The Holy Bible
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. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 4:11-16)
I have included more verses than I usually do, because God impacted me with Truth and I wanted to be sure that you had the whole picture as you read this devotional today. Friends, I believe that our churches are probably hurting more today than most other businesses, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with the declined economy that we have been challenged by. I believe that Paul has addressed a subject that we all should pay close attention to, even though in the very first verse you may get the distinct impression that he is outlining the responsibilities of church leaders. However, I took the liberty of bolding two sentences that really spoke to me. In the first, we are told that our church leaders are in place to equip us, and to build us up as a church, so that we can do the work of the Lord. Friends, this is a whole new concept for many today. Think about it, we invite our friends to church so they could hear the Word of the Lord. If we are equipped to do the work of the Lord, shouldn’t we be sharing the Word with our friends? Suppose they never attend church and you missed out on your responsibility to share the love of God with them, would you feel any less guilty about their dying without Christ? The second bolded sentence tells us the expected result when we have been properly taught and counseled by our church leaders. For we will: (1) become ‘mature’ in the Lord – I think of maturity as being a point of reference for new Christians; An example for new Christians to follow; Unwavering in our faith; and (2) Measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ – I thinks of us being true examples of Christ. After all, we have fought the good race and kept the faith through the good times and the challenging times. I left verses 14-16 in so we could be reminded of what Paul saw as the ‘perfect’ church – one that meets the criteria taught in verses 11-13. Are family and friends seeing the ‘real thing’ in us as they monitor our lives and look for a genuine example to follow? Are we fulfilling the Great Commission by going out and sharing the Word with the whole world – our world?
Thank You Lord for setting the bar for us to follow, and such a perfect and unselfish one at that. You have reminded us that we are all ministers of the gospel for You in our own way. You have placed many of us in churches that are God led, and equipped with leaders as detailed in these verses that we studied today. There is therefore no excuse for us not to be vigilant in our work for the Lord in and through our personal lives. Please expand Your church today as You teach us these truths from your Word, and prompt us into the service You have placed before us. Each of us were, no doubt, impacted by the maturity of other family members or friends that touched us with the gospel, long before we actually surrendered our lives to You in a church setting. May each one reading this devotional today be made keenly aware of the ones looking to us for godly advice or leadership. May we be bold and unswerving in declaring our loyalty to You and in sharing Your love and mercy with all that we come into contact with. For I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, the only One with the power to overcome sin and darkness in the lives of those that we minister to, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!