How Christ Enables the Church to Upbuild Itself in Love

Eph 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high
he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 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, 14 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. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 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 4:4-16 (ESV)

Through the reading of scripture over the past week or two I have learned that God uses all His people to build up His church.

And this has become even clearer by listening to John Piper in his sermon, “How Christ Enables the Church to Upbuild Itself in Love“.

The main point I take away from this particular talk is the importance of small groups. Groups of believers meeting regularly to talk; to listen; to read God’s word; to pray for one another.

Essentially, they perform the invaluable function of support and encouragement to one another. And thereby enable the growth the church as their faith is strengthened.

These groups are meant to complement regular weekly meetings such as Sunday worship services. But they’re not supposed to replace them.

Ideally, we should attend both. And in so doing, find opportunities to love each other in practical ways.

Kim+

prayer : that small groups in our church would be a great source of learning and encouragement

action : attend a small group regularly – every week where possible

so that we may no longer be children

“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.” Ephesians 4:13-14 (ESV)

I have children. And I’ve watched them grow from tiny, helpless babes, through infancy as they discover the world, into teenagers.

They “mature” as their knowledge and understanding grows. Taking on more responsibility. Whether at school, getting a job, or at church.

It’s a progression.

From milk, to solids, to more unusual and sophisticated foods and flavours.

It takes time. It can’t be rushed. But eventually it happens. And it needs to happen.

Sadly, with this growth comes a better understanding of how the world and human nature operates.

Sure, there are often great acts of courage and generosity displayed by many.

Yet more common is the desire to have more and more and more. And this comes at the cost to others.

Corruption is rife. Greed is prevalent. Governments often spend more time debasing their opposition than actually performing their elected role.

Marketers bend and manipulate the truth to get their share of your wallet. Probably selling a product or service you don’t even need anyway.

Yet it’s nothing new. Deceitfulness has been around since Adam and Eve.

What we need to do is recognise it and guard against it. Praying that we remain firm. Trusting in an almighty God who thankfully does not change.

Kim+

prayer : that I would remain faithful in a world hell-bent on swaying my opinion

action : listen to at least one John Piper sermon every week