The third visible mark of the mature church described in verse 16, is one where each member is faithfully fulfilling his or her appointed function in the body of Christ and thus contributing to the growth of the whole. It pictures the body of Christ as a living organism in which each member contributes to the whole by giving and receiving to and from each other, that which is drawn from Christ, the head. In other words, every member of the body to whom a gift has been given by the ascended Christ, receives the necessary enabling power from Christ, to perform his or her proper function, so that the growth of the whole body is advanced.
When a church is not growing, its stunted fellowship can often be traced to one of two causes – either a lack of truth or a lack of love – sadly sometimes both. Sadly this is the ecclesiastical status quo – it too well describes the church of our day; a church more reminiscent of the Old Testament, where when we speak of “the church” we really mean the building or the temple or the “worship center” instead of “the church,” as it truly means – the people. If we get a grasp on the kind of new society that God reveals to us in this section of Scripture, then we will not be content in doing church the way we have been for centuries, but rather will pray and work for the church’s total renewal. This text has set before a beautiful picture of a deepening and growing fellowship of God’s people with an eager desire to visibly display Christian unity, through an active every-member ministry of truth loving and truth speaking people.