Summary: Saints must build the Body of Christ through active participation/action. Every church worker is vital; if only one slacks off, the entire effort of the church suffers. Whatever your ability, if you are working for the Lord, it is “for the profit of all."
Ephesians 4:12-13 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
Ephesians 4:12 speaks of the purpose of the ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher being to ‘perfect’ the saints for a two-fold role, for:
- works of serving/ministry (lit. ‘diakonos’) ==> active life
- building up the Body of Christ ==> encouraging, exhorting, enlightening
2. Saints’ purpose
Saints need to build the Body of Christ through their active participation/action, until we all arrive at (i.e. we can’t stop until we get there) the:
- unity (‘henota’) of the faith
- full knowledge (‘epignoseos’) of the Son of God – so only once we reach these two, can we stop and rest!
The purpose of which is to:
- produce a ‘complete’ man (‘mental and moral character’);
- attaining/reaching the very measure or standard of the fullness of Christ - i.e. reaching our final goal of becoming Christ-like, having God’s character ==> the essence of Jesus (Col 2:10).
3. Maturity essential
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
a. Obedience helps us
The Bible shows us that we all need do the work of service or ministry (‘????????’). We can stop serving, but only when we all arrive at unity of the faith and the full knowledge of Jesus Christ, so that we’ll no longer be:
- infants (‘nepios’ ‘to be a baby’, ‘childish’, ‘immature’);
- tossed back and forth (lit. ‘blown and carried around’);
- by every ‘wind’ … meaning ‘fashion’, latest ‘in-teacher’ (e.g. at conferences), ‘society-inspired’ ideas;
- of doctrine (‘didaskalia’ this does not mean ‘teaching’, but ‘that which is taught’ - not something we have learned ourselves; i.e. we have to meet and have hearts that desire to be taught the truths of God, and that we receive this teaching).
b. Care is needed
- cunning craftiness (lit. ‘subtleness’);
- the deceit* of men, who;
- wilfully and deliberately plan and scheme to pull Believers from the way of truth - this trick of the devil explains why many Christians stay away from church when they’ve problems ... at home, work etc. Don’t be fooled! When you have a problem, you absolutely need the Body of Christ. (Look at ‘deceit’ below)
Note: ‘deceit’ refers to the use of deliberate, organised means, e.g.:
- ecumenism (when driven by organisations for organisations)
- ‘fizz’ in place of ‘doctrine’
- experience, in place of God’s word, such as:
+ “To be a Christian doesn’t mean you have to go to church”
+ 2 things wrong here - Bible says you must meet (Heb 10:25); second you
“don’t go to church” ... church is the gathering of God’s people.
- aspects of prosperity / faith teaching
Note: the way of truth can only be tested by knowing the Word of God!
4. Fruit is positive
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
This verse talks about what we will do, and indicates the fruit from our committed Christian lifestyle:
- As we speak (i.e. action) the truth (from ‘aletheia’);
- And, speak it in love (‘agape’);
- We will grow up (lit. ‘enlarge’ or ‘increase’ spirituality, emotionally, mentally and morally);
- Into Christ (our committed actions deepen our relationship with Jesus) as
- Head of His church (speaks of our submission to Him in all things).
Ephesians 4:16 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.
These are the consequences of our actions, starting with doing the “work of ministry”. From Christ, the entire body of His church is joined and held by every support, and so is able to:
- build itself up
- operate in love (John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”)
However, this is only possible as each part does - and continues to do - ‘its work’. This is the condition on Jesus’ blessing!
6. Concluding ‘reading’
Every church worker is vital: the Sunday school teacher, the worship team, the sound operator, the beamer worker, the youth worker, those who greet, those who pray for the people who respond to the Word of God and those who preach … and many more. If only one slacks off, the entire effort of the church suffers.