11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
(Ephesians 4:11-14 nlt)
Some notes I wrote during part of my Bible and Quiet time this morning:
This selection of verses notes that the leaders of the church – Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers – their responsibility is to equip God’s people – so ALL who have been saved, are to do God’s work and continue to build up the church. I don’t know about your [physical building] church or the Christians you know; but I see 1000’s of people who sit in an auditorium on Sunday and assume that everyone ELSE is supposed to serve [volunteer] but they can’t or won’t because of [any and all, fill in the blank] excuses. This verse (12) in the Expanded Bible says:
Christ gave those gifts to prepare […to equip] God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.
In other words, there’s a majority of Christians who are neglecting God’s Word and serving only themselves and not the church – this work is to make us stronger, so the lack of serving is essentially making us weaker!
Verse 13 says that this work will continue until we ALL become united in our faith and in our knowledge. I can’t even imagine a united church in this day and age. We live in a time where there are so many denominations, that most have branched out into multiple sub-denominations as well. It’s almost impossible for 2 people to agree on 100% of anything [if you don’t believe that, spend time with a married couple], so why do we think we need to further divide ourselves by making our own imperfect rituals and man made beliefs when the Word of God is perfect and complete!
Verse 14 says that once we have accomplished this [being mature in our faith and united in our church], we will then be mature in Christ; no longer being pulled by our flesh and our carnal nature, nor will we be deceived by false doctrines or teachings. What I would like to believe is that once we are united in our own church building, we will become mature in Christ – not having to wait until the whole world is united. My Pastor once said that our church isn’t meant to be a cruise ship with a small amount of people serving others; we’re meant to be a Battleship with ALL hands on deck. When I think of a Battleship, I think of people prepared for war. Unfortunately most people who consider themselves to be Christians rarely even open their Bible – and since the Word of God is our only defensive weapon – I imagine a ship full of immature Believers lounging on a deck waiting for a Piña Colada and God’s waiting on them to realize there are incoming torpedoes…