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Sunday, October 17 2021

Has God given the church everything that faithful Christians need to grow and mature as a body? Some seem to doubt that the church can make disciples and grow because of the morally corrupt state of the world Furthermore, many believers doubt that any faithful Christians can raise most of their children to live faithful and holy lives to God. Did Jesus give His followers commands that they cannot keep or promises that God cannot fulfill? Certainly not. Christians need to change their thinking and encourage the next generation.

When Jesus ascended to be at the right hand of God, Jesus accomplished much and gave much to His followers to complete the mission of making disciples. The apostle Paul revealed that Christ gave gifts for the church to grow. God’s grace to every Christian comes in measure as Christ gives (Ephesians 4:7). As prophesied, Christ gave gifts to men when He ascended to heaven after He had descended to earth (4:8–10; cf. Ps 68:18). Jesus gave specific gifts to specific people in the church to equip the rest of these holy Christians for ministry (4:11–12). Jesus gave gifts to the apostles, prophets, shepherds (pastors), evangelists, and teachers to equip other Christians (4:11). These leaders received gifts to build of the body of Christ, the church (4:12). The gifts that Jesus gave were for equipping the faithful for ministry. Jesus gave these abilities until the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God and to the maturity in the fullness of Christ (4:13).

When does this unity and maturity occur? Is this an unattainable goal or something that the church can reach only when Christ returns? The apostle Paul meant this for those the faithful to come to this state then, so the ability for Christians to unite and mature is true now. God has equipped the church. The faithful should and can come to the unity of the faith in the knowledge of Christ and to maturity in Christ’s fullness. The apostle Paul taught this is essential so that believers are not “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (4:14). The equipping of leaders to prepare the church is essential to avoid errors. Many believers claiming to follow Christ seem to shift with every new book or engaging speaker. This would be good if they were drawing closer to God and growing in maturity rather than wanting to hear the next new thing.

Instead, the church needs teaching of the truth for the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Christ. Paul encouraged the church: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). The faithful grow in every way in Christ as this is the maturity of the fullness of Christ. By growing in Christ, the whole body, the church, is held together by Christ. The church is equipped “when each part is working properly” so that this makes the body grow and is lifted up in love (4:16). The church can grow and should.

Christ has equipped the church. He has given us all that we need to grow and uplift one another and to do so in unity. The church grows when we each do our part. Are you doing your part and working properly? Do you need better leadership and guidance? We have no excuses. We can make changes and fulfill Christ’s mission for the church. Thank Christ for giving us all that we need to be equipped to observe all that He commands.

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email