First let’s look at the big picture of the body of Christ starting in Ephesians 4:11-16
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 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.” (Eph 4:11-16)
As these verses explain, the body of Christ is meant to work together in unity, each part serving its purpose. The emphasis is two-fold: 1) that we need every part in the body of Christ and 2) that the church is to be growing towards maturity. The key ingredients in the growth towards maturity are truth and love. These lead us closer to Christ who is the head of the church. In Paul’s view the church cannot grow in an individualistic manner, i.e. there cannot be a bunch of diverse parts growing separately which get slapped together, hoping that it works. The body of Christ is meant to grow together. Each part shapes and encourages other parts in the body of Christ just as when a child grows, the body grows in unison.
This coordination and unity in the body of Christ is only possible through Christ. “Christ is at once the One into whom all Christians grow and out of whom the church consolidates itself in love. This process depends on the interrelationship of the various parts of the body. The whole is continually being integrated and kept firm by each separate ligament.” As explained in this passage, immaturity is accompanied by risks: childish attitudes and the danger of being caught up in fashionable but false teaching. Gradually leaving childhood behind, the result of growth into maturity is that believers grow into completeness in Christ.
Secondly, we look at friendships within the body of Christ. We need friends and many verses in the Bible speak about the importance of friendships. Proverbs says: “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” (Prov 27:9) I hope you have experienced this kind of friendship in life. Some people have many friends, and some have few. The important part is not how many friends you have, but that you have some friends that you trust and can share life with. Someone has said you don’t need to tell everyone everything about your life, but you need to tell someone. Do you have someone you can go to when you need advice, prayer or spiritual encouragement? (Facebook doesn’t count) On the other hand, who are you reaching out to and encouraging? I know personally that without people I would not have grown. We’re truly better together. We need specific friendships and these friendships provide the links and connections that form the body of Christ.
For faith to grow, people don’t necessarily need to go to a church of a given size, but they do need to meet with other believers. The writer of Hebrews lays out three key actions in this passage that nicely sum up this message: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:24-25)
Spur one another on to love and good deeds
Believers make each other better when they lead others towards love and good deeds. The word that is translated as spur “usually has a meaning like “irritation” or “exasperation” So, we can say the Bible tells us to irritate others towards love and good deeds 😊
Don’t give up meeting together
Evidently, even at an early date after Christ some believers had given up the habit of meeting with other believers. It is dangerous to expect that one can grow spiritually without the love, support and correction of a community of believers. The devil wants to tear down and destroy the body of Christ. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. “(I Pet 5:8. The Christian who is alone is at far higher risk of being defeated in spiritual warfare, falling in temptation or failing to grow. So, don’t give up meeting together.
Encourage one another
The previous thoughts are concluded with an emphasis on encouragement. Believers in the body of Christ are accountable to each other and to Christ; believing that they are to help each other move close to Christ, encouragement is what is called for. If I may combine and paraphrase two passages we’ve looked at today, we are to spur one another on to love and good deeds by speaking the truth in love.
By being honest with others, sharing our lives with others, by encouraging people, we help others grow and it all adds up to the body of Christ growing towards maturity in Christ. As you engage the path, be encouraged that though it may be rough at times, it leads to maturity and it leads to Christ. So, get out there and grow!
 Barker and Kohlenberger III eds, Expositors Bible Commentary Abridged Edition: New Testament, 1994, pg 769
 Barker and Kohlenberger III eds, Expositors Bible Commentary Abridged Edition: New Testament, 1994, pg 989