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Building up the Body of Christ

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Fight for relationships with one another.

Notes & Transcripts

Intro

Hair Gel (smurf gel) my hari this morning.
Sometimes I wonder if the frequency and seriousness of many problems that Christians face is not owing to the fact that most Christians in America do not experience relational, interpersonal, supernatural church life the way the New Testaments describes it. Psychological problems, marriage problems, parenting problems, self-identity problems, financial problems, career problems, loneliness, addictions, phobias, weaknesses—I wonder if the epidemic of emotional and psychological woes is not the symptom of a flaw in the way most Christians experience corporate church life.
We are not in this alone, and many in the church feel as though they are, but i will make clear that this is not a pastor, or elder problem, but it is a church problem that many need to repent of.
Notice the language of this letter to the Ephesian Church.
Ephesians 4:1–16 ESV
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
What did we just read? It is the responsibility that we all have together to build one another up in love, not just the pastor, not just the elders, or ministry leaders, of course we need to demonstrate it, but it is a COMMAND put on the whole church!
My goal this morning is to convince us all of the great need to have us all truly fighting for deep relationships with one another.

The Source of Church Growth. (vs. 15)

Jesus

The ultimate source of church growth is not a booming youth program, an awesome worship band (which I am thankful for all of our gifted worship teams.), it’s not in programs, if we are going to grow as a church, then everything is going to have to be based on Christ.
First, the verse begins with the words, " . . . from whom." The growth and building up of the body is "from somebody." Whom does "whom" refer to? The answer is the last word in verse 15: " . . . who is the head, even Christ . . . from whom . . . "
So the first and most important thing to say about how church life happens as the church is built up is that it happens "from Christ." It is supernatural, Christ lived once, died for our sins, rose again, ascended into heaven. He reigns there today and, as he promised, he is building his church. He is not passive and distant. He is a living, dynamic, active head of the body. He is supplier and guide by his Spirit. But will we receive his supply? Will we expect it and channel it to each other? That's the first thing to see: Christ is the living source of church life and growth.

How does Church growth look?

The Calling on the Whole Church (vs. 16)

First, the verse begins with the words, " . . . from whom." The growth and building up of the body is "from somebody." Whom does "whom" refer to? The answer is the last word in verse 15: " . . . who is the head, even Christ . . . from whom . . . " So the first and most important thing to say about how interpersonal church life happens as the church is built up is that it happens "from Christ." That is, it is supernatural. Christ lived once, died for our sins, rose again, ascended into heaven. He reigns there today and, as he promised, he is building his church. He is not passive and distant. He is a living, dynamic, active head of the body. He is supplier and guide by his Spirit. But will we receive his supply? Will we expect it and channel it to each other? That's the first thing to see: Christ is the living source of church life and growth.
This is where fighting for one another comes into action. With Christ as the source of our growth as a church, this comes into action through the Holy Spirit’s guiding and shows itself in the whole church building one another up!
A key word here that I want to point out is “whole” the whole body, working together and properly, causes growth in the body to happen, building itself up in love.
Look at verse 1 and 2 with me.
Ephesians 4:1–2 ESV
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
It is with a heart that loves one another, being patient with one another, not willing to give up on each other easily, being gentle but not harsh with one another, being humble ourselves, we cannot minister to one another in our own pride. It is being committed to one another in a sacrificial love.
There are millions of people in America who “attend” church, but are not committed members of that church. They want to live with the Church, but don’t want to marry her. They want the benefits of the church like hearing the Word preached, being able to join in worship with other believers, and having pastors who will counsel them and visit them. However, they don’t want the responsibilities of being a member of a church, like serving in the church, giving financially to the mission of the church, using their spiritual gifts to benefit the church, and submitting to leaders of the church when it is not convenient to do so. To be committed to a local church will require sacrifice, time, and energy, many times when you don’t feel like it, and might rather be doing something else. being non-commital is not what God has for us, in being a faith family with one another. Listen to the “one anothers” that we read in scripture that we see in how our conduct should be to fellow believers. In the New Testament letters, there are dozens of “one anothers” commanded of Christians.
“be devoted to one another” “give preference to one another” “be of the same mind toward one another” “love one another” “build up one another” “accept one another” “admonish one another” “greet one another” “have the same care for one another” “serve one another” “show tolerance for one another” “be kind to one another” “be subject to one another” “regard one another as more important than yourselves” “bear with one another” “forgive one another” “comfort one another” “encourage one another” “live in peace with one another” “seek after that which is good for one another” “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” “confess your sins to one another” “pray for one another” “be hospital to one another without complaint” “employ your spiritual gift for one another” “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another”
These verses show us a picture of commitment that we should have to God’s people in the church. the bottom line is that God wants us to live out our Christian lives with one another as Family.
Look at verse 7:
Ephesians 4:7 ESV
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Ephesians 4:7–8 ESV
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, he led captive a hose of captives, and he gave gifts to men.
Notice: "To EACH one of us grace was given." And then in verse 8 that grace is expressed in terms of gifts: "Therefore, it says . . . he gave gifts to men."
To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, he led captive a hose of captives, and he gave gifts to men.
Notice: "To EACH one of us grace was given." And then in verse 8 that grace is expressed in terms of gifts: "Therefore, it says . . . he gave gifts to men."
So what verse 16 means when it says that "the whole body causes the growth of the body" when "each individual part is working properly," it means that all the members have gifts, and all of those gifts are to be used in building up the body "in love." And this is how Christ, the all-supplying, supernatural Head of the body, builds and cares for his church.

Where change needs to happen

Change needs to happen in our hearts. This can be in a few different ways:
1.) In having a heart for one another.
Some in the church need to develop a heart for one another. Some people who are in this category have been hurt in the past in the church, and it is easier to keep closed off and not develop relationships with one another because they don’t want to be hurt again.
I have experienced this myself, and I have, in the past, let it poison my life in a way where it really had me in a bad place for a season of my life. This is where forgiveness has to happen, trust me, forgiving and letting go is better for you, your family, and your faith family, coming from experience, it is not worth holding on to.
2.) Schedules
Some of us have filled our schedules up so much that we simply do not have time to be there for one another. I understand, in our society today, it is easy to get busy, and busy quick. Schedules fill up so quick between work, sports, school, and every other thing that could possibly fill up our day to day.
But, we cannot fill up our schedules so much that we absolutely have no time whatsoever for the church. Now i’m not talking about making sure to attend every service (although this is important and trust me i want you here),
but being the church is much more than just leaving the church building and being a good christian in your day to day. But being the church is about demonstrating a sacrificial love for one another.
Do not be so busy that you cannot demonstrate this sacrificial love for one another. Praise God that Jesus was not too busy to demonstrate His sacrificial love for us.
Ephesians 4:16 ESV
from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
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