Summary: To establish that all gifts given to the church are given to achieve unity in accomplishing the “divine work of the ministry.” This lesson deals with the importance of the work of Christ in evangelism and edification.
1. Divine Officers
2. Divine Operations
3. Divine Objectives
1. The time of this letter was written sometime around 60-64 A.D. This letter was one of Paul’s imprisonment epistles (Philippians, Colossians and Philemon) to the church at Ephesus and distributed throughout all the churches of Asia. It embodies the teaching of the oneness of the body of Christ. And the Lord being the head over it; and the means by which all believers secure salvation by the grace of God. Chapters 1-3, outlines our salvation and relationship in Christ Jesus. Chapters 4-6, outlines our relationship to each other as a community of believers. It is to this end we have gathered to discuss the theme: “the divine work of ministry.” Unity in the church is served by the diversities of gifts, 4:7-16. Paul introduces this section of text by pleading for the attitude of the man of Christ, before mentioning the Plan of Christ for unity. Unity cannot be achieved until all members, and especially ministers and leaders do as Paul suggest – “walk worthy of their calling and election in lowliness, meekness, with long suffering; and forbearing one another in love.” He further states: Christ has given different gifts to men or mankind, 4:7-11.
a. This is proven by a prophecy, 4:8-10.
b. The different gifts listed, 4:11.
2. First, we will first consider the divine officers given as gifts to this ministry. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” These positions represent Christ’s gifts to the church. I vision to see the day that all believers will reverence these leaders as gifts for their salvation and hope of eternal life. These officers are divine in the sense that they are God directed and appointed.
3. Second, we will look at the divine operations assigned to this ministry, as result of “the perfecting (equipping) of the saints,” 4:12. They are:
a. “For the work of the ministry,” or the evangelistic efforts that are used to grow the church of Christ.
4. Finally, we will review the divine objectives given to measure the achievement of this ministry, Ephesians 4:13-16. How will we know work within this ministry is successful and pleasing to God? Notice Paul, these gifts are given to be functional “Till we all come into the...”
a. Unity of the faith, 4:13. Not into the unity of these faiths, but, the faith!
b. The knowledge of the Son of God. Unto we obtain a full and complete understanding of who Jesus Was, and I, and ever Shall be. Jesus to John the Revelator: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” Revelation 1:8.
c. Unto a perfect or full-grown man or church. “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,” 4:14.
d. Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, 4:14.
e. That we may possess the courage and kindness to speak the truth, and to edify the body in love, 4:15-16. These are challenging objectives for the church then; and for the church now!
BODY OF LESSON
I DIVINE OFFICERS
1. This is proven by prophecy. Psalm 68:18
2. The different gifts listed. Romans 12:4-8
B. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers,” 4:11.
C. Apostles and prophets. Not continuing gifts unto the church. Temporary gifts, without successors. No apostles today, only men claiming such authority. The apostles and prophet’s authority in and over the church is unending. The early church continued in the apostles’ doctrine. Notice: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers,” Acts 2:42. Also, Jude 3, we are encouraged to remain faithful to the faith once delivered to the saint. “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.”
2. Foundation of the church. Ephesians 2:20
3. Apostle’s authority was not to end.
a. Apostles Doctrine. The apostles’ doctrine is also the doctrine of Christ and the Father. Jesus said: “He that heareth you, heareth me...,” Luke 10:16. He said to Peter after the announcement of the church - “And give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” Matthew 16:18-19. After Pentecost the early church: “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers,” Acts 2:42.