from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.Ephesians 4:16(NASB)
Paul lays out a clear picture of the make-up and function of the Body of Christ in his epistle to the Ephesians. He discusses the unity of the saints and the importance of thinking of others as better than ourselves. We are to speak the truth in love and hold fast to the Word of God.
Paul talks about the great diversity within the Body of Christ and the spiritual gifts and graces that each believer receives... according to the measure of faith that God has dealt to each one of us. He outlines a most beautiful description of unity within the Church, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
The harmony to which we are all called, should be manifested through a variety of spiritual gifts that are bestowed on each of God's children who are grounded in Scripture. Gifts of leadership are given to pastors, teachers, prophets, and evangelists, so that the saints are built up in the faith until we all live in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God - until we all come to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Spiritual gifts and graces are given to equip the saints to carry out the good work that God has prepared for each of His children.
It is through sound teaching and godly living that our faith is stabilised so that we are enabled to grow in grace and mature in the faith. It is as we stand firm on the foundational teachings within the Word of God, that we are no longer tossed about by the winds of different doctrines or disturbed by circumstances of life.
Paul explains that the purpose of God's gifts and graces is for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are not for self-edification, but for the edification of the whole Body of believers. They are to equip one another for the ministry or service to which each has been called. Gifts and graces are given so that all believers may become doctrinally sound and practically equipped for the work that God has prepared for each one to do.
Some members of the Body of Christ are equipped for evangelism or teaching. Others may be graced with the gift of giving or helping. ALL however, are part of the whole. All gifts and graces should be used to help us grow together in the unity of the Body and to build one another up in the faith. All we do should be done to the glory of God. ALL members of the Body are equally beloved of the Lord and all are accepted in the Beloved... by grace through faith in Christ's finished work at Calvary.
ALL are called to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and all are called to speak the truth of the glorious gospel of grace in love to one another. All are to grow up into Christ, Who is the Head of the Body of which we are all members.
Whether the service we do for the Lord is open and visible to others, or whether we work quietly behind the scenes, Christ is the Head of the Body and we are all members together. He is the One Who equips us for service and fits us together as He chooses, in order to fulfil His plans and purposes in His perfect way.
He is the one Who supports and supplies all we need for the proper working of His Body. He is the Vine and we are individual branches. He is the Shepherd and we are His sheep. He is the Life within and the Truth we are to speak - and it is He Who causes each member of His Body to grow in grace and build itself up in love and respect for one another.
Let us be thankful for our great salvation, and may we be willing to fulfil our own unique role in Christ's Body - in the place where He has planted us. And let us look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, and for love of the Church, endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high... until that wonderful day when He will come in the clouds of glory to take us to be with Himself forever - praise His holy name.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am part of Christ's Body and thank You that we are united together in Him. Thank You for the unity we have in Christ and for the diversity of people that have been saved by grace through faith in Christ. Thank You that we are all one in Him and are being fitted and held together, as we live and work according to Your plans and purposes. May we live, and work, and grow together in Him, and help to build each other up in the unity of the faith. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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