The Master's Instructions about Christian's together. (Ephesians 4:1-32).
Just as a baby should grow into maturity, and God ordained the child should have a mother, father and family to care for it, so the born-again believer is given a local family of Christians to care for him or her and contribute towards his growth.
Luke 8:14 warns that not all seed will mature.
1st Peter 2:2 says the spiritual babe should grow up.
Hebrews 5:11 – 6:3 speaks of infancy and maturity. There are various signs of life both for a baby and for a baby
Christian. He will have a good appetite, showing general healthiness. He will make glaring, yet genuine mistakes as he knows no better! Over a
period he will show evidence of growth.
The Bible word for ‘maturity’ means ‘having reached its end; being
The church is given to help the believer grow. Both the leadership and
the membership do this. Every incident of life, every potential problem,
every meeting, every word spoken, every casual contact helps in the
The Bible says we should give and receive:
service (John 13:14-15),
possessions (Acts 2:44-45),
sober judgement (Romans 14:13),
spiritual acceptance (Romans 15:7),
competent instruction (Romans 15:14),
comfort in trouble (2 Corinthians 1:3-4),
halving of burdens (Galatians 6:1-2),
honour (Ephesians 5:21),
forgiveness (Colossians 3:13),
admonition (Colossians 3:16),
exhortation and encouragement (Hebrews 10:24-25),
and pardon and prayer (James 5:16).
This means that you have something to give to your church and your church has something to give to you.
In Ephesians 4:11-16 we can see that not all members of the local church
have to be the same or to do the same things. Some will do one thing and
some will do another, but all will do ‘works of service’ (v.12). This verse
could almost be translated ‘to prepare God’s people to serve God’s people’.
God does give special gifts to His church through some people. They are
not special people. Apostles are those sent forth by God, frequently as
pioneers in evangelism and church planting, whose ministries are
sometimes marked by signs and miracles. Quite a number are named in
the Bible (Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:26; 14:14; Romans 16:7; 1 Corinthians 9:1-
2; 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12). The New Testament contains the writing
of some of the original apostles. Today’s apostolic witness will not
Prophets speak out the word of God. At different times they receive
guidance for the church, they predict the future, they speak
encouragement, they edify believers, they speak to men from God
(Acts 11:27-28; 13:1-3; 15:32; 21:9; 10-11; 1 Corinthians 14:3-5; 1 Timothy
1:18; 4:14; 2 Peter 1:21). There are various tests we can apply to
authenticate true Christian prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:29-33). Both the
Scripture and the Holy Spirit within us should witness to the truth of any
prophecy. God will not contradict Himself.
Evangelists are messengers of good news and preachers of the gospel of
Jesus Christ. Only Philip is named as an evangelist in the Scripture
(Acts 8:4-8; 26-40). Timothy was told to do the work of an evangelist
(2 Timothy 4:5). A true evangelist will never depart from his central
message of the cross of Christ. He will be where the people are, taking
them to the cross by the shortest possible route.
Pastors and teachers are shepherds and instructors. They tend the
flock, feed the flock and guide the flock. They are skilled in
communicating truth and applying it to situations. Similarly, elders are
those who have mature spiritual experience and understanding. They are
able with others to watch over the people in the church (Acts 20:17-38;
1 Timothy; 2 Timothy; Titus). A pastor is not a one-man show. The New
Testament always speaks of a plurality of local leadership. The
requirements for such a responsible role are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and
While recognising these special gifts, always remember that God wants
you to give to the church as well as receive from it.
Discussion guide for ‘Brought up in the family of God’
Bible reading Ephesians 4:1-32.
1. How did your church look after you when you first made a
commitment to follow Jesus Christ? Was it a helpful or a not very
2. Can you think of anything that would have made the experience
better for you? (Then you can make sure other people get a good
3. When you are first “born again” it is reasonable to say, “You are a
baby Christian”. What does a human baby need to grow strongly
into mature adulthood?
4. Can these ideas be paralleled into the growth of a Christian? See
1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 4:14; Philippians 3:15; Hebrews 5:14.
5. In the human family different people have different roles. The
same is true in the church. One role is not more important than
another – the roles are simply different ways to serve God and the
people. Share the different roles people have in your church.
6. Explain ways you are able to give and to serve in your church. What
would help you do more? Do you feel you are in the right role?
7. Reading 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 it becomes obvious that every
role is important to the church. Comment on 12:7; 12:11; 12:26-27;
13:4-7; 14:18-19; 14:33; 14:40. What should the overall character
of a church gathering be?
8. What does 1 Timothy 5:17-18 teach about a particular
responsibility of church members?