Ephesians 4:11-17 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” NKJV
I suggest that you read the first ten verses of this Chapter before launching very deeply into this consideration. I’m not sure what many think of when they hear the word “church” or “ministry.” Additionally, I am concerned after years of discussion with preachers and parishioners about what I perceive as “A” if not “THE” Problem in the Church today.
The more I study the Bible the more I am convinced that God’s plan and purpose were for us to have and be a “Covenant Community.” It is not a simple issue but one that I believe is very complex but a complete understanding is not only possible but probably if we open-heartedly study the New Testament Church and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps in discovery.
I am not trying to be prophetic in what I’m going to say, I’ve had some tell me that it is, so you decide. I have little interest in titles or accolades only truth and reaching the objective God has placed before us. It is my conviction that these are times for “reevaluation” and “reexamination” of what we believe and why we do what we do as the Body of Christ. I hope that in so doing we will discover the truth and be able to implement God’s plan for the Church and become His Covenant Community in our communities.
I am convinced that unless and until the local expression of the Church becomes a “Covenant Family”, it can never become a “Covenant Community” and impact its spiritual environment. In that light, until and unless we become a Covenant Family that grows into a Covenant Community we will never fulfill the desire of God to become the Church that Jesus came to build. An organism which operates in His power and love transforming entire communities with the Gospel of Christ.
If you follow what I am advancing you will understand that I believe the Bible teaches that for us to be the Church Triumphant we must become the Church of Covenant and Commitment. Before someone misunderstand let me emphatically declare, “Jesus WILL have a church in this present world that WILL pull down strongholds.” The only question is not if it will be but will we be a part of it?
If we are going to become what God has designed and desired us to be in our present world, I am convinced there must be some major changes. Changes in our understanding of what the Church really is. Changes in our individual involvement in that functioning organism, THE BODY OF CHRIST. It seems that we have misunderstood the role of the “master craftsmen” whose assignment is to place the “living stones” into their particular and proper place according to the architect’s plans. Who is the architect? The Lord Jesus Christ!
Most churches, local, do not have a “clear vision” of their purpose and as a result, often have people pulling in different directions pursuing their individual visions rather than inserting their vision into the Vision of the Whole. If we are to become a “Covenant Family” which grows into a “Covenant Community” there must be COMMITMENT not only to God but to the purpose of the Family and Community spiritual. It can never be a casual association but one deeply rooted in commitment. Do we have that in most local congregations? You tell me.
Much of the church, including me, believe that we are living in the Last Days. Unfortunately many of those focus on the negative of those times rather than seeing the positive. The Bible does speak of a time when men’s hearts would fail them for fear of what they saw coming on the earth. We know that the Bible speaks of the love of many growing cold and even falling away. YET, that same Bible speaks of a Great Harvest and Ingathering of souls into the kingdom! [Examine Matthew 13:17-20; 29.]
I have long contended that a successful church is not identified simply numerically but has other definitive signs of success. We are told in Vv. 13-16 of our text that the Church Jesus is building will come to FULL STATURE in Christ. In Ephesians 5:25-27, we discover a church that is without SPOT or WRINKLE and in Romans 16:20 we read that the Church is a SHARP THRESHING INSTRUMENT which moves mightily against the forces of darkness. I don’t know about you but that excites me!
There is so much I wish to say or convey but must use restraint in a daily devotional, so I will pause here and wait until next time to take another step into the discovery of God’s Covenant Community and the Local Church.
God bless you richly is my prayer and desire!