Ephesians 4: 7-16
"… Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ…"
Key point: We prepare God's people! The purpose of any worker in the church is to build up the people for service, whether it is a nursery worker or a bishop, a pastor, or elder. We serve Christ. By doing this, we build up His church. If we serve with a preoccupation on 'self' e.g. "It is all about me, my position, my name, my legacy, my veneration", we miss the entirety of Who and why we are to lead and manage a church.
What we exemplify and teach is that each of us has been given an incredible gift beyond measure! This gift is grace which we do not deserve. This is a gift from the person and work of Jesus Christ, Who ascended from this earth and death to give us life. To continue the ministry of the Church, Christ gave us people to administer its communal life and work. He gave us advocates and speakers of His Word and people to give voice to it outside of its walls. He gives us people to shepherd, to teach, and to equip so we all can be inspired and trained to carry on the service and the building up of the Church. We are to carry these works out together in unity and in faith.
What we exemplify and teach is emotional maturity! Our maturity in His fullness for His glory will build up the Church, even grow. We are not to be immature--whining and selfish, succumbing to any whim and desire. We are not to be fools who fall for false teaching, being early deceived and scheming and deceiving others. We are called to be a mature people of real faith and love, knowing God's true Truth and always treating one another in such love. It is Christ who is the Church, and we are His body joined together. He is our head, overall, and what we are doing is hinges on Him and is supported by Him for Him. We need one another, or we will not work right.
What we exemplify and teach is spiritual maturity! This is not merely knowledge or intellectual superiority. Maturity is more about understanding and applying the precepts of our Lord, so that one's life is changed. Only when this maturity occurs can one have sound judgment and discernment. A mature person can handle life, setbacks, triumphs, and give Christ glory. This is predicated by a trust that goes deep within us and produces people who are not shallow but convicted and transformed. Knowledge, without the love of God in and through us, only makes one a more shrewd villain than a real Christian and no knowledge and only passion makes one a fool (2 Sam. 14:17; 1 Kings 3:9; Ezek. 44:23; Matt. 19:21; John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil 1:6-11; 3:1-14; Col. 1:28; 4:12; Heb. 5:14).
What we exemplify and teach from is our maturity! Real ministry exists solely by God's grace; and, so must we! People, Christians, and ministry all exist because of Christ's work of grace. Never forget who you are! We must never allow our leadership positions to "puff us up!"
We need to realize who we are in Christ, what He did so our lives. We are marked as His; we must know the impact of this so that we become His hands and feet to the world around us. Let us not be consumed by pettiness and pride; rather, let us have humility and character, kindness and encouragement, authenticity and confidence. Because we have received His boundless riches, our accomplishment is who He is in us, not who we are in the world. For this to take place in our daily lives, we need to refocus our purpose to His, our thoughts to Him, our actions to his example. Christ does not give us disposition and character; we develop these with His empowerment and fruit. We just allow our trust in Him to fuel our conviction, and we follow Christ to make it so.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/