“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the statue which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13)
What is the purpose of leaders and the gifts? They are for the body of Christ. The focus is not on individual Christians in Ephesus but on the entire church of Christ. Not just the priests, but the priesthood. Not the brothers, but the brotherhood. Each block built upon another and each block in its place. Try to make a picture in your mind of a wall with bricks sticking every which way. Not only would such a wall look odd but we would question its structural integrity.
The immature squabble and demand their own way. The immature are more interested in what they want that what the church needs. Immaturity breeds strife and causes friction. Immaturity keeps us from reaching our full potential as a body.
Notice the two things that matter in this regard. First is unity of faith. We all must believe in the same Lord. That means believing in the same goals that that Lord wants for his body. Paul talked about the oneness earlier in the vers. Those ones lead us to unity. We agree on the oneness of Christ and his church thus we can agree on the church’s role in the world.
Second, is the knowledge of the Son of God. A lot of disunity comes from a lack of knowledge. Churches may not function well because of our ignorance of what the Bible teaches. Saints rely on preachers, Bible teachers and other significant people for their knowledge. Immature Christians spend large blocks of their time learning secular information but precious little time learning Christ. Sunday schools and Wednesday night classes used to be full. People have too many other activities to make those study hours.
Perhaps the pulpits share some of the blame. Proclaimers of the word often have agendas that promote some issue or topic, some program or involvement. Paul said he wanted to “know Christ and him crucified.” It should be every Christian’s goal. Not only daily Bible reading but daily bible study. Correspondence courses, computer bible classes and well-written books on the text of the Bible are available to everyone today.
It is more important to know Christ and him crucified than any other subject in the world. We must move past the baby Jesus to the full-grown mature Messiah of God. We must know him who came and died for us. What did he do and what did he teach is the most important subjects on planet earth today and perhaps the least studied. If we gain the knowledge of the whole world and know not Jesus what will it profit us beyond this pale of tears?
Task for today: Take a maturity test. Think about your own level of participation in the work of the body. How much about the Holy Book do you really know? How keen are you on keeping the oneness of the church? Are you a mature Christian? If not, what do you need to work on?