RICHARD DEAN BROOKS
FULLNESS OF CHRIST
11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then 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. 15Instead, 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. 16From 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.
4: 11-12 Our oneness in Christ does not destroy our individuality. The Holy Spirit has given each Christian special gifts for building up the church. Now that we have these gifts, it is crucial to use them. Are you spiritually mature, exercising the gifts God has given you? If you know what your gifts are, look for opportunities to serve. If you don’t know, ask God to show you, perhaps with the help of a church leader or Christian friends. Then, as you begin to recognize your special areas of service, use your gifts to strengthen and encourage the church.
4: 12-13 God has given his church an enormous responsibility— to make disciples in every nation (Matthew 28: 18-20). This involves preaching, teaching, healing, nurturing, giving, administering, building, and many other tasks. If we had to fulfill this command as individuals, we might as well give up without trying— it would be impossible. But God calls us as members of his body. Some of us can do one task; some can do others. Together we can obey God more fully than any of us could alone. It is a human tendency to overestimate what we can do by ourselves and to underestimate what we can do as a group. But as the body of Christ, we can accomplish more together than we would dream possible working by ourselves. Working together, the church can express more of the fullness of Christ.
4: 14-16 Christ is the truth (John 14: 6), and the Holy Spirit, who guides the church, is the Spirit of truth (John 16: 13). Satan, by contrast, is the father of lies (John 8: 44). As followers of Christ, we must be committed to the truth. This means that our words should be honest and our actions should reflect Christ’s integrity. To accomplish Christ’s work in the world, we must always speak the truth in love, no matter how difficult, inconvenient, or unpleasant.
4: 14 The Ephesian church had a history of being plagued with heretical teaching. Paul had first warned the Ephesian elders of subtle heresies creeping into their congregation during an earlier visit (see Acts 20: 26-31). In this letter, written in AD 60, he warned them again about false teaching. Later, he made stronger censures to Timothy, who was working in Ephesus (see 1 Timothy 1: 3-6; 4: 1-2; 6: 20-21; 2 Timothy 1: 13-14; 2: 14-26). When Revelation was written, the Ephesian church was still testing false apostles (see Revelation 2: 1-7). We should have childlike faith, but we should test ideas with full-grown discernment. Beware of teachers or philosophies that say, “We’re both saying the same thing” or “These key ideas like salvation and redemption are the same in all religions.” New Age philosophies and comparative religion classes find patterns of similarity in all faiths. While some parallels exist, they do not explain away the basis for faith. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3: 36), not “Let each person find God in his or her own way.” When faced with challenges to our faith, Christians must seek help and study the issues so as to stand firm against false teaching.
4: 15-16 How can we grow more and more like Christ? Some Christians don’t grow because they fear that any mistake or sin will destroy their witness for the Lord; they see their own weaknesses and realize that many unbelievers seem to have stronger character than they do. So they try to grow on their own and don’t make much progress. But one reason Christ made the church is so that we can help each other grow and mature in our faith. When we join with Christ, he forms us into a group united in purpose and in love for one another and for the Lord. If one stumbles, the rest of the group picks that person up and helps him or her walk with God again. If a person sins, he or she can find restoration through the church (Galatians 6: 1) as the rest of the group continues to proclaim God’s truth. Don’t try to live the Christian life alone. Find a church that accepts you as you are but is committed to lovingly help you grow in your love for God and others and mature in your faith so that you become a more powerful witness for Christ. As part of Christ’s body, you can reflect his character and carry out your special role in the work he has called the church to do.
4: 15 In describing the mature Christian, Paul says that one of the marks is “speaking the truth in love.” This sounds simple, but many find it very hard to do. Some are fairly good at speaking the truth but forget to be loving. Some are good at being loving but have difficulty being honest with others when the truth is painful. To build up the church we need to do both: Speak the truth, but do it in a loving manner. Think of the trouble we would spare ourselves if we followed this practice, especially in our churches! When you have a problem with another believer, don’t go to someone else with it. Go directly to that person and speak the truth in love.Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible,
Todays people and churches are no different than the church at Ephasus was. There are always someone who thinks they can do it by theirselves. Churches that say you have to do this or that to obtain the Holy Spirit!! The truth is our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST is the only way to obtain salvation. And when we do we are to become part of the body of CHRIST and be a part of THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST!!
ON THE WAY HOME WALK WITH JESUS and make sure you are contributing your part to the fullness of CHRIST!!
onthewayhomeministries.org by RICHARD DEAN BROOKS