This Sunday’s message from Pastor Christopher explores the idea of building up the Body of Christ in meaningful ways. It is less about individualism and more about community. Paul reminds us that our connexion (to use Wesley’s spelling) makes our whole greater than our parts because of the love of God in Jesus Christ. If we understand this, then we may understand that even this recognition alone helps us to build one another up in the Body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:1-16 (CEB)
1Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
7God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. 8That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people.
9What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything.
11He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.
Consider these questions:
- What does it mean to be built up? Why is this necessary? What is the end goal of building up?
- How do we go about the work of building up the body? What gifts do we bring to this work?
- Search Bishop Desmond Tutu’s definition of ubuntu. How does this concept inform your answers to the questions above?