Walk Series - Week 16 (Ephesians 4:7-16)
Text: Ephesians 4:7-16 (NKJV)
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." 9 Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 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.”
The word E Pluribus Unum appear on The Great Seal of the United States. Until 1956, E Pluribus Unum was the unofficial motto of the United States. In 1956, the official motto of the United States became In God We Trust. E Pluribus Unum is a Latin phrase which means “out of many, one,” or “one from many.” This phrase pictures the United States as a melting pot. It envisions our nation as one nation, made up of many individuals. While there is diversity and division among the people that make up the United States of America, at the end of the day, we are all still Americans. Regardless of the country of our origin, the color of our skin, the type of politics we embrace, or where we stand on many social issues, we are “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The United States is a unity made possible by, and in spite of, great diversity. The church is a lot like the diversity of Country experiences; however, we stand together as one in the Lord. We are in the same body. We are indwelled by the same Spirit. We share the same hope. We serve the same Lord. We believe the same faith. We have experienced the same baptism. And, we are children of the same Heavenly Father.
We are all different one from the other. Yet, it is our differences that make unity within the body; it is our diversity that actually makes our unity possible. I want you to see that, while you are a part of the body of Christ, you have been uniquely gifted to serve the Lord. You are a member of the body of Christ, but you are different from every other member in the body. You are special and God wants you to use your uniqueness to serve the whole Body of Christ, so that it might reach its fullest potential for the glory of God.
1. The Root of Our Diversity: vs. 7-11
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." 9 Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.
The Grace of God: grace was given. Undeserved favor or a gift! Given for service, these gifts are His enabling ministry. “There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” 1 Corinthians 12:5-7 When He saved you, He gave you gifts that you may share with other believers, but the way the Lord uses you to exercise those gifts will be unique to you! “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
So, our differences, our diversity, is rooted in the grace of God. We are all saved the same way, and we are all indwelled by the same Spirit, but we are uniquely equipped for His service, by His grace.
The Gifts of God: When Jesus died, they buried His body, but His Spirit descended into Paradise to proclaim to all those who had been waiting on redemption since Adam fell, that sin had been defeated and the way opened to God. That seems to be what Peter refers to when he says, “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison,” 1 Peter 3:19
“It is finished!” Like a conquering hero when he has returned from a successful campaign, the Lord Jesus Christ shared with His people the spoils of His victory. As the Bible says, “He gave gifts unto men.”
The Giftedness of God: Our diversity is seen in the gifts Paul mentions in vs.11. This is merely a small list of spiritual gifts.
- Apostles - The Apostles were the pioneers of the faith.
- Prophets - The word speaks of “a foreteller.” This was a person who received direct revelation from God to share with the world. The words of the prophet were literally the words of God.
- Evangelists - This word literally means, “a preacher of the Gospel.”
- Pastors and Teachers - The word “Pastors” means “shepherd.”
The whole point here is when God saved you, He gifted you. He gave you at least one spiritual gift, probably more, and He gave them to you so that you could serve Him and so that you could be a blessing to His church.
2. The Reasons of Our Diversity: vs. 12-14
“For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting."
So, God saved us and He gifted us. Why did He make each of us different? Why didn't He just give us all the same gifts? He made is diverse one from another because that was what was best for the Body of Christ. If every member of the body was an ear, who would do the seeing? If every member was a hand, who would do the walking? God made us diverse for His Own reasons, and Paul shares some of those reasons in these verses.
The Completion of the Body: It simply means that God has placed the various members in the body to help the body achieve its fullest potential for His glory.
The Commitment of the Body: Effective ministry is the work of the entire church. No matter how talented a Pastor or a group of leaders may be, there is no way that one person, or even a few people, can effectively do everything that needs to be done in the local church. No one is that gifted, and no one has that much time. God has designed the church so that each member brings a different piece of the collective puzzle to the table.
The Confirmation of the Body: “for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The word “edifying” means “to build up, to establish, or to confirm.” It speaks of the church progressing from salvation to sanctification. It pictures the church doing more than merely professing Jesus, but actually projecting Jesus. It speaks of us reaching our fullest potential and maturity in Him. It speaks of the church growing up and being settled in our walk with the Lord.
- Bringing The Body To A Place Of Conviction.
- Bringing The Body To A Place Of Consciousness.
- Bringing The Body To A Place Of Christlikeness. (Maturity)
- Bringing The Body To A Place Of Certainty.
This kind of maturity is only possible each member of the body is in his or her place, walking in the will of God, and exercising faithfully the gifts He has given us. The reason for our diversity is this: He makes us different, so that in the end we will all become the same. He gives us different gifts so that you can benefit from how He has gifted me, and so that I can benefit from how He has gifted you. He made is different so that He might make us one with Christ!
3. The Results of Our Diversity: vs. 15-16
“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.” When we are each doing what the Lord equipped us to do, certain results will develop for the body of Christ. “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.”
Our Diversity Makes the Body Possible: Without diversity, there would be no unity. Just as our physical bodies are a united whole, so the body of Christ is "fitly joined together” and “compacted.” Every member has been given a unique assignment, and as the various members fulfill their assignments, the body of Christ is able to exist and function in the world.
Our Diversity Makes the Body Powerful: The same diversity that makes the body possible also makes the body powerful. As we each exercise the individual gifts we have been given, the body is fed, nurtured and helped to grow to maturity in Christ. When the body is given the truth, and when that truth is given from a heart of love, the result will be a maturing of the body into the image of its Head, the Lord Jesus.
Our Diversity Makes the Body Productive: “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.” As God works in you to develop your life to its fullest potential, and as you allow Him to pour your life into the lives of your fellow believers, the whole church is blessed, and strengthened and will experience growth.
Conclusion: “E Pluribus Unum.” “Out of many, one.”
Every one of us is different in so many ways, but we are brought together as one in Christ. God has called us, saved us, indwelled us, and gifted us; individually, and uniquely, to put us together in such a way that we can be a blessing to the whole body of Christ. I thank God that you are not just like me. I thank God that I am not just like you. I praise Him for the diversity that we enjoy in Jesus, because our differences help us to better serve Him and one another. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
In : Sermon
Tags: "worthy walk series" "book of ephesians"
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