In Ephesians 4:14-16 Paul expands on the truth from yesterday, we can trust God’s Word to grow and mature us so we can be fully and completely equipped to live for Him. But what do we do if new ideas come along that seem to contradict what we know about God? We are reminded in James to look out for doctrines that would sway us away from the truth of the gospel and lead us astray. James compares our vacillating on truth to the effect of the wind, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 Likewise, Paul concludes in Ephesians 4:14-16 that being grounded and rooted in God’s Word will keep us stable and lead us to lives that contribute to the body of believers.
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
If we desire to move towards maturity in Christ, we need to be grounded in the truth of the gospel, knowledgeable about what scripture teaches for righteous living and willing to stand firm on God’s Word of truth. Paul says that this grounding in truth will lead to fuller, richer lives that will build up the body of believers and help the whole body of Christ (the church) be stronger. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can mature into Christians that support and love one another.
What are you doing to grow in maturity? Do you attend church regularly and mediate on what your pastor is preaching on? Are you in a Bible Study group at your church or elsewhere? Growing and maturing in Christ does not happen by chance but requires attention to the Word and study. Be growing in Christ and open to the Holy Spirit’s leading when He presents you with an opportunity for growth.
Here are two International Bible Study organizations that have classes throughout the world. Check them out and see if they are near you. Right now all classes are on-line due to the virus, but they are still going strong as our God is unstoppable.
Bible Study Fellowship– http://www.bsf.org
Community Bible Study– http://www.cbs.org
When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled the plan of salvation and provided a way for us to be reconciled to the Father. After His return to heaven, He promised a helper would come to empower us to take His message of salvation, forgiveness and love to all the world. In Ephesians 4:11-13 Paul explains some of the resources the Holy Spirit gives to believers (His church) so that we might live fully equipped lives for Christ. “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” Not all believers are called to be pastors or teachers but all of us are called to be recipients of good godly teaching so that we may be equipped to do God’s work. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can trust God’s Word to grow and mature us so we can be fully and completely equipped to live for Him.
Where are you getting your good godly teaching? Is that teaching based on the Word of God or is it more a social, feel good type of message? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 promises God’s Word is complete and sufficient for our training in right living. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Ask God to guide you to a place of worship that stands on the Word of God and gives it out regularly. You will be blessed.
P.S Due to the Corona Virus, this Sunday, March 22, 2020, my place of worship will be live streaming the service. Tune in to YouTube: wearecrossroads at 10:15, the service begins at 10:30 AM PST If you miss it live, that’s okay- it is still there for your viewing or reviewing thanks to YouTube.
The next section of Ephesians Chapter 3, verses 14-21, is a prayer Paul wrote to them. Today we are focusing on verses 14-19 and I have chosen the New Living Translation for ease in understanding. His prayer is an excellent model of what to pray for fellow believers. As you read, listen for Paul’s heartfelt desires for them and their relationship with God.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources with he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Paul makes it clear from the beginning that he is praying to the living God who created heaven and earth, remember they were surrounded by a very pagan society that worshiped man made idols. Paul knows God is omnipotent and the source of a believer’s strength. He wants them to grow and develop in faith. He wants them to realize who God is and the power of His love for them. Paul feels if they come to know the God of all power and love, they will have lives that are filled and transformed. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we have the privilege and obligation to intercede on behalf of other believers.
What about you? What do you pray for your fellow believers? Do you pray for their growth and knowledge of God, and that they will experience the fullness of His love? If you’ve never prayed like that- give it a try. Choose a friend and pray for their growth in faith, their knowledge of God to increase as they study His Word, their prayer life to expand, that they would experience and understand the depth of God’s love for them….. God desires that we lift one another up in prayer. James 5:16b ” The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Seek to be a clean vessel through your own confession of sins, then pray earnestly on behalf of other believers. Remember Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”
The names that Jesus calls himself are truly rooted in scripture, prophesies from the Old Testament. Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Jesus calls himself the root and descendant of David. We can look at Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 and see that Jesus is descended from David. Luke 3 shows Jesus line going back to David and then onward to Abraham. Isaiah mentions the coming Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-2. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Jesse was David’s father, thus the stump of Jesse. Isaiah’s description of Jesus as one filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
Jesus also referred to himself as the bright and morning star. I love this image of the star seen just before sunrise, a bright one that gives hope as we transition from night to day. Numbers 24:17 was part of a prophesy given by Baalem and refers to the coming of a future ‘star’ in Israel. “I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel.
It will crush the heads of Moab’s people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.” Knowing that Jesus can also trace his lineage back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and a scepter is a used by a king when ruling, Jesus confirms that it refers to him as He takes the name bright and morning star.
So what difference does all this make to you and me? Jesus’ was the fulfillment of prophesies from ancient times, He was descended from King David and even Abraham, He was the bright hope for redemption, the coming of day and light to the Jews and all people of the earth. Are you rooted and grounded in Jesus? Is He the stabilizing figure in your life giving you hope and a future? Do you allow Jesus to shine in your life, and be your star? Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Having Christ as our root establishes us in faith and allows us to walk with Him in confidence, full of life. Peter gives us another image of Jesus as a star that rises in our hearts as we trust in Him. “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 2 Peter 1:19
Let the Lord Jesus rise in your heart today. Walk with Him hour by hour and let His light shine through you to a dark and hurting world.