Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Ephesians 4:1-16
Throughout Scripture there are several metaphors that are used to describe the Church. In this passage Paul uses the metaphor of the Church being likened to a body. And he gives us a picture of what a healthy body looks like. He discusses 3 things that need to be true for the Church to be effective in the world in which we live.
Unity (v 1-6) – The body of Christ should be a body that is working together not against one another. One of the reasons that the Church has been so ineffective over the centuries is because this is not always true. When churches are known more for how they don’t get along then they they cease to be an effective change agent in the world. It is imperative from Paul’s perspective that churches “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Diversity (v 7-12) – Unity does not mean that people are all the same or robotically play follow the leader. Just the opposite in fact. Paul points out that people are very different and have very different giftings. And they are to use their gifts together to promote kingdom purposes that the church might display a diverse body united together for the glory of God.
Maturity (v 13-16) – The bodies that God has given us are designed to grow. When that growth is stunted then immaturity results. This can happen both at the physical level as well as the emotional level. The body of Christ is similar. It will mature as it feeds on a healthy diet of the Word of God and as it “grows and builds itself up in love.” There are too many churches that have experienced stunted growth and thus display a gross immaturity that hurts the testimony of THE Church. The Word of God MUST be central. And believers MUST love one another if we are going to come anywhere close to “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (verse 13).