Series: For Edification
Message – Influence Towards Growth
Since the start of the year we have been talking about “Equipping the saints for ministry work”. We’ve done this through teaching on the gifts, their expressions in and outside of the church, edifying our siblings in Christ and becoming skilled at receiving edification ourselves. Lately we’ve learned about testing our own “building” to see if we are “in the Faith” and proving ourselves that “Christ is in us”!
This week we are going back to where we began, only so we can continue from where we are…so turn to Eph.4 where Paul first taught us about those God called as gifts to “equip the saints for ministry work”
This letter from Paul to the Ephesians has a structure.
In chapters 1-3 Paul presents basic doctrine, showing the privileged position of the believer in Christ.
In chapters 4-6 he presents exhortations based upon that doctrine and encourages the believers to obey.
In Eph. 4 Paul speaks of the gifted men given the Church by God whose ministry should help the saints obey these exhortations.
… and in Eph. 4:17-25, which is the segment we will spend our greatest time in today…Paul shows the tremendous change brought about within the believer as a result.
Wuest divides these verses into three points….
Eph 4:11-32 HCSB
“(11) And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastor-teachers, (12) for:
- the training of the saints in the work of ministry,
- to build up the body of Christ,
- (13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
(14) Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. (15) But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him Who is the head–Christ.
The word “Speaking” here is NOT strong enough. It means desire it, pursue it…
- BE in the truth
- Walk in the truth
- Follow the truth (not in the sense of seeking – but following)
- Be passionate about truth (“could” – in heart mean be lovers of the truth)
Which would be the cause of our speaking about it for it is what is in the abundance of our hearts.
NOTICE THIS child of God – EVERYTHING about our life is Christ is passionate and from the heart. It is NOT suitable for the complacent. It cannot be done through religious diligence – it cannot be conjured…it simply IS…it is relational and nothing less will satisfy Him or you. Without passion – you are left with empty, meaningless rules which God will Hate!
“In love” – this kind of passion for truth is not a passion to proclaim it yet care nothing for the outcome, but such a love and respect for truth that the words and actions we use to communicate it are wooing and drawing and compelling in that they spring forth from ardor and passion – and the speaking should be kind and affectionate words as much as possible. The communication of our passion for truth should not divide or break up, but produce a type of spiritual concrete – setting, establishing and strengthening brotherly love among the saints..
“Grow up into Him” – the word into is better translated UNTO. The difference being… one is a goal towards outward resemblance – the other is a gravitational force drawing the Christian unto the One Who is the Source of their love, grace and glory…which is illustrated for us by the next words
(16) From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
“Fitted and knit together” – I am drawing from Wuest’s excellent treatment of the Greek here…
The Greek word means, “to join closely together.” “Compacted” means, “to cause to coalesce, to unite or knit together.” They are present participles, speaking of a process going on. So we have, “From Whom as a source, all the body being constantly joined closely together and growing constantly together.” This process in which the members of the Body of Christ are being joined closely together and are growing together in a vital, organic union, is brought about “by that which every joint supplieth.” “By” here is “through the intermediate agency of every joint of supply.”
That is, the joints of supply are the bonds that bind the members of the Body together, and are the channels through which the source of supply of life from the Head, Jesus Christ, is brought to the various members, this divine energy joining closely together the members and causing them to grow into an organic union.
All of this is being done FROM HIM – From Christ through us and it powerful to work through us to the degree that our fellowship with Him allows and does not constrain His activity.
That is, the degree to which this life of the Head flowing through the members operates, joining the members of the Body more closely together into a more compact organic union, is determined by the individual saint’s fellowship with the Lord and with his fellow saints. This more compactly built Body will show in the closer ties of Christian love and brotherhood as exhibited by the saints in their Christian experience.
The negative idea would be a head which is sufficiently powerful to send all the appropriate signals to the body to enable it to function at it’s peak – but whose body is broken and it’s ligaments loose and disjointed and whose nerve impulses respond only intermittently to the head causing the whole of the body to walk and move not fluidly and majestically but in an awkward and clumsy manner. The head can do no better than the body will allow.
But when He has His Headship – we fluid and dynamic, artful and majestic in our motion. All of this is said to promote growth and building up – What is “building up”?
(17) Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts.
(18) They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.
(19) They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
They seek their fulfillment…
Their Vine life… from another source than ours.
(20) But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, (21) assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus:
(22) you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires;
(23) you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; (24) you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
The word “new man” is not new in reference to time, but new in reference to quality. Take off the old, worn out, crippled through abuse and weakened by age self and put on the new man which is patterned after something which does not wear out with age and use – but is itself ever new and is that which causes the inward man to be renewed day by day – even while the outward man is perishing!
“The one created according to God’s likeness” – means according to what God is in Himself
(25) Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.
(26) Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, (27) and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.
The words “Be angry” is actually a command here and it is a present imperative – meaning an immediate and ongoing action. This anger essentially means – Orgē is an anger which is an abiding and settled habit of the mind that is aroused under certain conditions. So what could the Apostle be telling us to be angry about? SIN – unrighteousness – all that is against TRUTH! NOTHING works harder against this command than the world’s media and entertainment. They are pushing and pressuring and OVEREXPOSING the world and the willing eyes and ears of the church to sick and vile passions so as to desensitize them to it and cause their hatred of sin to grow cold and their repulsion to it as deadened as possible. God here says – BE ANGRY! But he also conditions it with “do not sin in your anger”. Be angry at the sin – be angry at the lie and the sick-perverse debauchery but do not attack or rail against the sinner. They have the ir hell but now and later unless we can win them not by winning an argument but by capturing the heart of those who are to be saved.
(28) The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.
(29) No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.
(30) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. (31) All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness.
(32) And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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