Paul gets to Ephesus in the highest point of apostolic expertise and experience. After leading the most significant move of God and transformational kingdom culture influence in history, up to that moment, Paul writes to the entire kingdom. We have the epistle as he addressed it to the Ephesians in particular, but the epistle was not exclusive to that ekklesia.
Paul explains the construction, function, and unction of ekklesia in the context of kingdom culture. Paul does not address ekklesia here or any other place outside the context of kingdom culture. Instead, Paul lays the foundations for ekklesia within the kingdom’s history available in what we call the Old Testament.
He uses three metaphors to explain how apostolic order guides construction, function, and unction within kingdom culture. These are metaphors. They do not walk on all four legs. They are specific in the scope of simile, or they explain an aspect of ekklesia. Exaggerations of metaphors is a sophomoric error that has become a significant tenet of “church age” thinking.
We make it up as we go by dismissing the kingdom as past and future while making “church” by our definitions exclusive to what kingdom citizens are and do. We then hammer Paul’s words into our extremely narrow idea about the kingdom, kingdom leaders, and ekklesia. The end product would make Paul wonder if we knew how to read at all.
The first metaphor is “ekklesia as a building” constructed with the King’s blueprints and battleplans requiring the development of kingdom culture and kingdom leaders for its completion. Paul leads us to consider what a fully-constructed ekklesia would function before using a body metaphor to discuss its functionality.
He is clear about how Christ is foundational through apostles and prophets. He is clear about apostles being master-builders with the blueprints that all others use to contribute as subcontractors to the construction. This term helps us define the role of apostolic leadership and the design for apostolic leadership.
Moderns who embrace the extraordinarily new and novel idea that there is no kingdom available now just chuck the entire discussion of kingdom culture in favor of a Darbyism approach to everything written in the Bible because they say everything shifted in history with John wrote “the end” on the Revelation. Paul never thought what this dispensationalism teaches.
Being so biblical that they are no longer biblical, they tell us to ignore everything the apostles did, contradicting their theory. “Let’s be Biblical” and “let’s ignore most of the Bible” reveal a spiritual pathology, folks.
So, Paul clarifies in the Bible that what Christ started with continues. He never even hints that Christ would chuck everything He set up in His kingdom after the Bible was completed. This idea is so obviously not what the Bible says that its proponents need both a sledgehammer to drive it home and a prescription for spiritual and rational blindness to ignore the Truth.
One would think Paul wrote, “when that which is ultimate arrives all that produce ultimate will have accomplished what it was given to produce” to say, “Ignore what I received from Christ and applied as His apostle as soon as you get some excuse to define “church” as you please.
Construction of the ekklesia is a kingdom process that apostles lead as master-builders. All apostles have an assigned scope of kingdom leadership and blueprints and battleplans to produce it. All kingdom citizens align with apostles based upon their own assignments–they have some pages of that blueprint that an apostle fits into the entire construction.
Apostles also lead a leadership team of oversight leaders or elders with specific functions and roles to have these citizens and leaders. Finally, Paul explains how authentic ekklesia requires a significant process of maturation.
Christ did not separate the functions from the roles. Oversight comes with accountability. The role sets the responsibilities.
Apostles have responsibilities they can only fulfill in the role of an apostle. No other oversight leader can do what they do, and all other oversight leaders are accountable to the blueprints apostles receive from Christ.
We have seldom seen a fully-constructed ekklesia in the last two hundred years because we have lost kingdom culture and don’t even know we lost it.