There is a growth in the Christian walk. As the Spirit in us brings us to more mature attitudes and capabilities, we, of course, with His help grow in grace and in His Spirit.
The scriptures are full of allusions and metaphors for this spiritual growth. “First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear,” the Master Christ said (Mark 4: 26-28). This is like how the kingdom of God grows here on earth at present in us. The seed, the word of God, is sown into some hearts, and it grows. For “the kingdom of God is within you.” Like the growth of any seed, a progression of growth develops in His governance in us.
We start out as babes in Christ, then we grow into youth, and then into fathers and “virtuous women” (I John 2: 13-14; Prov. 31: 10)). And we are “under tutors and governors” as children of God (Gal. 4: 2).
And God has set some members in His body to shepherd and teach and inspire the others until we all grow spiritually to the place the Father has purposed. These are the “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.”
And these are gifted (from God) to do some specific things for Him. The first thing they will do is help us to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind” (I Cor. 1: 10). Which mind? The mind of Christ. For they will have received the “word of wisdom” and the “word of knowledge,” the first two gifts of the Spirit, from the Father. And with those gifts, they will “mend” that which is broken in our lives spiritually . They will show us “the way” to spiritual completeness “till we all come in the unity of the faith, unto a perfect man.”
And what does this phrase “perfect man” mean? It is the goal of Christ and his five-fold ministry offices that we all come “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…” In short that we could “grow up into Him…even Christ” (Eph. 4: 11-15).
There are teachers many and evangelists many, and pastors many. Who can say which ones are true and which ones are false? One thing is certain. All two thousand denominations and organizations can’t be in perfect harmony with God’s plan and purpose. Why? Because of the disharmony amongst them. They can’t agree. Divisions abound, but Christ’s body is not divided. Schisms prevail in the Christian congregation leading the sheep of His pasture each to his own way. “And they all did what was right in their own eyes,” which is what happens when the King’s truth is not present (Judges 17: 6).
In a word, the Holy Spirit will be ministering to the church through these five offices. For it will not be man teaching us how to become like Christ, but Christ’s Spirit teaching us through those very teachers. They will teach us the deeper things, the “strong meat” that is fit for the princes and princesses of God, that they may grow (Hebrews 5: 14).
Being a Child of God Is Not the Goal
Now before you stone me for making that statement, here me out. We are not to remain children of God! A child is mostly alive to see what they can get from the Father. You hear it in prayers every day. This is “asking amiss.” God does not want us to remain children because that kind of self-centeredness produces instability in the spiritual walk. Children of God are lukewarm spiritually–neither all in nor all out.
God warns the little children in Rev. 3: 14-22. These immature Christians are very prevalent in this last church age of Laodecia. If they remain lukewarm, God will reject them and will “spue them” out of His mouth.
And why are these lukewarm? Because they think they are rich both materially and spiritually and “have need of nothing.” They think that they really know all they need to know about God. They are unteachable; pride always is that way. And they do not know that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
A Cure for the Poor, Blind, and Naked
God prescribes a remedy for the little children who are lukewarm and poor and blind and naked. He counsels them to buy from Him “gold tried in the fire that you may be rich” and “white raiment, that you may be clothed and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear” and “anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see” (Rev. 3: 18). Then He commands them to repent, so there are things to stop doing in order to correct this tepidity.
Purified gold is faith tried in the furnace of afflictions and sufferings. White raiment is God’s righteousness in us and thriving. Eye salve is that anointing that can only come from Him in His sovereignty. And with these things bought from Him and added, the doer will have overcome and will have grown out of spiritual childhood.
But how is the young Christian to obtain the knowledge of these things? They must be taught by the Spirit through one of God’s teachers. But how does one discern which are the true teachings that will lead us to become a manifested son and daughter of God and which are the false teachings?
First, they will teach the “eternal purpose” of God and how He is “bringing many sons unto glory.” And that does not mean “going to heaven.” It means the granting and growth unto immortality–right here on earth! Some will be “conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 28-30).
This eternal purpose will be taught by His five fold offices–this eternal purpose of bringing a cadre of believers with Christ fully formed in them to full glory–to be exactly like Jesus Christ! There. I said it, and I will keep on saying it until we all come into same vision that God has for us. And His vision for us is this: He wants to share His throne with us! (Rev. 3: 21). We must remember that we are “more than conquerors through Christ.”
We are speaking now about God’s elect, the ones He has chosen for this “high calling” of becoming fully like Him. For they will share God’s vision of our perfection beginning with the conquering of sin in our lives here on earth. They will not try to keep you a sinner; they will not limit God and His power.
They will not keep on laying the foundation of God over and over again. For the scene’s the same as it was 50-100 years ago in denominationland. Small congregation. Everyone knows everyone. They’ve all been saved years ago. And what does the pastor preach on? Christ died for you. Be saved. Same hymns, same format. No change. No growth. And that is it. I appreciate your sincerity, pastor, but the sheep need to be fed so that they can grow! We have got to shake our selves out of the slumber that the shepherds have lulled us into.
As I’ve said before. If you are not being led into greater and more profound truths out of His word, one of two things is happening. Either you already have all the truth and there is no more to be learned, or the Spirit of God is not working with you. For He said, “When the Spirit of truth is come, He will lead you into all truth.” He will take us from one truth that, in turn, opens another door into more truth.
Let us pray that He continues to lead us into all truth. He will use His five offices to do just that. Kenneth Wayne Hancock
 All words and phrases in bold letters are from this same Greek word found here: http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2675&t=KJV