Summary: Ephesians 4:7-10 teaches us that Christ has given spiritual gifts to each believer.
We are currently in a series of sermons in Ephesians 4:1-16 that I am calling, “Unity in the Body of Christ.”
In the first three chapters of his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul set down a number of glorious doctrines about predestination, election, adoption, redemption, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the work of God in joining people from all nations into the one body of Christ. Now, in chapter 4, the Apostle Paul moves into the application section of his letter to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 4:1-6, he explains that a healthy church—made up of healthy Christians—is marked by spiritual unity. Now, as he moves into the next few verses, he says that a healthy church—made up of healthy Christians—is marked by spiritual diversity. And he begins by teaching about the spiritual gifts that Christ has given to each one of us.
Let’s read about the measure of Christ’s gift in Ephesians 4:7-10:
7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:7-10)
Several years ago USA Today reported that one in five gift-card recipients never used their cards in 2005, representing about $972 million in unredeemed cards. According to Consumer Reports National Research Center, the top reasons for not using gift cards:
• Didn’t have time: 50 percent.
• Didn’t find anything they wanted: 37 percent.
• Lost the card: 14 percent.
• Card expired: 12 percent.
Most of you have probably received a gift card. In fact, you probably have received several gift cards over the years. Have you ever not used a gift card? According to Consumer Reports, there is a high likelihood that you have not used a gift card that you have received. What a waste!
Paul teaches that Christ has given spiritual gifts to each believer. Sadly, a number of believers do not use the spiritual gifts that have been given to them. In the next few weeks, we shall learn about spiritual gifts, and how not to waste them.
Ephesians 4:7-10 teaches us that Christ has given spiritual gifts to each believer.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. To Whom Are Spiritual Gifts Given? (4:7)
2. From Whom Are Spiritual Gifts Given? (4:8-10)
I. To Whom Are Spiritual Gifts Given? (4:7)
First, to whom are spiritual gifts given?
In Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul stressed the unity we have in a healthy church. He wrote, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” But this unity does not mean that the church is uniform. No. In fact, Paul now goes on to teach that there is diversity in a healthy church. So, Paul said in verse 7, “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
I want to begin by focusing your attention on, “But grace….” Commentator John Stott is helpful here. He writes:
Verse 7 refers to Christ’s grace in bestowing different gifts. Although Paul does not here employ the term charismata for “gifts” (as he does in Romans 12:6 and 1 Corinthians 12:4), yet clearly it is to these that he is referring. For “grace” is charis, and “gifts” are charismata. Moreover, it is very important to understand the difference between them. “Saving grace,” the grace which saves sinners, is given to all who believe; but what might be termed “service grace,” the grace which equips God’s people to serve, is given in differing degrees according to the measure of Christ’s gift (verse 7). The unity of the church is due to charis, God’s grace having reconciled us to himself; but the diversity of the church is due to charismata, God’s gifts distributed to church members.
Do you see what is being said here? Every person who becomes a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has received and continues to receive a full and equal amount of God’s saving grace. In addition, each believer receives what Stott calls a “service grace,” the grace which equips each believer to serve, and that “service grace” is given in differing degrees to each believer according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
John MacArthur notes, “We each have a gift that is measured out to us—with certain distinct capabilities, parameters, and purposes. Each of us is given a specific gift (singular) through which we are to minister in Christ’s name.” The Apostle Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” And the Apostle Paul put it this way to the Romans in Romans 12:4–6a, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.”