Unity becomes the outcome of staying connected and allowing God to work through us.
Jesus is the only one who can give authority. Paul wants us to understand here that he, Jesus, himself gave authority to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. We are to realize that these leaders are to equip us to go out and share the Good News. It flies in the face of the church in the last few hundred years where we hire someone else to do ministry.
But we end up finding some resistance based on the divisions that exist, such as Christian denominations. These may have been created by differing geographic location, upbringing, profession, etc… We need to be careful with some of these divisions. We have to look at the foundation of each group. Is it based on the Good News? Salvation through Jesus alone? We have to be clear about what we stand for.
This also tells us to prepare and built one another up for works of service. Our leaders are to prepare and direct us to works of ministry that we are fit for. It is almost as if that pastors are to work them out of a job. That those in his congregation will go out and shepherd others. Not that they just sit in chairs each week and then not act. He prepares, but it is up to us to act upon it. We also have the responsibility to stay connected to the head, Jesus.
We have a goal! We are to reach unity in the faith and knowledge. This is a process, but we are to be weary of saying that “we have arrived.” Be weary of anyone who thinks this. Because we all are in a process of growth. It leads to complaceny and we become disconnected from the Word. We then begin to question, and it leads to us hanging around those who “tickle our ears” and ultimately leading to the opposite of unity.
We don’t measure people by their failures or struggles. We instead measure by how they move through those struggles. We then walk with them and help them mature in their faith. In turn we will have other Christians that will walk with us when we struggle. We each build on each other. Our ultimate goal is the full measure of the fullness of Christ. Jesus is the ultimate role model for all of us.
God doesn’t tell us what we are going to face. What he does instead is equip us through His Word and through His people to get through the struggles in our lives. Can you imagine if God told us some of the upcoming struggles? We would probably be like, “Thanks, but no thanks. I will try something else.” But instead God calls us to help each other through struggle, because it is through unity we will grow both in our faith and in our unity with other Christians around us.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (ESV)
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (ESV)
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (ESV)