Ephesians 4:11-16

The Purpose of the Church Part 4 MATURITY


INTRO : Growing up can often be painful & embarrassing -

A) Most of us can remember - stupid things that we did or said as kids that caused us a great deal of pain or embarrassment


B) I remember the time that I experimented w/ riding my bike w/ my eyes closed - did good until I hit a parked truck .

1) I was 4 yrs old – this bike that looked like a motorcycle -  Brilliant idea how far can I get – eyes Closed -  Trucked – Jacked up – Underneath


C) We all have stories like  that of things we did that we were embarrassed about


D) When my son Aaron was going into 3rd grade he asked me –

1) Dad when you were in the 2nd grade did you ever  do or say stupid things or embarrassing things  


E) I said sure - in fact I still do & say stupid things now .

1) Then he said - I can’t believe some of the things I did in the 2nd grade.

 Like there was this sudden jump in maturity the summer between 2nd & 3rd


Then there are those times when kids are younger that they want to grow up faster or appear more grown up than they really are.

A) I remember back when my Daughter Amanda – turned 2 we celebrated her 2nd birthday


B) Next day I found her in our bathroom - standing in front of the closet mirror putting on Denise’s Mascara:

1) Wand in one  hand / bottle in the other very careful – Actually did a good Job – but she so much wanted to be a grown up –


C) She is the youngest and still her greatest frustration. – FACT : No one grows up over night – Process / takes time

1) Comes to Maturity – time, experience and learning all part of the Process

SAME IS TRUE SPIRITUALLY – Spiritually no one grows up overnight – No short cuts to spiritual growth { Individually of for a Church

 A) We have been camped out here in Eph 4 considering the Purpose of the Church – UNITY 1-6  / DIVERSITY 7-10/ MINISTRY 11-12 / MATURITY


11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, { GIFTED MEN are given to the Church for this reason:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, { TALKED ABOUT LAST TIME } AND for the edifying of the body of Christ,


B) The word Edify = to Build up – so God gives gifted men to the Church so that the Body can be Build up –

1) So it can Grow / so it can MATURE  so it can function Properly


C) In the remaining verses Paul shows us what the Maturity is supposed to look Like

1)He gives us an idea of what the grown up believer & Church is to look like


13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ --16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.


D) That Maturity is seen in 3 things / 1st That we would become more like Christ - 2nd More stable in our walks  more Grounded - less Childish

1) 3rd That we would be functioning as a unit and fulfilling our role w/ in the body of Christ.    A Godly Cooperation


E) So that is what we want to consider today – Marks of Maturity

The 1st mark of maturity That we would become more like Christ  - or as Paul puts it in v.15 may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ;

A) Christ is the head of the Church – We are the Body – the Lord’s goal for us is that we would be Growing into Christ the Head


B) Now Paul mentions 2 things in v. 13 that are essential for measuring that growth   


C) 1st - Growing in our Knowledge of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,


Paul is not talking about a salvation knowledge but about the deep knowledge, epignosis – a full knowledge / DEEP KNOWING /Intimacy

A) That Knowledge comes only from spending time in prayer and faithful study of and obedience to God's Word.


B) I find it interesting that After many years of devoted apostleship Paul still could say, Phil 3:8-10,12 "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him .... that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings .... Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus" .


D) Wrote after 30 yrs – Know Him { Know the Purpose why Christ Apprehended Paul -  Ask Paul after 30 yrs don’t you know Him?

1) Answer - { SO much to Know} We must Never forget that


E) Jesus said in the volume of the book written of me!!!!!


You could take what Paul is saying there in Phil &  simplify it in this way: it is a knowing of Christ that - translates into a longing to be more like Him !  

A) Which is the 2nd aspect of growing into the head that Paul mentions in the latter part of v. 13   to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;


B) The word Perfect = Complete: God’s desire for each one of us is that we would day by day – week by week – month … year ..year

1) That we would be growing more Complete – Complete Christians


C) How is that Completeness MEASURED – To the degree that we are becoming more like Jesus :

1) That is what is meant by the Phrase to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;


D) What Paul is pointing out that Christ is the measuring stick of our maturity !

1) In other words:  The Measuring stick of our Christian maturity is going to be seen in how like Christ are we becoming!


Often times though not always people who have a good marriage – after they have been married for a while – can start to look & act alike.

A) They start having the same kinds of expressions on their faces. They start to think a like / talk alike / act a like / similar passions & interest.


B) Have you ever considered why that happens? Well, that's because as they have  abided with one another, and they begin to be like one another.

1) It's the same way abiding with Christ. We become more Christ like.


C) We begin to take on the characteristics of Christ as we abide in him.

  1) You see that transformation take place in the life of the DISCIPLES as

        you read the NT. –


D) That truly is the measuring stick of our Christianity –The mark of MATURITY IS  How much like Christ are we becoming?  

1) Ask ourselves these type of questions

Is our #1 passion in life – like that of Christ’s – to glorify God the Father in all we do ? Are we focused on the Fathers will, time, heart?

A) Are we becoming more & more others centered & less self centered ?


B) Are our lives being marked by a desire to serve others & to sacrifice for others

1) Are we becoming givers or are we just takers ?


C) Are we seeing people w/ His eyes - dealing w/ People w/ his heart ?

When they hear our voice is it a reflection of His voice


Pastor Mark Thompson of Faribault, Minnesota, suffered terrible knife wound when someone broke into his home, One of the consequences of his difficult recovery was being forced to miss watching his son Chris run in the state cross-country championship meet.  So Pastor Thompson asked his brother Merv to go in his stead. 

   According to the account in the St. Paul Pioneer Press /  Mark told his brother, "I can't be there to see Chris run.  So I want you there at the beginning of the race.  Holler a lot. ... Then at the end, I want you to really cheer loudly.  And I want you to make your voice sound like mine." 


Merv heeded the advice, and Chris ran a strong race, finishing second.  Merv, discerned a deep theological truth in the process.  "That's what Jesus wants us to do." he thought  "Make our voice sound like HIS." 

                             TONE / HEART


D) Parents when our kids are listening to our voice – how much of what they are hearing for us is reflective of the voice of Christ ?

1) Husbands – when you talk to your wife – how much is your tone – like that of Jesus as he talked to his disciples?


Challenging for me to consider – Us as a Church How like Jesus are we in the way that we do things ? We conduct ourselves ?

A) We have all been to the Carnival – Headless figure painted on the cardboard of the – strong man or the Jail bird or the Cowboy

B) You stand behind it someone snaps a picture and it is funny because the head and the body just don’t go together – Just don’t fit ?


C) Question I have pondered recently: If we could put Christ Head over this body of Believers – would the world laugh – because it doesn’t fit ?

1) Or would they stand in awe  because the body was so closely related to the Divine head?            INTERESTING THING TO PONDER


I read a story about a missionary, who was involved in a boating accident and was thought to be lost at sea, In reality he washed up on the edge of a remote native village.

Half-dead from starvation, exposure, and sea water, he was found by the people of the village and was nursed back to full health.

Subsequently, he lived among these people for twenty years.


During the whole of that time he confessed no faith. He uttered no songs. He preached no sermons. He neither read nor recited any Scripture. He made no personal faith claim. But when people were sick, he attended them, sitting long into the night.

When people were hungry, he gave them food. When people were lonely, he was a source of company. He taught the ignorant.

He was a source of enlightenment to those who were more knowledgeable.


He always took the side of those who had been wronged. There was not a single human condition with which he did not identify.


After twenty years had passed, missionaries came from the sea to the village and began talking to the people about a man called Jesus, and after hearing of Jesus, the natives insisted that he had lived among them for the past twenty years.

"Come, we will introduce you to the man about whom you have been speaking."


The missionaries were led to a hut, and there they found their long-lost fellow missionary whom they had thought dead.

I wonder as our Children start to hear about Jesus – in Children’s Church / or youth group –

A) Would they respond in the same fashion – Oh that sounds like my Dad or my mom ? That sounds like my uncle / grandpa


B) Now I know that there is not a person in this room who is going to ever truly reflect Christ in a perfect way – Flawed sinners

1) We fail / we blow it – we mess up often – myself included


C) But I think that the Lord would have us today – consider – really ponder this reality : That is the goal – that is the mark of MATURITY

1) That is how it is measured – How like Jesus am I becoming – How have I changed in such a way to reflect him more ?


D) Am I making excuses for my imperfections or do I recognize that Jesus is wanting to surrender area of myself to him so that he can Change me


I am a very impatient person: I hate to wait on things / in traffic / for people/ drives me nuts

A) Now I can really get upset in situations where I am forced to be patient and wait – I can respond – Well I am just impatient … who I am


B) Wait – the Bible says of Jesus : Love is Patient – If I am going to be becoming more like Him – that means I am going to be growing in this area 1) So I have a choice : I can make excuses or I can understand – This is an area of my life He wants to Change { Surrender / Embrace


C) The Lord has me waiting presently in an area – it has been hard – waiting on a person’s decision – But I have been growing too

1) Giving that person space and allowing what God is wanting to do in that person’s life – to unfold


D) Listening folks growing up is hard – it takes time / But that is the goal – that is what we are to give ourselves to> Individuals & as a Church


I will close with this quote from Charles Spurgeon:


A neighbor near my study persists in practicing on the flute. He bores my ears as with PLAYING and renders it almost an impossibility to think. Up and down his scale he runs mercilessly, until even the calamity of temporary deafness would almost be welcome to me.


Yet he teaches me that I must practice if I would be perfect, must exercise myself unto godliness if I would be skillful, must, in fact, make myself familiar with the word of God, with holy living, and saintly dying. Such practice, moreover, will be as charming as my neighbor's flute is intolerable.


C) Not always a pretty process but it is the DIVINE GOAL!!!!