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God's gifts to the Church

Discipleship: "It's for me and for you"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:12:34
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Gifts to the Church

From spiritual gifts to the church (Eph4:7-10) Paul gets into describing some of the gifts for the church (v.11) and then the reason why (v.12-13) and the results (v.14) when applied (v.15-16). Tonight we are going to briefly look at the gifts for the church to start with.
Ephesians 4:11 NASB95
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
(Insert God gave picture here)
As we get into this entire section tonight we should take a moment at how Paul looks at the church. It is the body of Christ that is made up of all believers. Believers who are to grow through discipleship in unity to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
In Eph4:7-8 it says this, just listen to it, it is not on the screen.
Ephesians 4:7–8 NASB95
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.”
The gifts He gave were for the church to grow, to obtain, protect and mature to the fullness of Christ. At the time this was written scripture was still in the process of being written, these gifts were given not to all, but to certain men for certain purposes and some were foundational not permanent.
I would be remiss if I did not touch on these before getting to the purpose of the gifts and the application for today as disciples of Jesus Christ.
God gave some as:
I want to keep this brief in this section here more as foundational work, intro work than study work.
Appointed by Christ (Lk6:12-16; Gal1:1; 1Cor12:28)
In Luke Jesus named the apostles with exception of Paul who was named in Gal1:1. Appointment also noted in 1Cor12:28 as well as our passage here.
Authority given by Christ (Jn20:23)
THe one with all authority (Mt28:19) gave authority to the apostles
John 20:23 NASB95
23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
They were given the authority to forgive or to bind sins. Only something that God could do. That authority was given to the Apostles.
Were foundational to the cornerstone of the Church Jesus Christ (Eph2:20)
Ephesians 2:20 NASB95
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
(Transition) this sets us to the next gift
They are linked with the apostles as foundational (Eph2:20; 3:5)
They were inspired to speak forth the word of God and foretell as we have discussed before in other lessons.
Means proclaimer of the “good news” these were then and oftentimes are now men who bring the good news to bring people into the body of Christ then move on.
These men do not operate under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but by the perspiration of studying and proclaiming the good news, God’s word, the gospel, which is the power to save.
They are still active in the body today with purpose to preach the gospel (Mk16:15), in and out of season to preach the word (2Tim4:2)
These are the spiritual leaders of a local congregation. They are the Pastors, elders, overseer, bishop.
They are to help mature the body, apt to teach (1Tim3:2) to bring about the results we will look at shortly
and Teachers
Teachers are to expound on the words of the apostles and the prophets
To take the congregation from milk of the evangelist to the meat of God’s word.
Note: these and not exclusive meaning there was one and not the other, for we know that Peter was an Apostle and an Elder, Timothy was a teacher and an evangelist. Some were foundational for the church that scripture was just being written on and some for today to further the growth of the church today to the maturing of the body to the fullness of Christ.
As I mentioned I did not want to focus on that stuff this evening but to look at this next section the gifts given with a purpose stated and direction given in our next section.

Reason for the gifts given

Foundational gifts to generational gifts, both given for purpose, with a reason.
Ephesians 4:12–13 NASB95
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
(Insert Fullness of Christ picture here)
Gifts given, purposed:
For the equipping of the saints
Question: What is the reason for the equipping when you look at (v.12)?
It is for the works of ministry.
Who is being equipped? The saints are, the believers
Now we are still looking at the gifts for the church, the people we noted earlier and the equipping takes on some of these forms
To teach (Lk6:40)
To equip with everything good (Heb13:21)
To prepare (Heb10:5); to Supply (1The3:10)
To form, mold, shape (Heb11:3) and to mend and repair (Mt4:21)
To correct, (2Cor13:11); to restore (Gal6:1)
To bring harmony (1Cor1:10)
(Insert fullness of Christ picture here again)
Those being equipped again by the leaders are the saints, for the saints to minister, for the work of service. - what works of service can you think of? (loving, caring, feeding, waiting on, meeting physical needs; then within the body to the body serving, proclaiming by teaching etc.)
Interesting fact: serving, serve, service to is found 66 times in the N.T. and about 66% of those times is contextually having to do with meeting a physical need. So what church programs maybe needed, church service is needed too to meet the needs of the people.
For the building up of the body of Christ (ref: Mt20:28)
When we the saints work together, we grow together, we mature today.
We learn to not just be served by the leadership but to serve following Christ example
Matthew 20:28 NASB95
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus often met the physical needs prior to the spiritual needs; we may do well to adapt to the same thing as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Unity of faith to bring to a mature man (ref: Mt23:15; Gen3:4-5; Eph3:19; Php3:10)
Kenneth Boles said this:
“In the midst of all the diversity of gifts and the variety of ministries among the saints, the body moves toward ultimate unity.”
(Insert Unity of the Faith Picture here)
This is a unity not yet obtained but the body, the saints are growing towards it. This is the work of the saints themselves being used in the growing of through service. Leaders are not to do it all nor are leaders but saints too who are to serve the body too.
The unity of the faith here is not the unity mentioned in (Eph4:3). This is the unity of the faith that binds one believer to another in serving one another. It is a faith that unites us as believers in Jesus Christ.
This is also unity that comes in the knowledge of the Son of God. A built up church, is not just an intellectual church, it is a church that is personally involved with Him (check out Eph3:19 on your own) it is understanding the surpassing greatness of Him (Php3:10)
Unity with the Son necessitates unity with the body.
To the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ
Paul had so much to say just in this one verse about the build up, equipped church, unity, knowledge, maturity and fullness.
We are to glorify Christ in word and deed. This stature is something we strive for daily to be more like Him and to serve Him in a pleasing manner.

The results of the equipping

God’s given gifts (leaders) to God’s people (the saints) given with a purpose *equipping) and an intended result.
Ephesians 4:14 NASB95
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
(Insert Spiritual growth picture here)
We are talking about equipping, maturing, we are talking about spiritual growth, so let’s see some of the results of the equipping we have already looked at.
Question what is the result noted in (Eph4:14)?
No longer to be children tossed here and there (ref 1Cor3:1-2, 13:11; Heb5:12-6:1)
This can be children in the literal sense but it can be in the immature sense as you could see in other scriptures (1Cor3:1-2, 13:11)
Hey all believers start as “babes in Christ” but we are to grow, to mature, to go from milk of the word
Hebrews 5:13 NASB95
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
and I here is a bonus scripture
Let me read a passage to you.
Hebrews 5:12 NASB95
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13 NASB95
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14 NASB95
14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Hebrews 6:1 NASB95
1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
and just to keep in context one more verse
Hebrews 6:2 NASB95
2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
Question: How can they be carried away (v.14)?
Every wind of doctrine, by trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (ref: Jn8:44; Act20:30; Jude4)
Such things in that day were grace plus the law.
Such things today is faith without repentance or obedience
Trickery of men can be a partial truth, it can also be like the Pharisees that would do anything to make someone a convert but was converting someone to hell (Mt23:15)
Deceitful scheming, a deliberate scheme of twisting the truth
Like the serpent in the garden (Gen3:4-5); or people today saying a prayer that offers no salvation. Or falling short of baptism for the remission of sins claiming it is a work
Jesus said their father is the father of lies (Jn8:44); Paul told the Ephesian elders that they would even come from within (Act20:30) as did John (1Jn4:1) and Jude (1:4).
(Transition): Great results when we all work together in the works of service, ministry because of the gifts given to the church which you hold the fruit of their labor in your hands (the bible).

The Application

God’s gifts are gifts to be used. Gifts that are to be applied for the intended purpose and here we have the application of how to apply.
Ephesians 4:15–16 NKJV
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
(Insert fitted together picture here)
Speak the truth in love (v.15)
To overcome the deceitful scheming and the cunning craftiness and the winds of very doctrine we need to be fully equipped with the truth and to speak it in love.
Found this by College press commentary I though pretty good
“Paul’s goal is for the infant (v.14) to grow to maturity in the fullness of Christ (v.13)
Being fitted and held together for the effective working (v.16)
Jesus is Jn15 uses an example of branches must stay attached to the vine and they get their strength from the vine. As Christians, as the church we derive our spiritual vitality from the Lord, being held together by Him and for Him.
we are “being” fitted together, it is an on-going process, it is an active process, it is a process that call for all us to work together for the effective working which is the ministry to the saints.
We grow as a body by the edifying of one another in love.
With the vitality, strength that we get from the source, Christ who is the head we grow together as the body according to His effective working in us! We have effective work when we allow His work to work in us and through us.
Commentator Kenneth Boles once said:
“The key to godly growth that accomplishes the purpose of the Head is for every part of the body to function. The leadership (v.11) cannot do all the ministry, while the saints merely watch.”
In summary he went on to further say that when all the parts do not do their part than the other parts have to leave their part to do the others part and that is not effective and not how God intended. Remember the Spirit gave gifts to everyone, gave grace to everyone to use those gifts for the common good (you can look up 1Cor12:1-11).
Let’s check our plumbline
(insert plumb line picture here)
The gifted, called leaders were called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry unto the building up of the body of Christ. There are some things we should be able to see if the body is growing as it should. Some evidences of a good plumb line
Evidences of effective ministry of service
the church, body, grows by the feeding on the Word of God and ministering to one another as Christ set the example of such and commanded us to do the same.
To an unbeliever it is all about “me” and even a baby Christian may still have that carnal thinking, but the Christian who is growing in Christlikeness will think it is all about “we”
So a great plumbline, evidence of a maturing body is are we Christlike in our actions?
The growing Christian is not tossed about by every religious novelty out there. He is firmly rooted in the word knowing that there are wolves out there, and what appears to be roaring lions that want to take you away.
Some may come from within, some may tickle your ears.
Am I rooted in God’s word to see if someone is trying to see me a false bill of goods?
Truth joined in love
Truth must be joined with love or it can be brutality or hypocrisy and that does not build up or edify the body.
We need to be ready, prepared, willing to share the truth in love with each other (consider Pro27:6) -faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Do I use love when speaking with others and in situations needing correction or education?
Am I equipped with God’s word to speak the truth in love?
As members of “one body” a local body, we belong to one another and are to love and serve one another. What one does will affect and impact others.
The body grows as the individual member grows. Growth happens when feeding on the WOrd and the ministering to the saints.
We cooperate with one another in love
Forbearing one another (Eph4:2)
Speaking the truth in love (Eph4:15)
Edifying of itself in love (Eph4:16)
Love is the blood flowing through the body!
(Conclusion): Spiritual unity is not something that we can conjure up, or manufacture. IT is something we already have in Christ, and we must protect it (Eph4:3) and must maintain it.
Truth unites where lies divide; so be filled with the truth in love
Love unites, but selfishness divides so don’t just consider yourself, think more highly of your brother
Therefore speaking the truth in love let us equip one another and edify one another so we can be more Christlike!
(invitation slide- Christ in me) invitation (Song) (Prayer) (Exit)
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