Summary: This series is not designed to deal with the intra-workings of the church, nor is it designed to discuss deep theology or deep doctrinal issues related to the church. Rather these messages are intended to look at the church and the role it plays in the l
Last week we began our series of messages entitled Churchology 101. And we said that this series is not designed to deal with the intra-workings of the church, nor is it designed to discuss deep theology or deep doctrinal issues related to the church. Rather these messages are intended to look at the church and the role it plays in the lives of believers today.
In our discovery, we recognized that the word church, in the original language, is the word – ekklesia. This is a compound Greek word where the first word, ek, means “out” and the second word, kalleo, means “to call.” So in essence, the word church in the New Testament simply means, “those whom have been called out”. It really denotes that the church is made up of God’s people (those who have been born again) which have been called out from the world; called out from sin, and called together into service for Jesus Christ.
But what’s interesting is that the word ekklesia never speaks of a building or of a stationary structure of any kind. Ekklesia paints the picture (or speaks) of an assembly or of a gathering of people for a specific purpose in mind. So for all intents and purposes, those of us whom are apart of the family of God by relationship, make up the body of the church by partnership.
Welcome again, to Churchology 101 – The Beginning.
First of all, we must realize that the idea of ‘the Church’ came from the very mind of God. From the beginning of time, before the foundation of the world, God already laid out the plan for His church to be conceived. He ensured that His church would be built on a solid foundation – that being the declaration (found in Matthew 16:16) of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
So not only was its foundation solid, God also made sure His church would be eternally secure. For it says in Matthew 16:18, “…and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
But just how did this foundationally solid, eternally secure Church come into existence?
It is in the 2nd chapter, in the Book of Acts, where we find the origin of the Church. It’s really in conjunction with the Matthew 16:18 passage (after the stated prophecy and given promise) that we find the church in its beginning stages.
For in our discovery, we find that it all began on the day of Pentecost.
With the exception of the Gospel itself (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins) there has probably been no single event in history which has been more misunderstood, more misinterpreted and more maligned than that of the Pentecost experience. Some individuals equate the Pentecost experience with that of a holy rollers event. Others equate Pentecost to that of some emotional extremism - something that changes your countenance, controls your character and alters your communication. Some view the Pentecost experience as that of only an expressed denominational movement and a certain denominational message. And then there are those of us who have no idea as to what the Pentecost is all about!
So the question needs to be asked and answered what is the Pentecost?
The first mentioning rendered of the Pentecost was originally that of an Old Testament festival – the festival of weeks – for which there are no specific dates given for its celebration. However in the book of Leviticus, 23:15, it instructs the people of God to count 7 weeks from the day after the Sabbath; from the day they brought in their measurement of the wave offering. After the wave offering, they are instructed to count 50 days, beginning the morning after the 7th Sabbath, to come and present a meat offering to the Lord. The day the people came to present God their meat offering, that day was considered the Day of Pentecost. Let me stop here long enough to us, that’s exactly what the word Pentecost means in its original language, it means the fiftieth day.
So after the people of God honored God with their wave offering (it was called that because their offerings were placed in the hands of the priest and the priest literally waved them before God as to appease his sense of smell), God says, count fifty days starting the day after that offering and come back and give me a meat offering. That was Pentecost.
Now, what’s really interesting, regarding the first mention of Pentecost, is this idea of the meat offering.
Some translations say meat offering and others say grain, meal or cereal offering. Regardless of what translation you’re reading from, the connotative meaning of that offering is this; this particular offering was used to provide sustenance to the priest and security for the people and was sanctified to the Lord. Leviticus 6:17 helps us out with that.