Ephesians 4_ 7-16      Your Gifts for the Church

Rev. David Holwick  ZJ

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

October 27, 1991

Ephesians 4:7-16


  I. The need for diversity.

      A. Christians are different.

          1) Churches attract unusual people!

          2) Every Christian has a unique gift from Jesus.

      B. Grace and gifts.

          1) Derived from same Greek root - "charis" and "charismata."

              a) (Experience of young girl going to Pentecostal service)

              b) Every Christian is charismatic.

          2) Two aspects of grace:

              a) Saving grace.         2:8-9

              b) Serving grace.        4:7

                  1> It comes in different measures.

                  2> Jesus determines who gets what.

      C. By combining our unique gifts, the whole church grows.

II. The giver of gifts is the ascended Jesus.                4:7-10

      A. Psalm 68:18:  God wins a victory and receives gifts from men.

          1) Paul sees what is implied in the Hebrew - God receives

               gifts from those defeated, and gives them to his allies.

          2) Jews in Jesus' time read this passage during Pentecost.

          3) Meaning here:  Just as Moses gave the Law, Jesus gives us

               the Spirit and writes the Law on our hearts.

      B. Ascension vs. descending of Christ.

          1) Lower parts of the earth.

              a) Hell or Hades.       1 Peter 3:19?   (Apostles Creed)

              b) Earth itself.

                  1> Jesus became one of us.

          2) Same Jesus.  Not a heavenly vs. an earthly version.

III. Jesus gives different kinds of gifts.

      A. Five lists in New Testament list 20 different spiritual gifts.

          1) Some are dramatic.     Healing, tongues, prophecy.

          2) Some are ordinary.     Showing mercy, teaching.

      B. Ephesians 4 emphasizes gifts of leadership in the church.  4:11-13

          1) Apostles.

              a) Extraordinary Christians of today?    (Newark storefronts)

              b) Followers of Jesus, eyewitnesses of resurrection.

          2) Prophets.

              a) Predicted future.     (Agabus)

              b) Applied to word of God to specific situations.

              c) But New Testament fulfills "Word of God."

                  1> Further revelation unnecessary, even dangerous.

                      A> (Bible study leader who predicted Bibles)

                  2> Prophets were a "foundation" with the apostles.  2:20

          3) Evangelists.

              a) Similar to missionaries.   (used only 3 times in NT)

                  1> They were the bringers of good news.

                  2> Itinerant, open to abuse.

              b) There is a great need for evangelists today.

                  1> Great gathering in Amsterdam of thousands of

                        evangelists from the Third World.

                  2> "People movements" converting thousands.

          4) Pastors and teachers.

              a) Seems to describe one set of leaders.

                  1> Settled, not itinerant.

                  2> Ministers fit in this category.

              b) Pastoring is literally "shepherding."

                  1> Guard the flock entrusted to them.

              c) Teaching is one of most important functions in a church.

                  1> Pure emotionalism eventually dies out.

      C. Are only leaders given gifts?

          1) At the least, leadership should require God's gift.

              a) Being a pastor is not a secular "profession."

              b) God's call must accompany it.

          2) Yet every Christian has a gift, too.  "to each one of us"  4:7

IV. Purpose for gifts in the church.      4:12

      A. Prepare God's people for works of service.

          1) Church leadership models:

              a) Old version:  Pastor as dictator or bus driver.

              b) New version:  Pastor as "equipper."

                  1> "Servant-leadership."

                  2> Leadership is shared.     (S.S. Hawthorne convention)

                  3> Leaders help others become what God intends.

          2) Works of service (=ministry).

              a) Not limited to a few, but delegated to all.

                  1> (Notice our bulletin:  Congregation ... ministers)

                  2> The 16th century recovered the "priesthood of all


                     The 20th century may recover the "ministry of all


              b) Ministers should equip others to minister.

                  1> (SonBeamers and group leadership.)

                  2> (Jeff Lindsey and Roger Clark.)

                     "I'd like to do something with my hands."

                     Give task of renovating Chr Ed building basement,

                        he invites young people to work,

                        he helps lead a meeting...

                     He is conned into doing youth work rest of his life.

      B. Building up the church.          4:13

          1) Until we reach unity in faith and knowledge.

              a) It is a long process.

          2) Reaching the maturity of the fullness of Christ.

              a) The meaning of "fullness."              CT, 4/3/89, p27

                  1> Colossians 1:19 says the fullness of God is in Jesus.

                  2> Ephesians 4:13, the fullness of Jesus is in believers.

                      A> It is impossible for the fullness of God to dwell

                           in us individually - too much to handle.

                      B> It can only be realized in us when each part of

                           the church body is built up.

                      C> We cannot be whole alone, nor can we understand or

                           serve God fully alone.

                      D> Only together can we possess, experience, and

                           reflect God's fullness and the image of God as

                              it is in Christ.

              b) Perfect personhood is same as total Christlikeness.

                  1> Compare self with Christ, not other Christians.

                  2> (Sometimes we have to settle for comparing ourselves

                        to non-Christians!)

              c) Immaturity - impressed by every new teaching.       4:14

                  1> Such are called "children."

                  2> They lack stability.      (toy top)

                  3> They are manipulated by men.

                      A> Paul warned the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-30.

              d) Qualities of mature Christians:   truth and love.   4:15

                  1> "Speaking" truth means cherishing it.

                      A> Truth must not be used as a weapon.

                          1: Harsh tactics of many Christians.

                      B> Is it true and right?   Kind and loving?

                          1: Hold both in balance.

                  2> Churches need to build relationships among believers

                       where this kind of personal growth can occur.

                      A> Henri Nouwen and "wounded healers."

                      B> Imperfect Christians can help one another.

  V. A View of the whole church.

      A. Christ is the focus, we are the supporting parts.  (second fiddle?)

          1) Everyone in the church is part.

      B. Everyone has a gift.

          1) Typical response:

               "I'm not qualified.  I would do a lousy job."

          2) Every meager effort builds up the church.

      C. Example from foreign missions.

          Two missions in Asia with different approaches:

             One was missionary-oriented.

             Other was local people-oriented.

          Both missions were forced to leave the country.

             The missionary-led mission dwindled.

             Local people-led mission thrived.

      D. Church growth principles.

          1) Pastors alone cannot build a church.

          2) Everyone must do their part.

          3) Church growth demands individual growth.

VI. What is your gift for our church?

Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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