Summary: Today’s Scripture is God’s Word to churches to be focused on building up the church to be mature and healthy! The Scriptures are directly telling us to focus on ourselves. Give attention to the church body and do what is necessary to make it healthier.
Date: July 12th, 2009
Bible Text: Ephesians 4:7-16
Intro: Imagine for a moment going to the doctor and after a battery of tests she comes out and tells you, “Look, you need to stop doing all the things you’re doing!” Your volunteer work in the community, your coaching little league, you’re on the PTA and teaching Sunday School to first graders at church, you’re on several boards of nonprofit organizations. You need to start focusing on yourself! Your health is getting worse and if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re going to die!
While it would be difficult to give up all those really important and good things, to continue on as you were would be devastating to your health.
Today’s Scripture is God’s Word to churches to be focused on building up the church to be mature and healthy! The Scriptures are directly telling us to focus on ourselves. Give attention to the church body and do what is necessary to make it healthier.
This is sometimes hard to accept. We look at the world and are burdened by the need for evangelism. We look at the poor and are burdened by the need to establish justice. We look at the suffering and are impelled to comfort and to care. So sometimes we slip into the trap of organizing the local church to undertake one or more of these tasks. We program evangelistic efforts and spend money to make evangelistic touches in the community and Missions around the world.
All too often we lose sight of the fact that the first function of the body is to build itself.
The main thrust of our Scripture today is to see the church become mature and healthy so it can do the other things God desires more successfully.
I. Lord Jesus Gives Gifts Of Grace To The Body of Christ. (vv. 7-10)
A. Grace is given uniquely to every believer. (7)
1. It is worthwhile to note the word “but” here.
a) It is used here in a adversative way to contrast what came before.
b) In verses 5&6 there has been a focus on the unity, the oneness of the Body of Christ.
c) Now there is a very intentional emphasis on the fact that this unity is not uniformity.
d) We have unity but are diverse in our make up!
2. Here in verse 7 the focus is on Christ’s giving each believer grace as He sees fit to do so.
a) Grace, as the word is used here, is an enabling Grace.
b) It is a giving to each person as they need and it works in each person’s life uniquely so as to allow each person the possibility of using all that they are for His glory.
3. What is clear is that this is not a cookie cutter outcome where every believer is given grace exactly in the same way. Were Unique!
4. This also means that we are not an accident in the body of Christ.
a) When we received grace, it was because Christ gave it in a measure suited to His good purposes for you and for the body of Christ.
b) "Each of us" is given grace not according to the measure of our worth or merit, but according to the measure that Christ decided to give.
c) Romans 12:6 says almost the same thing: "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us."
5. This verse also points to the fact that we have a place, a purpose given to us by God.
a) Going back to 2:10 we see that God made us, then hard wired us exactly as He wanted to do good works!
b) God has a longing for each of us to be and do what he has designed us to do!
c) He has given us all the tools, and as we see here, all the grace necessary to accomplish what He desires.
6. Jesus is the bearer of gifts that reflect His marvelous grace. (vs. 8)
Trans: Now this all comes about because of the head of the church, Jesus!
B. Jesus Is The head of the Church!
1. It is all His doing, bestowed according to His whim and His will.
a) That’s grace, if it was due to something special about us….well, then that’s not grace, that’s works!
2. See, Jesus, who we saw back in Eph. 1:22 and will see again in 4:15, is the head of the church and He knows best what is good for the body.
3. Paul spends some time here in verses 8-10 reminding us just who Jesus is!
a) The one who descended from heaven to earth being made in human likeness as Philippians 2 says.
b) The same Jesus who was resurrected and raised to be in heaven again.