The Church and Our Forerunners

The Church and Our Forerunners

Church: Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., “the Lord’s house”), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship. In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the “Church of England,” the “Church of Scotland,” etc. We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:

1. It is translated “assembly” in the ordinary classical sense (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).

2. It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic (universal) church (Eph. 5:23, 25, 27, 29; Heb. 12:23).

3. A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an eccesia (Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15).

4. All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church (Acts 13:1); so also we read of the “church of God at Corinth” (1 Cor. 1:2), “the church at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1), “the church of Ephesus” (Rev. 2:1), etc.

5. The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Matt. 16:18) are the church of Christ.

The church visible “consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children.” It is called “visible” because its members are known and its assemblies are public. Here there is a mixture of “wheat and chaff,” of saints and sinners. “God has commanded his people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges, ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving visibility to his kingdom, of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all together constitute the universal visible church.” A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a member of this church. This is “the kingdom of heaven,” whose character and progress are set forth in the parables recorded in Matt. 13.

The church invisible “consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof.” This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called “invisible” because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who “searches the heart.” “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Tim. 2:19).

(Hebrews 10:35-39 NLT) Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! {36} Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. {37} “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. {38} And a righteous person will live by faith. But I will have no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” {39} But we are not like those who turn their backs on God and seal their fate. We have faith that assures our salvation.These portions of scripture give us a capsulated glimpse of Old Testament believers who laid the foundation for our faith in Christ.

Hebrews, chapters 10 through 12 need to be all read as a single exhortation to the early Hebrew believers who were considering turning away from Yeshua as their Messiah. In these chapters, these believers are being admonished to consider the perseverance of those who went before them, such as Abraham, David, and Gideon. None of these received the end of their faith which was the coming of the Messiah, yet they endured without wavering, looking for a city whose builder and maker was God. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph and many others confirmed their faith in God’s promises in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances.

The letter to the Hebrews is timeless, in that it speaks of our need to realize that when we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we entered into something far greater than ourselves, or even our generation. We have been commissioned to take hold of the baton that has been passed on from one generation to another, and run our leg of the race that only we can run.

Throughout history believers have come to recognize that their purpose in life is far greater than what they can tangibly measure at any given moment. As part of the body of Christ, (the church) our lives are not an isolated part of history, but rather a continuation in the chain of events, which will ultimately culminate in the manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth.

Whenever the church has lost site of its part in carrying on what has been placed in the care of any particular generation it has become ineffective, powerless, and purposeless. In short, nothing has been more detrimental to any believer or body of believers than to fail to recognize the significance of God’s plan for the church. Even a momentary loss of this vision can plunge an individual, a church, or even a generation of believers into compromising their faith.
(Hebrews 12:16-17 NLT) Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for a single meal. {17} And afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears.
Esau is a tragic example of someone who failed to recognize the significance of his place in history. The Bible not only gives us examples of those who dared to believe God and succeeded, it gives us many examples of those who refused to believe and as a result failed. Adam & Eve, Cain, the 10 spies, the entire generation who died in the wilderness, Eli the priest, King Saul, Judas and many others.

The following are a few of the common characteristics of people who failed.
1. They failed to esteem what had been entrusted to their care. They took their position, and place in history for granted.

2. Somewhere along the line they lost perspective of God’s will for their lives. They took their eyes off of God, and the goal set before them.

3. They were moved by natural circumstances rather than by faith in God. Jealousy, intimidation from what they saw as an insurmountable obstacle, selfishness.

These things are all written for our example.
(1 Corinthians 10:11-12 NLT) All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. {12} If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin.

When the church realizes its’ significance nothing can keep it from accomplishing its’ God ordained purpose.

(Matthew 16:18 NKJV)…and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.


  1. Very cool. I totally agree with that prcsoes. Thanks for the response. Whew!! Playing by memory. How do you manage that? Do you have a core set list that you rotate through. Sorry for all the questions. I’m a fairly new Worship Leader over in Huntersville, and by new I mean I have never done this before and wonder how other leaders are handling things. I’d like to get to the point of playing by memory with the team, but I am not sure how to go about it. There is a lot of fear of not having that crutch there, even a little bit for me as well. If I get a week off I would like to swing by and see your team.

    • Thanks for the Q&A Rajendra. I think playing by memory is great. We have such an expansive song list throughout the years and as a pastor and worship leader I just don’t have the time to memorize music anymore. We use lead sheets. It really is about following the Holy Spirit more than just how things look.

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