"Upon This Rock I'll Build My ________"

Part 1: What is Church?

3/4/18
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary
What is church? Surely something so central to our lives as believers would be clearly defined in our minds! Yet, for most believers (myself included), if we are honest about our thoughts, our definition of church has historically been comprised of a loosely connected thoughts about buildings, organizations, professional ministers or clergy members, and gatherings at specific times of the week. 
 
We know that Jesus said He would build His church. When He said He would build HIs church, what was He meaning? Did He promise to build magnificent structures? Did He promise to increase attendance at Sunday worship services? Surely beautiful church buildings and well-attended church meetings are a good thing, but is that what Jesus was saying He’d build?
 
The answer may be surprising to you. Jesus did not say He would build His “church.” Instead He said He would build His “ekklesia.” While “ekklesia” is translated as “church” 112 times in the King James Version of the Bible, the truth is the word “church” is not actually in the Bible. It turns out the word “church” seems to have come into being nearly 300 years after Christ’s resurrection and it was later popularized as a translation for the Greek word Jesus actually used in Matthew 16:18 - “ekklesia.”
 
So what was an “ekklesia?” An ekklesia was a well-known Greek / Roman construct at the time of Christ. His disciples would have been very aware of what an ekklesia was and how it functioned. In short, an ekklesia was simply an assembly of local citizens that actually ruled and legislated concerning all matters of society and culture in their town or city. They represented their city or town to either Athens or Rome and when they convened they operated with the delegated authority of Athens or Rome in their midst. This is the “ekklesia” that Jesus promised to build!
 
Jesus did not say “upon this rock I will build my synagogue.” He could have - after all synagogue is used 67 times in the New Testament! Instead Jesus said “upon this rock I will build my ekklesia” - a Greek or Roman entity best translated (in one word) as “assembly.” Church isn’t in the bible, but ekklesia is. Jesus was the first to call it an ekklesia. The question is “why didn’t Jesus use ‘synagogue’ and what’s that mean to us?”  That’s what we’re going to discover - or at least investigate - in this series.

Part 2: The Kingdom Message

3/18/18
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Our church has a mission - the Great Commission from Mt. 28 and Mk. 16! Rick shared a testimony about being born again during worship service. We are reminded that "ask" is not to beg - but instead to demand as something due to us. One of the keys of financial breakthrough is sowing and reaping, but another one is to know just how much our Father delights in our prosperity. In Nehemiah 5, we see that the workers of God needed more dough, help with mortgages, and help with taxes. God knows what you have need of and has promised to SUPPLY His servants as we seek first His Kingdom (Mt. 6:33). 

Luke 16:16 says everyone is trying to press into the Kingdom! What’s the message Jesus preached? KINGDOM! What’s the message He sent His disciples out to preach? KINGDOM! What’s the message He said would be preached until the end and then the end would come? KINGDOM! 

The Kingdom of God is a clash of kingdoms. It’s light and darkness and darkness stands no chance. This is the kingdom! What is the message of the ekklesia? The KINGDOM! 

 

Part 3: The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

4/15/18
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Your ability to steward a blessing from God in your life is partly evidenced by how much you rejoice when someone else is blessed. There is more than enough to go around. Lack is not a kingdom value.

By way of review, “church” is not in the Bible. Jesus chose the word “ekklesia” as what He would build. That word comes on the scene in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church (ekklesia), and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
 
An ekklesia was a democratic governing body. An ekklesia was a house of governance. Ekklesia inherently prays Matthew 6:10 like our Lord told us to “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s an ekklesia style prayer. 
 
The ekklesia serves the kingdom. The ekklesia carries much more than a message - you carry the kingdom!
 
Jesus walked 40 miles and made a certain declaration at Caesarea Philippi, Matthew 16:18 “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The Gates of Hades are believed to be an actual place of demonic worship in Caesarea Philippi. What's the point? As Robby Dawkins says, Believers are to be dangerous to the darkness!
 
The ekklesia is inherently legislative. Matthew 16:19 is the very verse after Jesus introduces “church”to the whole world: “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Keys are authority. You’ve been given the authority to either lock things up or to set people free! 
 
If you go on your concordance and you look up the word “to pray” in the Old Testament you will notice that the first definition for the word to pray in Strong’s Concordance is “to judge.” When you pray you are releasing the judgement of Heaven into every situation. Our prayers are much more legislative than we know that they are. God desires for His Kingdom to come upon this earth and He has positioned the church - the ekklesia - to bring it!

Part 4: Discipling and Being Discipled

4/29/18
- Kenton Kauffman
Audio

In this church in the park "talk" Kenton shares about a simple discipleship ministry that he set up at a missionary high school / middle school when he was a senior in high school. Nearly 20 years later that ministry is still thriving! Discipleship is about humility. It is about being willing to learn from others. Humility is the precurosor to grace. God wants to pour His grace out upon your life in greater measure. Every believier can both disciple and be discipled. We all need mentors, peers, and those we are mentoring.

Part 5: Fostering Discipleship

5/6/18
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Part 6: Discipling and Being Discipled (part 2)

5/20/18
- Kenton Kauffman
Audio Written Summary

Part 7: What Makes a Good Disciple?

Audio Written Summary

Part 8: What Makes A Good DiscipleR?

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