And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors 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 and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
All of these leadership and teaching positions are implemented by and serve the purposes of God. To be an apostle, pastor, prophet, evangelist or teacher is to serve Father God’s ongoing purpose for His body, the church. Whether or not we sense the importance or usefulness of our endeavors, we are serving God’s purpose of training the saints and building up Christ’s body. The goal is unifying Father God’s children in faith and in the knowing relationship of Lord Jesus Christ. We seek to bring people to maturity as measured by the fullness of Christ. He, Christ, is our standard and thus the process of teaching and maturing will never end for any of us – even those who are teaching, pastoring and leading. He is Perfection in every way and this is our goal. The understanding that we will never achieve such serves to keep us humbly dependent upon the grace of God.
There is a tendency in me that has been encouraged by the modern church to think that ‘Bible class’ and other church teaching becomes just something we do because we are here. It can easily become an exercise in futility, it seems. At least that is sometimes the perspective I have. This passage puts an end to such defeatist ideas and ignorance. What we see on the outside does not necessarily indicate what is happening on the inside in those teaching moments. Certainly, we should eventually see outside results that match what has happened on the inside during those teaching times; however, this passage clearly raises the bar of the teaching and growing experience. The goal for which we are reaching will never be fully accomplished; thus, every serious teaching event is useful in every good way.
We will continue to teach until there is unity in the faith and knowledge of Lord Jesus stretching believers toward spiritual maturity as measured by the fullness of Christ. It certainly will take forever and will be a joy to pursue.