Waking with The Word | Ephesians 4:13-15
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (KJV)
Our verses today are telling us to what end God has given us the gift of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist and Pastors/Teachers, hence the first word of verse 13 "Till." Basically the job of one of God's ministers is never finished, we serve him till the point of death. Some of the most miserable people you might meet will the ones who God has called and their not fulfilling the calling or office God has place on them, Samson is a good example of that very thing.
Today though our verses speak of the maturing process of the believer, and apparently the Pastor or evangelist or other minister God has placed in your life has a great deal to do with the maturing process. It reads to me like the job of God's ministers is not done until we are all in the likeness of Christ. What a monumental task that is, one that would take my lifetime and the lifetime of many, many others and so it will be. The verses also give us a hint as to how this maturing process takes place and it has very much to do with what you believe: "Till we all come in the unity of THE FAITH" and what you know: "And unto the KNOWLEDGE of the Son of God." Sadly today Faith and knowledge get mistaken for one another, Faith being what you believe about a subject and knowledge being what you know about a subject. I'll remind you that these are definitely not them same because of what Peter said: 2 Peter 1:5-8
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These verses from second Peter also deal with the maturing process of the believer. Notice how faith is the first thing and then virtue and then knowledge. The point I want to make is this that you don't have to KNOW a lot to have faith, When I placed my faith in Christ I didn't know much at all. I've heard the testimony of men who read a gospel tract and from what little information that was there they believed and were saved. Grace is the power that saves a man and faith is the avenue whereby that power is delivered, "For by Grace are ye saved, through faith." A man or woman doesn't have to know much to believe and faith is the beginning of this Christian journey. Now this not to say that knowledge plays no part in the Christians life but it's primary purpose is in the maturing of a saint and not in the saving of a saint. No man has ever been saved by what he or she knows. The Bible doesn't say, even in one place, that we are saved by what we know. Salvation is not a mental assent to doctrines or bible verses, but is when you believe with all your heart, when I believed all I knew was that I was a sinner and Jesus had died to save me and the moment that very tiny bit of knowledge moved from the thoughts of my head to the belief of my heart I was saved.
Faith saves, Knowledge matures. What we believe and what we know will affect very much the growth of our Christian life. We ought to all come in the unity of faith, this happens by experience; and the knowledge of the Son of God, this comes by study. There are some who have faith but have never added virtue or knowledge or temperance or any other Christian virtue. The adding to of our faith is for this purpose "Unto a perfect man." Not meaning perfect in the sense of faultless but complete, that we might perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works. To be like Christ is the end goal and destiny of every Christian; "For we shall be like Him." That doesn't mean that we should wait until that day to become more like him and I even worry about a faith that doesn't prod you to be more like him. If we be in Christ we are a new creature! We ought to progressively become more like Christ. Abram is a wonderful example of this, His journey of faith started with that first step out of Ur and He had many failures along the way but chapter by chapter he is maturing, his faith is becoming more and more ardent and in chapter 22 He takes his only son up on the mountain to sacrifice him, believing so strongly in the promises of God the He believes that God will raise Isaac from the dead. What a picture of Calvary! In the beginning Abram was tossed about by famines and troubles but as he grew in his experience with God his faith grew and as He walked with the Lord He knew the promises God had made to Him concerning His seed. He grew in faith and knowledge unto a perfect man. At the beginning he doesn't remind us much of Christ but by the end He is one of the greatest OT shadows of God's redemptive plan for man. May that be the case for our lives, when we start this journey of faith, we may not know a lot or make all the right decisions, we falter we fail but chapter by chapter let us grow in the unity of faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Let us not remain babes in Christ for decades, let us not be so weak that every false doctrine shakes us, so weak that deceptive men carry away our assurance in the promises of God. This is where knowledge plays it's most vital role, in strengthening you to stand against deceptive men and there teachings. Oh how many have been carried away into the prosperity gospel, into the name it claim it gospel, into man centered teachings that exalt the prosperity of man and not the plan of God!! Read your bible! Study your Bible! Attend Sunday school! Attend Bible study! grow in the knowledge of the Lord or you stand the chance of being swept away by false teachers and apostles like the church of Galatia was. Children are fooled so easy, evil men will entice a child with a small piece of candy and that child because he or she doesn't know any better will trade there very life for a small piece of candy. Similar are these false teachers and so called prophets and gospel swindlers who teach people lies for their own personal gain. I'm reminded of Joshua chapter 9, The Gibeonites worked wilily and tricked the Israelites into making a covenant with them, they put on old clothes, old shoes, had old bread and wine and deceived Joshua and the Israelites with their false narrative. The whole thing could have been avoided had Joshua and Israel remembered the Word of God "Make no covenant with them." We to can avoid being swept away or tossed to and fro if we will simply grow in the knowledge of the Son of God.
The same as we should raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord we ought to minister to our bothers and sisters in Christ. "Speaking the truth in love." Children who are screamed at constantly and shown little affection are often time the ones who grow up to the biggest menaces' to society and baby Christians who are left to themselves at the infant stage or even worse abused by deceptive men and taught wrong doctrines are usually the biggest menaces' to the Church of God. Pastors, Evangelist, Ministers, let us speak the truth in love that our brothers and sisters may grow up into Him. Don't abuse the ones God has placed under your watch care, exercise some spiritual maturity and patience with the babes, Speak to the ones our age as brothers, to the elders as elders and speak the truth in love. Sadly many have forsaken speaking the truth in the name of love and others have forsaken love in the name of speaking the truth. Let this never be our case, may we preach the whole counsel of God, and if the truth wound someone let it be the faithful wounds of a brother. Let us mature and help other as well to do the same.
According to the riches of His Grace!!