Ephesians 4:7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people. 9 But what does “He ascended ” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and 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. 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.(HCSB)
It was the Messiah who gave the duties of being an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor and a teacher. He did not give them just because He felt like it, but for a very specific purpose. The One seeks for His people to be one. Do not miss that.
On a corner of one of our seminary buildings was verses 11 and 12 and it always bugged me because it stopped there. But Scripture does not stop there. These duties are assigned so that the saints can properly do ministry in such a way that grows the body up. You see, ministry can be done in such a way where the body does not grow up and it stays an infant. So, the question is, what does it look like when the body of Christ is grown up?
Verse 13 gives the answer to that question. You see, we are headed in a specific direction, not meandering aimlessly around on our own. With the help of the Spirit and those God equipped to lead the body the church is supposed to come to a place where they reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of God’s Son.
This part is very important, this unity is in doctrine. This is the area we like to ignore, but according to this passage we cannot. We must have unity in how we live for Him and in our doctrine. We cannot have unity in one and not the other and expect the world to see the Light of Truth in our lives. That is why so much of this book is given to this subject of oneness and unity.
I have often wondered how it is that so many people inside the church want to insist that there can be unity of the body and not unity of doctrine. It has also amazed me that no one really seems determined, within orthodox Christianity, to sit down together and pray together and pour through Scripture together until unity becomes reality.
You know, do the hard work our founders here in The United States did when they shut themselves up in a room, prayed, searched the Scriptures and talked together coming out of that hall with the Constitution.Where are those in the faith willing to do that?
The issue to my past wonderings may be found in the next phrase in verse 13, “growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness”. This can also be translated this way, “into a complete man with a maturity measured by Christ’s completion.” Look at that again, it says, “a complete man”. Does this remind you of anything already talked about in the book.
Back in chapter two Paul talks about the Messiah taking the two, the Jew and the Gentile, to make one man. You see we are not complete without each other. Up until recently in history the Jews were not coming into the faith of the Son of God in very large numbers. However, that is changing and with them we are seeing a resurgence of understanding in the faith.
Could it be that they had to be grafted back into there own tree before we who are in the faith could sit down and really seek unity, complete unity. Did they need to be at the table? I believe so. Why? Because they hold the key to so much that the Gentile church had left behind long ago and frankly no longer made much sense to us. That is why some could think it O.K. to abandon the Old Testament. But it is not O.K., we need each other.
I have often said that Yeshua/Jesus does not want a dysfunctional Bride, yet that is what we have been giving Him for quite some time. No, He seeks oneness, complete unity (John 17) for His Bride. The pieces are in place and we can learn from one another again. Jew and Gentile are no longer separate, but in Christ have become one man, a complete and mature man.
This is why we will not be tossed to and fro by the waves that sail our way. As one, knowing our faith and standing firm up against one another, the waves break on us instead of us breaking on them. False teaching does not stand a chance when the body stands together as one.
No, we speak the truth in love instead of following after false teaching and saying it’s O.K. to do so. We follow the one who is the One. We grow to be like Him who is our head. We grow by each one of us doing our assigned duty in love.
We have been given our marching orders and they are to stand up against one another in love and not to allow any false teaching in.
We must act and think as one, a properly trained military unit. We are His body. He is the head, the commander of the unit. No unit can do anything without the commands of it’s commander. And no unit will succeed when it disobeys its commanders explicit instructions. That is what we have, explicit instructions, commands, to follow. It is up to us to do the following. That is why Jesus said to His disciples, “Come, follow me”.
In the weeks ahead I hope to create a page on this website where we can come together in love to discuss our differences and learn from each other as we hear each others hearts.
It will be a place where we can be honest about what we think we understand, but at the same time are willing to hear from others who disagree with us.
It will be a place, not to win an argument, but a place to follow the leading of the Spirit.
Please invite people to come and join us here at Esther’s Legacy, people from different orthodox Christian backgrounds.
We need each other. The Gentile Christian needs the Messianic Jew and the Messianic Jew needs the Gentile Christian. Lest we forget, the different Gentile denominations need each other too.