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Ephesians 4:13

Growing Up

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

The work of the ministry, i.e., of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, is to build up the body of Christ in such a way that every one of its members reaches the level of maturity necessary to mold the entire body into a perfect man. Each of the members of the church must be able to perform their duties so as to make the organization function the way God intends.

To accomplish this, the ministry must bring each of us into a unity of the faith. In the fifth verse of this chapter, we were told that there is only one faith. It is the faith of Jesus Christ, which is given to us as a free gift. However, we are only baby Christians when we receive our faith, and that faith, although it is from God, must be exercised and stretched so that it will grow.

Jesus told a parable, which is terribly misrepresented when it is used to convince church members to give more money. It is a parable that deals with investing our faith so that it may grow. "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

"After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

"He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

"Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

"His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:14-30)

The goods, which our Lord has delivered to His servants, are our faith. The ministry of the church must teach people to invest their faith in the work of the church so that it may grow. Some members may have very strong faith in the Lord Jesus and might become missionaries in foreign lands, enduring many hardships that will greatly increase their faith. Other members may not have so much faith but might be willing to invest some of their time working at a local homeless shelter. Their experiences will also increase their faith. Others will stay home and not do anything that will test their faith, and it will not grow.

The ministry's task is to lead all members to the unity of the faith, and to the knowledge of the Son of God, obtained from teaching and personal relationship with Him, so that the church body becomes a mature man. If the church is to be the body of Christ it must attain the stature or maturity of a body that has the fullness of Christ living within, guiding it, directing it, encouraging it and protecting it.

Your task is to discover how you will fit into the body. Will you invest your faith and allow it to grow or will you hide it? Seek the counsel of your church's leaders and listen carefully to what they tell you. It is time to grow up and mature in your faith, because Christ is coming again very soon.

Before The Throne:

Adversity and opportunity are the same thing. Adversity is the opportunity to grow in your faith. Ask God to help you take steps of faith toward serving Him so that your faith can grow. Ask Him to show you how the difficult moments in your life can free you to spend more time working for Him or can give you more opportunity to demonstrate your faith to those around you. Pray that, as you invest your faith, you will be encouraged by the way it pays off. Thank Him for every moment of adversity and rejoice in the fact that He has chosen to give you another opportunity to grow.

For Further Study:

** we all: Jer 32:38-39; Eze 37:21-22; Zep 3:9; Zec 14:9; Joh 17:21; Act 4:32; 1Co 1:10; Phi 2:1-3; ** the knowledge: Isa 53:11; Mat 11:27; Joh 16:3; 17:3, 25-26; 2Co 4:6; Phi 3:8; Col 2:2; 2Pe 1:1-3; 3:18; 1Jo 5:20; ** unto a: Eph 2:15; 1Co 14:20; Col 1:28; ** fulness: Eph 1:23;


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