The church of Ephesus that Paul built is the divine pattern for apostolic church (Acts 19:1-12).
There are several characteristics of the apostolic church that we can see from the church of Ephesus:
1. Focusing on building the congregation, instead of collecting a lot of people (vv. 1 & 7).
Paul started the church in Ephesus with 12 people and he focused to build the 12 people to become the congregation as God expects; but with the 12 congregation he could shake the whole Asia. Apostolic church focuses on building the existing congregation, so that the congregation can bring impact to the environment.
Apostolic church prioritizes in the strength of the congregation, not the number of congregation. If there is a church with a large number of congregation, but each member is weak, full of struggle, inner conflict, many disputes, and so on. That’s certainly not the apostolic church!
2. Performing revelation and belief systems equalization, rather than leaving the congregation with their own beliefs (vv. 2-6).
In the apostolic church, all congregation have the same belief system with their leader. At the beginning of his ministry, Paul performed revelation equalization so that all congregation have the same belief with his about the fullness of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and spiritual gifts.
If each member has different beliefs, the church can not unite to accomplish God’s will. The church will not have strength in the spirit realm.
3. The teaching is centered on the Gospel of the Kingdom, not just the Gospel of Salvation (v. 8).
Apostolic church brings the Gospel of the Kingdom, not just the Gospel of Salvation.
What’s the difference? The Gospel of Salvation is to bring people to salvation only, the Gospel of the Kingdom is to bring people to live in the values of the Kingdom of Heaven, to live as children of the Kingdom of Heaven, to be a representation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. That is why the apostolic church does not prioritize in the number of the congregation.
4. Performing a strict separation between the disciples and not disciples (v. 9).
Apostolic church leader is not afraid of losing the congregation. The congregation that has hardened heart, don’t want to be taught and formed will be abandoned. He just focuses on building congregation that wants to be taught and formed, because he focuses to fulfill God’s will.
5. The church becomes the center of God’s movement, not religious institution (vv. 10-12).
Because the congregation is strong, united and taught to live for the fulfillment of His plan, then this church will be the center of God’s movement. There are important declarations/proclamations that are released for the city and the nation, there are divine decisions that set and released from this church.
Whatever God wants to do in the community God will do it through this church. There is a move of God that is manifested and keep happening from this church.
The divine pattern for apostolic church will be built when the church is built with a divine pattern, that is why when we build our church with divine pattern, God will make our church the center of God’s movement on earth.
Also read: Divine Pattern of the Early Church.