Called To Build
The unity of faith is centered in the deity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Word of God, and the Gospel message pure-and-clear.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, it’s your friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you. The miles drop away and it is as though I was sitting by your coffee table, or around the kitchen table or driving with you to work or whatever it may be. I’m glad to have this chance to get together around the inerrant Word of God, the Bible, His eternal Word. Circumstances, and things, and governments may change, but God and His word never change. And our Savior who makes it all real to us, the Lord Jesus Christ, He never changes. The Bible says Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever. He Himself said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall never pass away.” So we’re dealing with eternal matters aren’t we? And that’s a great encouragement and comfort to my own heart as I think of investing these moments where thousands of people are listening, presumably to one man’s voice I pray every day that it may be, that voice might be filled with the truth of God, and the love of God, and the power of God to help you in some special way.
We’re looking at Ephesians 4:12, and we’ve come to the last phrase of that verse. Now, what is the purpose for which God has given these gifts? He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers. These are the gifts God gave especially to the church and these gifts, turned out to be people. God works through human beings and He enables them in special ways. Not everyone has the gift of prophecy, not everyone has the evangelist’s gift. See not everyone has the pastor’s gift even, and not everyone has the teacher’s gift. God works through human beings whom He fits especially for the work He wants them to do. Now, what is that work? The first is for the perfecting of the saints. That is a great verb there. I told you about that, didn’t I? It has nine or 10 different meanings that are used in the New Testament, to mend, to repair, to complete, to equip, to put in order, to adjust, to strengthen, to perfect, and or to make a person what he ought to be. There are three, six, nine different meanings, there. And this is part of what God wants to do through you if He’s gifted you in that way. What else? The purpose of the gift is the work of the ministry and that word ministry is related to our word deacon, Diaconia, sharing God with people at the point of their need.
Then we come to this third phrase, the edifying of the body of Christ. The verb to edify, is a verb that means to build up, like one builds a house. It’s a compound verb, that literally means to build one’s house. A house to build, that’s the literal meaning of that verb, that’s used there and translated edify, to build up like one would build his own house. How do you do this? Now remember, your job is not to shout, not to lecture, not to correct, but to build up, alright? When you look at people and when you look into situations and relationships, use this as one of the criteria by which you approach the matter. Is what I’m going to say or do is that going to result in building up the body of Christ? The body of Christ is all of the believers and His body in any one place turns out to be the local church. Is what I am about to say or do going to build up or tear down? And that’s the question that we need to ask as we approach this whole matter. The edifying of the body of Christ, the church is the body of Christ, that’s all the believers blood-bought born again and spirit-in dwelt. Now, how do you get at this now, personally?
Well, first of all, you better make sure that you’re part of it. Many a person is trying to do something about the church without really being part of the Body of Christ. You see, going over to 1 Peter Chapter 2, he said, “Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. And so you’re a chosen generation, you’re built upon the foundation of the prophets and the apostles.” And how does this come? Why he says, “It comes through the new birth as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted,” the tasting point of the grace of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, “tasted that the Lord is gracious to whom coming as unto a living stone disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God. Ye also as living stones are built up.” Now make sure then, make sure that you are part of the process.
Do you know for a fact that you are indeed born again? Does the Holy Spirit dwelling within you witness within your own heart, that you are a child of God? “And if a child of God then an heir, joint heir with Christ.” See, that’s the first thing. Make sure of that. Now and again, I’ll get a letter from someone or I’ll meet someone personally who will tell me, “I was religious for years and going to church and thought that was all that was necessary. And then, I listened to your broadcast and I was introduced to a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Oh what a difference.” Well, thank God that happens. I’m glad I’m glad if this broadcast brings anybody in touch with the Lord Jesus Christ. But if you’re gonna do any edifying, any building up, you have to start there. A small thought here, remember that God does the building. God does the building. And that passage that I was just citing in 1 Peter, he said, “You’re built up,” “Are built.” That’s passive voice, you’re built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. See, you’re built, are built, are built. That means God is doing it, God is doing it, not you. It’s a great temptation to think that you’re accomplishing something on your own, especially when things go well.
Preacher, have you ever found yourself thinking after you’ve finished the pastoral prayer Sunday morning, “Well, I prayed pretty well there this morning.” [chuckle] Do you ever think that? Or after you’ve finished the sermon, and you’re standing by the door greeting the faithful as they’re going out, and to hurry home to roast beef, and mashed potatoes and roast preacher. And when you’re standing by the door, and the people are greeting you, have you thought to yourself, “Well, things went pretty well today.” Well, I suppose that’s human, we all do it, but we have to remember that we’re not the doers of the work. “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” God did the work. Ye are built, passive voice. God did the work. So whenever you’re approaching any relationship with God’s people, the best thing to do is to approach it prayerfully and remind yourself that you’re dependent upon God every step of the way. He has to do the building.
Now, he says, “Build up.” Where do I fit into all of this? These gifts that God has given to the church in terms of people who have been given with special gifts, where do we fit in? Well now, Verse 13, 14 and 15, maybe even 16 give you a layout of how the building process works. You wanna look at that? He says, “First of all, 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 fullness of Christ, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. How do you grow up spiritually?” Your growth, spiritually is calibrated in terms of how much of your life is full of Christ. See? The measure of the stature, what? Of the fullness of Christ. Your spiritual growth is calibrated in terms of how much of your life is full of Christ. Well now that that tends to shake me up, a little. But that’s exactly how it is.
Let’s take these phrases, one-by-one here in verse 13, and we won’t finish this part of it in this broadcast, but then if the Lord tarries and spares us we’ll get at it again the next time we get together. Now, these gifts, the building up, we’re talking about the building up of the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ is all the believers. And in your case, it’s those believers with whom you interact day-by-day in the process of living, that’s the part of the Body of Christ, that you are to build up. Now ’til we all come in the unity of the faith.
The unity of the faith is centered in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the inerrant Word of God, in the gospel message and the continuing miracle of the grace of God in a human being. The unity of the faith is centered in the deity of Christ and the then the inerrancy of the word of God and the Gospel message, pure and clear Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, He was buried and rose again. The third day He was seen by all these people. Last of all, me too. That’s an encapsulation of the gospel from 1 Corinthians 15, and the unity of the faith involves all of that as a continuing miracle in your life.
People who squabble, and fight in religious situations, can generally be observed to be lacking in a sweet day-by-day experience of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you are walking close with Him and you’re experiencing His Presence daily and moment by moment, as a continuing miracle of God’s grace in your life, your attitude toward people around you is changed and you find wonderfully that it’s a lot easier to get along with the genus Homo, than you did before. Well, that’s just a little detour there, but it’s so true isn’t it? So, we all come in the unity of the faith. Now preserve that, he puts that first. Now you’re building up the body of Christ. That’s the objective. Alright? He says the first thing you need to remember is that that building up is based upon certain truths that must be held pure and clear Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, said, Simon Peter, “You’ve built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. The deity of Christ, the Word of God,the purity of the Gospel message and the continuing miracle of a daily walk with Jesus. That is what binds believers together.
We’ll come back to this the next time we get together.
Precious Father, today, may we be builder uppers in Jesus’s name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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