How do we assess if our church is on track? What signs do we point to in order to know if we are getting a passing grade from the Master?
Sure Jesus made that bold proclamation when he said, “I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:18). He is guaranteeing the progress. He is claiming ownership.
And as the head of the church, Jesus Christ has a strategic growth plan for her. When a business needs to raise capital, the owners will create a strategic growth plan to demonstrate that they have a trajectory that the business is going to mature along.
So with Christ. His strategic growth plan is very simple: make a people into what He has already called them to be.
In other words, the church is the people of God. It is made up of the saints (those who are set apart). They are a people for God’s own possession, they are going to be presented to Christ without spot or wrinkle.
The plan then is to make progress to that end. Those outside being brought it through evangelism, and then built up in the faith unto maturity. It’s that simple. If we want to know how our ministry is doing then we need to evaluate according to Christ’s Strategic Growth Plan for the church—turn with me to Ephesians 4.
Last week we began examining the life and purpose of the local church. We said first and foremost the church is about God’s glory. The church exists for exalting Him. Our primary question then regarding the church is are we bringing glory to God? What pleases Him, not what pleases us.
Secondly, the church exists to exposit the Scriptures. God has entrusted His Word to our care. Paul urged Timothy to guard the deposit, defend it from false teachers misusing it. In fact, the church exists as a pillar and support to the truth—it holds the Scriptures up for all to see. We exposit just means we explain the Scriptures, nothing fancy.
This week we will look at the next two functions in the life and purpose of the church: equipping and edifying. Lord willing we will examine these today, and then revisit edifying next time along with evangelism.
Ephesians 4:11-16 is our text today. In many ways a Seminole passage on the life and purpose of the church. It is one very long sentence in the original—it lays out theology. There isn’t a specific instruction to obey in the sense of put on this and put off that.
Ephesians 4:11–16—11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Christ’s Church Growth Plan for the Church
1. Give leaders to supply spiritual tools (11-13)
a. For the work of serving
b. For the goal of edifying
2. Equip the body to supply spiritual resources (14-16)
a. Move past immaturity
b. Mature into Christlikeness