Ephesians 4:11-16 Was the passage I preached from today. My outline: v. 11-13 - Christ Himself gives leaders to the Church, and the goal is maturity! v. 14-16 - Stability and maturity in Christ mean the members of the body act in "joint cooperation."
This passage has so many important "nuggets" of information, that the Church of today really needs to pay attention to. I am not going to repeat my sermon here, but notice the following:
Verse 14 "No longer be infants..." is the apostle (representing God) expecting maturity to occur in every believer.
Verse 15 Spiritual maturity and health is to be a major preoccupation of the Child of God... who moves forward in faith.
Verse 16 The whole body "builds itself up in love..." means that when the individuals in the body are believing God and acting in accordance with His word, then spiritual growth and maturity is the natural result.
The phrase in v. 16 that captures my imagination is "...the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament...". It is clearly a medical analogy that Paul is making. He wants us to view "the body" in these very real images of ligaments and joints. When either one of these are incapacitated, it makes life very difficult for the person suffering from it. It slows us down; it causes pain; it needs 'babying'; it is a general uncomfortable experience, and it disrupts our lives immensely. What about the Church? How do we function when one "part" of the body is not functioning properly? The answer is plain... our personal growth and maturity is slowed down and in need of some rehabilitation. And as a further consequence of this, the entire body is affective negatively.
We must see ourselves "in community" - relying on each other to encourage one another to "love and good deeds." There is hope for the one who is hurting and perhaps deficient in their spiritual health.