THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
#03-0936
The Ecclesia Within The Church
March 4, 2009
Sometimes I refer to the church as the so-called church or the church-at-large , implying that
what people call the church may, in fact, not be the church, at least the church that speaks to the heart
of God. The challenge that we face when we use the word church is that it has come to mean so many
things that its true meaning has been lost or distorted. So, when one person hears the word they think
one way and when another hears the word they think another way. Consequently, the word church has
come to mean many things to many people. Of course, we need to realize that the word is simply the
English translation of the transliterated Greek word ekklesia ( ecclesia [Anglicized].
The premise of what follows is my belief that what many Christians, and most definitely the unbelieving
world, call the church is not the true church that is in the heart of God. If everyone understood God’s
heart on this matter and used the word only in light of His heart, then it would be a most acceptable
word. Unfortunately, we live in a day when many words have lost their meaning or have been redefined.
We live in the day of babel, which means confusion, and it is my desire to clear up some of this
confusion.
For this reason, I generally avoid using the word church and prefer to use the phrase the ecclesia,
which is the body of Christ . The ecclesia is an expression of Christ and His life, and, when His life is
manifested, we discover the ecclesia. The ecclesia is the complement of Christ , which means it
reflects His very character, especially His love, grace, mercy, righteousness, justice, and peace. Further,
the ecclesia is intimately connected to its Head. Just as a human body is not alive without a head, the
ecclesia is not alive without its Head, the Lord Jesus.
It is not my purpose to explain what you just read since I have already done so in other issues. My
purpose is to add some further thoughts to what I have already written. Please see issues #02-0806,
January 18, 2008, Ekklesia – “Out-Called” Body ; #02-08110-111, September 2008, The Complement of
the One ; #03-0911, February 2, 2009, Head Up All in the Christ .
At this point, I would like to introduce the concept of the ecclesia within the church . Some call this
the remnant church. Frank Bartleman of Azusa Street fame called it “the Church within the Church.”
Let us be clear that God has only one church; this is true and undeniable. After all, God has one work
that He is doing, and He is working on one line, and this line is in, through, by, and for His Son.
However, the ecclesia within a church is likened to the germination of a seed, which Bartleman called
“the living seed of the true Church.” This seed was planted in what Christendom sees as the church.
However, what many have come to accept as the church is not the seed; they see an outward shell that
does not have the life and call this the church.
This “seed” is the ecclesia that is in the heart of God. Another way to look at it is that the ecclesia within
the church speaks of the heart of God hidden within what outwardly many see and call the church.
However, the reality is not in what many see with their physical and carnal eyes but only in what is seen
with the spiritual eye. Another way to state this is that it is in the very life of His Son, and anything that
is not of His life is not the ecclesia. Simply, if it is not the body of Christ with Christ as the Head, then it
is not the ecclesia. Yet, another way to look at it is that the ecclesia is the holy temple in the Lord ,
the dwelling of God in spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22).
People can construct a building (paid for with a usurious mortgage that is against God’s divine law) and
call it their church; they can put a name on it and call it the So-and-So Church; they can qualify the
emphasis or nature of their church as an emerging church, a post-modern church, a radical church, a
Pentecostal church, a denominational church, a home church, or a myriad of other ways; they can
elevate a man and his wife as the head of their church and give them exalted titles and special parking
places; they can become rich and successful with a very large membership roll, even with many satellite
churches; they can have a successful internet ministry; they can declare that they are doing kingdom
business and hold very successful conferences to tell people how to do it; and they can proclaim that
they preach the word and only the word, without ever being the ecclesia of God that is born out
of heaven . In other words, they can be the church without ever being the ecclesia. They are not the
ecclesia but simply the church as manifested outwardly within Christendom.
Many people acknowledge that the so-called church is a made up of believers and is not a building. But
what about the ecclesia, is it simply made up of believers, no matter how carnal or worldly they might
be? I say no. The ecclesia that is in the heart of God and that will reign with Christ in the oncoming eon
is the ecclesia of the overcomers or what I call the conquerors . If you do not think this is true,
then read Revelation 2 and 3 with an ear to hear what the spirit of Christ is saying.
The ecclesia, which is the body of Christ, can be described in many ways to include the ecclesia of
overcomers or conquerors , the firstfruit anointed , the barley company , the remnant , the
male child , the pioneers , David’s mighty men , Gideon’s band , the 144,000 , or the called,
chosen, and faithful . They are the ones that will lead the church-at-large into the kingdom. They, like
their Master, are like the grain of wheat that falls into the ground. See issue #02-0869, May 12, 2008,
Unless A Grain of Wheat Falls , and Article #14, October 2008, The Pioneer .
As I have considered the state of the church-at-large, it seems to me that one sign that it is not the
ecclesia, as I have explained it, is that it does not realize that it is living in the days of Noah . I do not
mean that the church is merely living in the period of time called the days of Noah, but it is living as if it
were joined at the hip, so to speak, to the multitudes that are living as if the world is not about to
dramatically change, except perhaps they think things will get better with prosperity and good times
returning when the current global recession resolves itself. Don’t be fooled, our 120 years are about up;
it is time to wake up. See the series on The Days of Noah posted during January 2009.
Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me that there is not much urgency coming forth from most of the
pulpits of the church. The church seems to be going on in its often hyped-up frenzy as if it is business as
usual, except, perhaps, for a stepped-up push for tithing because the church and ministry bank accounts
are not being replenished as they were in good times. Pastors and preachers continue to push their
emphasis based on their strategy and vision for the now while living in this present wicked eon (Paul’s
description, not mine) that is so close to its end that, personally, I can almost taste the coming kingdom
of our Lord, figuratively speaking. I recognize that there are many who focus heavily on end-time
prophecy, but much of this emphasis misses the very heart of God is love and who loves the world
and wills that all mankind be saved , not annihilated or tortured in hell. If you are the least bit
curious why I state this then please read my other writings, such as the books The Purpose and Plan of
the Eons and That God May Be All in All , as well as numerous issues of The Upward Call , along with
special articles.
The problem is that the church has been taught by every wind of doctrine and has been systematically
deceived (Ephesians 4:14) by the so-called five-fold ministry that is charged to teach the ecclesia to
grow up in all aspects into Him who is the Head (Ephesians 4:15). We have been so effectively trained
and influenced by the Babylonian mind while in captivity that a great deal of what is being taught from
the pulpits, in books, and over the internet and broadcast media could, collectively, be called babel or
confusion. Wherever the Babylonian mind is in operation there will be confusion.
The challenge is that many do not see that the church is in a state of confusion and make no distinction
between what they see and what God sees. This is where the ecclesia of conquerors comes in. We have
all been blinded to our Babylonian captivity, but the Lord has been opening the eyes of those who are
destined to reign with Him and who will be charged to lead the church-at-large into His kingdom. The
church will not remain in its condition and be cast aside. Quite the contrary, it is destined to enter the
kingdom of our Lord in the next eon, but it will take the conquerors, the manifested sons of God that
experience Tabernacles, to do it. I realize that this might be a radical concept to some so I encourage
you to seek the Lord on the matter and seek for the ecclesia within the church. Be a conqueror!
The Upward Call: #03-0936
by: Stuart H. Pouliot