We are “called out” by the Lord Jesus Christ to turn away from a life of sin and to come to Him for true rest and peace
By Donald Whitchard
Matthew 16:13-19,Mark 8:27-30,Luke 9:18-20,Ephesians 1:22,Ephesians 4:15,Colossians 1:18
Summary: Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and no one else (Matthew 16:13-19). We have strayed from what the Scriptures teach us about the church’ purpose and responsibilities and allowed the world and our opinions take precedence over what we are to be and do.
When we hear the word “church,” most of us immediately think of a building or membership in a particular denomination, each with a standard of beliefs and guidelines for worship, order, Scripture, and sermons. The problem is that far too many people also see the church as a symbol of religious oppression, or that the idea of faith and belief have no place in a sophisticated society. Reason, logic, and the deity of science have allegedly made these things relics of a bygone “racist” “colonial” era, or whatever terms are relevant in the minds of a secular public.
Those of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ and the Bible have not helped, as there are too many tales of dissention, dislike, “church splits” over what ends up being trivial, or that one church in town has a bad habit of running off pastors. We then learned of cover-ups by denominational leaders concerning sexual abuse and other crimes that were never addressed and have only recently come to light. It is little wonder that our light and salt has become dim, burnt out altogether, and ending up totally unfit to bear the name of Christ (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14″34).
If you have walked with the LORD for any length of time, you’re probably aware of these problems and troubles. Perhaps you might wonder what we are really to be and to do as Jesus commands and expects. We need to return to the basics of the church’s origins and purpose defined in the word of God, and nothing else. The first issue to address is where the word “church” originated. It comes from the Greek term “EKKLESIA,” meaning “called out,” originally referring to a gathering of citizens to discuss the affairs of state. In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures known as the Septuagint (LXX), it referred to “the gathering of the people of Israel, or what came to be known as the synagogue.
After the birth of the church, which was established through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, it was then empowered by the Holy Spirit to start its primary work of spreading the Gospel, beginning in the very city where Jesus had been put to death (Acts, Chapters 1-4). The “called out ones” (EKKLESIA) came to mean the whole company of “professed believers,” or those who had been redeemed in Christ (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:22, 5:23; Galatians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:5).
The verb “EK”, or “out of” is a small verb of Greek grammar, yet it has a grand meaning and worthy of our attention. We are “called out” by the Lord Jesus Christ to turn away from a life of sin and to come to Him for true rest and peace (Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:28-30, 14:6). When we come to Him, wretched and stained with sin and confess Him as Lord (Acts 4:12,16:32; Romans 10:9-10, 13), we become a member of His body, “called out” to serve Him and not allow the things of the world to draw us away from His will and direction (1John 2:15-17).
We are also “called out” from the deadness and formality of “religion” that the world tries to use to gain peace or appeasement of their particular deity, performing works that are futile and will not earn anyone true salvation that is offered by the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 53:6, 64:6: John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Romans 5:9, 8:37-39; Ephesians 2:8-9). It’s interesting to know that the Greek term “TEREO” when used with the term “EK” means “KEPT OUT OF.” These two words are used in Revelation 3:10, where the Lord Jesus gives the faithful church at Philadelphia a promise of deliverance: “Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will KEEP YOU” (TEREO EK) from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell upon the earth” (NKJV). So, what does this imply for us today? Are we going to be part of that promise as well, or do we continue to endure increasing hostility and trouble?
In his commentary on the book of Revelation and sermons dealing with the last days, the noted pastor and teacher John MacArthur declared this verse to be a “pre-tribulation rapture passage.” He, along with other like-minded pastors, teachers, and fellow believers are convinced that this verse, in addition to John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, all refer to the prophetic event known as the Rapture of the church. This is the sudden “snatching up” of the true “called out ones” by the Lord Jesus Christ, both living and dead, to meet Him in the air, where we will be with Him for all time.
The Rapture could take place at any moment. Are you ready? Are you a true follower of Jesus Christ and part of the “called out” who have trusted in Him alone for salvation and the promise of eternal life? If not, the first step is to admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Then, believe with all your heart, soul, and mind that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that God has raised Him from the dead. Finally, confess Him as Lord, trusting in Him alone to save you from your sins (Romans 10:9-10,13).
When you do that, you become part of the “called out” body who will be with Him forever. You will be a citizen of the new heaven and earth He promised in accordance with the Scriptures (Revelation 21:1-17, Chapter 22). We want you to be part of the family, so, what are you waiting for? The family reunion is about to get started, and for that I say, “Come quickly Lord Jesus, Amen.”
My book, “The Scope of Biblical Prophecy” is now available at: www.parsonsporch.com. It is a general look at the role and importance of Bible prophecy, the importance of correct interpretation of the Scriptures, the varied ways of how the last days events are to occur, and that in the end, Jesus wins.
YouTube: The Reality City Review
Donald was born and reared in southern Louisiana in the heart of what is known as “Cajun country.” He is a graduate of Louisiana College, Pineville, LA (B.A. in History and Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Theological Seminary, Camilla, GA (Doctorate in Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has served in the Gospel ministry since 1986 as an evangelist, pastor, teacher, and healthcare chaplain. In 2018, he began devoting his time to Internet and social media evangelism as a writer for online ministries such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, Inspirational Christian Blogs, and other venues. He is the author of the book, “The Scope of Biblical Prophecy: A General Introduction,” available at Parsons Porch Publishers (www.parsonsporch.com). He is the host of the YouTube broadcast, The Reality City Review (https://www.youtube.com/@realitycityreview), a program dedicated to teaching books of the Bible, Bible prophecy, and related issues. It can be seen on his website (https://www.realitycityreverend.com/) and on Facebook, GETTR, Truth Social, and Savior Connect. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for speaking/preaching engagements or other inquiries.
Categories: BIBLE STUDY, FAITH FOR TODAY, THE WORD OF GOD FOR TODAY
Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."