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Ephesians 4:7-16 – Equip the Church

by on June 7, 2013

There are three lists of Spiritual gifts in the New Testament. They are Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. The Romans and I Corinthians lists are Spiritual gifts given to believers to provide functioning of the body of Christ. The List in Ephesians 4 is a bit different.

Jesus Christ gave specific gifts to individuals to:

  • Provide unity of the faith and
  • Knowledge of the Son of God, and
  • Christian maturity,

Jesus Christ gave gifts to individuals so they would NOT be:

  • Any longer children,
  • Tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
  • Involved in the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

To accomplish that He gave gifts to men:

  • Some to be apostles,
  • Some prophets,
  • Some evangelists,
  • Some pastors
  • Some teachers

The purpose of these gifts is for:

  • The equipping of the saints
  • The work of ministry,
  • The edifying of the body of Christ,

The key idea in this passage is that the gifts are for the equipping of the saints. These gifts are not to control the Church; they are to equip the Church members to live as Godly people and to mutually edify each other as the Church. They are to have: unity, knowledge, and maturity. They are to not continue as immature children, tossed about with the winds.

Those with the gifts are to equip the Church members by using the gift that Christ gave to them. As the saints are equipped, they function as mature believers who are the body of Jesus Christ here in this world.

The responsibility of the Church is to recognize the gifts that Jesus has placed there. The gifts need to be employed so that the purpose of Jesus Christ can be accomplished in equipping His Church. The Church, so equipped, becomes the powerful force for good and for God in this world. And the individual members become persons who:

  • Speak the truth in love,
  • Grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–
  • Become the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
  • Become the effective working by which every part does its share,
  • Cause growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Each gift is critical to the functioning of the body of Christ:

  • Apostles  – those who have been sent out
  • Prophets – those who fearlessly speak truth
  • Evangelists – those who herald the gospel
  • Pastors – those who shepherd the flock
  • Teachers – those who instruct the saints

These gifts work in concert to make the Church the missionary, truth defending, gospel heralding, shepherding, instructing, equipping fellowship that Christ intended.

The word, “equip” used in Ephesians 4 is a word meaning to be useful parts of a whole. Just as all the parts of a building join together to make the building strong, so the gifts in the Church join together to work as a unit and a unity. Just as in a building, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and all parts must be there functioning to make the building useful. The gifts construct the mystical body of Christ.

Each gift is equipped to make a difference in the body.  When some gifts want prominence or preeminence their usefulness is lost because they make the body out of balance. Those who equip and those who are equipped are to be prepared for service to God, each other, and the world around them. That is God’s plan.

Those who are equipped:

  • Have put off corruption of the world
  • Are created in righteousness and true holiness
  • Are renewed in the Spirit of their mind
  • Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
  • Do not give place to the devil
  • Speak that which edifies others
  • Put away bitterness, anger and evil speaking
  • Are kind, tenderhearted, forgiving as they have been forgiven

To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

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