Yesterday we considered 2 Corinthians 2:16, “But we have the mind of Christ,” and John 17:23 where the Lord prayed that we would be, “perfected in unity.” We then briefly discussed the three basic stages of personality development, which are: co-dependence, independence, and inter-dependence. Today I want to view this a little deeper, applying it practically to a major thrust that the church is about to go through. In Ephesians 4:11-16 we read how this is supposed to happen in the church.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 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 stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which 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.”
We see that the five ministries named here are given to equip the members of the body who are called to do the actual ministry. Therefore the primary job of an evangelist is not to just evangelize, but to impart a love for the lost to the whole body, and help all believers to be able to lead others to the Lord. The main job of a prophet is not just to hear from the Lord, but also to help all believers to know the Lord’s voice and be able to prophesy. The primary job of a teacher is not just to impart knowledge, but also to impart a love for the truth and the spiritual tools needed for all believers to be able to mine the truths of God’s Word. The primary task of a pastor is not just to lead people, but also to equip all believers to be able to help one another. The apostle is called to do all of these.
As we read in verse 13, this is to be done “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 stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.” Note that he does not say here until “some” attain, but “all.” We cannot get where we are supposed to go without each other. We are therefore compelled to love and help one another if even for selfish reasons. If we fully understood this we would look at the weakest Christians, or churches, as those that we must reach out to help. We cannot write off those who may have some wrong doctrines and practices. This does not mean that we have to accept their errors, but we must accept them, pray for them, seeking any way that we can be used to help them.
When there were only two brothers on the earth they could not get along, but one killed the other. Today almost all unity is based on the selfish need for one another. When that need is no longer there, division and fighting is usually inevitable. However, this need will never cease to be in the church. Selfishness is not the highest motive by any means, but it can at least help maintain enough unity until we mature in love and the higher motives. We must understand that whenever we hurt another member of the body of Christ, we are hurting ourselves as well. Whenever one member is hurt in any way we too are hurt, and we therefore must begin to protect and defend one another in the faith.
If we have the Holy Spirit then we have the One who is called “the Helper” (see John 14:26). If we are taking on His nature it should become our nature to help one another. Why not begin to pray for the denomination, church, or even individual Christians that we may have the most problems with? Why not ask the Lord to show us practical ways that we can begin to help them? As the Scripture affirms, what is accomplished if we only love those who are lovable to us? Let us try to grow in love by loving those that may not be as lovable to us, and then excel in love by loving and helping, those who have even offended us. Pursuing love in this way is the path to finding our true identity in Christ.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|