The Letter to the Ephesians Message Seventeen
We should review chapter four, verses 1 through 6, in order to remember the context of Paul’s message in these verses. The choices to be made, the church unity demanded, and then overview today the corporate responsibilities established. First –
A. The Choices to be made. 4:1-3
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
1. The choice Paul made in his life that God is always in Control.
2. The choice of an obedient attitude. Ephesians 4:1b
3. The choice of observable actions.
Beginning in Ephesians 4:4 we have –
B. The Church unity demanded Ephesians 4:4-6
Ephesians 4:4 -6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
These are nonnegotiable characteristics of a church that are necessary for growing to perfection.
They preached a consistent message to all of the churches –
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
And so we should follow the advice given –
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In other words, Be Single Minded!
1. One Body
2. One Spirit
3. One Hope of your calling
4. One Lord
5. One Faith
6. One Baptism – speaking to the church
7. One God and Father of all
With these truths in mind, we turn to –
C. The Corporate responsibilities established. Ephesians 4:7-13
1. The provision to serve –
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
a. We have been accepted by the Lord to serve Him in His church.
As our Captain, He has called us into His service. He has given each of us –
1). The Place of membership.
1 Corinthians 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
2). The Position to fill
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
3). The Power to accomplish it.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
b. We have been directed by the Lord to the place of service in His church.
Each member has a responsibility to serve in the church.
Each member has a place of service in the church.
This place of service is defined and determined by the Lord as we will see in the following verses.
2. The Provider –
Ephesians 4:8-10 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
He set us free from bondage in sin to freedom, redeeming us with His own blood. We are now free to serve Him!
Colossians 1:13-14 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
As previously mentioned, this place of service is defined and determined by the Lord in accordance with –
3. The Plan –
We will preview these verses today and examine them in more detail next week, but we want to lay a foundation of understanding today –
Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The plan of the Lord involved a number of particular actions necessary for the accomplishment of His purpose. According to His sovereign will we learn that “…he gave…”. Look at –
a. The People to serve Him.
1). Their faith.
“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men….”
“Feed my sheep…”
1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
They trusted the Lord to work through them – His power became –
2). Their potential, not their past!
The Lord placed men into –
b. The Positions needed to build and sustain His church –
“…apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;…”
4). Pastors and teachers
Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
The men placed in these position were given responsibility for –
c. The Preparation of believers to serve the Lord.
(1). The responsibility of the church members who are office holders.
“…For the perfecting of the saints,…”
(2). The responsibility of the entire church membership.
“…for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
We must note that the gifts given by the Lord to the church were certainly the leaders, but also extend to the members as the member’s service is a direct result of the service rendered by the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, and Pastors and teachers…”
Are you preparing with all that is in you to serve the Lord where He has placed you?