If we are honest with ourselves we would admit that it isn’t easy to grow spiritually and mature in our faith in the culture that we live in. We live in a culture that is hostile to God’s Word and to God’s people. The millions of different temptations that rush at as all the time. If we are not intentional about growing then we will be swept way with out culture. We will be like those seeds Jesus talked about (Luke 8:4-15) that sprang up quickly but allowed the worries and carries of the world to choke the growing plant of faith out.
The Church is God’s gift to us; the right environment for spiritual growth to happen. If we don’t make use of the Church as we strive to grow in our love and our faith, then it will be doubtful if we will survive. For spiritual growth isn’t about filling our head with a bunch of knowledge and nice sounding doctrines, but it is about preparing for ministry. The apostle Paul in Ephesians tells us that the special people God has placed to lead the Church are to Equip Us For Service.
11 And it is he who gifted some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, and still others to be pastors and teachers, 12 to perfect the saints, to do the work of ministry, and to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12; ISV).
The culture that these people lived in was not so much different from ours. They lived in a sexualized, violent, pagan culture. In fact they would have faced a big obstacle that we don’t have to face. Because of they followed Jesus and refused to acknowledge the other gods they wouldn’t have been allowed to participant in culture. They wouldn’t have been allowed to sell goods in the market place because they might anger the gods. They wouldn’t have been allowed on city council because they didn’t acknowledge the gods of the community. They would have been shunned and survival would have been that much harder.
Not only did these people have to equip Christian by providing them with a foundation for faith and teachings to help them remain rooted to Jesus, but they also had to teach them how to serve a community that didn’t want them around. God sent people to the church so they could learn how to make disciples in that community while they went about the task of living.
It isn’t enough for the local church to equip us with the basic Christian disciplines of Bible Study, prayer, worship, giving, and fellowship. The church must equip us to serve the world, to make disciples. We need to know how we can influence people when we are at work, at the store, at the gym, at school, or even at home. May I point out that no place can we have more influence than at home. My faith is dependent on what I was taught and what I saw modeled at home when I was growing up.
As we try to become the Church Family that God wants us to be we have to remember this aspect of our purpose. We need to help equip people, to equip you, to be servants for God in this world. This isn’t just about learning are evangelism technique, but is about help you live a life of faith that reflects Jesus, so that people ask: what is different about you.
The church is to equip people to carry out the great commission and not just to equip them to grow personally.
- Point to Ponder: The church must equip us to serve the world; to make disciples
- Passage to Remember: Ephesians 4:11-12
- Question to Consider: Are you being equipped to serve?