Sermons

Summary: 23rd in the Ephesians series dealing with body life.

“Equipped to Serve”

Ephesians 4:7-16

I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3

II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6

A. Walk in Unity

1. Exhortation to united walk worthy of our calling 1

2. Characteristics of a united worthy walk 2-3

3. Unifying factors of the church 4-6

1. ONE BODY – We are all interconnected members of the same body.

2. ONE SPIRIT -- The same Holy Spirit indwells every Christian.

3. ONE HOPE – The same eternal destiny awaits every Christian.

4. ONE LORD – We all answer to the same Lord.

5. ONE FAITH – We all contend for the same once-for-all delivered faith.

6. ONE BAPTISM – The same Holy Spirit places every Christian into the same body.

7. ONE GOD AND FATHER – We all share and serve the same God and Father.

God unites us; we are to do everything possible to guard that unity by living in love.

4. Individual gifting for the church 7-16

Paul followed his declaration of unity with a brief mention of diversity within that unity.

The argument goes something like this…

? Every member of the body is eternally united to Christ and each other.

? Even though we are one, each one has been individually gifted by Christ.

? Jesus descended from heaven to earth in order to capture for Himself those who had at one time been captivated by Satan.

? By reason of His resurrection and ascension, He has thoroughly blessed His “captives” and become the one who fills that new community with His power and presence.

? Specifically, he has gifted the church with gifted individuals in the role or ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers whose purpose is to equip the members of the community to serve one another and build up one another.

? The ultimate objective is a people who unified in their beliefs and personal knowledge of Jesus which results in a Christlike spiritual maturity.

? This knowledge of the truth, through the teaching of gifted individuals and ministry of members toward one another, guards the members from a dangerous instability caused by false teaching .

? The consistent teaching, motivated by genuine love, brings about a deeper connection to Jesus, the head of the church, who unites the community and nourishes it through the efficient working of each gifted part of the community

? This efficient function of the members results in growth and building up of itself in love.

Let’s break it down now into bite sized chunks.

1. Every Christian has been individually gifted by Christ. 4:7

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.

Paul uses the term "grace" in its empowerment sense. It could be understood in the sense of the fact that empowerment was given to each one. This verse tells us that every Christian is given special empowerment by Christ. That empowerment is not the same for everyone. That special empowerment is determined by Christ's choice.

It is easy to remember where the discussion of spiritual gifting is found in the New Testament.

There are two “12’s” and two “4’s”.

First Corinthians 12 and Romans 12.

Ephesians 4 and first Peter 4.

And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:5-7

All these (effects) are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly Romans 12:4-6

When it comes to gifting, there are some common principles in all four of these verses.

• Everyone is gifted.

• Not everyone has the same gift.

• God determines and dispenses the gifts according to his will.

• God empowers the gifts in different measures.

• The gifts are granted for the benefit of the body of Christ not the individual member.

2. Jesus descended to earth and rescued us in order to gift us. 4:8

Paul identified the foundation of our gifting.

Therefore it (Psalm 68:18) says, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men."

Paul paraphrases a passage from the Psalms. It pictures a conquering commander returning home with a string of captives to put into the service of his kingdom. Basically this passage literarily reads he captured captivity. In our case, we were captives of the cruel enemy and Jesus set us free to become willing and beloved bond-servants in His kingdom.

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