While I have written a great deal about our individual walk with Jesus, there is another element. We do not readily see it in our rather individualistic culture but it was plain in the first century, the beginning of the church and is all over the New Testament if we have eyes to see.
The word for church is ecclesia and it means ‘the called out ones.’ As His body we are called out but the focus is less on what we are called out of and more on what we are called to become. We are not ‘called out’ to escape something but rather we are building material to be made into something. Paul saw this clearly.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)
The purpose of our calling is to be corporately be shaped into Jesus dwelling place. This corporate experience can be seen in the early church. I saw something in the scriptures in 1991 that I long to see in our day in a corporate gathering.
It is seen in Acts 4:24-31. The context is the release of Peter and John and the celebration of the corporate body over their release. We do not know how many believers were gathered. Yet, what struck me all those years ago was the first verse in this passage.
24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,” Acts 4:24 (NKJV)
Here we have the body gathered. They had no PowerPoint or overheads, they didn’t all have their scroll handouts. Many of them could likely not read. Yet guided by an unseen hand they raised their voices ‘with one accord,’ as a corporate body and all prayed the same prayer. This is amazing! There was a corporate koinonia that produced this. The word translated as ‘with one accord’ is used 11 times in Acts and each time, whether or good or bad, it refers to a unity of purpose. The first two references are to the unity in the body prior to the release of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14, 2:1).
Will we in corporate gatherings as His body come to a place of corporate koinonia where we are all hearing and expressing the same thing from the Holy Spirit at the same time? After all, in accord with His Father’s heart Jesus prayed for this to happen.
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23 (NKJV)