Parkland First Baptist Church
September 12, 2021
      • Psalm 82–83CSB

      • 2 Kings 1–4CSB

      • 2 Kings 5–8CSB

      • 2 Kings 9–11CSB

      • 2 Kings 12–13CSB

      • 2 Chronicles 24CSB

  • A Healthy Church is Diverse

    Today we are looking at Ephesians 4:7-16 as a follow up to last week’s message.
    Last week, we looked at the unity of the church with Christ as the Head.
    Today, we are going to see that though there is unity, there is great diversity within that unity.
    When is was in band, before practice started we would all be playing and warming up.
    Listening to that, you’d think we were a bad band since the music is chaotic.
    Yet, when our director step up, we all grew silent.
    Then with the drop of his baton, we began playing a beautiful medley.
    As long as were on our own it was chaotic, loud, and meaningless; but, once we joined to together each fulfilling their purpose in the band great music was to be heard.
    The analogy for the church should be obvious.
    When we focus on following the Lord and fulfilling his purposes for us, it is a beautiful—even awesome—thing to see.
    When we focus on ourselves and pursue our own selfish agendas, it is a pitiful or even laughable sight.
    God has given to each believer gifts according to Christ’s own matchless gift.
    These gifts are not just for our own personal benefit, however; they are for the good of the whole body.
    Today’s passage in Ephesians 4:7-13 is all about our diversity in gifts and using them for the glory of the church and the Lord.
    What is a spiritual gift?
    When you were born into this world God gave you certain natural abilities, perhaps in mechanics, art, athletics, or music.
    In this regard, all men are not created equal, because some are smarter, or stronger, or more talented than others.
    But in the spiritual realm, each believer has at least one spiritual gift no matter what natural abilities he may or may not possess.
    A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve God and other Christians in such a way that Christ is glorified and believers are edified.
    Let’s read the passage: Ephesians 4:7-13
    Ephesians 4:7–13 CSB
    7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 For it says: When he ascended on high, he took the captives captive; he gave gifts to people. 9 But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. 11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.

    A Healthy Church Is Marked By Spiritual Diversity

    Unity does not mean sameness.
    Our diverse roles and abilities enrich and bless the church.
    Paul is shows us how the church with that diversity can function in a healthy way.

    We Have Diverse Gifts Verses 7-10

    This is one of the key passages on spiritual gifts in the NT.
    He says every believer has received a gift, or grace.
    This is not saving grace but ministry grace.
    It’s a grace gift given to serve and build up the body.
    Paul was graced to preach to the Gentiles.
    Here we see that each one of us has been given a gift to do ministry.
    These gifts come Christ Jesus Himself
    Since He is exalted over everything, as Ruler of the Universe, He gives gifts to His people with great generosity.
    We see that Jesus is a giver and as such we should be givers.
    These gifts are given to extend or continue His ministry on earth.
    When you are someone uses their gift they are portraying Jesus and as we see them used we should see Jesus blessing someone.
    In verse 8 Paul quotes Psalm 68.
    It is a Psalm of victory as David is bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.
    As victors, he gained a lot of spoils of war.
    He then comes into town and gives the people gifts from those spoils at his discretion.
    Here, Jesus as victor or sin, death, hell, and the grave, He gives the believers spiritual gifts as the spoils of His victory so they can minister to the church.
    Verses 9-10 are a parenthetical statement.
    He reminds his readers of Christ descent and ascent.
    Though there are different interpretations, here it seems Paul sees the incarnation as His descent and the ascension as evidence that Christ is the Savior and King sent from God the Father.
    Christ is above all, fills all, and gives gifts to all.
    For His glory!

    We Have Diverse Responsibilities Verses 11-12

    How many of you after a Christmas morning of unwrapping gifts, take yours to the bedroom, your workshop, or someplace so you can come back to them and put them up or use?
    But then, you forget to back to them.
    They get covered up by a coat or something.
    Then three or so months later you move that coat and there they are.
    Your gifts and you remember you got them and need to use them?
    Right? Be there done that.
    Christ gave us gifts and he expects us to use them.
    These responsibilities are different for each believer and everyone needs to carry out their responsibility.
    Imagine a football team with every player being a quarterback, or a baseball team with all pitchers, would they do well?
    The same goes for the church, Each one of us has a different gift that is necessary in the healthy function of the church.
    Some have gifts of encouragement, others, gifts of administration, or the gift of administration, and so on.
    If you want to find your gift, then let me know and I’ll help you discover it.
    Paul in verse 11, begins a list of gifted leaders that are to equip the saints or believers for the work of the ministry.
    He focuses on those gifted in preaching the gospel, teaching the Word of God, and shepherding God’s flock, the people.
    He shares 5 unique positions of leadership in the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
    The titles apostle and prophet have a broad range of meaning.
    In one sense the apostles and prophets were foundational to the church (2:20; 3:5).
    Apostle, in a technical sense, refers to the Twelve (defined in this way, we do not have apostles anymore).
    But, in a general sense it can refer to a “sent one” much like a missionary or church planter.
    Prophets were forth-tellers even more than future-tellers.
    We see prophets throughout the Old Testament and also mentioned in the early church in the New Testament.
    Used in a technical sense, as with apostles, we do not have biblical prophets any longer, since God’s revelation to us is complete.
    In a general sense prophets are those who apply God’s Word to God’s people.
    Evangelists are those gifted in proclaiming the gospel (Acts 21:8; 2 Tim 4:5).
    Everyone is called to evangelize, but some are uniquely gifted in this area.
    You may be one, if not learn from those that are.
    I’m sure we have hidden evangelist in our church.
    Next Paul turns to the Pastor and Teacher.
    The fact that the word “some” is not repeated indicates that we have here one office with two ministries.
    Pastor means “shepherd” or in other passages “overseer” or “elder.”
    This indicates that the local church is a flock of sheep (Acts 20:28), and it is his responsibility to feed and lead the flock.
    The Pastor does this by means of the Word of God, the food that nourishes the sheep.
    The Word is the shepherd’s staff that guides and disciplines the sheep.
    The Word of God is the local church’s protection and provision, and no amount of entertainment, good fellowship, or other religious substitutes can take its place.
    Why do we have these gifted leaders, who by the way may or may not be ordained, seminary trained, vocational church leaders?
    To equip the saints to the work of the ministry.
    The pastor works and the people work.
    The church should be an “every-member ministry.”
    What are you doing with what God has given you?
    Our church will be enriched in worship, mission, and ministry when everyone is serving.
    Even as small as we are we need people to serve in the nursery, work with children and teens, to visit new comers and sick and grieving, to minister in small groups.
    As you do our church becomes healthier, stronger, and more able to accomplish the task before us.
    To reach a lost world for Christ.
    Paul Tripp in his book on spiritual gifts puts this way: Your life is much bigger than a good job, an understanding spouse, and non-delinquent kids. It is bigger than beautiful gardens, nice vacations, and fashionable clothes. In reality, you are part of something immense, something that began before you were born and will continue after you die. God is rescuing fallen humanity, transporting them into his kingdom, and progressively changing them into his likeness—and he wants you to be part of it. (Instruments, 20)
    Serving in the church has great benefits as you bring glory to God by using your gift.

    A Healthy Church Is Marked By Spiritual Maturity Verses 13-16

    As Paul concludes this section, he brings together the result of this unity and diversity.
    That is simply the church’s maturity.
    Paul gives and example of the difference in a mature person verses a child.
    Paul’s desire for the Ephesians, and us, is for us to grow up.
    While doing the work of the ministry, a believer grows up.
    Sometimes, we think before I can serve, I must know more.
    Spiritual maturity is not merely cerebral or reaching a certain age spiritually.
    Service is a means of growth in maturity.

    Maturity Is Being Christlike Verse 13

    The picture of maturity Paul uses in Christ.
    That “stature measured by Christ’s fulness.”
    That’s an expression of perfection, that’s our goal, that’s what we shoot for.
    We should long to be like Christ and exhibit His characters like those Paul spoke of in Verses 2-3.
    As each of us matures, then the church matures corporately.

    Maturity Is Being Doctrinally Stable Verse 13-14

    Our enemy is out to stop the church and he will use subtle arguments and teachings to get us to believe in a false gospel.
    Sometimes it may look like good teaching, but it is just a tad off than orthodoxy.
    Even if it sounds good, if it goes against the full word and truth of the Bible, then it is false and we need to avoid it.
    People who are “children” in their faith and knowledge must grow up and mature.
    Otherwise, they are susceptible to false teaching (every wind of doctrine).
    They will be unstable, rootless, without direction, and susceptible to manipulation.
    Immature believers, like children, are unable to discern trickery and craftiness and thus will be knocked about with various teachings contrary to God’s Word.
    False teachers work like cheating gamblers, who load the dice in order to trick people.
    False teaching was a major problem in the early church just like today.
    And we must be growing toward maturity in true faith so avoid it.

    Maturity is Truth Joined With Love Verses 15-16

    Jesus said, “I am the truth,” so as believers we know the truth.
    He expects us to share that truth to others, but done in love.
    We need to hold the truth high and firmly stand on it.
    Yet, we need to do it in love.
    Remember 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is above all.
    One commentator put this way.
    The wording in Greek in verse 15 is “truthing in love” (Stott, Ephesians, 172).
    Of course, “truthing” is not a word in English, but the idea is clear.
    Maturity involves a truth-telling, truth-maintaining, truth-doing love.
    I would hop that people would say about our church, “They teach the Bible faithfully.”
    I hope they also say, “They love each other like family and their neighbors as themselves.”
    If people do not agree with our doctrine, I pray they will see that we love them.
    Are you known for truth and love personally, and is your church known for truth and love corporately?

    Maturity Is Cooperation Verse 16

    As members of one body (universal) and a local body, we belong to each other, we affect each other, and we need each other.
    Each believer, no matter how insignificant he may appear, has a ministry to other believers.
    The body grows as the individual members grow
    The members grow as they study on the Word and serve to each other.
    Note once again the emphasis on love in this letter: “bearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:2); “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15); “building itself up in love” (4:16).
    Warren Wiersbe says, Love is the circulatory system of the body.
    So it is with the children of God, we need love from the body.
    An isolated Christian cannot minister to others, nor can others minister to him, and it is impossible for the gifts to be ministered either way.

    Maturity Is Taking Care Of The Body

    Paul’s example of the body shows our interdependence on each other.
    We are dependent on Christ who is the head, but we need each other.
    As we grow in Christ
    As we use our gifts in love
    The body become healthy.
    Let’s take care of the body and do our part.
    Salvation
    Prayer
      • Ephesians 4:7–13CSB

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