Summary: This is the third message in the Living Beyond Myself. It gives an overview of Ephesians 4:11-13.

The past few weeks we’ve been looking at this text in Ephesians. We’ve talked about how we are each called to serve... We are all ministers. Last week we looked at spiritual gifts and we looked at the fact that God specifically gifts us to accomplish the tasks that he has for us... Today, I want to step back - instead of looking at this text at ground level, I want to go to 10,000 feet - and look at what it’s supposed to look like - the total plan... Let’s read this text again (READ EPHESIANS 4:11-13)

The first thing I want you to notice is who is responsible - who is in charge - who is putting the church together - It’s Christ! Do you remember the time when Jesus asked his disciples, “Who am I?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God.” Jesus said... “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:17-18) Christ is the one who is responsible for building his church...

The pastor is not the one in charge, and you are not the one in charge - Christ is in charge of his church!

So, back to 10,000 feet... This passage says that Christ gives the church leaders who are to equip God’s people to do the work. That word equip is an interesting word. Some of the other uses for this word: It’s used to speak of setting a broken bone. After a break, the bones are misaligned and the doctor gets everything in place... That’s equipping - Another use is the mending of fishing nets. After fishermen have hauled in the days catch, they would spend time repairing the nets - mending them for the next days use - that’s equipping.

God gives the church leadership, so that the church can accomplish its task - and so that everything stays together... One thing I noticed from both of those examples - Both are problems that come from use. When you use bones, they break. When you use nets they need to be mended... the church is similar - when it’s moving and working and we are serving our community, things get broken and torn... The role of leadership is to help repair it! help mend it...

John MacArthur in his commentary gives 4 equipping tools. 1) God’s word is one - God’s word keeps us in check right. It;s our guide for everything we do... 2) A second tool is prayer - when I begin to question our direction as a church, or I am wondering what our next move is - I turn to prayer... Not just asking, but listening... 3) MacArthur points out too other tools that God uses to equip us - Testing and suffering. We don’t like to think of being tested - but its one of the ways that God allows us to grow. Its also one of the tools that I use as a leader. if you say to me pastor, I am ready to grow, I’m going to find a place for you to serve... 4) We don’t like to think of suffering as an equipping tool. We like to think of our lives as easy... But, I challenge you to look through scripture. Persecution drove the church forward in Acts. They would have gladly stayed in Jerusalem, but God used suffering to disperse them throughout the world... Sometimes God has to use suffering for us to wake up to what he wants for us...

Let’s go back to 10,000 feet though... Christ is in Charge, He gives leaders to equip us to do the work. What’s the result though - what’s the goal? What does God want his church to look like? Well we find it here in verse 13 - These things will continue until the Church is unified in faith... Unified in the knowledge of Jesus... and mature in the Lord.

So God wants us to be unified in faith... You need to understand something about unity. There’s a difference between what we tend to think of as unity, and spiritual unity... Unity means that we are all on the same page, right? When we normally think of unity, we think of decisions - when you and I agree we are unified. Spiritual unity isn’t necessarily the same - it’s not person to person... It’s person to God. Spiritual unity is being on the same page with Christ. It’s coming to understand what God is about...

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