Faithlife Sermons

Gifts for the Church and in the Church

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:47
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Ephesians 4:7–16 NLT
However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Gifts Given for the Church (4:11)

The Five Gifts are as follows:
1. Apostles - Initiate, gather, and pioneer new works, calling people to live now in the kingdom.
2. Prophets - who speak so as to reveal the truth and call of God into a situation, especially the injustice and neglect of the poor.
3. Pastors - tend to and sustain people’s souls, especially the hurting
4. Evangelists - bring the good news to those who are hurting.
5. Teachers - help to explain and deepen people’s faith.

Gifted to Serve, for the Equipping of the Saints

Each of these five gifts mutually work together for one purpose, to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
Each of these gifts in Ephesians are multiple, and they are interdependent.
No one person can carry out all the gifts in the community. Each person is to stay within the boundaries of their giftedness as “according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (v. 7).
Paul is talking specific to the five gifting of the Spirit, and not everyone receives these gifts, but those that do are to function together as servants for the one goal of equipping others for ministry.
This means they are not the only ones doing ministry, they are the ones who equip the church to do the ministry.

Hockey Gives Us a Picture of How This Passage Can Work in the Church

If we look at the structure of a hockey team, we can see a great picture of what God is doing within the structure of the church.
On a hockey team there is a group of coaches, the coaching teams role is to equip the team with strategy, and help fine tune the naturally given gifts the players already have.
But there is more then one coach, there is a head coach who sets the strategic plan of how the team is going to play the game, but He is not the only one who teaches it to the players.
There is always a coaching team, assistant coaches who work directly with the players to craft their gift, to encourage them when they are struggling, to work them harder when they are slacking off.
Picture the head coach being Jesus, and the assistant coaches being these five gifted people who have been empowered by the Spirit with a gift. But the forward coach doesn’t coach the goalies.
Each coach on a team has a specific area that they specialize in. One coaches the goalie’s, another the defence, another the forwards. There are coaches that focus on skating skills, and others on fitness. Each coach plays a role, and each coach is important to the big picture of equipping the players to win.

Coaches Don’t Play the Game

Notice something very important, coaches don’t actually go out and play the game for the players, they just prepare them for the game.
Each player has a gift, and the coaches have helped to organize how that gift can be used to help the team. There are position, centre, wingers, defence, goalies. Each of these positions play a role. Each role is important for the success of them team.
This is exactly how the church is to function.
God has given us coaches who are gifted in different area’s, but the church also needs to play the game.
No one person can win a hockey game.
There is one interesting point in all of this that I think is very important.
Notice we need a coaching team in order to move a team forward. In scripture we are given a head coach who is head over the church, this coach held all of the gifts needed to coach the team.
The only person that could do all things was Jesus. Jesus Christ held all of these gifts, He equips the church using his assistant coaches.

The Five Gifts of the Spirit Represent Jesus

Each of these gifts represent Jesus and his earthly ministry. Jesus was an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher!
Essentially through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is giving the church Jesus through each gifted leader. With the purpose of equipping for ministry to happen. It’s amazing how God has broken up the gifting of Jesus and given one gift to each office. I think there is a reason for this.

We are Given Christ, so the Church Can Mature

Ephesians 4:13 NLT
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Paul’s unity discussion continues in his discussion on these gifts.
The only way to unity is maturity.
If we are immature like children, we will never experience unity.
Maturity helps the church become more like Jesus.
Ephesians 4:14–15 NLT
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
The Road to maturity is done through growth.
Growth means we draw closer to God, and each other.
Growth means we spend time with God, through His word and prayer.
Growth means we willingly use our gifts to be part of the body.
Our Understanding of serving with our gifts has been influenced by the world because of immaturity.
We often use our gifts for our own good first, and the body of Christ second.
This is not how scripture talks of gifts. Gifts are used for God’s glory because he gave them to you.
Using our gifts on the team is the key to a healthy growing church that if full of love.
Ephesians 4:16 NLT
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
God gave us gifted people to coach the team and build it up. He also gave the church everything it needs to be a winning team.
Each part must do it own special part for the church to be healthy.
Romans 12:6–8 NLT
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Big Idea: In order to live in unity, one must live a life worthy of their calling. This calling is living a life of humility, by maturing in your faith, and functioning in your gift for the glory of God. This is God’s design for the church, who is called to be Christ to the world.

Closing

God has called each one of use to give our lives to him, he has given us the gifts we need as a body, to live in unity with one another, unity that shows the love of Christ to the world.
The church is so gifted it should be leading the world to Christ! This is the grace that we have received!
Today there is a handout in your bulletin, this handout is with the purpose of encouraging you to share you gifts and interests with those in role of leadership within our church.
Please fill it out, so our deacons can contact you and help you get involved.
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