As summer comes to a close and we move into the fall, this is traditionally a time when many people in America are going back to school. It may be graduate school, college, trade school, high school, grade school, or starting kindergarten for the first time, but literally thousands are engaging in a process of education designed to better equip them for their future.
The foundational motivation of all educational pursuits is the clear understanding that adequate preparation must precede effective usefulness. We expect that those we rely on for a myriad of services: doctors, dentists, law enforcement personnel, mechanics, teachers, etc. have received the necessary training to make them competent in their field.
While the necessity of adequate training and preparation for effective usefulness is an inbred reality in our society, we in the church often fail to recognize the need for such training, education and preparation when it comes to spiritual matters. Believers sometimes forget that God has saved us and left us on this earth for a reason—to do something. He wants to use us to “bear fruit” for His glory (Jn. 15:8), actively pursuing the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works. And in order to be effectively used by God, we simply must be “equipped” – trained, educated, prepared. Eph. 4:11,12 speaks directly to this issue:
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…
The key principle here is that God has given gifted leaders to the church whom He uses to equip the saints – all believers – for the work of service (for the ability to minister and serve one another). The word translated “equip” here literally means “to set in order or to mend,” In the context of Eph. 4:12 it has to do with making someone completely adequate or sufficient for something. A form of the same word is seen in 2 Tim. 3:17, in a passage explaining why the inspiration and sufficiency of the Word of God is so profitable, “…that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” This passage in 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 clarifies that there is only one textbook to be used in the equipping of the saints: The Word of God. Christ… These truths, the necessity for believers to be equipped, and the fact that the Word of God
is to be our textbook, lead to the following conclusion:
“Believers are made adequate and useful for service to God only to the extent that they understand, apply, and are saturated in their heart and thinking with the Word of God.”
There simply is no substitute for spiritual growth and usefulness, it begins and ends with letting “the Word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Col. 3:16).
There are numerous opportunities at RCG for you to be growing in your relationship with God through the study and intake of the Word of God. May I encourage you to re-arrange whatever is necessary in your life for you to take advantage of these opportunities. God wants to bring you into an ever-deepening relationship with Him that He might use you to have an ever-broadening impact for Him.
That His grace may abound and overflow through you.