“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” Ephesians 4:11-14
Yesterday we talked about WHO these gifted people are, whom Jesus has given to the church or placed within it-today, we’ll look at WHY!
So, in vs 11, we find that Jesus gifted apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers and gave them to His Body, the Church. In vs 12 we find out why: to build her up! You see, just as babies are not born as mature adults, so are baby Christians. The have to be fed, nurtured, taught, trained, mentored and equipped to become skilled, working adults. There is no shame in being a baby, child or adolescent, there’s only shame if you get stuck there! Paul says these gifts are given “to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church”. He further state that they’ll do this “until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ”. Notice Paul includes himself in this, I believe because we never outgrow learning!
Paul then states the “end-product”: “then we will no longer be immature like children”. Again, children aren’t born mature, they need training and nurturing.Imagine the difference in the character of a child who is loved, shown by example to love others, share, care and be grateful, as opposed to one who’s never corrected and used to getting their own way all the time! Good training makes all the difference in the world.
Paul goes on to paint a word picture of how important this is. His picture is of being adrift on a boat with no rudder. He says, “We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.” Christian who are grounded in their faith are not spiritual drifters. They have purpose, goals and a destination. Success in any line of work rarely comes naturally or easily. It normally takes good examples, hard work and a plan of action. That’s what God has given His Church!
Finally, these Gifted Gifts are given to the Church so “We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” This is particularly dangerous because for every good thing in the Kingdom of God, satan has made a counterfeit! As far back as the Garden of Eden, Eve was tricked by a lie that sounded truthful. The devil who always comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:8-10), is described by Jesus as the “father of lies” (John 8:44). As Christ’s Body, the Church, it’s especially important that we’re not tricked into believing a lie!
So, it’s time, as the Church to wake up, grown up and wise up!
Think about it!