Ephesians 4:7-16; Good stewards of Christ’s gifts serve with joy and peace.

Class Outline:

Wednesday, September 15 2021


The only use of charisma outside of Paul is in 1PE 4:10. Let’s read it in context.


1PE 4:1-11

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles [Greek: ethnon - unbelieving world], having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.


7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


The modifier “special” is not in the original. Gift is in the singular, and it is received from God. Peter also uses the word “stewards” like Paul does.


Peter and Paul - “gift” (charisma); “serving” (diakoneo). Each believer is an steward of his ministry and gift.


Each believer is an overseer of a ministry to which they are gifted. It is a great responsibility.


Just as in 1CO 12:4, 5, Peter uses the same words as Paul. Gift - charisma (singular); Paul uses the plural charismata. Ministries (the plural noun which is used by Paul) and ministering or serving (the verb used by Peter) is the work of a servant who waits upon another. Diakoneo (verb) is the work of a diakonia (noun - minister).


The thought shared by both is that the gift or gifts from Christ and the Holy Spirit, which are spiritual in nature, are for the service of others, and each one of us have been placed as overseers of that ministry and its attending gifts. It is quite a responsibility. We can see why knowledge and wisdom under the fear of the Lord is so important.


We must exercise wisdom so as to fully execute our respective ministries (Proverbs) and not waste time and energy in the pursuits of the wrong things (Job/Ecc).


We can each be deceived into thinking that we doing right when we’re not doing what we ought to do. As we studied in our brief series on wisdom, we can use our time and energy and knowledge to pursue the wrong things. There are many things that we cannot see nor discern, and we must be careful to not get drawn into a time and energy sink. Our ministries demand our knowledge and wisdom from God and our energy from God the Holy Spirit, but energy and time spent in our ministry rewards us with more of both, whereas the pursuit of the world and the unknowable give nothing back.


And now a word of caution as we are once again pressed by the word of God into a life of work and service to others. It is to be a life of joy and fulfillment and peace and gratitude and love. What I’m saying, what God is saying, is that it is to be fun.


We must avoid compulsion and duty. The work is to be rewarding. We must keep seeking the satisfaction and joy that comes from the power of the HS within.


It is inevitable that some, if not all, will find themselves working for God under compulsion and duty without experiencing any joy or pleasure in the work. This has been common in the church that the believer hears or reads of the work of service required of him and he or she sets off on a hard trail of duty as if under the law of Moses and without joy or divine power. No doubt that such a person has not left this world in his conscience and sought the kingdom of God of which he is now an eternal member.


There is to be joy in the work, often depicted in the Old Testament as the threshing floor when the harvest is in and the grain is being purified. The work itself is to be rewarding, and as Peter states in 1Pe 5, the minister who is not under compulsion, but eagerly serves, will receive the unfading crown of glory. There is great reward, and the old life, the old self, the old world, has to be laid aside. Therefore, it is inescapable that we keep seeking to find that power and satisfaction that only comes from the filling of the Holy Spirit within.


ROM 14:16-17

Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


In this instance Paul is telling us that we must sacrifice something legitimate (in this case food sacrificed to idols) that would cause our brother to stumble. Paul’s conclusion has a wonderful, eternal echo, which is that the kingdom of God, which each believer is a member of, does not consist of eating or drinking. It is the same as Christ said, “do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing” (MAT 6:25)? The kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Christ told us to seek this first and then … (all these things will be added to you). But don’t miss the point that in this world, while we are here, we will be called as good stewards of the manifold grace of God that gave us our ministry and our gifts, to sacrifice some of these earthly things that have been added to us by that grace, and that, we must not do grudgingly, but will all joy, hence the non-stop seeking of the power of the Holy Spirit by faith.