Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

2020.09.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 4:16

Read Ephesians 4:16

Questions from the Scripture text: From Whom does the type of growth in Ephesians 4:16 come? How much of the body grows this way? By what is it knit and joined together? According to what kind of working? What parts have a share in this effective working? What ultimately happens when the body is grown this way? In what is it built up (edified)? 

It is from Christ that the  whole body of the church grows. Because Christ is our life, and we have no life from ourselves, there is no other way for the church to grow than the way that is described in this verse. Because Christ is our Head, our King, the type of growth described in this verse is mandatory and not optional. Because Christ has loved us, and the singular characteristic and evidence of being called according to His purpose is to love Him as He has loved us, this “building up in love” is the only true growth of the true church that there is.

That being the case, there is much work to be done in our churches to communicate the necessity of the growth and health of every single member. Can you imagine someone who has a dislocated joint—any joint at all—and saying that it was not a particularly important joint? 

But this is what happens when a member of the church wanders or wavers theologically. The love-growth of the church is interrupted. As we learned in Ephesians 4:15, “truthing” is the mechanism by which this love-growth occurs. And now to the implied question, “but which of the members need to be involved in this truthing?” Ephesians 4:16 resoundingly answers, “every single one of them!” Every joint supplies something!

To be sure, there are particular shepherding-teaching joints. We learned that in Ephesians 4:11. But that is because every single member of the church needs to be learning, affirming, and walking in the truths that are being taught by these pastor-gifts from the victorious, risen King.

Very few joints are shepherding-teaching joints, but every joint is a truthing joint. Every member has a part. There are no vestigial organs in the body of Christ. It is the will of the Head, from Whom the growth comes and into Whom the growth builds, that the theological maturation of each member (Ephesians 4:13-15a) be considered a vital part of God’s growth-plan (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12–26, especially 1 Corinthians 12:18). None can be left out. As we can see in the last phrase of the verse, God has intended that growth pursued in this way would occur so naturally that it seems that the body is growing itself!

So, we are to have a brotherly concern for each one in all things. But, in this passage the focus is especially upon their being corrected in and growing in right doctrine. Error indeed divides and harms, but sometimes when it is being corrected, you may hear someone say, “I don’t see why we emphasize doctrine so much; doctrine divides.” It is a fleshly rejection of how Jesus defines and love and growth to be anti-doctrinal. In this verse, we see that uniting in true doctrine is actually how love builds!

How has your theology been stabilizing under the shepherds that Christ has appointed for you? What other joints in the body might need encouragement to seek this stability for the growth of the whole body?

Suggested songs: ARP19B “The Lord’s Most Perfect Law” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”


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