Summary: Pastors and Teachers are to equip people to do God's work, but what is God's work?
Ephesians 4: Our Purpose
This is week two in this particular scripture. We started last week looking at verses 11 and 12, how Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers had been given as a gift to the church for a purpose. Ephesians 4:12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. And we took most of our time looking at the word equip. And explained how in the original language that word implied a restoration. It was sometimes used to explain how a broken bone would be knit back together in the healing process, but there was another way this word was used. In the book of Mark when the various apostles are being introduced we read this Mark 1:19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. The word that Mark uses here for “repairing” is the same word that is used by Paul when he talks about “equipping.”
And the thought is fixing, mending, restoring.
And so last week I spoke about how our lives were like fishing nets, that they came from the manufacturer whole, complete. But they didn’t stay that way, as a result of doing what nets are supposed to do that nets often get broken, the mesh frays and sometimes they break. In the same way our lives take a beating through the everyday wear and tear that comes with life.
And there are other times that it’s not the little things that wear on nets, sometimes instead of small tears and frays happening to the net it will catch on something or twist the wrong way and all of a sudden the hole is that much bigger. I told you last week how a fishing boat from Grand Manan ended up with a whale in its fishing net and the whale decided it didn’t want to be in the fishing net and so it left, resulting in a really big hole in the net.
And maybe you’ve experienced a whale going through the net of your life, a death, a disease or some other devastation. If that has happened to you then you don’t need me to explain it to you.
And then we talked about how nets couldn’t be left un-mended because the strain would make the holes bigger and the net weaker. And there are no such things as self-mending nets, at least none that I’ve heard of. And it’s the same with life, if we want to be all that God wants us to be we have to allow ourselves to be mended. And I can’t do it for you, and you’ve already figured out that you can’t do it by yourself it’s going to have to be done with God’s help.
And then I spoke about how mended nets are like new again, they weren’t replaced but they were restored. And often times the repairs were stronger than the original net, because new twine had been used and they had been tied off by hand and not by machine.
Of course the analogy here is that regardless of our past God can make us like new again. In the Psalms David wrote Psalm 51:7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. And again in Psalm 103:12 He (God) has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. And that is not as far as the east coast is from the west coast instead it is as far as the east is from the west. Back in the Eighties Madonna had one of her first big hits with the song “Like a virgin” and it said “Like a virgin touched for the very first time.” And while it’s not the intent of the song it is a pretty good analogy for the forgiveness of God.
And that brings us to the big question: So what? I mean, really isn’t that the question, that even if you don’t verbalize it, you ask yourself every time you hear a sermon preached? It is for me, I want to know “How does this apply to me?” “What is the take home here?”
Mark 1:19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. Why were James and John mending their nets? So they could use them again. Nets are mended so they can be used for their intended purpose, so they can be nets. And the purpose of a net is to catch things; fish, butterflies, golf balls and apparently legs. I was looking for a video that showed how fishing nets were mended and if you put in the phrase “mending fish nets” you get all kinds of interesting videos.