Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV
“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.”
Work of the Ministry
God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – gave ministers and spiritual gifts and ministries to the church. He gave us godly people who love the Lord, who will speak his messages, who will help us to grow to maturity in Christ, and who will equip (prepare, train) us for the work of the ministry.
And “the work of the ministry” is not just something that “ministers” do. It is something that we are all to be doing. For if we are in Christ Jesus, by genuine God-ordained and God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ, we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which he prepared in advance that we should WALK in them (Eph 2:10; Php 2:12-13; Jas 2:17).
We are all to be involved in building up the body of Christ, in helping one another to grow to maturity in Christ. Each one of us has a part in this, for this is why we are given spiritual gifts, to minister God’s love and grace to our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
But this is missing in today’s modern market-driven churches. It is missing in many traditionally evangelical churches, too. And by “churches,” I don’t mean buildings or institutions of men, but I mean the sheep (people). But sadly, many of those sheep have wandered off and are following other gods.
So much of the church today has gone the way of the world and they are not functioning as the church (the body of Christ) is supposed to function. So, if you, individually, or if your congregation is following the Lord in doing what this teaches, expect to be singled out as “odd” or “strange.”
But this isn’t how it should be! It shouldn’t be odd or strange for us to all be fully devoted to our Lord. He shouldn’t be just a small part of our lives, but he is to be our life. And we are to be about his business, doing his work, and we should all be sharing the gospel with others for their salvation from sin.
Until We All Attain Unity
The way the Lord designed his church (the body of Christ, not the buildings) is that each of us is to be a working part, ministering to one another using the gifts given to us by the Spirit and the ministries assigned to us by God. And we are all to be working together to bring about unity IN CHRIST.
The church of today largely has this false notion that only certain people are called to “the ministry.” But we are all called to the ministry. We all just have different gifts and functions (parts). But each part is necessary to the proper building up of the body in love, in unity of faith and purpose.
And these are spiritual functions, of God, as assigned by him, and as gifted by the Holy Spirit. These are not functions of an institutional church. And the purpose of them is a spiritual purpose, and it is to see everyone professing the name of Jesus to be in genuine fellowship with the Lord.
So, whether God has gifted you to be one who encourages others to walk worthy of the Lord, or he has gifted you to teach the Scriptures, or he has given you the gift of writing songs or devotions, or he has gifted you to counsel people, or to believe God and pray for miracles in people’s lives, or to impart God’s word in ways which are relevant to our world today, etc., all of it should have one central purpose, the spiritual growth of the church.
The body of Christ is not unified in Christ when only a select few people are allowed to minister to the body’s spiritual growth and maturity, or when certain parts are told, “We have no need of you.” Now there needs to be discernment and godly judgment at work here, but we aren’t supposed to reject members of the body just because they don’t fit in with today’s market-driven church’s marketing schemes.
The body of Christ is definitely not working properly or unified in Christ if most of the body is following the world and marketing schemes and the idols of men and false teachings, and so they reject even the idea of the body life and how we are all supposed to function and work together.
Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV
“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.”
Speak the Truth in Love
We need to be working together as each part does its work because many are being led astray by every wind of doctrine coming from people who are cunning and crafty and who are deceitfully scheming against the people of God, and against the people of this world, by feeding them lies.
So, as the body working together, we need to be those who are confronting the lies and the false doctrines of men, who are exposing wolves in sheep’s clothing, and who are sharing the truth of God’s word with each other and with the people of the world.
We must be those who love one another so much that we are willing to be hated, rejected, mocked, attacked, and openly rebuked for sharing the truth of the gospel and for sharing Christ and his word as a normal part of our everyday lives, so that others will know Jesus in truth.
We must be encouraging one another in our walks of faith and surrender and obedience to our Lord Jesus. And this will call for confronting habitual sin, calling for repentance, and helping one another to walk in holiness, righteousness, and purity of devotion to the Lord Jesus.
This will mean giving out difficult messages that people are not going to want to hear but that they need to hear, too. But we must have the heart of God here. We must hate the things he hates and love the things he loves, and we must weep over the sins of the world and the sinful condition of the church of today.
We must be grieved over the worldliness in the church and over the lack of honor and respect given to God. For, if we are not grieved, we will do nothing, and then things will just continue to get worse. We need to feel what God feels and then we can properly minister his love and grace to the body of Christ where it is needed.
For, we are to be a people who are sold out to Christ, to follow him wherever he leads us, to say and to do whatever he says for us to say and to do, even if we are hated and rejected for it in return. And this is because we love God and we love his people, and we want what is best for his people.
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.