Ekklesia Series // Ekklesia and Intimacy with God
As believers, we are seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20) and do life from heaven to earth. Jesus said that he only did what he saw His Father in heaven doing (John 5:19).
We must rule as Christ's Ekklesia from a place of love, joy, and intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christ's Ekklesia is intimately connected to the Godhead to rule from the overflow of God's love.
It must be noted again, that we rule like Christ did, through the foundation of love and service. Gates are entered and the works of darkness destroyed (1 John 3:8) by loving God and re-presenting Him in the world.
We must draw from heaven as our Source living filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19), advancing the Kingdom, and fulfilling the mandate to bring heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10).
We can't rule and reign with Christ unless we receive from, and remain in, Christ. A quick look at John 15 tells us that unless the branches are connected to the vine, we can do nothing. Kingdom influence flows from the life of Christ in us. Intimacy and influence are one.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Intimacy with the Lord and ruling as the Ekklesia are two sides of the same coin. In large part, we have assumed intimacy at the expense of ministry. We've called for greater levels of ministry, assuming that people are going deep with God. That is not so.
Through the years, the one glaring reality in the body of Christ is the somewhat shallow relationship many believers have in the Lord. Though faithful to Christ, there is a poverty of the soul. Knowing, reading and enjoying the Bible and truly knowing and loving their Father in heaven is lacking. The result is settling for faithfulness rather than fullness (which includes faithfulness, by the way).
How we have defined "church" also drives many to greater levels of "doing" to meet the demands of what we've defined as success in ministry, namely, bodies in our pews, budgets, and buildings. (I call these "the killer Bs"). While these are important, they are not primary. As a result, if we are not careful, we draw near to the Lord to achieve ministry goals rather than to simply know and enjoy Him. If this is our primary goal, then it should be no surprise that there will be discontent, discouragement, and burnout.
Jesus and Paul
On the contrary, what must be noted is that Jesus, as the Ekklesia, lived from heaven to earth, in joyful relationship with the Father. It is from that place that He ruled as the Ekklesia on earth. Notice the priority.
The apostle Paul did the same. Paul pressed on to the goal of knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:12-14) while being a carrier of revival as Christ's Ekklesia.
When Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus (Ephesians) the two great prayers in the letter are directed towards intimacy with God first. Paul never mentions buildings, programs or the latest podcast. He urged them to have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, to KNOW Christ more and to be filled with all the fullness of God's love (Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:17-19).
It must be noted that neither Jesus, Paul, or, for that matter, any New Testament writers had a church paradigm. None. They influenced cities for Christ from the overflow of union and communion with the Lord as Christ's Ekklesia.
Intimacy with God and being Christ's Ekklesia are one. We rule OUT OF relationship.
The Bride of Christ Ruling as the Ekklesia
Let's capsulize this two-sided coin in short statements to bring distinction to the love and rulership that we have as Christ's bride and Ekklesia.
While the Bride loves intimately, the Ekklesia rules courageously.
As the Bride, we love and commune. As the Ekklesia, we access Kingdom Keys and confront gates.
While the Bride carries the Kings' heart, the Ekklesia carries out the King's will.
While the Bride connects vertically, the Ekklesia confronts horizontally.
If the Bride is governed with love and affection, the Ekklesia is then governed by devotion to the commission.
As the Bride we are called close, as the Ekklesia, we are called out.
It takes a Bride to love Jesus as He deserves; it takes the Ekklesia to conquer what He has destroyed.
We have the joy to embrace the Bride's heart and fulfill the Ekklesia mandate. We can't choose to love God and ignore His mandate. Actually, God's love leads us to accomplish it. Men and women are the bride and men and women are the Ekklesia.
We are called to love well and rule well.