Click here to read Part 1 of “Understanding the Difference Between Secular and Kingdom Churches”.
Contrasting the Two Churches (Ekklesia’s) in Acts 19
The governmental church of God that transforms society (according to the Genesis 1:28 cultural mandate) is illustrated succinctly in Acts chapter 19, where, in a three year period, Paul and his disciples engaged the powers of darkness that were behind the goddess Artemis, filled all of Asia Minor with the gospel, and transformed the economics and culture of that region. (Their influence was not limited to the lecture halls of Tyrannus.)
Acts 19;9,10 says, Paul “took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” Verse 19:17 says, “And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.” We see in 19:20, 23-27, “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.”
(In all these instances we see the Gospel permeate every aspect of the city — not just the lecture hall of Tyrannus; hence, the true Ekklesia is an equipping center that sends disciples out to permeate every aspect of culture with the gospel of Jesus.)
In my opinion, God doesn’t really care how many people you squeeze into a building on Sunday morning — He cares about how many you send out to serve the community on Monday so that the church GATHERED ON SUNDAY BECOMES THE CHURCH SCATTERED ON MONDAY!
A Riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:23…..)
“About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, ‘Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing…’”
We see in this passage that the effect of the Ekklesia Paul planted was that the whole economic structure of the city of Ephesus was turned upside down which resulted in a secular Ekklesia being called to try to fight the Christian Ekklesia — something we still witness today when certain political parties, ideologies, and factions attempt to systematically shut the Kingdom Ekklesia out of politics and its influence in the public square; hence, it is a fight against the two Ekklesia’s.
Acts 19:28-32; 35-41 shows the function of the secular Ekklesia:
“When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ So the city was filled with confusion, and they rushed together into the theater….Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together……
And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, ‘Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, ……But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.’ And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly”.
Every time the word “assemblies” is mentioned it’s really from the Greek translation Ekklesia, which we call the church — hence, there were two churches in conflict in the city of Ephesus: one empowered by the god Artemis and the other representing the Kingdom of the one and only True Lord and God — King Jesus.
Consequently, when the contemporary church tries to be relevant instead of revolutionary they represent the secular church, or Ekklesia, more than the Kingdom Ekklesia! The secular Ekklesia is a neutral concept made up of earthly governments that are either influenced by God or by the evil one.
God places the secular Ekklesia over a nation through creation or common grace as we see in Romans 13:1-7; but expects the Kingdom Ekklesia to influence the greater culture and shift policy towards righteousness. Hence, if the Kingdom Ekklesia is effective, then it will influence the laws and policies of the secular Ekklesia; but the two should never mix and converge together! Those called by God to serve in the secular Ekklesia should never become an organic part of it but always view themselves as a Kingdom plant representing His Ekklesia for His purposes. (I.E. I may be in the Democrat or Republican Party, but I am first representing His Kingdom — GOD IS NEITHER A REPUBLICAN NOR A DEMOCRAT!)
The secular Ekklesia shown in the city of Ephesus almost had a riot because they were upset the city was being influenced by the government of God. Scripture is clear that one of the mandates of the true church (ekklesia) is to influence the nations with the Word/Law of God.
Isaiah 2:1-4 says:
“It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem”.
Psalm 110:1,2 says:
“The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
It is clear that the church is not a secular political entity; by contrast, it is the only corporate body capable of manifesting the wisdom and government of God to the earth, which is why we should always focus all her efforts through those connected to the Jesus community which make up the true Ekklesia.
Read the continuation of this three-part article series next week.
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