In Ephesians today – got stuck at Chapter 4:11-16.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
(Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)
- He gave: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (Pastors/Elders), teachers – why?
- equip the saints for the work of ministry
- building up of the body of Christ (the church) – What does that look like?
- unity of the faith
- knowledge of the Son of God (Jesus Christ. And knowledge from the Bible, not ours)
- mature manhood (mature, Godly men and women)
- looking like Jesus Christ
- this protects us from false doctrine
- and it all leads to love
There has been much talk about unity lately…and much talk about doctrine. So when I read this passage I thought it was pretty interesting how Paul brings it all together. There is unity to be had in knowledge of Jesus (correct Biblical doctrine); maturity; Christ-likeness and in the end love. This is what the body should look like.
ESV study note here is right on: “some people think that the learning of doctrine ins inherently divisive, but it is people who divide the church, whereas the knowledge of the Son of God (both knowing Christ personally and understanding all that he did and taught) is edifying and brings about “mature manhood” when set forth in love. The work of the gifted ministers was to proclaim and teach the word centered on Christ rather than on speculative or eccentric teaching of their own.”
So what does this all mean?
Correct, balanced, Biblical teaching that brings the full counsel of God’s word, centered on the Gospel brings about unity and maturity, not division.