Does your home have a wall or doorway that records the heights of family members as they grow? Is your social media feed flooded with photos of children – ‘then and now’, that show how they have grown in the last year, or since they started school?
We celebrate growth and get excited about it – we know it matters. We know instinctively that bodies should grow – that’s what God made them to do. Even those of us who have reached our full height (however limited!) continue to grow – not just outwards – we keep on growing in maturity and wisdom, and our cells keep growing and reproducing while ever we are alive.
The same is true of the body of Christ. We were reminded last Sunday from 1 Corinthians 12 that the church is his body. We are all members of the body and each of us has a part to play. And as a body, we should expect that we continue to grow – in size and in maturity.
This Sunday, we are thinking about how that growth happens.
We read in Ephesians 4:15 that as we speak the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. It is our encouraging one another as we speak the truth of the gospel that is an important part of how we grow as Christians. In the verses before we see that God has given to us, the church, pastors and teachers in order that we might be equipped to do this. Moreover, it is our encouragement of one another by speaking the gospel and reminding one another of the truth, that prevents us from being ‘blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.’
God is a speaking God. It is his speaking to us that makes us who we are – his body. Speaking gospel truths to each other highlights our connectedness as a family and grows us as the body of Christ. It is part of how we bear his image and it’s a demonstration of the work of his Spirit in us. It helps us to stay who we are – to persevere as God’s people.
This is one of the reasons why our gathering together on Sundays and throughout the week is so important. And it’s why we’re so keen for people to meet together in Growth Groups. Being in a Growth Group doesn’t make you a Christian. But it’s a great opportunity for us to know each other and to remind each other of the gospel – to speak the truth in love. It helps us to grow – to become in every respect the mature body of Christ.