Equipping the Saints for the Work of Service

(This is the first of the articles I have recently started to write for the weekly news bulletin of the East Main Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN. On August 1, 2021, I started my tenure as the pulpit minister of this congregation. All the articles published in this blog under the category “East Main Bulletin Articles” are articles that I write for our church bulletin every week. I hope they help you in your study of God’s Word. — Jon)

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-13

Brethren, I would like to begin my tenure as East Main’s pulpit minister by expressing to all of you the deep gratitude my family and I have to God, the eldership here, and all of you for your willingness to have us be part of your church family and the work here.  East Main has a long history of love towards God and our fellow man, as well as being “obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed” (Rom. 6:17).  Brother Wayne has left some big shoes to fill, and I join you in expressing gratitude to him for the great work he has done in this pulpit for all these years.  My goal is to do my part to help continue that tradition of love and doctrinal soundness by proclaiming “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) to you in ways which will help you understand it (cf. Neh. 8:8; Acts 8:30-31).

As Paul described above, the purpose of the Holy Spirit-inspired writings of the apostles and prophets which make up the New Testament (Eph. 3:3-5; 2 Pet. 1:19-21) – as well as the reason behind the work of evangelists and teachers such as myself, Wayne, and Seth and the pastors (poimen, shepherds) who biblically are the elders (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2) – is “for the equipping of the saints.”  “Saints” (hagios) is often used to refer to those whom God calls to be holy and sanctified (cf. Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; John 17:17; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11) … Christians.  This is why the New Testament refers to all Christians as “saints by calling” (1 Cor. 1:2; cf. Rom. 1:7; 8:27; 12:13; et al).  Thus, the purpose of the New Testament and the work of evangelists, elders, and teachers is to equip each of you.

Equip you for what?  “The work of service.”  “The building up of the body of Christ.”  Saints, our Lord wants all of us to serve His cause and kingdom and build up the body of Christ which is His church (cf. Col. 1:18) here in Murfreesboro.  As I “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2) and teach it in Bible classes, articles, and personal Bible studies with you, my aim is the same objective our elders have as they oversee both the classes and the various ministries in which we all participate.  That goal is to help all of you become better servants of God and help this church to grow stronger spiritually. 

By growing stronger spiritually, Paul told the Ephesians that they would “attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.”  He told them they would become “mature” and reach “the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  In other words, they would grow more complete spiritually as they became more united by the faith and knowledge of Jesus which comes only from learning and obeying Scripture, and thus have a portion of the spiritual adulthood (“the measure of the stature”) which God wishes for His Son’s church (“the fullness of Christ,” cf. Eph. 1:22-23).  The same can be true of us here at East Main. 

I will do all I can both in the pulpit and throughout the week to help each of you achieve these goals which our Lord has for you.  If you have a Bible question or would like to have a Bible study, or if you need a listening ear or someone to pray with you, I am glad to help day or night.  My door is always open for any suggestions or advice you may have.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.  Beth, Katie, Ashlynn, and I look forward to reaching out to each of you and getting to better know you.

Let’s get to work!

– Jon

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