In Matthew 16:17 Peter says that Jesus is the Christ, son of the living God. Jesus immediately responds by saying this is the core truth he will use to build his church (verse 18)
Except there is one major problem. The word he used is not “church” at all but “ekklesia”. The word church is used three times in the New Testament and refers to something that belongs to a Lord. The word ekklesia referred to the ruling body of a local community, a town council. “Ecc” means out of, and is where we get the term “ex”. “kklesia” is the root for “called”. The city of Athens was ruled by its ekklesia, those called out to lead the city. In the modern world this is the realm of local government.The word ekklesia is used over a hundred times in the New Testament to refer to the body of Christian believers assembling together.
Why would Jesus deliberately use this secular term to talk about his followers when he said his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36)?
I believe he was trying to tell his followers (and by extension us) they were collectively going to be the spiritual governing authority over the cities they evangelised and lived in. When they set foot in a city they become the authority over all spiritual affairs. This was amply demonstrated throughout the book of Acts.
All the authority of the universe has been delegated to us (Matthew 28:18). Satan is no longer in spiritual authority, we are (Matthew 10:1). Jesus demonstrated and modelled this authority during his three years of ministry. Then he said we would do the same (John 14:2).
We can now usher in a new and superior kingdom wherever we go and wherever we live. A kingdom where demons flee our authority, where the sick are healed, where families are restored, where love takes the place of hate and where people are set free from spiritual oppression and fear. In time this eventually changes the very fabric of the city, in commerce, politics, family, education and law. The spiritual ekklesia eventually reforms the secular ekklesia.
The key to all this is very simple. Its listening to Jesus. He said he only did what his father told him to do and his sheep will hear his voice (John 10:27). As we are led by the Holy Spirit (John 16:6-11) we will be guided in our person-specific task day by day in ushering in his Kingdom. learning to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit is the key.
I know of one African Christian leader who transformed his struggling ekklesia of 50 people into a movement of near 50,000 using this one truth. City slums were transformed and he was asked to help re-write that nation’s constitution!
Start to see yourself as the governing authority of your city. Walk in it and see what happens!