Developing the Church (Part 1)
Ephesians 4:11-16
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.”
 
Equipping and spiritually maturing believers requires:
Time in God's Word. God wants to build us up through spending time and becoming familiar with His Word. 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
 
Time in prayer. Prayer and ministry go hand in hand. Acts 6:4: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”
 
Time with God through life experiences. We grow and mature as we go through trials knowing God will see us through. This enables us minister to others. James 1:1-2: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” 1 Peter 5:10: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 2 Corinthians 1:4-5: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
 
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.”
 
Knowing God involves several things:
Salvation - Coming to Christ alone for salvation. We must recognize the difference between being religious and being righteous.
Supplication - Calling out to God in prayer. He wants to give us wisdom, insight, and understanding needed for all situations. Jeremiah 33:3:“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Read Psalm 23 and Psalm 25.
Sanctification - Spiritual growth, being set apart for His purpose, and living for God each day. We need to be aware of what God likes and dislikes, what brings Him joy, and what brings Him sorrow. This is part of our spiritual growth and requires consistent study of God's Word. Jesus' prayer to His Father for us is:“Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth (John 17:17).”
 
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’.”