Summary: The gift of our talents
Ephesians 4:4-16 (p. 815) December 8, 2013
Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
And then he goes directly into a list of “ones.”
There is “one” body, “one” Spirit, we’ve been called to “one” hope! “one” Lord, “one” faith, “one” baptism, “one” God and Father.
So what happened?
Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ...
Lions and Tigers and Bears, O My!!!
It doesn’t seem that followers of Jesus did such a great job at “making every effort to keep the unity.”
Maybe the best analogy of what happened is Jesus’ comment to the disciples who went to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane while He told them to “watch and pray.” (3 times) All three times they failed. His comment, “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
I’m not going to explain denominationalism or even how people use some of the “one” items to legalistically divide instead of unify, but God’s Spirit is never divisive. The flesh is always selfish and self-centered.
The Message Version says...about our text:
“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with oneness.”
“Permeated with oneness.” My wife got to go with my brother to a U.K. Basketball game the other night.
SHOW PIC OF SAM & KARI
She grew up in Florida, sports weren’t ever a big deal to her. She loves me so she loves the ”Wildcats,” but I love that she gets to experience what I started to experience when I was a child. My grandfather was Adolph Rupp’s doctor. My parents are both UK alums. We’ve had season tickets for a long, long time. When we moved from Memorial to Rupp Arena, they went in order of chronology, my brother and I picked front row right in from of the cheerleaders. That’s how long we’ve had them. But when Kari goes, all cutely dressed in blue and white she experiences a Permeation of Oneness! 24,000 people all on the same team, cheering for the same goals...Celebrating the same victories, grieving the same losses.
That is what Paul is talking about here in Ephesians 4. Be permeable, united, glued together by the oneness that comes from the Spirit of Christ.
And even though we don’t all look, speak and act the same, out of the generosity of Christ.
I. EACH OF US IS GIVEN OUR OWN GIFT
“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ appointed it.” (v.7)
Paul’s talking to disciples. People who understand that he’s writing as a prisoner “urging his readers to live a life worthy of the calling we’ve received from Christ.” (Eph. 4:1)
He’s saying from a prison cell. “Do what you know your supposed to be doing for God’s purposes live your life so the Kingdom grows!
How can we do that? “BE PERMEATED WITH ONENESS.”
Make sure that you have the same purpose as Jesus...the Apostle Paul. The same purpose that you’ve been given the Holy Spirit to accomplish. Make sure that purpose permeates your life, inside and outside the building.
If you’re a Wildcat fan or player or coach, you have the same goal, win.
If you’re a follower of Christ, one of His disciples, you have same goal, whether you’re an Apostle, a pastor, a teacher, a student or a new believer.
1. Make Disciples
2. Grow the Kingdom
It’s why Jesus came. The most confusing part of this text is found in verses 8-10. Paul quotes from Psalm 68:18.
“When He ascended on high, he took many captives, and gave gifts to his people.”
It’s a reference to when a King invades an enemy’s country, defeats that King and their people and then takes what the “pirates” call “Booty....Loot!” Then the key is like Robin Hood. He give the “booty” or the “spoils of war” to His people as a reward.
Jesus left heaven to come to earth, even though He was higher in rank than anyone else. He emptied himself of that rank. According to Philippians 2, the 5 star General became a buck private. Why? So he could win the war against Satan. Satan’s greatest weapons are sin and death.
The cross defeated sin, and the empty tomb defeated death. Because of Jesus’ obedience, “God placed all things under His feet and appointed them to be head over everything for the church, which is His body.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)
What does that victory mean for us as “prisoner of war?” Captured by sin and under it’s imprisonment? Listen.