The Letter to the Ephesians Message 18
Last week we reviewed the message of Paul from chapter 4, verses 1 through 6. We need to review again the responsibilities before moving on learning of the committed church growing and serving the Lord together.
C. The Corporate responsibilities established. Ephesians 4:7-13
We noted the –
1. The provision to serve – God has given us grace to serve
2. The Provider – The grace is given through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. The Plan – which we learned of in the previous message –
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…”. We saw –
a. The People to serve Him. Both –
1). Their faith – And –
2). Their potential, not their past! (Peter, Matthew, Paul)
We must always remember the Lord placed men into –
b. The Positions needed to establish His churches –
“…apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;…”
This morning, let’s look more closely at these offices –
a). A special position –
Luke 6:13-16 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
A requirement that could no longer be met with the deaths of these believers.
Acts 1:21-22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
No one could be, no matter what claim they make, a chosen apostle following the deaths of these men!
b). A special power –
Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Acts 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
We must mention –
c). A special person – Paul
1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
1 Corinthians 15:7-9 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
His position was acknowledged by the other apostles and leaders in the church –
Galatians 2:8-9 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Another special office that is no longer operating is that of the –
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
This office involved two aspects –
a). The Foretelling of God’s Word revealed.
1 Corinthians 14:29-32 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
2 Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
b). The Forthtelling of God’s Word, having been revealed.
Acts 11:22-23 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
Read – 1 Corinthians 14:1,3,22,24-25
The foretelling of God’s Word revealed has ceased with the completion of the Scriptures, which were completed with the Revelation of Jesus Christ penned down by the Apostle John.
The forthtelling of God’s Word having been revealed is continued by those in the following two offices which are operating today –
The office operating since it was established by the Lord, through His leadership, through the Church, and commonly called today – the missionary.
Acts 8:26-40 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached (evangelized) in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
4). Pastors and teachers
This office was established in order that the members would be taught the whole counsel of God and is also in operation today.
This office is three-fold, one man with three primary responsibilities
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
The offices were created by the Lord for the proclamation of the Gospel, the planting of His churches, –
Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
As well as for –
Which we will continue to learn of next week.
Today I ask you if you understand that God’s will in all of this is for His Glory, the exaltation of His blessed Son – the Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation of men, and the establishment of His church?
Do you take each of these purposes of God seriously? How do you show these things in your lives?
Do you care about obeying God each day?
Do those who know you know that you are in Christ Jesus?
Do people who know you know that you will be in church at service time?