There is a “church” in Acts, chapter 19, that is actually a bunch of hell-raising rioters.
They were all upset at Paul for preaching the evangel and converting enough people to the way, that these HELL-RAISING RIOTERS were loosing money.
You see, these rioters were in the business of making money off of false religious teaching. (See chapter 19, below)
AND GET THIS… after so may people started following Paul and the way, these guys who were making money off people’s superstitious belief systems, GOT REALLY PISSED AT PAUL and the brothers… and started a RIOT… it was crazy.
My point in bringing up this story is that these rioters call themselves ‘A CHURCH”… Ain’t that a hoot?
No, they did not used the English word “church”… but in the Greek scriptures, they called themselves “AN ECCLESIA”.
So, an ecclesia, is apparently, just a group, any group of people called together for a given purpose, religious or not.
The “ecclesia” of Acts 19 was there to try and kill Paul and the brothers.
By the end of Acts 19, that ecclesia was dismissed and told to go home.
My whole point of this story is to show you that we, “the ecclesia, which is His body” — are a temporary group.
If you try to make any ecclesia permanent, you end up with something like the Catholic Church.
Even in the eons to come, the “church which is His body” will close up shop at the consummation, when death is abolished and God is all, in all.
See— it’s temporary.
(False christianity believes the church will be seated FOREVER AND EVER at Christ’s right hand. But no… God’s “eternal” purpose is actually God’s EONIAN purpose.)
Even here on Earth, the ecclesia, which is His body, sometimes comes together, but then we disappear back into our lives, and jobs, and home towns. We are called to display God’s grace. That’s our job. Like a trophy wife. We’ll be on display in the oncoming eons — according to Paul in Ephesians.
So, don’t worry that we are a ragtag group that appears then disappears. God is operating in you. He will fulfill His purpose.
Anyway… check out Acts 19, below. I put some asterisks* by the word ECCLESIA so you can spot it easy to see, the rioters called themselves “a church” an ecclesia. (a temporary assembly).
See verses 32, 36, and 41.
Grace to you.
1 Now it occurred while Apollos is in Corinth, Paul, passing through the upper parts, comes down to Ephesus and, finding some disciples,
2 said to them, “Did you obtain holy spirit on believing?” Yet they to him, “Nay, neither hear we if there is holy spirit.”
3 Yet he said, “Into what, then, are you baptized?” Yet they say “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Yet Paul said, “John baptizes with the baptism of repentance, telling the people that in the One coming after him they should be believing, that is, in Jesus.”
5 Now, hearing this, they are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And at the placing of Paul’s hands on them, the holy spirit came on them. Besides, they spoke languages and prophesied.
7 Now there were, in all, about twelve men.
8 Now, entering the synagogue, he spoke boldly for three months, arguing and persuading as to that which concerns the kingdom of God.
9 Now, as some were hardened and stubborn, saying evil things of the way before the multitude, withdrawing from them, he severs the disciples, arguing day by day in the school of Tyrannus.
10 Now this occurred for two years, so that all those dwelling in the province of Asia hear the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
11 Besides, powerful deeds, not the casual kind, God did through the hands of Paul,
12 so the handkerchiefs or aprons from his cuticle are carried away to the infirm also, to clear the diseases from them. Besides, wicked spirits go out.
13 Now some of the wandering Jews also, exorcists, take in hand to name the name of the Lord Jesus over those having wicked spirits, saying, “I am adjuring you by the Jesus Whom Paul is heralding!”
14 Now there were some seven sons of Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, doing this.
15 Yet answering, the wicked spirit said to them, “Jesus, indeed, I know, and in Paul am I versed, yet who are you?”
16 And leaping on them, the man in whom the wicked spirit was, getting the mastery of both, is too strong for them, so that, naked and wounded, they are escaping out of that house.
17 Now this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who are dwelling in Ephesus. And fear falls on them all, and magnified was the name of the Lord Jesus.
18 Besides, many who have believed came, confessing and informing them of their practices.
19 Now a considerable number of those practicing the meddling arts, carrying together the scrolls, burned them up in sight of all. And they compute their value and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20 Thus mightily the word of the Lord grows and was strong.
21 Now as these things were fulfilled, Paul pondered in spirit, passing through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying that, “After my coming to be there I must see Rome also.”
22 Now dispatching to Macedonia two of those serving him, Timothy and Erastus, he attended, for the time, to the province of Asia.
23 Now at that season no slight disturbance occurred concerning the way;
24 for a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, making silver temples of Artemis, afforded no slight income to the artificers,
25 whom convening together, as also the workers about such things, he said, “Men! You are versed in the fact that by this vocation we thrive,
26 and you are beholding and hearing that, not only of Ephesus, but of almost the entire province of Asia, this Paul by his persuading causes a considerable throng to stand aloof, saying that they are not gods which are coming into being by means of hands.
27 Now, not only is this endangering our party, by it coming to be confuted, but the sanctuary of the great goddess Artemis also is being thereby reckoned nothing. Besides, her magnificence is about to be pulled down also, whom the whole province of Asia and the inhabited earth is revering.”
28 Now, hearing this and becoming full of fury, they cried, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
29 And filled is the city with confusion. Besides, they rush with one accord into the theater, gripping Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, fellow travelers of Paul.
30 (Now, at Paul’s intending to enter in to the populace, the disciples did not let him.
31 Yet some of the chiefs of the province of Asia also, being his friends, sending to him, entreated him not to venture into the theater himself.)
32 Others, indeed, then, cried some other thing, for the ecclesia was in confusion, and the majority were not aware on what account they had come together.
33 Now they unite on Alexander, one of the throng, the Jews pushing him forward. Now Alexander, gesturing with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the populace.
34 Yet, on recognizing that he is a Jew, one voice came from all for about two hours, crying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35 Now, composing the throng, the scribe is averring, “Men! Ephesians!” What man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is sexton of the temple of the great Artemis and of that which fell from Zeus?
36 These things, then, not being gainsaid, you must possess composure and no one commit anything rash.
37 For you led these men, who are neither despoilers of the sanctuary, nor blasphemers of our goddess.
38 Indeed, then, if Demetrius and the artificers with him have a charge against anyone, court sessions are being held, and there are proconsuls; let them be indicting one another.
39 Now if you are seeking for anything concerning other things, in the legal ecclesia will it be explained.
40 For we are also in danger of being indicted concerning today’s commotion, there inhering not one cause concerning which we shall be able to render any account concerning this riot.”
41 And, saying these things, he dismisses the ecclesia.