Ephesians 4:11-16 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.
“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.”
There are those within the body of Christ whom God has called to prepare the body of Christ for the work of the ministry, to train, equip, and to perfect them for the work of the ministry. This involves discipleship and training in godliness and in holy living, for without that we are not equipped for ministry. And it involves training in how to work together as a team, but this is not from a marketing or a business perspective. This is from a biblical perspective, for ministry involves us having lives surrendered to Jesus Christ, to do his will, guided by the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh.
Now we can tell that this is spiritual training, because this is about the building up (encouragement) of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith to maturity in Christ. But this word “unity” is often being used by church leaders to unite us with them and with their business marketing goals for how to build their earthly kingdoms. So, be careful what and who you are uniting with, for not all are of God, but many are of the flesh of man who are following men instead of God.
Make certain that you are uniting with the Lord Jesus Christ and with the teachings of the Scriptures (in context) and that you are being taught to forsake your sinful practices and to walk in obedience to the Lord. Make certain that you are being trained in godliness and in holy living and that you aren’t being taught a bunch of psycho garb and marketing tricks and schemes. For many so called “churches” are doing more training in marketing schemes than they are teaching holy living.
Anyway, back to our spiritual training, it is critical that we are being taught the truth of the Scriptures and of the gospel in their true context, for many false doctrines are formed by taking Scriptures out of their context and making them say what the Scriptures do not teach in context. And this will help us to grow to maturity in our walks of faith in our Lord Jesus. And this will hopefully keep us from remaining in a state of childishness to where we are easily led astray by all sorts of teachings that come about through human cunning, and by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
So, as the body of Christ, we are to be those who speak the truth of God’s word to one another in love and who call out false doctrines which are leading people astray. And in this way, if others will listen and heed the warnings, we can all grow up in Christ together. But this involves all the body parts working together properly as we ought, doing the work of the ministry, walking in obedience to our Lord and no longer walking in sin. Then we can help one another to maturity in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 9:23-26; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Ac 1:8; Ac 2:42-47; Ac 26:18; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Co 3:9,16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 5:1; 2 Co 6:14-16; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-32; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-24; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:4-9,21; Titus 2:11-14; Heb 3:13; Jude 1:20-21; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Looking to Thee
By James Rowe (1865-1933)
Looking to Thee from day to day,
Trusting Thy grace along the way,
Knowing that Thou wilt safely keep all that is Thine;
Sure of Thy soul redeeming love,
Sure of a crown of life above,
Singing Thy praise I press along, Savior divine.
Looking to Thee for all I need,
Finding in Thee a Friend indeed,
All of the burdens of the day meekly I bear;
Neither the foe nor storm I fear,
Savior divine, for Thou art near,
Ready my cares and troubles all freely to share.
After a while in heaven bright,
Where there is neither sin nor night,
I shall behold Thee, face to face, Jesus my own;
Then with the saved ones gone before,
I shall with rapture, more and more,
Praise Thee forever, near the bright, beautiful throne.
Looking to Thee, Trusting thy grace,
I am as happy as a true soldier can be;
Nearing my own heavenly place,
Trusting Thy love I press along looking to Thee.
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