CHILDREN TOSSED TO AND FRO
Ephesians 4:14-16 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; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
With all members of the body of Christ using their unique talents and abilities, the common goal of the church can be achieved. It is the final part of God's plan to bring salvation to the world, through His church, the church of Christ, the church established by His Son and our Savior. It is through this church, that the word of God is to be spread throughout the world, and it is through this church that all members of that body are edified, strengthened, and made complete.
This completeness of the body of Christ can only be achieved when all members of the body of Christ, use their individual talents, in a unified effort, to do the will of God. All must hold fast to the same truths and doctrine God intended the foundation of the church to be. As an example, we know that what the mechanic strives for is the "perfect engine", with each of its many parts performing their individual duty, working in unison, to achieve the highest, and most efficient level of operation. Likewise, the church of Christ, with each member working in unison to accomplish its God-given task, will operate like a well-oiled machine, and achieve the purpose God intended it to accomplish. That purpose is to produce a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Vs. 13 preceding). Unity of purpose in the church is achieved through the diversity of its members.
The "perfect man" here refers to mankind; both men and women - the "perfect Christian." Just as an assembly line, in a manufacturing environment, and, operating as designed, produces a "perfect product," so does the righteous, and faithful church, performing as God intended, produces a "perfect man." The perfect man, as used in this context, does not refer to a person having sinless perfection. Rather it refers to a mature, adult Christian, filled with the truths of God's word, and firmly founded on the doctrine of faith established through His Son, Jesus Christ. We are assured of this meaning as we examine the lesson text. It is the God-given duty and responsibility of the church to take, "babes in Christ" (see 1 Cor. 3:1), and produce "perfect, mature Christians", that they henceforth be no more children.
There seems to be a paradoxical consequence of being a child, as it relates to the kingdom of God. Examples of children used in biblical teaching seem inconsistent, and even contradictory. Jesus taught his disciples ...except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3). Jesus is saying that in order to be converted from paganism, which was common at this time under Patriarchal law, or from the ritualistic doctrines of Judaism, one must accept a new covenant relationship with God. For this to take place, a person must hear, believe, and obey God's plan of salvation - to be open-minded and receptive to the will of God, accept Jesus, His Son, as the Messiah, and accept the plan of salvation Jesus died to establish. Mature adults tend to be fixed in their ways - even unchangeable. It takes the mind of a child to be receptive to the changes necessary to become Christian.
However, the lesson text teaches us that Christians are not to remain children. Why? The reason is because children are easily swayed and readily yield to worldly philosophies and temptations. They can be easily tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. The pros and cons of being a child are reconciled with this understanding of God's word. To become a Christian, one must be as receptive as a child to the will of God. To consistently maintain this relationship with God, one cannot remain a child, but must readily become a mature adult Christian, firmly planted in the doctrine of Christ, and unyielding to the doctrines of men. God's call to the world is to become a child, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and be baptized into His body. Once in Christ, then the study God's word is necessary to grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ, and secure your faith, that you henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro.