Nov. 22, 1999

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Eph. 4: 14-16

The ultimate purpose of ministry and ministries, is to bring the body of Christ unto maturity—unto the "fullness" of the "whole" measure of Christ. For those of us who are called as: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, our responsibility actually, is to prepare God’s people for works of service; to train them to do the work of the ministry, and to "equip" them for this charge.

Looking further at this portion of scripture, Eph. 4:12—to prepare God’s people for works of service, but also, and here is the clincher: "so that the body of Christ may be built up "UNTIL WE ALL REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD AND BECOME MATURE, ATTAINING TO THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST."

When we can "begin" to even get to this point, I mean, the beginning of the point of reaching unity in the faith, then we will have come closer to attaining to this "fullness" of the measure of the stature of Christ. This then, indeed, will be maturity, for it will encompass our fellow brothers and sisters in this magnificent goal, and they, along with us, will be "sharing" in this "fullness" and "measure" of Christ. But, how do we get to this point? How do we attain this unity of the faith? Is this truly something that we as the body of Christ can attain before He comes for His bride? I really wonder sometimes, and yet, I see "glimpses" of it as we come together for Him during various prayer meetings, conferences, and the like.

We cannot begin to comprehend this measure of Christ until we see what our brother or sister shares with us in His body. This then cannot happen until we can see their gift, their part of the body, and our need for them to somehow, "complete" us in Him. A husband or a wife is "incomplete" until they find that somehow the joining together with their mate, that this then "completes" them in Christ. And that is not to say that they are "incomplete" as an emotional, intellectual, or spiritual being, but that their life is certainly in the process of becoming "one" in Him through this union of a husband and a wife.

"….For we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church." Eph. 5:30-31

If then, we are all members of His body, and somehow, "joined together" in Him through this body, then we do need each other, and without the hand, the eye, the arm, or the leg, then we are "incomplete" in Him. We certainly as a "natural body" cannot function very well if we are missing some of our members.

"…So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Eph. 3:17-19

Here again, we see the same truth: "that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Here we see the same thing that is stated in Eph. 4:13—"and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Without our fellowship, and our "togetherness" with the saints, then we cannot know how wide and long and high and deep is this love of Christ. Our understanding then of Him, becomes limited, and we have "tunnel vision." Our view of Christ, then, is not as large as it could be if we had not been rooted and established in love with others who also know Him. And by "togetherness," I do not mean merely sitting together in the same pew on a Sunday morning, but sharing in this "togetherness" of the Spirit. Perhaps we are even separated by hundreds of miles, but there can still be a "togetherness" we share as we partake of the body and blood of Christ together.

In order for us to come unto maturity, we also need to be weaned from "drinking milk." Spiritual milk is for babes in Christ, and if we are ever to attain to this "fullness" of the measure of Christ, then we need to go on to the "strong meat of God’s word."

"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb. 6:11-14

We need to come to the place where we truly can distinguish between good and evil, and can "discern" when error is in the body of Christ, whether it is in the form of a teaching, a prophecy, or something which is said from the pulpit. We then need a steady diet of "strong meat." We need to "devour" the word of God as it gives sustenance to our bones, and then strengthens us in the "inner man." We need to go beyond the elementary doctrines and truths of God’s word; "not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so." Heb. 6:1-3

Then we can go on to maturity.


Stephen Hanson