Summary: An appeal for active involvement in Christian service
What Are You Doing--For Heaven’s Sake?
I. God’s Grace to the Church - v. 1-7
Notice Paul’s position - ’prisoner of the Lord’
We know that he was the prisoner of the Roman Emperor Nero; yet
Paul knew that God is sovereign over Nero, and that he had no power over Paul, except what God had given him. He was God’s prisoner!
• Fulfill your vocation - v. 1-3
Paul’s assumption - every believer has a calling and vocation!
We are to remember our mission -
“To bring people to Jesus Christ and membership in his church family, develop them to Christlike maturity,
equip them for their ministry in the church
and life mission in the world, in order to magnify God’s name.”
In other words - discipleship, fellowship, worship, evangelism, ministry
We are to fulfill our mission -
• with humility - v. 2
we are to remember that we are what we are because of Christ!
• and patience - v. 2
"forbearing one another in love" means "putting up with each other" - all are different, yet we serve the same Lord
• and unity - v. 3
We all serve for the same purpose....we’re on the same team!
In the essentials - unity
In the non-essentials - liberty
In all other things - charity
Why is this important? Because there is one church - not many; just like there is ONE Lord, ONE faith, and ONE baptism!
Next --- let’s talk about the way God equips us to fulfill His purpose for us
II. God’s Gifts for the Church - v. 8-14
A. The positions - v. 8, 11 - apostles, etc.
V. 11 talks about the victory Christ won over the grave, by leading ’captivity captive’. This gave Him the spoils of victory.
The victor often distributed the spoils of victory to those in His forces.
Notice that the "gifts" in this passage are men - and they are given unto men (mankind) - specifically == the church of Jesus Christ.
The leaders are not to carry the full load of the ministry; their purpose is to help the body of Christ reach its full potential.
For example, a pastor is a coach - to teach and encourage the team!
Quote: "The job of a coach is to make people do what they don’t want to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be." - Tom Landry
B. The purpose - v. 12 ... let’s pull over and camp here for awhile
1. The "perfecting" of the saints
Before salvation we are crippled and misshapen by sin; after salvation, as we grow spiritually, we are remolded and reshaped to be conformed to the image of Christ.
2. The work of the ministry
The work of ministry is for ALL believers; not just those who are supported financially by the church.
When the Lord left this earth, He left the work of ministry in the hands of amateurs - volunteers -
Every believer has a gift that is to be used in His ministry
Romans 12:1-8 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.