Just as you physically grow by eating and drinking, our Lord wants us to nourish ourselves on the words of sound biblical doctrine. This is how Christians are to be equipped for the work of the ministry––by learning to abide in the Word. You become like John describes in 1 John 2:14, “You are strong because the Word of God abides in you, and you’ve overcome the wicked one.”
In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul is preeminently concerned with the unity of the body of Christ — how they function as one unit, how they strive for one mission, how they reach one goal. From the beginning of chapter 4, Paul takes up the task of identifying this “one body.” According to Paul, believers should:
- Walk worthy of their calling (Eph 4:1)
- Bear with one another in love (v. 2)
- Maintain a unity of the Spirit (v. 3)
- Maintain a bond of peace (v. 3)
- Equip others for the work of ministry (v. 12)
- Build up the body of Christ (v. 12)
- Attain to the unity of the faith (v. 13)
- Speak the truth in love (v. 15)
These glorious features of the body of Christ should be the identifying characteristics of all mature believers. Mature believers are essential in achieving the purpose and fulfilling the call to which the church has been called. How do we produce mature believers?
Aren’t we just being picky?
In an age when doctrine is chided and dismissed as arcane, Paul reminds us that biblical sound doctrine is the golden chain through which all the above facets are linked. Without sound doctrine, the chain falls apart and is good for nothing. We could put it another way: Without sound doctrine, the church falls apart.
In Ephesians 4:13, Paul writes, “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” As the church is unified and believers are equipped for the work of ministry, they mature and grow from childhood to adulthood.