Developing the Church (Part 1)
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
God gave gifted individuals to the church for the perfecting of the saints or the believers (Verse 12). Perfecting means equipping. The Lord Jesus, our Great Shepherd, makes this possible. Hebrews 13:20-21: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
God gave gifted individuals to the church for the work of the ministry (Verse 12). Ministry means service to others. God chooses to use us; otherwise He would take us to heaven at the time of our salvation. God gives gifts to each believer that we are to use for serving Him in the local church and outside the church. He blesses us as we bless others.
God gave gifted individuals to the church for the edifying of the body of Christ (Verse 12). Edifying means building up. This involves ministering to one another through words and deeds. People are eternal, and we must focus on them. 1 Corinthians 4:12: “And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it.” 1Thessalonians 5:11: “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
God set up the church. What is His purpose in developing the church?
God’s purpose in developing the church is for the unification of believers. (Verse 13a: “Unity of the faith.”) This is working together for the Lord's glory and providing each person with encouragement, strength, and growth. It is not an ecumenical unity where different faiths get together by requiring the divestment of doctrinal distinctions.
God’s purpose in developing the church is so the church will have a knowledge of the Son of God. (Verse 13b: “And of the knowledge of the Son of God.”) One of a Christian's main duties and joys is to truly know the Son of God. This requires building a relationship with Him. Philippians 3:10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” 1 John 5:11-15: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
God’s purpose in developing the church is for the Christ-likeness of believers. (Verse 13c: “Unto a perfect (spiritually mature) man, unto the measure of the statue of the fulness of Christ.”) One of our main goals is to become like Christ in our thoughts and actions. Study the life of Christ and His earthly ministry to learn how to become more like Him. Our relationship with Him will be revealed in how we live. 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Quote from John Wesley:“One of the greatest joys of being a Christian is to lay your head on the pillow at night and say to the Lord, ‘I have done your will today’.”