PRAYER;. Bible Passage Ephesians 4:11-24 Text: Ephesians 4:11-16 Today I am continuing my previous two Studies in Ephesians 4 given in February and March, headed "Equipped for Service (Ministry) " based on verses 11-13 in chapter 4.
God's gift to the Church is the leadership, "evangelists, pastors, teachers" for 'the equipping of the saints" "for the work of ministry." This ministry of you and me will "edify the body of Christ (church)" to produce "unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man" measured "by the stature of the fullness of Christ." ( (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; Verses 15 & 16 describes how being equipped for ministry looks ..(15) "...speaking the truth in love, grow up in all things unto 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 it's share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love". (Pause) I’m deliberately avoiding 'tagging' 'gifts' or 'ministry', the Spirit of God does that very well when we are equipped for them. IN v24 Paul describes this as "putting on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." and in v29 "let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to your hearers. and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." I’m prompted to digress a little and set chapter 4 in it’s wider context in Ephesians. It’s worth remembering it was written to one of the earliest churches that Paul was instrumental in forming. It was a church he held in very high 1 R 19-7 7/7/19 regard, located in a very cosmopolitan and advanced city. It boasted a library which would rank amongst the largest even today. Acts 19 recounts something of the dramatic events, including strong opposition, the church experienced in Ephesus. A book I highly prized as a young teenage christian was written by a woman, Ruth Paxon, with the title; “Ephesians, the Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian”. Now, for much of the past year, I’ve been rediscovering the richness and relevance of this epistle for our times. My overview… Chap. 1 reveals the necessity of, and provision for our redemption through Christ. v5 “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ, to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, y which He made us accepted in the beloved.” Chap. 2 Expands on our new life in Christ and the importance of our ‘works’, doing what is pleasing before God as our daily lifestyle. v8,9 For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, set anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Chap. 3 spells out Paul’s heart cry for the Church. v14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the rivers of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fulness of God. Chap. 5 urges us to “Walk in Love"; “Walk in Light”; “Walk in Wisdom” v15ff. “see that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming there time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” 2 Then Paul proceeds to illustrate the relationship between Christ and the believer, the church. How does he do that? He likens it to marriage, indicating the part of the wife toward her husband and the husband toward his wife. v 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” ln Chap. 6 the family concept continues with reference to a Godly relationship between parents and children and, still relevant today, the relationship between servants and masters. But the closing message is all about the Warfare we are engaged in as members of Christ’s body. v10ff Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIs might; put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” I Skipped over chapter 4. ….which may be the real gem in this important letter. Nestled between Redemption (1), and Life in Christ (2) Paul’s prayer for living in the fullness of the Spirit, (3) and the practical application in chapter 5, concluding with the intensity of our spiritual warfare,(6), we find in chapter 4 the handbook, or manual, for anchoring our day by day living in the resources which we access, and can only access, by our determined obedience to God’s Word. As we have seen, chapter 4 demonstrates how to apply our ministry in everyday activity as a lifestyle rather than simply an activity or an event. It is the very substance of all we say and do and think as disciples of Christ.. We do well to familiarise ourselves with these words. Read them, reflect, meditate and develop them into our daily lives because they will fit well, regardless of who you are and what you can, or cannot, do.. We need to become very familiar with these words… 3 (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; Verses 15 & 16 describes how being equipped for ministry looks ..(15) "...speaking the truth in love, grow up in all things unto 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 it's share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love”. I have previously commented, in Ephesians there is no obvious reference to evangelism! The focus is on the ‘body of Christ” Those who are all one in Christ Jesus!. but, when the body of Christ is in order, then, the Lord Jesus will be lifted up and He will draw men unto Himself.. In Closing, I am praying for you, almost, on a daily basis. My prayer is that when, in His time, God is pleased to settle your pastoral vacancy your new pastor will be encouraged Ito find a congregation that is equipped for service because you are responding to the guidance of God’s Word through the Holy Spirit Who dwells within you. It’s a privilege to share God’s word with you and look forward to see your future unfold under God’s guidance as you trust Him… Philippians 1:9 “That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment. That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ for the Glory of God.. PRAYER