For yourself as part of Christ’s Body
For fellow Christians separated from the blessing of the Body
Today’s text: Ephesians 4:1-16
This passage from Ephesians is often included in conversations about mission and the future of the Church, in large part because what Paul says here is far removed from how most parishes view and understand what they are to do. Paul addresses the Ephesians as a group who have been brought into a relationship with God the Father that they did not earn or deserve,. Paul weaves three related points as he makes his case. The first is that the Church and those who are a part of the Church have arrived together because God has issued a call. There is no use in looking to or for the kinds of “qualifications” that humans so often use to sort themselves out. The only qualification is God’s invitation, and because of our baptism we all have a role in the life of the Body.
The second point is that ministry arises out of the shared life of the baptized and from their individual callings. It is the congregation that does ministry; it is its members that do the work that the Spirit empowers. All the “titled” Christians—including pastors—are given by God to make it possible for the members to do what we call “ministry.” Even as the Scriptures reveal God to be a minister, so the People of God are also ministers, and every ministry is valuable because and when it originates in the Holy Spirit that comes at baptism.
The third point is that Paul insists that the calling and the ministry are intended so that we might grow, mature, become; that we, because of the Spirit life that is given at baptism, grow up to resemble Jesus the New Adam, “the first-born of many brothers” (Romans 8:29). All this is for God’s glory and for our sakes, so that we may live in true faith, hope, and love.
Easter Joy ~ Pr. Dave Brooks