The Gospel = “A Calling Out” into Separation
Introduction: The Gospel Calling = “A Calling Out” into Separation
#1) Salvation in terms of “a calling out” exemplified in the life of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, leading into the Exodus Generation.
#2) The first congregation of people to own the scriptural title of, “The Church”, stands as a definitive example of what a Church is in God’s sight.
The Gospel calling is “a calling out” into separation… but from what? Separation from the flesh of “the Adamic man” – in which resides the nature of unrighteousness and spiritual enmity against God (Rom. 8:5-8), a familial commonality among all of once-born humanity which is in reality Satan’s spiritual family (1 Jn. 3:7-10). The doctrinal thesis of human depravity characteristic of all once-born sons of Adam can be summarized thus, in the Adamic flesh resides spiritual death according as God had said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Thenceforth from the fall of Adam and Eve, death passed upon all men by the means of “birth” (Rom. 5:14) generation to generation. Albeit reciprocal to this, salvific life passes upon all men via the second birth (John 3:3)! Such elementary truths as these are nothing new to the remnant of the 21st century, but we must understand the operation of salvation in ALL the biblical terms used to describe this most glorious experience. We know that the second birth is experienced by faith in the Gospel, but do we know that this Gospel is a “calling out” by God to become a part of His Family, The Church?
The fact that this most glorious experience of true salvation in Christ is termed, “a calling out”, is of no small significance in the doctrine of The Church. With God’s help, this principle becomes apparent when and if any saint surveys the inspired pages of scripture to understand The Church according to biblical history, i.e. Israelite biblical history. Some people suppose that The Church never existed in the Old Testament, that it is an entity created by God exclusively in the New Testament. This is not the case, my reader. The first martyr of the 1st century Church, Stephen by name, was very bold to affirm what was common knowledge among the Jewish believers of the 1st century. In his death-day sermon Stephen called the Israelite multitude that gathered unto God at the foot of Sinai, “The Church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). This being the case, you may wonder… why were they called The Church?
A Church (ekklēsia) – “a calling out”
They were called The Church because they were “called out ones”. The word “Church” literally means, “a calling out”. The Israelites were called out from Egypt to assemble in the wilderness before their God, thus they were “the called out ones”, The Church. Therefore from the onset of this study we need to understand that “Church History” is Israelite History, a point which is increasingly clarified from century to century as the doctrine of The Church is progressively unveiled by the prophets. The further a man progresses into the pages of The Bible, book-to-book, the more enlarged and clarified every doctrine of scripture becomes; this principle is known as progressive revelation. Israelite History is Church History because the first and earliest biblical citing of a people to be “The Church” was in Acts 7:38, speaking of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai, but they were not the first “called out ones”, my reader. This being the case, The Church existed before the Exodus Generation. We can be sure that the Exodus Generation was not the first Church because they were not the first people to be saved! The Church has existed as long as salvation has existed. The Exodus Generation is the first historical group of people which were cited by scripture as “The Church”, but they were not the first Church. Even though the doctrine of “The Church” is obscure in the generations preceding the Exodus Generation, The Church still existed. Take, for example, the doctrine of salvation: even though the doctrine of salvation is obscure in the generations preceding the Exodus Generation, salvation still existed. That which was doctrinally obscure because it was not verbally expounded did nonetheless exist. As the ages of time continued the knowledge and doctrine of salvation did increasingly progress, and so did the doctrine of The Church.
As we will soon see, the word Church means - “a calling out” - and this call is not human but Divine. This “call” is not a man-powered voice, it is God’s. This “call” is NOT existing everywhere a man calls people out from their homes to gather into an assembly in some location which they call, The Church; this is not the “calling out” that the scripture defines as a biblical Church! God proves this point from the very beginning of The Church as it was recorded in the pages of biblical history. When tracing The Church from its first beginnings and onward, all throughout its progressive development in biblical history, the Divine argument is unmistakably clear. Because of the unmistakable presence of a Divine argument defining for mankind what a Church is, in truth, the beginning Chapters of this book have been devoted to trace the formation of The Church as it first appears in scripture via “a calling out” of God’s voice in Gospel-power, before the word “Church” actually appears in scripture. Upon a close study of salvation as it was first manifest and maturing (prophetically speaking) throughout the centuries, the significance of holy separation is altogether inestimable to declare. Even though we will, in later Chapters, examine The Church as it existed since Adam and Eve, it is most convenient to begin with the life of Abraham.