Summary: A sermon on Ephesians 4:7-10. (Material adapted from Precious Gifts from the King by Marc Bertrand on Sermon Central)
Sermon for 8/16/2009
On the 31st of October, in the year 1517, a young monk, strode to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, in the German state of Saxony. With his hammer he nailed to that door a series of propositions, items for debate. Spiritual declarations. Among these were statements that called for a rediscovery of grace as the way to salvation. Among these were statements that proclaimed the Scriptures alone as the word of God. And among these 95 theses were some that insisted that every believer was called and sent by God into the world. That was revolutionary! And when Martin Luther took that to the church of his day, they didn’t want to hear it! The very idea that the common person might read the Word of God for himself – blasphemous! And that ordinary folks might consecrate the bread and wine at the Lord’s Table – incredible! That the farmer at his plow, the lawyer in the courtroom, the soldier at his post, and the cook in the kitchen – that all these were called and sent by God, just as much as the priest and the nun – that was offensive!
But, thanks be to God, thanks to Martin Luther and the other 16th Century Reformers, you and I today know that we are gifted by God, and that we are given the gift of sending. Every one of us can break new ground, go to new places, start new things, and dream new dreams, for the Kingdom.
A. Paul has just talked about how we should be one. Vs. 4-6
B. Paul in our Scriptures this morning begins to show how this oneness should be expressed, how it should be lived out everyday.
Thesis: To live out this oneness, Paul talks about our individuality, grace, and our gifts.
I. Our individuality vs. 7 (But to each one of us)
A. How is it that emphasizing our differences, our uniqueness will help us to be one?
B. Last week we talked about how we are all unique from Ephesians 2:10.
C. In the church, in the Body of Christ, we are not cyborgs. Star Trek, Next Generation
D. A relative in the military, said, “When I say jump.” Then I interrupted him, “I ask how high?” “No,” he said, “you just jump. How dare you even question my orders?” Is this how the church is to work?
E. If we look at the animal world, they are all different. However, they are all animals.
F. When we look at humans, we are all different. However, we are all humans.
G. When we look at Christians, we are all different. However, we are all Christians.
H. This is the beauty of the Body of Christ. We are not all the same. Thank God!
I. We need each other and the Lord to complete us. Cannot work effectively on own.
J. Synergy (meaning working together) is the term used to describe a situation where different people cooperate advantageously for a final outcome. Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. If used in a business application it means that teamwork will produce an overall better result than if each person was working toward the same goal individually.
K. Music is a good example of synergy. Before a symphony, the instrumentalists get to their positions and begin to tune their instruments. It sounds terrible. Working on their own it is a mess or not nearly as beautiful as when they play together. When the conductor comes to the podium and waves that baton, they make beautiful music together. The church is like that. On our own we are a mess or not nearly as useful as when we work together. But when the Lord Jesus as at the podium, directing with his baton, we make beautiful music together. Are the instruments the same? Do they do the same job or make the same kind of music? No, but together they compliment each other.
M. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-20
II. Grace (Vs. 7-10)
A. This letter has a lot about grace. Grace is a gift we do not deserve. Grace is undeserved or unmerited favor.
B. Probably best definition is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Vs. 8-10
1. Jesus Descended v. 9
2. (John 1:14 NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
3. The question is often raised as to what Paul is referring to when he says that Jesus descended into the depths of the earth? Is he teaching that Jesus descended to hell?
4. It seems likely that this passage is teaching that Jesus descended from heaven to earth, just as it says in (Phil 2:6-8) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!