This timeline shows the trek from the cross to Ekklesia, to the institutional church system, and our call back to Ekklesia.
The Crucifixion of Christ Jesus was in 33 A.D. which triggered several things, not the least of which was the forgiveness of our sin by the shedding of His blood. It also opened the opportunity for Pentecost after the resurrection and ascension.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
John 16:7 KJV
Pentecost and the many people coming to faith in Christ was the beginning of growth of Ekklesia. Many were added to the number of believers.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:41 KJV
Martyrdom was the end of many as persecution arose and the enemy came against the followers of Christ, the Ekklesia. One notable martyr was Stephen who was stoned at Jerusalem. Saul was present at this event.
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Acts 7:57-59 KJV
After Saul’s conversion, then being called Paul, he began his missionary journeys after some time of being mentored and ministered to by others; and entered into the calling of his ministry. Paul’s mode of operation was to go to the synagogue of the city first as he preached the death and resurrection of Christ and Christ being the Messiah.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
Acts 9:20 KJV
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Acts 18:4-5 KJV
The Council at Jerusalem, where all the elders came together, confirmed the conversion and salvation of Gentiles and that they need not be circumcised and follow the religion of the Jews.
Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Acts 15:22-29 KJV
There is a certain sense of freedom in understanding Acts 15. We then realize a couple of changes that may have brought more purity of worship to the Ekklesia. Paul never quit preaching to the Jews, but his focus shifted more strongly to the Gentiles; those to whom he was called to preach the gospel.
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
Acts 18:4-6 KJV
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Romans 11:13 KJV
Another shift was the separation of the Ekklesia from the daily temple sacrifices as Jerusalem and the Temple faced destruction in 70 A.D. Did this time reflect the greatest fullness and purity of worship by the Ekklesia? Traditions of man appear to have been removed and the believers were free to worship in spirit and truth. We are to do the same in our day, removing the traditions of man that distract us from the sovereignty and holiness of God.
Christianity became the official state religion after which corruption was allowed to enter in. The institutional church system of the day has faced battles and deterioration over many centuries. Believers are being called back to worship in spirit and truth. And that is the sum of the matter: pure worship of Almighty God.
Our mission is to aid people in moving from the system, where worship and serving God is concerned, into freedom; from Laodicea into Ephesians.
Next: 02 – Laodicea