For the Body to BECOME MATURE, the individual members must BECOME MATURE. All of us have been given gifts to administer to the Body of Christ. It’s as we mature that these gifts – which are the GRACES OF GOD – bring forth in maturing, multiplying power the fulfillment of God’s purposes and plans for the Body of His Son in the earth in this time. So the Lord has structured the Church – the assembly of God’s people – in such a way that the ongoing maturity will be constant. In the human body – to which Paul likens the Church – the ending of any function of any part will bring sickness to the total body.

The instructions given to us by Paul in Ephesians 4 outline the PROCESS OF MATURITY for the church: First, our life is to be worthy of the calling we have received. That comes about in the way we relate to each other. “Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT through the bond of peace”.

Then we are to recognize that there is “ONE body and ONE Spirit; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all Who is OVER, THROUGH, and IN ALL”!!! (emphasis mine). And then we see the function of leadership – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers – TO PREPARE GOD’S PEOPLE for WORKS OF SERVICE, so that the Body of Christ may be BUILT UP and BECOME MATURE, attaining to the whole measure of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST.

So, having reached the UNITY OF THE FAITH – IN THE UNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, we can then GO ON TO MATURITY. . . . Therefore, we don’t have the option of mixing worldly standards with God’s standards set forth in Jesus; We don’t have the option of selecting just those parts of the Gospel that tickle our senses; [And] we don’t have the option to choose out of the Body whom we will minister with, or fellowship with, or whom we will love, and reject others we don’t find particularly to our liking!

These the choices the devil sets before us – not God. Just as he tried to give options to Jesus on the mountain, he is still trying to put deceptive and subtle choices in the Church. Jesus, who is the HEAD of the Church, rejected them; and we, the members of His Body, also must reject them.

Jesus told the Pharisees, “You belong to your father, the Devil”. To His followers He said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples”. To the Corinthians, Paul said, “We have not received the spirit of the WORLD, but the SPIRIT WHO IS FROM GOD” (emphasis mine). And to the church members in Philippi, Paul said, “Continue to WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU to WILL and to ACT according to His good purpose” (emphasis mine).

So, we are to work “in Christ”, in His body, “to WILL and to ACT according to HIS good purpose”. As God’s fellow workers, let’s go on in HIm to full maturity, living out the full truth without compromise, putting our total trust in God our Father and Jesus our Lord” (emphasis mine).

-Jay Fesperman

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 32, September 1983.