Waking with The Word | Ephesians 4:16
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (KJV)
Verse 16 is the culmination of the same thought that Paul has been carrying from verse 1 of this chapter and follows the theme of the second part of the book of Ephesians, our walk. The first 16verses of chapter 4 have very much to do with how we are to walk with one another. He reminds us that we all share common graces and gifts and differing graces and gifts. The whole theme of these 16 verses has been to "Keep the unity of The Spirit in the bond of peace." This is so vital that before Paul moves to the subject of walking before ungodly men, we first must learn how to walk with Godly men. How do we expect to walk as Christians before wicked men if we cannot walk as Christians with our brothers and sisters. How can we be a example in the world if we cannot even be a example in the church. This issue is beautifully brought to a conclusion in verse 16.
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
"From whom" is referring to Christ and here again the church is being referred to as a body with Christ as the head. This is a recurring illustration Paul uses. As we said yesterday maturity plays a big role in our walking with our brothers and sisters in unity and peace. If a man or woman is immature they will let the smallest squabble separate them from fellowshipping with their brothers and sisters. How often have we seen this? A man or woman become upset at the pastor or some member of their local assembly and instead of endeavoring to keep the unity of The Spirit in the bond of peace, they do the opposite.
There are two things we want to draw out and focus on from our phrase above.
1. "The whole body fitly joined together"
We want to think in the same line of thinking that the apostle was when he penned these words down under the influence of the Holy Ghost. It is apparent he is thinking of the functioning of a body and likening it to the functioning of The Church. Now our bodies are held together by many different things but the thing that keeps us from being a watery sack of meat is the skeleton that God has given to us. Without the skeleton we couldn't stand, we couldn't do anything. So God gives us this very rigid structure that strengthens us to stand and walk and run. Bones don't bend they break and they are not forgiving, and so it has to be, for our wellbeing. Imagine trying to run a race with brittle bones, our fighting in a war. When a persons bones become brittle they cannot stand even the smallest fall. So it is important to have a strong rigid structure to enable us to run the race, fight in the war or withstand trips and spills. Christ has given us structure in the word of God. Their are doctrines that are rigid and unforgiving. If you bend them you will break them. So are some of the people he has put in His body. How can we ever move about or walk with men who are so different than us? God has made all of us so different and how can two walk together except they be agreed? Some people have decided that what we should do is throw away our structure and quit being so rigid. This, I can assure you, is not the answer. Imagine how out of sorts a body would be if we removed the bones. The places where scripture is rigid and unforgiving, then the church ought to treat it as the structure that keeps us from falling apart. Don't throw away rigid teachings or rigid brethren, rather lean on the strength they provide and let them be the bone God has made them. Rigid brothers want to throw away the softer more forgiving brothers because they aren't as rigid as they are. Thank God our whole body isn't one solid bone, what stiff outfit that would be and thank God the whole body isn't flesh, what loose outfit that would be! So how can differing people walk in unity? That question brings us to our next phrase.
2."By that which every joint supplieth"
The word joint here means ligament, what connects two very rigid bones. I'll point you back to verse 4 that speaks of the "The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" the word bond also meaning ligament. How useless would our skeletons be without joints? If we had no joint at the hip then we couldn't take a step. If we had no joints in our toes, when a strong wind came it would blow us right over because we wouldn't be able to balance. The joints in our fingers allows us to work, hold our children and take our daily bread. The joints of the shoulders and elbows allow us to embrace our loved ones with a hug. How difficult life would be if we had no joints to connect all the rigid structure God had given us. If you tear one of these joints you will know it because until it heals that joint will be out of place and what was once useful becomes useless until the ligaments heal and usefulness is restored. Now moving to the Body of Christ, God wants us to walk in unity, yes He has giving rigid beliefs and structure that needs not to be bent but along with that structure He has given us the Spirit of God to join us to our brothers and sisters and to help us to move in unison. It reminds me very much of what Paul said in verse 15 "Speaking the truth in Love." Truth is much like bone, if you bend it, you break it. Love is much like the joints that join our bones together, It is forgiving, it's flexible it endures all things. Dear brothers and sisters, we must have both bones and joints, structure and flexibility, Truth and Love. Don't bend the bones and don't tear the joints. If you do either you will not be walking for some time. If we plan to walk this Christian walk we will have to have both rigid, structural truth and flexible, enduring Love. Then and only then can we run the race that is set before us.
According to the riches of His Grace!!