We have been looking at the maturing church as outlined in Ephesians 4. Last time we looked at how the process works. Now the big question is: How long does it take!
Maturing is a funny thing. It’s not like taking a trip where the kids keep asking if we are there yet and that has a definitive end already marked. The more mature I get the more maturing I realize that I have left to do. In our passage today unfortunately Paul doesn’t give us a length of time or a duration of maturing. Thankfully though verse 13 does give us some indication of how to recognize the maturation of the church…
Verse 13 states:
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Eph 4:13 NIV)
Verse 13 starts with “Until…”
We are told that a church must mature:
- Until we all reach a unity of the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. And…
- Until we attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Now some look at verse 13 as having some end-times sort of time frame. However, this would mean that verses 14 and 15 make no sense. Therefore a mature church is an attainable goal in this lifetime. Paul’s concern is that believers not be blown around like babies now, not after Christ returns in the future.
Unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son is a unity that results from the experience of receiving the Gospel and living with Christ, this knowledge is not just knowing about Christ but is a relationship WITH Him. This is what allows us to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, maturing together. This is one of the many passages that let us know just how important discipleship is. Paul here is telling us that we cannot attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ unless we are growing together. Some might say that they don’t need to go to church, they don’t need growth groups, they don’t need mentors in order to experience the fullness of Christ in their lives, Paul tells us that you do. If we are not growing together as a church we will never experience the fullness of Christ.
How long does that maturation process of the church take? It takes as long as it takes us to achieve unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Unfortunately we cannot define in terms of time how long this takes, but we know the goal, and we know how to get there!
Grace & Peace,