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Summary: We must make a distinction between “spiritual gifts” and natural abilities. When you were born into this world God gave you certain natural abilities, perhaps in mechanics, art, athletics, or music. In this regard, all men are not created equal . . .

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians

By: Tom Lowe Date: 8/13/17

Lesson 17: The Diversity of Spiritual Gifts in Contributing Toward Unity (Ephesians 4:7-16)

Ephesians 4:7-16 (KJV)

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 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;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 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.

Introduction

Paul moves now from what all Christians have in common to how Christians differ from each other. He is discussing variety and individuality within the unity of the Spirit. God has given each believer at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:1-12), and this gift is to be used for the unifying and edifying (building up) of the body of Christ. We must make a distinction between “spiritual gifts” and natural abilities. When you were born into this world God gave you certain natural abilities, perhaps in mechanics, art, athletics, or music. In this regard, all men are not created equal, because some are smarter, or stronger, or more talented than others. But in the spiritual realm, each believer has at least one spiritual gift no matter what natural abilities he may or may not possess. A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve God and other Christians in such a way that Christ is glorified and believers are edified.

There are three lists of spiritual gifts given in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-31; Romans 12:3-8; and Ephesians 4:11. Since these lists are not identical, it may be that Paul has not named all the gifts that are available. Paul wrote that some gifts are more important than others, but that all believers are needed if the body is to function normally (1 Corinthians 14:5, 39{2]). Paul named, not so much “gifts,” but the gifted men God has placed in the Church, and there are four of them; apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers and preachers. We will study these when we come to verse 11.

Commentary

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

All believers are to diligently maintain the unity of the Spirit; this does not mean that each is a carbon copy of the other. Each believer is given a “gift” so that he may function within the body of believers in a particular way. Paul writes, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7). This means that a gift is the Spirit of God doing something through the believer for the purpose of building up the body of believers. It is for the profit of the whole body of believers. No gift is given to you to develop you spiritually. A gift is given to you in order that you might function in the body of believers to benefit and bless the Church. (In this first sentence, can you hear a word of encouragement for the Christian who may imagine there is nothing he can do?)

I have heard it said, “We do not speak in tongues in our church. We do it for our private devotions.” I can say to them categorically from the Word of God that they are wrong. “Gifts” are given to profit the Church. No gift is to be used selfishly for personal profit. In fact, it is not a gift if it is being used that way. A gift is given to every member of the body to enable him to function for a very definite reason in his position in the body.

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