235. New Order Ekklesia

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The blueprint that has come from heaven

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

In Jesus’ time and culture the old wineskins were not just thrown away but were renewed, restored and reconditioned to make them suitable to hold the new wine. They had invested a lot into those wineskins. God has invested a lot into the wineskin of church (ekklesia), and He is not just throwing it out.

I hear a lot of people talking about a new wineskin which is not the ekklesia. I do not accept that. The ekklesia is still what Jesus is building; He has not changed His mind. It is still the blueprint that has come from heaven. By all means let’s throw out the old concept of what has become known as ‘church’, with any negative connotations and past experience of hurt and oppressive controlling authority. But since the manifold wisdom of God is to be displayed to the usurping powers and authorities through the ekklesia (Eph 3:10), we need to recognise that without it we are not likely to see the kingdom fill the earth.

…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet 2:5).

All of us have a responsibility to be who God has called us to be, both individually and corporately.

Characteristics of a new order ekklesia

So a new order ekklesia will comprise people gathered together around a heavenly blueprint. It will function as a heavenly royal priesthood bringing agreement between heaven and earth. It will be built on a foundation of servant leaders, a heavenly foundation of the agreement of heaven’s oracles and a form and style of government which is a reflection of heaven on earth.

It will demonstrate a heavenly pattern of government – bench of 3, bench of 7 and bench of 12. It will not be a copy of any other ekklesia but will be established from its own individual heavenly mandate and blueprint: this variety will demonstrate the manifold nature of God’s wisdom (Eph 3:10 again). The image at the head of this post incorporates a diagram of our blueprint here at Freedom, but please don’t be drawn into trying to reproduce it where you are. Each ekklesia needs its own.

Its shape will be flexible, continuously determined by the living stones who grow and mature as they outwork their destinies within it, and by living stones added and taken away. Its objective is to bring agreement between heaven and earth, to contribute to the restoration of all things to God’s original intent and purpose.

Flexibility

Locally, we have been transitioning into such a new order ekklesia over a number of years. We are forerunners, and even if we are not a perfect example, at least we are evidence that it is possible. Over the years we have produced several different, updated diagrams representing our blueprint, of which the one given here is just the latest, 2017 version. Does that mean that the blueprint has changed? I do not think so, rather it is that God has revealed (and that we have become aware of) different aspects of it over time. When I look back to our beginnings in 1994 and the revelation of Isaiah 61, a foundational scripture for us, my understanding of that now is totally different to what I understood then. The text is still the same, but God has progressively deepened and expanded the revelation of it which we have been able to receive; my perception of it has changed and so, I am sure, has everyone else’s in the ekklesia. Therefore we are not now doing exactly the same things we were doing in 1994, but we are still outworking that same scripture as we now interpret and express it.

We did have a saying, back in those early days: ‘constant change is here to stay’. Little did we know how true (or how important) that was! The structure of our ekklesia is flexible, and it is the people who are part of it who determine what it will look like at any given moment. For example, our seven mountains: who was it who got the blueprints for what those seven mountains were? It was not me; it was not the bench of three; we just had the revelation that we had seven mountains. It was the people who heard the call of God to those mountains, and they continue to determine what those mountains look like. And that flexibility is essential to the continuing growth and development of the mountains, because we will find seven sub-mountains of each, again with different people determining what those are called and what they look like, finding their place as living stones and outworking their destiny in it.

So although we have an overall blueprint which says ‘we are an ekklesia and we will be part of a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven’, the actual form it takes will be totally determined by those who are called to embrace it. And in ten years’ time, when new people have come along, embraced the vision and received revelation themselves, certainly they will see and express something new, and the shape of Freedom Church will look different then to what it is now.

God always requires a new wineskin for new wine, but it is a constantly refurbished one, not something that did not exist before. God will carry on progressively releasing new wine of revelation, and the wineskin of the ekklesia has to remain flexible and be continually renewed if it is to receive it. We must never become rigid and set in our ways.

So whatever we are doing now, I can guarantee that down the line we will be doing something different, because we will have received fresh revelation from God for that season. That is why the concept of being like the sons of Issachar is important: understanding that God operates according to times and seasons, and in each season we need to know what God is calling us to do and to receive the necessary provision from Him to accomplish it.

Angelic engagement

An ekklesia of gathered people will live under an open heaven with angelic engagement. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending at a place he called ‘Bethel’, saying it was a house of God and a gateway of heaven. Individually and corporately we are all ‘Bethels’ into the earth.

Each of us is always a representative or ambassador of the ekklesia 24/7, not only when we are meeting physically in the same location. We do not ‘go to church’, we are church. Our whole lives are an expression of being a house of God, an ekklesia. But when we do come together, that is multiplied exponentially. We need to understand what it is to be built together as living stones, joined in love to fulfil God’s purpose.

Shadow

An ekklesia both individually and corporately is a shadow of what is established in heaven. You have to have something with a light shining on it to produce a shadow on the far side of it. So we must be in heaven in order to cast a shadow on the earth. If we do not live in heaven there can be no shadow on the earth.

I used to go into heaven, try to produce a shadow on the earth, and then come back out of heaven and occupy that shadow. The trouble was that the shadow no longer existed because I was not in heaven any more. That is why we have to learn to live in dual realms of heaven and earth at the same time; things on the earth will change dramatically when we do.

Embassy of heaven

Here, we are developing into a resource for the local community as we expand our work and influence through Freedom Community Alliance. I believe that eventually every ekklesia will be a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven, either in itself or as part of something larger in its city, area or region. That will be a full reflection of heaven’s government, with the mountain of the house of the Lord raised up above all the other mountains as we are an expression of God’s household, God’s kingdom, God’s authority on the earth. All the nations will run to it.

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198. Earth Like Heaven

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

elhAs you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. (John 17:18)

We are sons of the kingdom, sent to colonise this world, the very same mission God gave to Adam and Eve:

God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over it’ (Gen 1:28).

They were to rule over it in the authority God gave them, and so bring it under the rule of God. God still calls us to bring that rule of love into the world, to make earth like heaven. To make earth like heaven you have to know heaven, so we need to access heaven.

The realm of heaven is a dimension that is right in front of us. It is not somewhere up in the stars. It is here, as a dimension of space. EntanglementThe Bell Theorem scientifically, mathematically proves that there are extra dimensions. We call them dimensions of the spirit. The scientists don’t know what to call them: they just know there is something things disappear into.

Concepts such as quantum tunnelling and quantum entanglement actually demonstrate how this realm is connected to a spiritual realm. Through the presence of God and the kingdom within us, we can access the realm of heaven ourselves and bring that realm from heaven to earth.

Creation waits eagerly

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).

Christians have prayed what we call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ for nearly 2,000 years, but there is more truth buried in this sentence than we ever recognised. God’s desire is to set the world right, to restore it to how He originally intended, and we are supposed to bring His Kingdom from heaven to earth through our lives.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that creation itself also will be set free from its slavery and corruption, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:19-20).

Creation itself is waiting for God’s people to be revealed in the fullness of their sonship. When God’s people start to act as real, true sons in the fullness of the power of the kingdom, the whole of creation will be turned back to its original purpose. It will come into the freedom of God’s glory, as seen in His children.

Righteousness and justice

For something to be done on earth, it has to be done first in heaven. Then earth can be brought into line with what is in heaven. We have authority to bind and loose things in the heavens, so that they will be bound or loosed here on earth.

The Kingdom of God is founded on two principles, righteousness and justice. We need the righteousness and the justice which are in heaven to be worked here on earth. We have authority to rule in the justice system of the kingdom.

Seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

The only way we can be true ambassadors of God’s kingdom on earth is if we put His kingdom first in our lives. We must give up doing things our own way and start doing them His way. An ambassador does not act on his own. He may be allowed to use some discretion in how he achieves the desired outcome, but he gets his briefing direct from the home country.

We need to get heavenly truth, so we can bring it to earth. This means living for and from that kingdom first, above everything else, and walking by faith.

Spiritual authority releases natural influence; and without spiritual authority we have no influence for the kingdom. When the kingdom is not only within us, but manifested through us and around us, so that people can see it, then it is clear that we carry spiritual authority. And whoever is ruling in the spiritual realm will also rule in the natural realm.

You are the salt of the earthYou are the light of the world (Matt. 5:13,14).

Salt is intended to be salty. The world needs light to deal with the darkness, and we are called to be that salt and light. As ambassadors we cannot be just the same as the world. People should see the difference in our lives. We must expect salvation of those around us, expect that they will turn from the darkness of the world to the light. We will make disciples who will themselves go on to make disciples, equipping them in turn to go out into their marketplaces and do the same, expanding the influence of the ever-increasing  kingdom in the world and out into the stars.

At hand

Jesus called to him the twelve apostles and began to send them out, as his ambassadors, two by two and gave them authority and power over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7 AMP).

As you go, preach, saying, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give (Matt. 10:7-8).

Wherever they went, they could say that the kingdom of heaven was at hand because they were the ones who were bringing the kingdom with them.  Wherever we go, we can legitimately say, ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. The power to heal is here, through our lives. The power to set people free is here, if we are true ambassadors and know our authority.

The Great Commission

Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:18-20).

‘All authority’ is all the authority there is. There is no other on earth or in the heavens. This is the mandate that Jesus gave us: to take God’s good news, in His authority, and to transform the world in which we live. It is quite a task, but the reality is we have the authority to do it.

Will you accept this great commission? Will you take up your appointment as an ambassador? If so, you can step into the realm of heaven today and affirm your acceptance in words like these:

Father, I choose to accept my commission as an ambassador of heaven on earth.

I choose to live on earth according to the principles of heaven.
I choose to receive my direction and protection from heaven.
I choose to live from the resources of heaven.

I choose not to be influenced by the ideas, culture and philosophy of the earth.
I choose to become an agent of the counter-culture of heaven.
I choose to live a supernatural lifestyle with a higher level of authority.
I choose to be an example of kingdom attitudes and the character of Jesus.

I choose to demonstrate the good news of Jesus in word and deed.
I choose to be salt and light in my world.

I am a minister of reconciliation to make disciples for the Kingdom of God.
I am an ambassador of heaven to transform the earth.

As you step back into this realm again, you come carrying that authority, and the power to outwork it in and through your life.

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Soundtrack: Earth Like Heaven – Jonathan David Helser (via YouTube)

Image attribution (diagram): Entanglement, by Quantuwiki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://goo.gl/P7TcRR)], via Wikimedia Commons

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