14 …”so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:14–16 (ESV)
What is the purpose for which pastors labor and strive in serving the Lord in their local church? What are pastors looking forward to witnessing among their congregations? The Apostle Paul provides the answer in Ephesians 4:14-16, in both negative and positive terms.
First the negative. A purpose clause begins vs. 14 with the key words “so that.” These two words form a purpose clause for everything the apostle stated from vv. 11-13.
The equipping ministry of pastors is important because when congregations attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, a discernable pattern of character and behavior will appear in people.
Paul concludes they will no longer be children, in the spiritual and biblical sense of the word. In other words, they will become spiritual adults. As such, equipped people will not be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind. Paul uses two nautical terms of which he was most familiar: the waves and the wind.
First, mature believers will not be tossed two and fro by the waves. Mature believers in Christ should not be like immature infants who are easily swayed and confused, like being tossed back and forth in a boat by the waves of the sea (cf. Luke 8:24; James 1:6).
Secondly, mature believers will not be carried about by every wind. Carried about (περιφέρω; periphero) means to be blown about, be carried here and there (Mark 6:55; 2 Cor. 4:10; Eph. 4:14; Heb. 13:9). It literally means to be “whirled around,” or to experience a violent swinging that makes one dizzy. Not an enjoyable sensation.
When next we meet we will see what forces and influences are prevalent in this fallen world which causes such discomfort. It is against the adversaries that Christians need to be equipped.
Soli deo Gloria!