Thursday, 15 September 2016
…from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16
The words “from whom” are speaking of Christ from the previous verse –
“…but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies…”
It is from Christ that “the whole body” finds its source, its growth, its strength, and its direction. This whole body is said to be “joined and knit together by what every joint supplies.” However, this is not a really great translation of these words. The Greek says, “every joint of supply.” The sustenance is not from the joints (what every joint supplies), but is from Christ through each joint of supply.
Each person who fulfills a role within the church does so based on what Christ has given them, not based on what they have as independent of Christ. This is the idea which is later given in Colossians 2:19 –
“…and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”
As Christ supplies, so that nutrient is passed on through the joints “according to the effective working by which every part does its share.” What the Lord provides is given in order to be effectively worked out through the various parts of the body. Those who are evangelists should evangelize; those who are preachers should preach; those who are teachers should teach; and etc.
Two things should be noted concerning this. First, there are those who have abilities, but who use them in inappropriate ways. Women teaching men is prohibited in Scripture. If a man comes to Christ through the teaching of a woman preacher in a church, it cannot be said that the end justifies the means. The disobedience of this “preacher” cannot be regarded as “effective working.”
Secondly, many have been given the abilities to work effectively within the body. However, if they do not employ what they have been given in an effective manner, it cannot be said that they are working effectively. In other words, free will and proper adherence to God’s word are considerations of what is being said here. Only when the two are correctly aligned can it be said that the work is truly effective. Only then can it be said that each is doing their share.
When those things are properly on display and effectively being worked out, it “causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” It is true that the body may have grown through the preaching of a female from the pulpit, but it cannot be said that it was “for the edifying of itself in love.”
Adherence to God’s word is a demonstration of love. Failure to adhere to it is a demonstration of selfish intent. That selfish intent is more harmful than one might at first realize. As an example, should a man comes to the Lord through the preaching of a woman, and later he realizes that his conversion was based on another’s disobedience, true harm actually results in several ways which can be easily thought through. Thus, rather than edification, there is confusion; rather than love, there is bitterness.
There can be no true “holding fast to the Head” in disobedience. It is also lacking when someone neglects to exercise the gifts which they have been given.
Life application: There can be no true love in an action which is willfully disobedient to God’s word because God’s word is an extension of who God is. Jesus explained this in John 14:15 – “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” Keeping the commands of the Lord, in proper context, demonstrates love for the Lord. Let us put aside both laziness and pride and strive to be obedient to the word. This is showing love for Him.
Lord God Almighty, You have given us Your word as the rule and guide for the conduct of our lives. In obedience to Your word, we demonstrate love for You. When we are disobedient to it, the opposite is true – we demonstrate contempt for who You are. Help us to express our love for You by honoring You through the word You have given us. Let us not have pride or laziness step in and sever our loving connection to You. Give us this so that we will always be honoring of Your glory. Amen.