1 Ephesians 4C S tday we cntinue in Paul s discussin f spiritual gifts within the bdy We re studying hw spiritual gifts cntribute t the unity f the bdy Unity has been Paul s tpic since chapter 3 And Gd s call fr unity in the church is a wnderful example f Gd s sense f humr In the church, Gd has taken peple frm every walk f life, frm different cultures, different languages different perspectives... And He has tld us we are united int ne grup This is a unity that defies human nature, which is exactly the pint since Gd unites us spiritually despite ur natural differences In that way the bdy f Christ is an ppsite t the natin f Israel In the case f Israel, the Lrd created a peple ut f nthing They began as a single family created by cvenant and set apart frm all ther peple Israel was like bx f Cheeris... Almst identical t ne anther, But unique in the wrld On the ther hand, Gd made His church t be like a bx Fruit Lps... The bdy f Christ cmes in a rainbw f clrs and flavrs Each f us very different frm anther But Gd has knit us tgether int a cmmn gathering, a bdy f believers wh reflect the wrld s diversity We t were set apart as was Israel, but we re set apart spiritually And key t maintaining ur xymrnic unity-thrugh-diversity are the spiritual gifts Christ has given t His bdy 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 Ephesians 4C 2 f 14 Last week we learned that the Lrd tk great steps t cnnect the church saints t things befre and things t cme Jesus descended int the lwer parts f the earth t preach t the captives befre setting them free t enter Heaven And at that time, Christ als gave gifts t His Bride, the Church He did this t cmmunicate that Church saints are just as much a part f His family as thse wh came befre And He did it t ensure we wuld enjy the same unity that Jews knew in the days prir t the Church S nw Paul explains exactly hw these gifts functin t create unity, beginning in v.11 Eph. 4:11 And He gave sme as apstles, and sme as prphets, and sme as evangelists, and sme as pastrs and teachers, Eph. 4:12 fr the equipping f the saints fr the wrk f service, t the building up f the bdy f Christ; Eph. 4:13 until we all attain t the unity f the faith, and f the knwledge f the Sn f Gd, t a mature man, t the measure f the stature which belngs t the fullness f Christ. In this passage we find ne f three lists f spiritual gifts fund in the New Testament All three lists are written by Paul In additin t the ne here, we have lists in 1Crinthians and in Rmans All three lists differ at least a little frm ne anther And the cntext f each passage makes clear Paul prvided these lists as examples t make a larger pint Each list f example supprt a different perspective n spiritual gifts In 1Crinthians, Paul was explaining the prper regulatin f gifts within the crprate gathering In Rmans, Paul explains the prper attitude tward spiritual gifts in the bdy 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 Ephesians 4C 3 f 14 And here in Ephesians, Paul explains the purpse f gifts in the bdy Therefre, Paul s lists were nt intended t be cmprehensive inventries f spiritual gifts In fact, there is n list f all spiritual gifts in the Bible Even if we were t cmbine all three f Paul s lists, we still wuldn t have a cmplete list f gifts available within the bdy Furthermre, sme spiritual gifts in Paul s lists are n lnger present in the bdy While thers are nly available nly under certain circumstances S let s keep an pen mind abut Gd s ptential t gift members f the bdy yet remain grunded by scripture Turning t the details, Paul is explaining the central purpse f spiritual gifts in the bdy f Christ But he begins with three imprtant wrds: He gave sme These three wrds each have thelgical imprtance And if we verlk them, we re likely t cme t wrng cnclusins abut spiritual gifts The first wrd is He Obviusly, that prnun refers t Christ, as it refers back t the persn in v.10 wh descended and then ascended Christ is the One in charge f spiritual gifts Spiritual gifts aren t under ur cntrl r the cntrl f anther persn like a pastr In 1Crinthians Paul teaches that spiritual gifts are accrding t the will f Gd S the Bible teaches cnsistently that Christ frever remains in cntrl f spiritual gifts Which brings us t the secnd wrd...gave Christ gave us ur spiritual gift 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 Ephesians 4C 4 f 14 We didn t lbby fr it, request it r earn it Gd made a svereign chice t equip us a certain way Yu nticed that the first gift n Paul s list is that f apstle, and f curse we knw this was Paul s spiritual gift But d yu remember hw Paul btained his gift? Accrding t Acts, Paul received his gift in the same mment the Lrd brught Paul t faith It s bvius, the Lrd already had Paul s gift in mind befre Paul even knew Him S Christ gave Paul the gift f apstle, and there was never a pint when the Lrd asked Paul what he wanted Just as Paul had n chice in jining the bdy f Christ, he had n chice in the gift he wuld receive Similarly, yur gift was appinted fr yu at the mment f yur faith Finally, Paul says sme... Mst f us dn t receive a clear wrd frm the Lrd cncerning ur gift S we must cme t knw ur gift thrugh experience and trial and errr Nevertheless, yu received a Christ-given, Spirit-enabled ability t serve the bdy Christ And it came t yu at the mment yu believed Everyne in the bdy f Christ receives a spiritual gift accrding t the will f Gd But we dn t all receive the same gift Paul says that the Lrd gave sme t be apstle, sme t be prphet, etc. Meaning Gd desn t give everyne in the bdy f Christ a cmmn spiritual gift S taken tgether these three wrds establish ur thelgical understanding f hw spiritual gifts cme t the bdy 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 Ephesians 4C 5 f 14 Christ selects and cntrls the gifts each believers receives He delivers the gift t us by means f His Spirit at the mment f ur faith accrding t His will And He diversifies gifts within the bdy by assigning different gifts t different peple There is n cmmn spiritual gift that all believers share Yu may encunter sme wh teach that certain spiritual gifts lie within ur grasp That every believer can btain these gifts either by praying fr them, mimicking smene else r learning them urselves This teaching presumes that spiritual gifts are handed ut cntinuusly by Christ in respnse t ur petitins And they may even claim that every believer must demnstrate a cmmn spiritual gift r they aren t truly saved But as yu can seem, the pening wrds f this passage (amng ther scripture) denies this teaching plainly Turning t Paul s shrt list f gifts, this list is unique cmpared t the ther tw His list emphasizes thse spiritual gifts key t unity in the bdy These are sme f the mst imprtant gifts Gd can give And fr that reasn, they are cmmnly assciated with leadership rles But with the exceptin f the gift f apstle, these gifts are nt autmatically ffices in the bdy They are spiritual abilities that may r may nt lead t a leadership psitin in the church The ne exceptin is the gift f apstle The wrd apstle means ne sent with a message It refers t being the first t bring the Gd News int a place Apstles were the men appinted by Christ t bring the message f the Messiah t the wrld in the century 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 Ephesians 4C 6 f 14 They had an uniquely difficult missin They traveled int areas f the wrld preaching a Jewish Messiah and the pprtunity fr Gentiles t knw Him They entered int cultures that knew nthing and cared even less abut Jewish teachings f a Messiah In fact, many f these cultures were hstile tward the teachings f Judaism Even wrse, these men preached withut the benefit f 2,000 years f church histry supprting their claims There was n New Testament scripture, and n ne had heard f Jesus They had n allies waiting t receive them And enemies fllwed them everywhere Under these circumstances, an rdinary evangelist wuldn t have std a chance S the Lrd equipped certain men in special ways t reach the wrld and establish the church The gift f apstle included tw key qualities First, these men were given supernatural insight int the wrd f Gd They received supernatural understanding f Old Testament prphecies that had lng alluded thers And they received new revelatin frm Gd, which eventually became the New Testament cann f scripture Secndly, these men received authrity t establish the church in unreached places and dictate prper church practice Every apstle was appinted by Christ thrugh a persnal appearing, like Paul n the rad t Damascus Each ne was a representative f Christ t the early church Therefre, they had supreme authrity ver the flck 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 Ephesians 4C 7 f 14 And each man received supernatural abilities t demnstrate and validate their authrity In the Bible we see example f these men perfrming supernatural healing, smetimes using nthing mre than their shadw They culd prnunce a judgment against a believer and see that judgment carried ut supernaturally even frm a distance They culd be bitten by pisnus snakes and live And they even raised the dead t life These supernatural abilities were a part f hw Jesus validated each apstle s right t teach and lead the church Therefre, apstle was the highest gift Gd gave t the church, but Jesus nly gave it fr a time By the end f the first century, the church was well-established and the New Testament cann was cmplete Therefre, the church had n mre need fr the ffice f apstle S when the last apstle, the Apstle Jhn, died near the end f the first century, the gift f apstle died with him It s bvius hw Jesus used the gift f apstle t bring unity t the early church They unified the church thrugh a cmmn understanding f the creeds and dctrines f the faith And by their authrity as they advanced the Gd News arund the wrld even as they prtected the church frm thse wh attacked the faith It s fair t say that withut apstles, the church wuld nt have survived at all And as the last apstle died, the mst pwerful unifying gift shifted t the next gift n Paul s list Even after the apstles were gne, prphets cntinued t guide the church in understanding the wrd f Gd 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 Ephesians 4C 8 f 14 The revelatin f Gd was cmplete in apstles, but the early church still needed help t understand the meaning f scripture Remember, access t cpies f scripture remained limited fr many centuries And even literacy was nt universal S Gd equipped sme with a gift t relate scripture t the church We knw the prphetic gift is different than the apstlic gift since it s listed separately here But we als knw Apstles were prphets t, since they delivered the New Testament t the church S what s the difference? The difference is the gift f prphecy desn t invlve revealing new scripture Scripture itself says that n ne may add r subtract frm the wrds Gd gave t the final apstle, Jhn Therefre, the gift f prphecy prvides supernatural understanding f Gd s wrd A prphet will reveal the prper meaning f scripture t a generatin where that understanding was lst (like during the Refrmatin) Or a prphet may bring the knwledge f scripture t places where the wrd f Gd itself is restricted (like in China) S unlike the gift f apstle, prphecy may cntinue n even tday Particularly in areas f the wrld where access t Gd s wrd is limited, the Lrd may mve thrugh prphets t bring a knwledge f Himself Their prphetic speech desn t add t scripture r cmpete with scripture It eches scripture by bringing it t life in the hearts f thse wh lack understanding r access t Gd s wrd therwise Once again, it s easy t see hw this gift prmtes unity in the bdy 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 Ephesians 4C 9 f 14 Unity always begins with a crrect understanding f Gd s wrd The wrd f Gd is THE sanctifying, unifying frce in the bdy f Christ As Jesus Himself prayed t the Father n ur behalf Jhn 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Yur wrd is truth. Jhn 17:18 As Yu sent Me int the wrld, I als have sent them int the wrld. Jhn 17:19 Fr their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves als may be sanctified in truth. The church is sanctified (made hly) and united by the truth S gifts that prmte an understanding f Gd s wrd are f first imprtance in bringing unity t the bdy As we lk at the rest f the list, we see this principle at wrk The next gift is evangelist The wrd in Greek means smene wh brings glad tidings r gd news This gift invlves mre than merely witnessing Christ t the wrld Anyne can evangelize, and in fact, everyne shuld evangelize t sme degree But the gift f evangelist is smething beynd the nrm The gift f evangelism is a supernatural cmbinatin f curage, bldness, tactfulness and aplgetics This a ptent and yet rare cmbinatin f skills, which is why it relies n a supernatural gifting Smene with a gift f evangelism will initiate cnversatins abut Christ when thers culdn t find the curage They will enter dangerus places withut hesitatin They will endure persecutin withut backing dwn And mst imprtantly, they will bring a slid, biblical defense f Jesus t the wrld 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 Ephesians 4C 10 f 14 The gift f evangelism includes a supernatural ability t cmmunicate the Gd News accurately The persn understands salvatin by grace thrugh faith inside and ut They aren t necessarily schlars r even very well studied Instead, the Spirit in them gives them the defense they need t explain the truth accurately befre kings and authrities Once mre we can see hw the Lrd uses evangelists t unite the church Evangelists unite us in missin and purpse We see them mving and feel curage t fllw Tgether, the lead the church t new cnverts t strengthen ur numbers And they ensure that the grwth f the church is set n a prper thelgical fundatin The gift f evangelist usually shws itself in style and results A gifted evangelist is wired t talk abut Jesus If yu r I stand in the checkut line at the grcery stre, we think t urselves, I shuld mentin Jesus t the clerk. But usually the mment cmes and ges and we leave the stre having said nthing Befre the gifted evangelist leaves the checkut line, he s presented the Gspel, received a respnse and made an appintment fr a baptism He r she is bld, willing t speak And having spken, the Lrd then brings great fruit This gift is nt a replacement fr ur individual effrts t witness Christ t the wrld Instead, evangelists inspire and lead us in that wrk, creating unity in the accmplishment f the missin f the church Finally, Paul lists pastrs and teachers, but in the Greek language the cnstruct f this phrase suggests a single cmpund title 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 Ephesians 4C 11 f 14 S Paul seems t be talking abut a single gift called pastr-teacher In Rmans Paul lists a gift f teacher withut mentining pastr S it s pssible that there are separate gifts f pastr-teacher vs. just teacher But in my view, it s nt necessary r even pssible t separate these gifts practically speaking Biblically speaking, all pastrs must be abut t teach And all teachers are engaged in shepherding the flck S in my experience, the gift is pastr-teacher with sme being given a greater ability fr ne aspect than the ther Remember, these gifts are nt the same as rles r psitins f authrity A persn with the gift f pastr-teacher is nt necessarily an authrity figure in the church We receive ur spiritual gift frm the mment we are saved, but a persn cannt becme an authrity in the church n Day 1 And sme wh have this gift never aspire t a leadership rle They serve as a Sunday Schl teacher r in sme ther way Yet all the while they are shepherding Gd s peple thrugh their skills f teaching, cunseling and exhrtatin This final gift is bviusly the mst cmmn amng thse in the list, and ne that we still depend upn tday But ntice hw all these gifts center n building up the bdy f Christ thrugh a knwledge f the wrd f Gd Simply put, there is n substitute fr unifying believers in their understanding f Gd s wrd We can t truly be unified if we dn t share a cmmn understanding f the truth Unity is imprtant, but unity is a means t a greater end 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
12 Ephesians 4C 12 f 14 Ntice in v.12 these gifts cme t the church fr the purpse f equipping yu and me Paul says it was fr the equipping f the saints Obviusly, yu and I are the saints wh are t be equipped And the wrd equipping can be translated training S a primary reasn we gather nce a week is t be trained by thse wh pssess these gifts That s why Paul says elsewhere that the gathering is fr believers, nt unbelievers We cme t the gathering expecting t be trained, t be built up as a bdy At the end f v.12 Paul says ur equipping shuld strengthen us crprately Dn t verlk that pint Christianity is a team sprt We must seek t strengthened tgether, such that if smene is dragging behind, we shuld clse ranks t bring them alng Dn t take persnal satisfactin in yur wn knwledge f scripture if at the same time thers arund yu remain ignrant In particular, the gifts like pastr-teacher are suppsed t identify any such discrepancies and address them In that way, we can see even mre clearly hw pastr and teacher wrk tgether It s similar t the way shepherding is a cmbinatin f leading and feeding a flck A shepherd can t feed just sme f the flck r lead just sme...he must lead and feed all withut lsing any And this must be ur crprate gal as well, bth ld and yung, new and mature Christians We share a crprate respnsibility t seek fr this utcme It s nt merely the respnsibility f the evangelist r pastrteacher 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
13 Ephesians 4C 13 f 14 In fact, if a single persn is ding t much f the heavy lifting fr the church, the pprtunity fr thers t be strengthened is lst One time, renwn evangelist and preach, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, was preaching and leading the wrship chir in his church After ne service, a dear ld lady came up t Chafer and said yu are ding t much Yu ught nt have t preach and lead the wrship chir als S she said, Why dn t yu find smene else t preach? Since everyne has a stake in the utcme, everyne has a rle in achieving that gal And we shall cntinue in this crprate pursuit until we arrive, Paul says In v.13, Paul says we are seeking t attain t the unity f the faith and knwledge f the Sn f Gd He s describing arriving at a faith equal t Christ s faith And a spiritual knwledge equal t Christ s knwledge Christ s faith never dubted, never acted cntrary t the will f Gd And His knwledge f Gd s wrd never failed s that He always had a prper respnse fr the devil and his agents Obviusly, these gals are lfty, s Paul isn t suggesting that we will becme Christ s equal this side f Heaven Paul is simply setting the right gal, the high standard that we are all called t seek in a daily walk: Christ Paul calls ur gal attaining t the mature man The Greek wrk translated mature is literally cmplete r perfect That s ur true gal We want t becme as perfect r cmplete spiritually as we can Thrugh the training we receive frm a unified bdy made pssible by these gifts 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
14 Ephesians 4C 14 f 14 As ~we all seek t grw in these areas by setting ur sights n Christ, then we will begin t mve tward Him And as each f us is ding the same things, equipped by the gifts f thse in the bdy, we grw clser tgether Our bnd f unity grws strnger A.W. Tzer described this prcess elegantly using an example f a rm full f pians He said: Has it ever ccurred t yu that ne hundred pians all tuned t the same [tuning] frk are autmatically tuned t each ther? They are f ne accrd by being tuned, nt t each ther, but t anther standard t which each ne must individually bw. [Likewise,] ne hundred wrshipers [meeting] tgether, each ne lking away t Christ, are in heart nearer t each ther than they culd pssibly be, were they t...turn their eyes away frm Gd t strive fr clser fellwship [in sme ther way]. That s ur gal Paul says...t measure up t the statue, t the height, f Christ s fullness and perfectin We are all called t strive fr that standard individually But we can nly achieve it thrugh the unity f the bdy f Christ Many Christians aren t even striving, and still thers strive alne thinking they can make the trip alne But the scriptures tell us smething different We all must strive t equal Christ in faith and knwledge Fr that is the cmmand f ur Lrd It is what pleases Him and what allws us t accmplishes the missin He gave us But we are t strive tgether, as a bdy, with the gifts f the bdy wrking t ur advantage in that regard S cme t the gathering regularly And cme t be trained and t train thers fr the glry f Christ 2017 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.