In most people’s minds, “church” is a building or other physical location where believers go to attend group worship services. Whether that place is referred to as a church, assembly, fellowship, congregation, or Messianic synagogue, the basic idea is still the same. But when we look to the Scriptures, we find that what we think of as “church” doesn’t actually resemble this concept at all. According to the Bible, “church”—or, more literally, the “Called-Forth”—isn’t a place to go or a thing to do… it’s the people. We are the Called-Forth.
That the Called-Forth is people is obvious from even the most cursory, plain reading of Scripture. Take, for example, Acts 8:3, where, before he was a believer, Paul “was ravaging the Called-Forth, entering into every house and dragging off both men and women—giving them up to prison.” Is a church building a man or a woman? Can worship services be ravaged, dragged off and imprisoned?
Also, in 1 Corinthians 15:9, Paul recalls his terrorizing of the Called-Forth, writing, “for I am the least of the emissaries, who is not worthy to be called an emissary, because I persecuted the Called-Forth of God.” Can an inanimate object or a meeting place be persecuted?
And in 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul chastised the believers who wouldn’t wait to eat at the communal meal, saying, “Have you not your own houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise the Called-Forth of God, and shame those not having anything?” Can a physical structure be hungry, impatient or ashamed?
This is the characterization of the Called-Forth that we find repeatedly throughout the Scriptures. The Called-Forth has personal character traits and personal experiences because the Called-Forth is literally… people. The people were being thrown in prison, the people were being persecuted, the people were eating and being despised and shamed. And, astonishingly, none of this took place inside a specially-designated structure. They were the Called-Forth when they were in their own homes, in other people’s homes, and even while being dragged off to prison. Where the Called-Forth was located didn’t change the nature of what they were.
And all this is built on the Master’s own teaching about the Called-Forth. After affirming Keifa’s revelation that He is “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God,” Yeshua then declares in Matit’yahu 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are a rock, and upon this rock I will build My Called-Forth, and the gates of Sh’ol will not prevail against it.” In other words, Keifa and his revelation of Yeshua form the foundation of Yeshua’s Called-Forth. The Called-Forth is built on a spiritual rock—built up as a spiritual house made with living stones (see 1 Keifa 2:5)—and that rock is a real person: Keifa, and His profession of faith. This singular profession—the same one that all who are Yeshua’s must make—is what the Called-Forth is built upon.
So when we look at the collective testimony of Scripture, there is no legitimate way for the Called-Forth to be seen as anything but people. No other entity or organization can be described in such vital terms. The Called-Forth can be loved and submissive (see Ephesians 5:22ff), it can be persecuted and ashamed, and it is even founded upon a human being with his profession of faith. Simply put, the Called-Forth is not a building or an institution, but a living organism. In some mysterious way, the Called-Forth is Yeshua’s actual hands, feet, mouth and heart to the world—literally part of the Messiah Himself.
Paul says in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And [God] put all things under [Messiah’s] feet, and gave him as head over all things to the Called-Forth, which is his Body—the fullness of Him who is filling up all the things in all ways.” Yeshua is calling us today to break forth from the mindset of “church” as services and buildings. He is calling us to see ourselves as His Called-Forth, so that we may be His fullness—the Messiah in us multiplied in others. The Master Yeshua is our head. We—the Called-Forth—are His Body. Now is the time for Yeshua’s people to come alive.
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