One of my favorite sections of Scripture is found in Ephesians 4.11-16. Within these six verses we can see our part in the body of Christ. As Christians, we will find the most joy when we are living according to God’s plan and purpose.
In verses 4.11-12, we see that God has put leaders in place within the local body of believers whose purpose is to equip the membership. They are to educate disciples of Christ to do the work of ministry. It is easy to go to church to watch others do “church;” however, part of gathering together is for equipping to do the work of ministry. So, what is your part in ministry? You do have a part whether you know it or not. Make sure you are educated on how to best live out your calling from God.
Verse 4.13 tells us the goal is to “attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” We are being equipped for “unity of faith,” knowledge of Christ, toward Christian maturity which is Christ our standard. Notice Paul says, “the stature of the fullness of Christ.” For the longest time we had a poster on the wall to measure how tall my son had grown each month. Christ is our measurement. We are to be growing in sanctification to look more like the One who lives within our hearts. So, how do you measure up? As long as we are incarcerated in human flesh we will struggle; however, if we set as our goal to constantly be growing in maturity and stature, we will never settle for who we are now.
Paul continues in 4.14-16 explaining why everything in 4.11-13 is so important. First, we will be grounded in doctrine and not confused by deceitful schemes. Second, this will help us speak the truth in love to those who are deceived or are deceiving. Third, knowing doctrine will help us grow in Christ. Finally, Paul says that as each member grows, the entire church body is built up. It will be stronger in unity, faith, worship, purpose, and fulfilling God’s vision for the church–making disciples. So, how is your understanding of doctrine? How steady are you in the face of opposition? How strong is your church with you in your current condition?
These verses have always given me a reality check. I hope they will be a spiritual check-up for you as well.
I used to have a friend who had a saying, “If every church member were just like me, what kind of church would this church be?” What is your answer?