- Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
In the previous article “Assembling Ourselves Together,” we briefly studied the word “assembling”. One of the Greek words used for “assembling” we noticed is the word “ekklesia.” “Ekklesia” is translated most often in the New Testament as “church.” As you should clearly see, church and assembling go hand in hand.
“’Ekklesia” is often only defined partially as “called out”, and those that define it that way refer to the whole “called out” body of Christ as “the church.” Although you could define “ekklesia” that way, it more fully must be defined as “called out assembly.” “The churches” (plural) would be clearly seen then as local assemblies of believers. The local church is a fundamental belief of the Bible. Saul and Barnabus in our text, Acts 11:26, “assembled themselves with” a local (“ekklesia”) church. The 7 churches in Revelation were preached to by Jesus and written to by John not merely as the church as a whole, but also as local assemblings of believers. As we already mentioned at the beginning of this article, the previous article “Assembling Ourselves Together” looked into how one of the Greek words for “assembling” is the word “ekklesia.” This can be clearly seen in Acts 11:32, 39, and 41 where the riotous “assembly” of Diana worshippers in Ephesus is referred to repeatedly with the Greek word “ekklesia.” These worshippers of the goddess Diana were not saved believers nor were they all of the worshippers of Diana in one place. “Ekklesia” was used to point out the physical assembly of people. Therefore, the church (“ekklesia”) of the New Testament is required by God in His Word not simply to be saved and “called out” from the world, but more importantly “an assembly” of believers in one physical location. In other words, being the church (“ekklesia”) requires you, dear reader, to be a believer who is “connected” (See previous article “Assembling Ourselves Together”) with a local “assembly” of believers. Watching church on your TV doesn’t count. Listening to preaching on your radio does not count. Participating in podcasts or online preaching is not acceptable for church (“ekklesia”). A true church is a local “assembly” of believers fulfilling “the assembling of ourselves together.”