. In 1 Timothy 3:15 the Assembly is called God’s house and falling away took place in such a short period, the same Assembly is called a “great house” in 2 Timothy 2:20. We must be careful about not to be called such manner by God. God’s foundation stands, but the superstructure that is built over it is not acceptable to God. We must depart from iniquity. We must purge ourselves from evil. It is clearly taught in 2 Timothy 3.”For the time of having the judgment begins from the house of God is come; but if from us, what shall be the end of those who obey not the glad tidings of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 15 Apr 2015 12:56:07 PM Close

Revelation of the Body by the Head:

It was Christ who revealed the truth about the Assembly being His body. That revelation came to Saul, the Pharisee, on the road to Damascus at the time of his conversion. We read about this in Acts 9:1-5. Saul thought that he was persecuting a heretic group of Jews, but he was told that that body of Jews is His body. That was all that was needed for Saul to become a follower of Him who was the object of his hatred. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul writes about this truth that “Christ loved the Assembly” (the Church), and “Christ loved us.” We also read about the mystery of Christ and the Assembly in Ephesians 5:30-32. We are the members of His body, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bones. Very same was stated in connection with Adam and the woman that He brought to him.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 22 Apr 2015 5:12:24 PM Close

The Father loved the World and the Jesus Christ Loved the Assembly:

We do not read in the scriptures that Christ loved the world, but we read that He loved the Assembly and us. It was the Father who loved the world. This difference is significant. We are the body of Christ and as we are His body that He loved. God set up Christ as Head of all things to His Church, the body. Thus we are placed in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Ephesians 5:30-32 takes us back in time to the Garden of Eden, where the woman was brought to Adam. There the woman was a type or figure of the Assembly. She was different and independent from Adam, but was taken from him. In that sense, she was a part of Adam and not absolutely another. She was formed out of him and was a member of his body. But the Creator brought her to him from whom she was separated for a brief time. That was her significance. She was brought to him as his equal and only with her he was to be complete. Therefore, the woman is the perfect complement of man. Though created after, in reality she was as old as Adam was, because she came from him. A perfect figure of the Assembly being “hid in God” before the foundation of this world, but formed into the Body and Bride of Christ at the appointed time. The woman in the Garden of Eden was the body and bride of Adam. The Woman was not taken from the head of Adam, but from his side–his body. The Assembly being the Body and Bride of Christ is in a nearer and closer relationship to Him than any other believers in all other dispensations. Therefore, we read, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). This is the “So great salvation” we read in Hebrews 2:3.

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 28 Apr 2015 4:40:53 PM Close

The Teaching of the Head About the Body:

The truth about the Assembly being the body of Christ was taught from the beginning of the Assembly on this earth. It was on the day of Pentecost. We read that 3,000 souls were added to the Assembly on that day in Acts 2:41. We also read that Lord added to the assembly daily those that were to be saved in Acts 2:47. When the sect of Pharisees stood up and challenged the good news about the conversion of the Gentiles at Jerusalem, Apostle James addressed the assembly. This was after they heard from Apostle Peter about what happened at the house of Cornelius. In Acts 15:14 we read, “Simon has related how God first visited to take out of the nations a people for His name.” God took out a people from the nations the same manner He took out a people from among the Jews on the Day of Pentecost. That is into the body of Christ. Preaching of the gospel is not to convert the world, as some think, but it is for God to take a people out of the Jews and the nations. That is what we read in Acts 13:48. From Matthew 15:13 we learn that only when the divine judgment is on this earth, the inhabitants of this earth shall learn righteousness. The Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost not to convert the world, but to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:6-11). 

In the Garden of Eden, the woman also fell into a sleep in Adam. She was brought out of that sleep together with Adam. This is at the time she was created and brought to Adam. This is a type of the Assembly and Christ. Christ like Adam became dead for us and we are raised with Him and made to sit with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. When God breathed into his nostrils, Adam became a living soul. That living soul was –put into a sleep, and while he was sleeping, God took from his side and made that inot a Woman. When the woman was formed, we do not read about any breathing. This indicates that she was in the same state as Adam was. She possessed the same inheritance of life from Adam. It was a prefigure or shadow of the Assembly receiving His glory, His dominion, His rest, His joy, His delight, and being one with Him. We repeatedly read about “a new man” in Ephesians 4:26 and Colossians 3:10. This is presented to us as the great mystery concerning Christ and the Assembly in Ephesians 5:32. This is the reason why when the Spirit that is in the Assembly says, “Come,” the Bride also says “Come.”

Shalom Malekim!!!

(To be continued)

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 5 May 2015 5:00:38 PM Close

The Local Assemblies and the Son of Man:

In Revelations 2 and 3, our Lord is walking among the lamps, local assemblies. It is in a judicial nature in its character. It begins with Ephesus that lost the first love and ends with Laodicea that rejected the Lord but assembled together. The responsibility of rejecting Him and His word belongs to the local Assembly. The saved ones are those who have ears to hear and they are encouraged to hear what the Spirit has to say to the local Assembly. The local Assembly is judged. The one with ears to hear are not judged with the local Assembly. Here we learn that those who are saved are eternally saved. Beware of those who teach contrary. They are not abiding in His word, but spreading lies about God and His work. We are talking about the Work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our salvation is the work of the holy Trinity and not of man. How can we lose it? Christ is building the Assembly and He will complete it. He will join the last stone to it. Then He will snatch it away from this world to meet Him in the air. This we know as the rapture. Then it will be presented to God the Father without spot and wrinkle. The marriage of the Lamb will take place in the heavenlies. Then it will come down as in Revelation 19 and 21. We are the living stones that He builds with. We are in that tabernacle of God. No one should take us away from such truths. In Revelations 2 and 3, we also read about another group of saints, the overcomers. They are those who are doing what they heard from the Lord. They overcome the world and there are rewards for their actions. They are rewarded according to their walk. Are we willing to walk with the Lord to be called as overcomers?

Shalom Malekim!!!

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Reply by : bt73   View Profile   Since : 23 Feb 2016 10:37:05 PM Close

Hello Brother,

Could you also add thoughts on Meetings of the Assembly. Reception into the Assembly.

Thanks

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 26 Feb 2016 2:06:50 PM Close

Dear ‘bt73,’

Thank you for asking about the Meetings of the Assembly and the Reception into the Assembly. Currently, I am engaged in two other projects. I will try (DV) to provide some answer in the near future.

In the meantime, I think that if you study on the following frame on the subject of ‘Called out vs. Gathered,’ it will help in understanding what you would like to learn as you raised in your request.

Shalom Malekim!!!

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 26 Feb 2016 2:19:52 PM Close

Called Out vs. Gathered--(Ekklesia vs. Sunagoge)

I have some difficulty with the logic or reasoning; “If it does …, then ...,” and “If it does not …, then ....”  This reasoning is based on a binary thinking; “If you are with us, then it is good,” and “If you are not with us, then it is bad.”  This kind of approach makes it impossible to have a discussion and creates divisions.  This is a general statement.

Are we being confused with “Ekklesia” and “Sunagoge”?  The literal meaning of the Greek word EKKLESIA is “Called out,” and SUNAGOGE is “Gathered together.”  In KJV, EKKLESIA is translated as ‘assembly’ three (3) times and as “church” 112 times.  At the same time, SUNAGOGE is translated as ‘assembly’ once (1), as ‘congregation’ once (1), and as ‘synagogue’ 55 times.

When Christ said that He will build the assembly the word used is EKKLESIA.  This word appears in the New Testament about 115 times.  In KJV, it is translated as ‘assembly’ in three (3) places and as ‘Church’ in 112 places.  The same Greek word is also used for unruly and unlawful gathering of people as well as lawfully designated groups.  This is what we read in Acts 19:32, 39, and 41.  In Matthew 16:18 the Lord Jesus Christ said that He will build the EKKLESIA.  When He uttered those words, He said that as a future event and it was indicated by the expression, “I will build.”  That EKKLESIA did not exist at that moment, when He made that statement.  We have to remember which group is mentioned as EKKLESIA when we read the Scriptures.  Is that about a called out people from the past, like the Children of Israel in the wilderness, we read in Acts 7:38?  Christ was not talking about that group of people who were called out of Egypt, because He was using a future tense when talking to His disciples who were the children of Israel.  Is that about the unruly people mentioned in Acts 19?  Of course not, because they were not called out by Christ to be the EKKLESIA that He builds.  They were a group of unruly people who were called out to be against the Apostles and their work.  Let us limit our discussion to the one Christ said that He is going to build, in Matthew 16.  What He told His disciples, as written in Matthew 16:18 is about something that He will ‘call out’ to be built in the future.  He said, “… I will build My EKKLESIA, ….”  In other words, “… I will build my called out, ….”  We usually refer this as the Assembly or the Church.   

This act of building the EKKLESIA started on this earth on the day of Pentecost and will end at the time of rapture.  This is the complete Assembly or Ekklesia mentioned in Hebrew 12:23.  In 20014, we could say that there is a group of “Called out” people on this earth, which is the equivalent to the one that was on earth at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.  The group of ‘called out’ people, on the earth, by Christ in 2014 is the cross section of all those who are ‘called out’ by Christ as He said in Matthew 16.

We also read about assemblies at various locations.  This is also true at the time of the apostles, as well as in the time in which we live.  In all of these we are members, because it is Christ who called us out of this world and it is God who took us out of the nations.

We also read that God added daily to the assembly, God gave the increase, and so on.  Of course, in the strictest sense of the word a local assembly consists of all the saved ones in that location.  Now we are getting into the definition of a place or point, its neighborhood, and members.  The best definitions can be attained from one of the branches of mathematics, called Real Analysis.  I am not going to go into this, at this time.

Let us consider the first assumption: “If the EKKLESIA that Christ builds exists, then it might include all of the believers in a certain locality.”  For simplicity, let me change the wording “believers” to ‘Indians’ and “locality” to ‘India.’  Can we say that the nation of India, which is replacing the word ‘assembly,’ exists because all the Indians are in India?  We should remember that thousands of Indians, may be millions, are all over the world.  It is practically impossible to make all Indians to come back to India at the same time.  This could have been achieved under the Roman emperor Augustus, may be.  Because of this difficulty, could one say, there is no nation called India?  How can there be Indians, when there is no nation called, India?  I don’t know.  I am sorry about this dilemma; especially there are a lot of people who are proud to be called “Indians,” while not living in India.  Many of them are proud of their heritage.  Most of them are proud of their nationality.

Let us consider the next assumption: “If the EKKLESIA exist, then it is composed of those who are assembled at that particular time.”  In Acts 14:27 we read, “... they were come, and had gathered (SUNAGOGE) the assembly (EKKLESIA) ...”  Here they have to gather the assembly, or “Sunagoge” the “Ekklesia.”  At other places we read about “The whole assembly” was gathered.  What is the difference?  When we read that they gathered the assembly, the whole may not be attending the meeting, but they were expected to.  In the other cases, the whole assembly must be there.  A partial gathering of the saved ones in a locality is accepted to be mentioned in the Scriptures, not by me or by any one else, but by the Holy Spirit.  When we say “Local assembly” what we mean is those that are gathered together unto the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at a certain point or geographical location.  We read about such gathering in Matthew 18:15-20. 

In the general semantics, we do not have to have every member of a group to call it a group or a set.  All we need to have is that each and every one should have the same characteristic.  To talk about oranges or apples in a place, I do not have to talk about all the oranges and apples that are available in that geographical area.  All I need is to talk about oranges or apples of that locality.

One last point, do we remember the incident about those who were casting out demons in the Lord’s name?  The disciples asked Christ’s permission to forbid them from doing so.  Our Lord replied that if they were not against Him, and then they are for Him.  Christ did not ask them to join Him.  Our Lord did not ask His disciples to join them either.  He told them later, more than once, “If you love me keep my commandments.”  If someone does not want to join us, then are we worried about it?  Knowing the Lord and His commandments, it is their responsibility to join Him at His Table to remember Him.  Why are we taking our eyes of Him, and be concerned about those who do not want to be with us.  It is written, “Knowing good, and not doing is sin.”

To define ‘Local Assembly’ is difficult.  We could accomplish this by understanding what is meant by ‘Assembly’ in the scripture and then adopting that to a locality.  In defining a word or a concept from the scripture various methods are to be used singly as well as in conjunction with each other.  I am using ‘the law of first occurrence,’ ‘the law of context,’ and ‘the law of relevance’ for making inference on what is an assembly.

Let us look into the law of relevance: The word assembly is the translation of the Greek word EKKLESIA.  It is a compound word from EK and KALEO meaning ‘to call out.’  To the Greek, it stood for: The select group of free citizens convened for the transaction of public affairs, in which the common populace, strangers, and such as had forfeited civics rights, has no place. (We see such a group in Acts 19:22, 39, 41)  In this sense the children of Israel in the wilderness is mentioned in Acts 7:38.

Now let us use ‘the law of first occurrence,’ and ‘the law of context’ in defining ‘The Assembly.’  The word EKKLESIA occurs 115 time in NT.  In KJV it is translated 112 times as ‘Church,’ and 3 times as ‘assembly.’  The first occurrence of it is in Mat. 16:18, there our Lord Jesus Christ said, “I will build my assembly.”  In 1 Tim. 3:15 it is called “God’s house.”   In John 14 we are told that our Lord will come to receive us to be with Him when He completes the abode.  In Ephesians we read that it is His bride.  In Revelation our Lord revealed it as the New Jerusalem.  We understand from the scripture that it is built from the day of Pentecost till the rapture.  This is further detailed in other parts of the scriptures, such as 1 Peter 2.

Using the law of context, we understand that in a given locality, those who are gathered together is also called ‘the assembly.’  Is should have the basic characteristic of being built by the Lord.  In the New Testament, Christians in a house as well as in cities are called ‘the assembly’ to indicate the local assembly.  The local assembly’s character come short of what it should be as we see in Corinth, Galatia, and other places.  The falling short of its heavenly characteristic is evident among the seven assemblies in Revelation 2 & 3.  Our responsibility to keep it pure is also given in the New Testament, especially in Revelation 2 & 3. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ also told about our responsibility in keeping the assembly that He builds in its purity, while we are in this world.  In Matthew 18:15-20 we read about the offender, the one who was offended, one or two others, the assembly (EKKLESIA) that Christ builds, and the gathering assembly (SUNAGOGE).  That implies the assembly has more than the first three groups.  That is, in a locality there may be more than four members of the EKKLESIA that He builds, but all of them may not come together or gathered unto his name together as one group.  Our Lord stated this in verse 20, “For where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  This could be in connection with the ‘one offended’ with the ‘one or two’ meeting together, as in verse 16.  This gathering (SUNAGOGE) has the same implication as that of an assembly.  Without going into a longer dissertation, this is the justification of separation from those who hold unscriptural doctrines in places we live and gather together unto His name.

The following is my understanding of a ‘local assembly’: A local assembly is a group of Christians who are born of God (John 1:12,13; 1 Pet. 1:22-25) and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) are members of the body of Christ to which He is the Head (Eph. 1:22,23; 4:4; 1 Cor. 12:12,13; Rom. 12:4,5).  A local assembly seeks to express the truth of one Body of Christ by gathering together unto His name, appropriating His promise to be in the midst (Mat. 18:20), and acknowledging the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-11).  “That He might have the first place in all things” (Col. 1:18).

Shalom Malekim!!!

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Reply by : bt73   View Profile   Since : 15 Mar 2016 1:36:02 PM Close

 

Thanks GPK.  While you are on you way back to answer my questions, could you also please include

1. Place of gathering. 2. Autonomy of an Assembly (Which includes practices).

Thanks

 

 

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 21 Mar 2016 5:48:07 PM Close

Dear ‘bt73,’

You asked about my thoughts on the ‘Meeting of the Assembly.’

Meeting of the Assembly:

We must distinguish between the meeting of the Assembly (Ekklesia) in the air at the rapture and the meeting of the Local Assembly on the earth.

  1. Meeting of the Assembly in the Air: this is what we read in the epistles; especially in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians  4:13-17; Hebrews 10:25; etc.
  2. Meeting of the Local Assembly on the Earth: We read about this more often. When we read epistles with the name of a locality, that letter is written by the apostles at the local assembly on the earth. It is written for the edification, encouragement, exhortation, etc. of the local assembly that is going through trials and difficulties. Those letters are to be read by the other assemblies, because they are written as God’s requirement for the earthly assemblies that have destructive elements. Those destructive elements are crept into the local assemblies when the saints were slacking away from keeping their gathering pure unto the Lord. They are also written because they were being misled by those who crept-in on subjects of the Lord’s coming to gather the assembly that He built to meet Him in the Air. There are similar reasons for writing the epistles and should be our guide.

 The meeting of the local assembly could be in a house, on the river-side, etc. In the Book of Acts, we read that they met at the temple in one accord. However, we do not read that they broke bread at the temple.

  1. The Meetings of the Local Assembly: We read about various meetings of the local assembly. They are:
  1. Breaking of Bread – Acts 2:42-47;  20; 1 Corinthians 11-16;

  2. Prayer on common concerns – Acts 2:42-47; 4:31; 12:12; etc.

  3. Bible Study – Acts 2:42-47; Acts 20; etc.

  4. Ministry – Acts 2:42-47; Acts 20; 1 Corinthians 12-16; etc.

  5. Discipline – Matthew 19:15-20

    These are the major meetings. However, some may consider the ‘Gospel Meting’ as another meeting of the local assembly. Some may even include coming together to eat a common meal as the ‘Fellowship Meeting’ of the local assembly. If anyone wants to add to this list that could be done, provided that was missed in my list or that will not be against the scriptural injunctions.

    Your next question was about the reception into the assembly:

    Reception into the Assembly:

    Again, we should distinguish between the reception into the Assembly (Ekklesia) that Christ builds and the reception into the Local Assembly on the earth.

    Reception into the Assembly that Christ Builds: It is done by the Lord through the Holy Spirit. This is done by the new member being baptized with the Holy Spirit at the time he/she becomes a child of God and being adopted into the family of God. This Assembly has various aspects. They are:

  • The Assembly as the building;

  • The Assembly as the body of Christ;

  • The Assembly as the Bride of Christ;

  • The Assembly  as the House;

  • The Assembly as the Lamp;

  • The Assembly as the Temple.

    Reception into the Local Assembly: This is done by the local assembly by baptizing a believer with water in the name of ‘the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19). Some local assemblies may delay the reception till that person express his/her desire to be received into the fellowship of the assembly at a later date.

  1.  Shalom Malekim!!!

    [Note: I have mentioned about the place of gathering in this posting. If you need me to expand it, please let me know. I will (DV) write about the ‘Autonomy of an Assembly’ at a later date.]

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 23 Mar 2016 3:27:47 PM Close

Dear ‘bt73,’

You asked about the autonomy of an Assembly. Again, we should consider this subject in relation to the Ekklesia that Christ builds and also the Local Ekklesia that meets on this earth. In other words we should distinguish between the Assembly that Christ builds and the Local Assembly.

The Assembly that Christ builds is not autonomous, because it is the body of Christ that is joined to its glorified Head in heaven.

On the other hand, the local assemblies are autonomous with respect to one another. However, they are not autonomous to the requirements that are given by Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17) as written in the New Testament. All local assemblies are subjected to the New Testament and also to the Old Testament to understand the principles of God. Both the Old and New Testaments are to be held as the infallible, immutable, and inspired Words of God.

About Practices: All local assemblies are to obey the instructions given to them through the apostles and prophets by God. The practicing of those instructions may vary but should not contradict what is written in the Word of God. Let me use an example: When the local assembly gathers together unto the Lord, women should cover their head because of the headship of Christ. This covering may be by using the tip of a sari, veil, hat, etc. It is the act of covering and not its mode that is required.

Another example is how they sit at their gatherings. In western countries the family may sit together, while in the eastern countries there may be a separation of the male and female. In some assemblies they may sit in a chair, while at another it may be on the floor.

Another example: The dress that the people wear will vary from country to country or state to state. Some may insist only white clothing as acceptable, while some others may insist on any color.

When considering practices, the question to be asked is how that violates the scriptural principles. If it does not violate the scriptural principles, then it should be tolerated. This toleration should be extended to observation of certain days among Christians. It could also be extended to wearing of ornaments. It could be extended to the use of wine at the Lord’s Table as opposed to grape juice.

I hope you could add to this, as I have given enough examples.

Shalom Malekim!!!

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Reply by : bt73   View Profile   Since : 28 Mar 2016 2:30:30 PM Close

Thanks Bro. George. You made it quite plain and clear. One more question.

Use of musical instruments.

I believe that musical instrument should not be used during the breaking of bread meeting. What is your view on using it in a gospel outreach meeting or during singing time other than the breaking of bread meeting. 

Like to get your input

Thanks

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 28 Mar 2016 3:46:09 PM Close

Dear ‘bt73,’

The subject of musical instruments and their use is discussed in details in another thread. If you could find that thread, then that will be helpful.

In the New Testament, I do not read about the use of musical instruments in worship. However, I read about it in connection with praising God. I also consider that Breaking of Bread Meeting is the most important worship meeting of a local assembly.

Shalom Malekim!!!

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