“…to prepare God’s people for works of service, 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” (Ephesians 4:12,13).
In prescribing the remedy for health in a local church body, Paul provides a timeless equation:1 process + 1 purpose = 3 results.
According to the Apostle, it works like this:
1 PROCESS: “to prepare God’s people for works of service”
Paul uses a unique term for “prepare” (“equipping” in the NKJV) used of fishermen attending to daily maintenance on their nets. He suggests constant attention and repairing not only in relationships, but in encouraging Christ-followers to use their God-given spiritual gifts for ministry.
When this happens, the New Testament local church will be “manufacturing” disciples ready and available for service to others.
+1 PURPOSE: “so that the body of Christ may be built up”
Here in providing the reason, Paul uses an architectural term that speaks to structural strength and stability of the Body, providing the ability to confidently withstand inevitable storms.
=3 RESULTS:“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 a local church faithfully obeys the Word of God, understanding the authority of Christ the Head, and His purpose for His church, the results are predictable:
1)united in belief of essential doctrine and in relationships;
2)having a clear, biblical, experiential knowledge of God’s Son in our lives; and
3)progressively, relentlessly demonstrating spiritual maturity, evidencing the character of Christ.
Takeaway: the New Testament assumes that every believer is a contributing member of a local church. If I were suddenly removed, would my local church be poorer for my absence?