Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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:
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.
In verse 13 we see that God has a purpose in giving the gifts to men. Those chosen by Him to instruct the saints need to be consistent and they need to be longsuffering. The Bible tells us that the apostles and prophets were holy men of God. Evangelists, pastors and teachers need to be holy men as well. None are without sin, but all need to be humble servants of God.
The Word of God covers a time frame of a several thousand years, and in that time, God continually laid out the promise of the Messiah and the coming of the Messiah and the importance of the Messiah. In Philippians 3 the apostle Paul stated that he had not apprehended all that God had designed for him. He was still pressing toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. He was saved but not complete yet.
The goal that God has in mind is that the saints come in the unity of the faith. This faith is built upon the knowledge of the Son of God. This knowledge is much more than just head knowledge. This knowledge has to do with heart knowledge. There are far more false teachers than there are true teachers. Often times the false teachers seem to have more glitzy material than those who are teaching the truth.
I remember as a boy at home, my father would subscribe to the Plain Truth. I knew nothing of Herbert W. Armstrong and it seems my father did not know much about him either. His magazine was a very glossy publication and he had many pictures and he talked of many things. His theology was completely wrong. He led many people astray. He himself was a lost man. He could talk about Jesus, however he lacked the basic understanding of Who Jesus Christ is. Thankfully, my father eventually stopped getting his publications. One thing I discovered as I grew older is that the church we attended as a family did not dig very deeply into God’s Word and did not build upon the foundation given to us in verse 11. That church has drifted so far from the truth that it is impossible to receive any truth there today. Rather than coming to a unity around the knowledge of the Son of God, they have come to a unity of worldliness. Biblical discernment is completely missing.
God directed Paul to write that the purpose of the offices in verse 11 is bring the saints to a Biblical unity. There may be people who hold one or more false doctrines. As the evangelist, pastor, or teacher preaches and teaches the Word of God, those false doctrines will be addressed and those who are saved will cast them off and replace them with the truth. This will happen as the pastor faithfully teaches the truth.
A perfect man is a man that is complete in the knowledge of the doctrines. Once a saved person is fully persuaded in his heart of a truth, it will remain there. The key is to be fully persuaded. That will require a humility before God. The saints need more than just the word of the pastor. The pastor must show from God’s Word, as he rightly divides the Word of Truth, that what he is teaching is correct. Those who listen and follow along in their Bibles will see the truth as well, if they are saved. One of the great hindrances to this today is the multiplicity of perversions. They cannot all be right because they say different things. It is important to hold to the preserved Word of God. We have talked about this in the past, but for the English speaking world that is the King James Bible. Some suggest that it is too hard to understand, but we must understand that:
I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The “thee’s” and the “thou’s” are not difficult to understand and read when a person understands the meaning of those words. God’s Word is precise. We have lost some of that with today’s English. We would be happy to help anyone who has questions to see why we hold to the King James Version and why the other ones are perversions.
Again, the purpose that God has for the spiritual leaders is to bring about a unity in the local body focusing on the knowledge of the Son of God. As we grow in that we will become more perfect and we will come unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. We can see that this is a lifelong process for the child of God. There is always something to learn if we are saved. We dare not take the position that “I know that so let us go on to something else.” There is always something to learn because God is so much wiser than man. There is a need to learn the truth so well that we can readily give an answer to every man that asketh us of the reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and with fear (I Peter 3:15).
Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
I dare say there is no one reading these devotionals that has arrived at this place yet. We will never get there until we enter heaven. It is a worthy endeavour and we can grow more and more as we submit to God’s authority.
Keep in mind that the goal is as we see in Ephesians 5:27:
Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Verse 14 tells us that we need to be brought along to a place where we are no more children. Children do not have strong convictions. They have ideas and once they get saved, they can begin to build godly convictions. However, due to their age, they are often not very firm in what they believe. They have not had the time to build that firmness into their faith. Any new Christian, whether young or old, will need to be built up in the faith to know how to stand upon the truth. Those who dabble in all kinds of false teaching will never be stable. James 1:5-8 tells us:
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
God’s Word is truth. However, sadly there are many who wrest the Word of God to their own destruction (II Peter 3:16). That is why a good local church is so important. That is why the apostles and prophets are so essential to the building up of the saints. They represent the Word of God. The evangelists, pastors and teachers must submit to the Word of God and help those who God sends their way to build upon the truth as well. God wants His children to be able to stand and withstand in the evil day. We cannot do that if we will not submit to His order.