Summary: This sermon uses Ephesians 4:11-16 to give biblical teaching on the NEC core value of Equipping Disciples where we seek “To train believers through God’s Word, which is proclaimed from the pulpit, taught through small groups, and applied through training events.”
You can listen to the full message here:-
You will find many great pictures on the internet which make fun at body builders who never attend “leg day”
This is what happens when you put too much emphasis on one, or a few, parts of your body which neglecting the other parts of your body. Your body still works, but it is obvious that there is not a balance and some parts are getting left behind.
So, thinking about that analogy, let’s read Ephesians 4:11-16
In reading these verses some of you who have been here more than 6 months may remember that I preached on some of these verses not so long ago.
It was the Bonsai sermon.
We talked then about the call for the Pastor and Teacher to Equip.
It is a concept that comes out of fishing world.
In Matthew 4:21 James and John are repairing and preparing their nets for fishing.
They are making sure that their nets are properly equipped for the task ahead.
Such preparing and equipping involved cleaning the nets of seaweed, then fixing and torn or damaged sections, and then folding the nets so that they would not tangle next time they were used.
All this preparation was done so that the nets would be ready to catch more fish.
That is the equipping.
Being willing to learn and grow.
Being willing to have your life changed if necessary.
All for the purpose of being ready to work for God.
That is our calling. To mature. So we are not babies.
We saw that this comes through
We mature by fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives to transform our lives to have a life which is more and more like Jesus.
God wants the body of Christ to be built up. This will require us to be active in fellowship, and active in encouraging each other, and active in studying the Word, and active in sharing our faith.
God is looking for people who attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. That is not going to happen by sitting in front of the TV, or always being at work, or constantly being busy.
It comes through wrestling with God’s Word in your devotional life. It comes through prayer. It comes through changing your life-style and bringing into conformity with God’s will.
God is looking for believers who are not distracted by Satan and the craftiness of his schemes. Such maturity will not come if Christianity is nothing but a spectator sport. If we think all we need to do is turn up on Sunday morning and make a pew warm – and then that is the total of our Christian life.
We talked about the Bonsai Tree image.
Recognising that the Bonsai tree is a full tree which is being restricted.
Take the Bonsais out of the pot and it will grow into a full sized tree.
From this we saw two points.
Jesus Hasn’t Called Us To Be Bonsai Christians
It is possible for Pastors to create Bonsai Christians
Do you remember that message?
If you weren’t here you are now up to speed.
In relationship to the church values I want to push on from that point.
Particularly these verses.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
When you look at this passage what stands out?
Actually the better question might be, what is obvious because it is absent?
There is no “I” here:-
Identify and highlight 1, 2, 3.
4 is only singularity – but even then it is a singularity which is spoken of in the context of the whole.
14 Then (1)we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, (2)we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the (3)whole body, joined and held together by (3)every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as (4)EACH part does its work.
What we have here is a powerful reminder that all believers are equal in capacity before God.