Text: Ephesians 4:1-16
Church as a Family [oikos]; Paul tells Timothy that the church is the household of God (1 Tim 3:15). We are God’s family— John 1:12-13. He adopts us into his family. Gal 4:4-5. Church as family (Children – John 1:12; Brothers – Heb 2:11; Bride – Eph 5:22-27).
Background of Ephesians 4:
Paul calls us to live a faithful Christian walk by being humble, at peace with one another and maintaining the unity of the church. Take note, it says, maintaining, not creating unity. We are to preserve such unity in the body of Christ (v. 3). This unity has been established in the expression of the Triune God (vv. 4-6). He furthers that Christ gifted the church with different people with distinct leadership roles (vv. 8-11). To equip the saints with unity and spiritual growth (v. 12).
Transition: Starting from verse 13 onwards, it tells us about the church experience. It is not a linear movement from point A to B but has ebbs and flows or ups and downs in the whole experience. It is like a heartbeat that goes up and down. If the line is constant, it means what? Death, right? Meaning that experiencing such ebbs and flows in church experience show that we are alive.
The Heartbeat Rhythm and Musical Melody (Let us accept the reality that we experience challenges and struggle with them). Even in the early church, in NT, they are also dealing with issues, persecutions, conflicts, and partitions.
It is a never-ending process. Verse 13 states that “until” we reach this knowledge and maturity in Christ and “attaining” (present participle -ing) the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. The church is the body of Christ. While Christ is perfect, we are not perfect here on this side of eternity. Hence, it is an undergoing process. “Sorry for the inconvenience, under construction” WHEN? Until Christ returns.
Conflicts, disagreements, issues, and arguments will never end. But we will never arrive at our destination if we keep focusing on these things. So, while we deal with these matters, we also support and encourage one another to move forward, look to the future, cling to the promises of Christ, and reach our church vision.
Illustration: How many medical checkups do we need per year? (20s—every 2 to 3 years; 30s—every other year; 40s to 50s—every year; 60s—twice a year) Regular checkup and executive checkup. Eye checkups, physicals, dental, and so on. Likewise, as a church, we should have regular checkups. >>> Where are we now? Where are we going? Church Vision – summarized in two words – Global + NextGen. Moreover, let us locate where UCBC is now.
How are we doing? Who is the church? This vital question is one of the things that hinder our church movement. We are not sure who belongs to the family. Updating our church membership. “To be a Christian is synonymous with being the church. The two are inseparably and eternally linked. While it’s possible to be a member of a church and not be a true follower of Christ, it’s impossible to be a genuine believer and not be in the church. – Dustin Benge
Conclusion: Our Church + The Loveliest Place
No other people, not outside our church, not even our denomination, will help us to get better but ourselves. Our church is our family. We belong to one another. The moment you signed the covenant, you became part of this community. By God’s grace and the Spirit’s guidance, we work with one another, pray for one another, and love one another. Cause if we do not do these things, then who else?
Why the loveliest place? Your workplace can fire you; your friends can leave you; your crush can hurt you; nowhere in this world right now can be considered a perfectly secure place. But the church bears the promise of God’s love that he will never divorce the church. “He will never go searching for a more attractive family.”
“The church in the world is the beauty of Christ in the world. Because Christ is her beauty.” The loveliest place in this world is the church because of Christ. The church is the loveliest place. It portrays and reflects the beauty of Christ. Christ died for the church. For our redemption. Christ loves the church. We are loved by Christ.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 16, 2022