DRINKING THE GUILELESS MILK OF THE WORD
THAT WE MAY GROW AND BE TRANSFORMED
INTO LIVING STONES FOR GOD’S BUILDING
First Peter 2:2 says that as newborn babes we should long for the guileless milk of the word (not the knowledge of the word but the nourishing element, the milk, of the word) that by it we may grow. Verse 5 says that we are living stones. These stones come out of the growth, and the growth comes out of the pure milk of the word. The more we drink the milk of the word, the more we grow, and the more we grow, the more we become the living stones, which are for the building up of the spiritual house. Again, the growth of life is for the building of God’s house. Life builds.
THE GIFTED PERSONS PERFECTING THE SAINTS
BY NOURISHING THEM THAT THEY MAY BE
A FULL-GROWN MAN
Ephesians 4 says that the Head of the church, Christ, gave the gifted persons—the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers. All these gifted persons were given by the Head to His Body, not for a direct building of the Body, but for the perfecting of the saints (vv. 11-12). The gifted persons are not the direct builders, but they are the perfecters to perfect the saints. They perfect the saints, not by teaching them, but by nourishing them that they may be a full-grown man. To be a full-grown man, we need the nourishment that we may grow. Any teaching that nourishes us is good. Any teaching that just teaches us is not good. The teaching must be a nourishing teaching, something that ministers the nourishment of life to us so that by it we may grow.
Ephesians 4 also tells us that we need to be perfected to arrive at a full-grown man so that "we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching in the sleight of men" (v. 14). This is to be carried away from Christ and the church, the Head and the Body, by some kind of distracting teaching. Many Christians today are like little children tossed to and fro and carried away by the wind of doctrine. We want to be those who are being inwardly nourished for the growth in life in the local churches for the building up of the Body. No teaching should be able to shake us or carry us away. We should just care for the spiritual nourishment that we may grow into a full-grown man.
Then we hold the reality in love and grow up into Christ in all things (v. 15). By this the Body is built up directly, not by the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers, but by all the functioning members. According to 4:16 the Body builds itself up in love by the members themselves. The members are the direct builders of the Body. The practical building of the local churches must be by the local members, who are the direct builders of the local church. The gifted persons are the perfecters of the members. They help the members grow. They are for the perfecting of the saints until all the saints are full-grown. Then every member will function, that is, every joint will supply and every part will operate according to its measure. In this way the Body builds itself up in love.
(The Fulfillment of God's Purpose by the Growth of Christ in Us, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)