Text: Ephesians 3 and 4
Are you experiencing all the blessings that God has to offer you in brotherhood? What makes the difference between a mediocre Church and an outstanding Church?
It seems disrespectful almost to rate a church like we would food or other products.
But what determines the success of a Church? What is our purpose?
What is the primary purpose of the Church?
Notice verse 10. If we could picture God, surrounded by the hosts of Heaven… God holds forth this mystery, revealing a gem, dazzling in beauty… this is irrefutable proof of my wisdom: The Church is the masterpiece of the manifold wisdom of God.
As we as individuals are coming to God, being strengthened by the Spirit and indwelt by Jesus… God is able to take this motley congregation of individuals, and do something with us together that would be humanly impossible, to bring Him glory.
The purpose of the Church is to bring glory to God.
And now, in chapter 4 we zoom in— we look at the individual in the Church.
What should our purpose be? Our primary focus?
There are two things given in chapter 4 that I think have to be the most important for us as a local church.
Unity and edification.
Some would call this an inward focus— and maybe it is. But if we evangelize, what are we offering to them world? If we bring people in, what are we bringing them in to?
I don’t want to undermine evangelism— it’s very important. But I believe the most important priority of the Church is unity in the Spirit, and edification of our brothers in Christ.
What is our calling? To bring Glory to God in the context of the brotherhood.
Note in verse 21, the glory brought to God is not just from individuals, but from the unified Church.
Note the singularity in the following verses: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc.
We can have many members— but we must have one faith.
There are many backgrounds, many perspectives represented in this congregation. We all have different “glasses”. We even inherit them. We all have them, and they are all a little different.
And yet, we’re all pulled together, in Christ, into one body. I Corinthians 12 talks about different gifts, and different roles.
There are differences in the gifts. There different personalities. There are “bones and muscles”.
God’s design is not to do this on our own, but to do this together.
In verse 14 it mentions the stabilizing factor in the Church.
The health of the body is more important than even a personal relationship with someone.
God holds the Church out as His gem, His masterpiece. What is your Church? Is it the beautiful gem He wants?
I’m not here to make a judgement of your Church. But if it’s like mine, you probably have some work to do.
There are some churches where Church exists simply to provide a place to go Sunday morning. On the other hand there are the Hutterites where everything is done together.
Where is the perfect place in that spectrum? I’m not sure either, but I believe the church-is-just-a-place-to-go-hear-a-sermon model is the less Biblical direction.
What about us? How well do we know each other?
Have you been offended by your brother? How much do you value the input of your brothers or sisters? How often have you changed something in your life only because a brother asked you to? Do you value other brothers’ perspective?
There is always room to grow… There are answers to these questions. There are ways to remedy our problems.
Down in verse 26… I would like to challenge you to reach for that level of brotherhood. If things are not clear between me and my brother, do not let the sun go down until you have begun to take the steps towards reconciliation.
Do you love the body of Christ- so much that you have done your part to ensure that there are no rips, no schisms in the body?
Communication, whether good or bad, is a major factor. Sometimes there are hurts or brokenness because of understanding. We need good communication.
How is your Church?
Is there deep unity? And are we edifying each other to be like Christ?
This will take vulnerability, love, and all of us— hanging on the cross, fully surrendered.
We all have rough edges, all the Churches do. God is working on those, to refine us into His beautiful gem, the glorious masterpiece He is forming through His Son.