Christ reigns as head of his body by helping us grow up into him.
This growth process begins with God’s blessings. God blessed all saints with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:1-3). God exerted His power, which He wrought in Christ in our behalf and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body (Eph 1:19-23). Just as He planned, by His grace God saved us, gave us faith and created us in Christ Jesus to do good works and walk in them (Eph 2:4-10) as new creatures (2 Cor 5:17). In Christ, God made Jews and Gentiles one new man, thus bringing peace (Eph 2:11-18).
God made us fellow-citizens of the Kingdom and built us together as a holy spiritual temple and made us His dwelling in the Spirit.
Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:20b-22 NASB
Those are a few of the major points of the first 3 chapter of Ephesians. Paul seals what he taught there with a powerful prayer. This prayer is for all who believe in the Messiah. It is a glorious prayer we can pray for one another. Paul addresses it to God Father/Pater from whom every family/patria is named.
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:14-19 HCSB
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:20-21 ASV
In view of those blessings, Paul exhorts us to apply God’s blessings in our lives
Paul begins teaching body of Christ dynamics, urging us to walk worthy of the calling with which we are called. That exhortation brings meaning to the word “church.” There is a close correlation between called and church. We are called to embrace salvation of God. In the Greek, called is kaleō. Church is ekklēsia, from a derivative of kaleō “called” and a compound of ek “out of.” God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. That is the foundational meaning of ekklēsia, which is translated “church.” It means much more than the common understandings of church. In kingdom terms, Peter tells us what God has made His ekklesia in Christ in 1 Peter 2:1-9.
Paul exhorts us to walk worthy
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. Eph 4:1-6 ASV
Walking worthy is how we are to relate with one one another. By walking in love, peace, meekness, humility, long-suffering and patience, we are following the Spirit, “giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The unity of the Spirit is confirmed in 7 connections we share in common: one body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.
Christ reigns as head giving each of us gifts of grace
But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Eph 4:7 ASV
Every single one of us has received a special gift or several gifts from Christ to put to work in His body. His gifts of grace help each of us work in the body of Christ (Eph 4:16). That hearkens back to “For we are his/God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10 ASV).
The Greek for grace and related grace words brings clearer meaning to than English translations. By following the link, you can quickly see definitions and all of the verses in which each word is used. Grace is charis. Charisma can indicate a spiritual endowment, a free gift. Then, we have charízomai, and chárin. Looking at those words in scriptural context is eye opening and edifying.
The measure of the gift of Christ
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men. (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) Eph 4:7-9 ASV
Their, Paul draws from Ps 68:18. “Psalm 68, in spite of all its references to the history of the Jews, is a Messianic psalm and speaks of the triumph of the Lord Jehovah, the promised Messiah, which was fully realized by His ascension to heaven, by His entering into the unlimited use of the authority and power which was transmitted to his human nature at the time of His incarnation. … Of this exalted Christ Paul now says, no longer in the form of a direct quotation, but in a free use of the passage in the quoted psalm, that He bestows gifts upon men, various gifts of His grace, of which the apostle speaks also in other places” (Ro 12:6). Kretzmann
With this in mind we’re always praying for you that our God will make you worthy of His calling and by His power accomplish every good thing you decide to do and every work of faith, so as to glorify the name of our Lord Jesus among you, and you in Him, according to the grace/charis of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Th 1:11-12 AAT
Christ reigns by giving us help−servant leaders in His body
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors/poimenas/shepherds and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith/pisteōs and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Eph 4:11-13 HCSB Cf: Ac 6:1-7; Acts 21:19-20; Ro 12:3-7; 1 Cor 16:13-15; 1 Tim 1:12-14; 2 Tim 4:5-7
Christ appointed the first apostles. Matthias was chosen by the 11 to replace Judas (Acts 1:19-23). Jesus called Paul to be and apostle (Acts 9:1-22). He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors/poimenas/shepherds and teachers to equip us for the work of ministry/diakonias . Our ministry is to build up/oikodomēn the body of Christ. Their work will not be completed until we mature to the stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and Christ is the cornerstone
So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. Eph 2.19-22 HCSB
By helping us grow up to maturity in Christ, our servant leaders give us commonsense and discernment
…that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; Eph 4:14 ASV
Paul expands the meaning in Colossians.
As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord,’so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him, and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: for in him dwelleth all the fulness /pleroma of the Godhead bodily, and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power: in whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Col 2:6-12 ASV
We should take heed and modern day apostles would do well to consider their status in view of the following scripture:
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Rev 21:10-14 KJV
We should be wary of any apostle who prefers to be known and addressed as apostle so and so. None of the apostles in the New Testament were known or addressed that way. It was Paul and apostle; Peter an apostle. Apostle is a function, not a title. The use of that title indicates a clergy over laity attitude. The same goes for prophets, evangelists and shepherd teachers.In my experience, those I consider to be apostles are humble and not widely known.
Growing up in all things into the head−Christ
… but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love. Eph 4:15-16 ASV
The amount of growing up we have to do is shown by how little we see each other and ourselves as ministers. We are just beginning to see that our Messiah has each of us working in His body. He provides sustenance to His body through every part working to fulfill his or her function. He ministers to His body and to the world through His body.
Paul began Ephesians 4 “I beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called.”
In Ephesians 4:16 he tells us, “according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.”
Let’s consider how we walk worthy and work properly. Our faith is a gift of God (Eph 2:8) and faith works by love (Gal 5:6; 1 Thes 1:3) and love edifies/builds up (1 Cor 13). Thus, we minister. Some of our work of ministry occurs in our Sunday gatherings. More of our one another ministry occurs and small groups. Most of our one another ministry is devoted to our families and extended families. This is illustrated by Paul teaching on lifestyle and Sunday and small group ministry in Eph 4:17-32 to Eph 5:1-21, then to husband, wife and parent relationships in Ephesians 5:22-33 and children parent relationships in Eph 6:1-3. Just from a time standpoint, this makes sense. We spend and hour or 2 in our Sunday gatherings, 2 or 3 hours in our small group gatherings (many include children) and most of our one another time is with our families.
Good works are ministry of the first order. Anytime we do anything motivated by God’s love, we are doing a good work. “For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10 ASV). Christ’s nature and power helps us love and be loved in word and in deed. In John 15, Jesus tells us He helps us be fruitful branches of the Vine—faithful, humble, kind, courteous, hospitable, forgiving, and helpful—life sharing fruit bearers. Thus, we supernaturally, naturally do good works walk in them. The life flow of the Vine motivates and empowers us to bear much fruit. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit wells up within us.
A husband loving and nurturing his wife and children does many good works. Protecting and providing for one’s own family is good work. Raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is good work.
A wife respecting her husband is doing a good work.
A mother loving and nurturing her children does many good works. Her love takes the sting out of the hurts and wounds of this world; whether it is a child’s owie or hurt feelings, an adolescent’s meltdown or an adult’s heartache.
Children obeying their parents are doing good works.
Doing what God wants us to do, working in us through Jesus Christ what pleases Him (Heb 13:20-21) fulfills our deepest longings to be useful and productive in the noble things of eternal importance. Plus, we get to live and walk in the mutually supportive environment created as we do what pleases God. Something as simple as changing a diaper is a good work done for the baby as well as for those in the vicinity. Christ considers even something that mundane as ministry of the first order (Mt 25:40).