Ephesians 4:11-13: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.”
Our loving Heavenly Father wanted us to learn to know and understand His ways. His plan was a good one, with properly equipped leaders and teachers. He had included pastors to shepherd the flocks. He had thought of everything a church would need to grow its people up, once a church had been planted. It wasn’t enough to just have “another church in town.” God wanted His people to grow and mature so that there would be unity. Just as Jesus and the Father are One, God wanted His people to be one. The pastors and leaders the Lord appointed were to contribute to the maturing of the congregations.
Ephesians 4:14 goes on to let us know that God did understand what happens to us when we are newborn Christians. We are vulnerable to all kinds of teaching from all kinds of teachers, some of which are not grounded in the truth of the Gospel message. Sometimes the leader is trying to line his pockets more than really share truth with new Believers. God has always been very aware of this! Maturing in the truth will give us the discerning we need.
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
It was God’s intention that those teaching, leading and pastoring us would do everything in His pure love.
Ephesians 4: 15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
There should come a time when the new Believer has matured enough to take his place in the work of the church; that’s what growing up is all about, right? Each one of us has a place in the Body of Christ and each one of us has a part to play in His church. It works like a well-oiled machine when each of us does his part. It was always God’s plan that the pastors and other appointed leaders would get us there!
Continuing verse 16, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
So what happens that there can be fallen leaders? It has to do with hardening of their hearts.
Verses 18-19 say, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity.”
It was never God’s plan that pastors should take advantage of their congregation, especially those too young to be discerning. Such behavior is an abomination to the Lord and, most certainly, brings pain to His Father’s heart. How many times, and in how many ways, the evil one tries to discourage the people from trusting God when it is his evil ways that are at fault, not the loving Heavenly Father Who longs that His people know and understand him!
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