Presentation on theme: "Presentation 09 Studies in Ephesians. Chap 1-3Chap 4-6 See what you are in ChristBe what you are in Christ Doctrine Truth Application The Structure of."— Presentation transcript:
In these verses Paul turns from the unity to the diversity that should be found within the church. He is making it clear that the church’s unity is not a colourless, monotonous uniformity. Christians are not pulled off the conveyer belt of a factory’s mass production line! Introduction This diversity is produced not simply because we have different, personalities, cultures and temperaments but because of the different gifts that Jesus has distributed for the church’s enrichment.
Jesus plans to bring his church to a mature unity through grace gifts bestowed at his own discretion! He does not send us a catalogue and say ‘choose what gifts you want’. The gifts are not ours to claim but Christ's to bestow! Cf 1 Cor. 12.4-11 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.… All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines”. Grace Gifts
Some Christians are rocked in their faith for they have been taught to claim whatever spiritual gift they want. And so they may ask for the gift of healing – but when it is not given they are very despondent. They have been unwisely taught. Scripture clearly teaches that God gives to each one individually the gift that he wills. Grace Gifts
Jesus’ Coronation Gifts The crowned victor gives gifts to his people. The humiliation of Jesus cf Phil 2.6-8 Jesus victory on the cross. After Jesus’ victory ascension to glory. Phil 2.9-11 The Divine Parabola The life of the church is animated by the Spirit.
Jesus’ Coronation Gifts Paul quotes Psalm 68.18 which tells us that the Messiah received gifts from men while Paul tells us he gave gifts to men. How is this apparent contradiction explained? In antiquity conquerors both received gifts and gave gifts. Christ received gifts as a result of his victory [a name above every name] and in turn gave gifts [at Pentecost] to his church. “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear”. Acts 2.33
This is not God’s picture of the church Dull Uniformity This is a better picture. Why?
Spiritual gifts are listed in: Rom 12.6-8. 1 Cor. 12.8-10,28. 1Pet 4.10-11, Eph 4.11. At least 20 gifts! Some are as unsensational as doing acts of mercy, or hospitality. In the early church some gifts were underrated and others overrated. We need to be balanced in our thinking : Spiritual Gifts ‘Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‘ Matt 7.22-23 The exercise of spectacular gifts doesn’t guarantee that a person is a real Christian. Spiritual gifts can be counterfeited. Paul’s point is that the sheer variety of gifts necessarily contributes to the rich diversity that God is eager to develop within his church. Because we are multi- gifted each has an important role to play.
The particular gifts that Paul draws our attention to are ‘people gifts’. Or the service roles bestowed upon individuals for the church. Paul identifies only 5 here; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The apostles in view, are the small distinctive group consisting of the 12 [the omission of Judas and inclusion of Paul making up that number]. The New Testament identifies others as apostles in a lesser sense of being sent out by the church and not having the authority of the 12. [Rom 16.7. 2 Cor.8.23, Phil 2.25] People Gifts
The apostles, as we have seen were organs of revelation, responsible for producing the New Testament canon of scripture. As such they were foundational to the establishment of the church. There are no apostles of this kind ministering today. Great debate has existed in the church over the idea of apostolic succession but it is the New Testament Scriptures that provide us with authentic apostolic succession. People Gifts : Apostles ‘The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others’. 2 Tim 2.1-2
In the Old Testament, a prophet stood in the council of God. He heard his Word and spoke as the mouth-piece of God. Often using the introductory formula, "Thus says the Lord”. His messages form part of the Old Testament scriptures. In the New Testament the office of prophet seems transitional in nature. There are very few examples of predictive prophecy. People Gifts : Prophet ‘a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.' “ Acts 21.10
People Gifts : Prophet That said, there are examples in church history of specific predictive prophecies that have come to pass. The Scottish covenanting preacher, Alexander Peden- was known as the Prophet of the Covenant. His biographers record a number of predictive prophecies that were clearly fulfilled. The Old Testament provides a test for the genuineness of a prophet. Deut 18.22 - his word comes to pass. It also points out that false prophets can uses signs and wonders to support their claims while at the same time lead God’s people away from him. Deut 13.1ff More commonly prophecy, involves speaking God’s word into a particular situation.
People Gifts: Evangelists All Christians are expected to evangelise. But some possess a special gift for evangelistic preaching or personal evangelism. They have an ability to make the gospel relevant to unbelievers. Men like Billy Graham.
People Gifts: Pastors and Teachers These two gifts are often associated with each other though they need not be. The pastor’s principal task is to feed the flock. How does he do that? Quite simply by teaching them. The pastor is no more than an under-shepherd and as such is accountable to the Chief Shepherd of the sheep. 1Pet 5.2-4 All five people gifts relate in some way to teaching. Nothing is more necessary for the building up of God's church than an ample supply of God-gifted teachers. Men who will study to make themselves effective in their employment of their gift. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Tim 2.15
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts What is in view is an every member ministry. Just as every part of our body has a function to perform, so too, has every part of the body of Christ. Many Christians think themselves redundant useless members of the body. The thyroid gland was once thought to be useless. We know better now! No part of the body of Christ is useless. Therefore we should make every effort to discover what our unique function is. Why have these gifts in v11 been given to the church? “to prepare God's people for the work of service so that the body of Christ may be built up”. v12 Thyroid gland
Paul uses an interesting medical word to describe the goal of the teaching ministries of v12. The word translated 'to prepare' in Greek describes the setting of dislocated joints, in order to make a limb efficient or capable. This is the task of the ministry team, which is to enable the people of God to discover and develop their gifts. The church is taught so that the people of God may be of service to one another. Thus instead of monopolising ministry the teacher’s aim should be to multiply ministries. The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts
What’s your picture of the church? The body of Christ grows only when all of the members use their God-given service gifts. They are not given for selfish but for unselfish use. Spiritual gifts are not toys with which to play but tools of the Spirit to be used to fashion a mature church.