Summary: A sermon outlining the necessity of life long change in the Christian Life and in the church.
Change Is Not a Dirty Word
• Imagine being a member of the early church in Ephesus.
• Perhaps you were a faithful Jewish believer looking for the coming of the Messiah. You embraced Jesus as the Messiah, and you have now committed yourself to being His disciple. What an incredible change in your life.
• You come from a system of Priests, animal sacrifices for sin, and a host of other religious rituals that are no longer necessary because of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. HE paid the penalty once and for all for your sin.
• You’re not quite sure how this new “church” is supposed to operate and then you read a copy of a letter that Paul writes to the church at Ephesus.
• He gives instructions on how the church is to operate.
• He talks about new things like apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. You don’t seem to recall reading about those guys in your copy of the Old Testament Scrolls.
• How they are the ones who will equip you to do the work of the ministry.
• This is all foreign to you and the way that you were used to doing church.
• You realize that you have to change the way you are doing things.
• Or perhaps you were a Gentile and a worshipper of the fertility goddess, Diana. You experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ and this Jesus stuff is still new to you.
• You are just beginning to walk out these new changes in your lifestyle when the apostle Paul outlines more changes in His letter.
• Why all this change?
• That’s the subject of our message today. Change. Why is it necessary? I believe Paul gives us the answer to that question in Ephesians 4:14-16.
1. Change is a necessary ingredient in living the Christian Life.
a. Paul says that as a result of this new way of doing church, we should no longer be children or babies. [Illustration: Get on toy pony. Talk about how some of us need to put away childish things. Some of us need to start riding the real pony. Some of us need to graduate to the bigger horse.]
b. Paul characterizes children as being too vulnerable to evil influences.
c. They are easily tricked into believing and doing the wrong things.
d. If we stay at the level of growth we are at we are just as vulnerable as a dandelion in a hurricane.
2. Change is a life-long process for the Christian.
a. Change is a lifelong process because we are commanded to grow in all aspects of Christ. There are many aspects of Christ and it takes a lifetime of growing and changing to grow up in Him.
[Illustration: An old farmer frequently described his Christian experience by saying, "Well, I’m not making much progress, but I’m established!" One spring when he was hauling some logs, his wagon wheels sank down to the axles in mud. Try as he would, he couldn’t get the wagon out. Defeated, he sat atop the logs, viewing the dismal situation. Soon a neighbor who had always felt uncomfortable with the farmer’s worn out testimony came along and greeted him, "Well, brother Jones, I see you’re not making much progress, but you must be content because you’re well-established!]
b. Christ-likeness is our goal. He is the Head. We are to grow up and be constantly growing to be like the Head, Jesus Christ.
c. Paul points out one way that we are to grow up is by speaking the truth in love.
3. Change is a life-long process for the Church.
[Illustration: The problem is that the church that fails to change fails to impact the culture of change. It becomes a dinosaur, a memorial to a world that no longer exists. So, on the one hand, while it protects those within its walls from overwhelming stress, on the other hand, it becomes biblically and spiritually irrelevant. That which is to be the salt of the earth turns tasteless, and its light flickers dimly if at all. Aubrey Malphurs, Pouring New Wine Into Old Wineskins, p. 88]
a. As each individual part of the body, the church, grows up into Jesus the head of the body, we contribute to the growth (like a joint in a human body) of the rest of the church.
b. As we grow, or work properly as this scripture says here, we cause the church to grow. If we don’t grow or work properly, we impede the growth of the body.
c. As each individual part or person in the church grows, the whole church is built up in love.