Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts.

Class Outline:

Thursday September 30, 2021


EPH 4:11-13

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.


In verse 11 we have a list of gifts that Christ gave.


We have the aorist active indicative of didomi; Christ gave. This is followed by four groups, plural direct objects of “He gave.”


“He” is emphatic as the pronoun autos is used, which is not necessary in Greek.


The verb didomi is in the third singular which translates “He gave,” and by adding the pronoun autos, it emphasizes Christ as the Giver. It could be translated “He Himself gave,” or “He it is that gave.”


Having commented on “He ascended,” Paul goes on to comment on “He gave.”


There are many attempts made to explain why Paul lists the gifts that he does. Each of us would like some of those theories more than others, but we have to remember that they are theories. And we must continue to remember that as we progress.


“In previous generations, systematic theologies did not have chapters on spiritual gifts, for there were few questions regarding the nature and use of spiritual gifts in the church. But the twentieth century has seen a remarkable increase in interest in spiritual gifts, primarily because of the influence of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements within the church.” [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 1255]


He defines spiritual gifts broadly:

Spiritual gifts: any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church. [Grudem]


When we examine Paul’s lists (ROM 12:6-8; 1CO 12:8-10; EPH 4:11) we come across things that are more natural (teaching, helps, administration, showing mercy) as well as things that are supernatural (prophecy, healing, miracle, distinguishing spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues). Paul is clear to point out that the natural (I only use this term because all people can teach, help, administer with the proper training) and the supernatural must be empowered by “one and the same Spirit.” Therefore, for the believer who has, say, the gift of helps, under the power of the Holy Spirit it moves from the natural to the supernatural. All of us know the difference we experienced when we helped or taught or showed mercy to someone grudgingly, or in “natural ability,” as opposed to spiritually under the power of the Holy Spirit.


History of the work of the Holy Spirit among men.


The work of the Holy Spirit was more limited in the Old Testament. He didn’t empower every believer as He does in the church. He didn’t indwell believers as He does all believers in the church. The Spirit did work in bringing people to faith through the ministries of Moses, Samuel, David, or Elijah, but working “upon” few individuals. Plus, healings were uncommon, casting out of demons was unknown, and prophecy was restricted to few, but the promise of the work of the Holy Spirit was given through several of the prophets.


Joel prophesied that God would pour out His “Spirit on all flesh,” and John the Baptist heightened expectation of the fulfillment of this prophecy when he announced that someone was coming after him who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (MAT 3:11).


Work of the Spirit in the OT was very limited. When Jesus begins His ministry, He does so in the fullness and the power of the Holy Spirit.


MAT 12:28

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”


Before He ascended, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive power from on high. He said, “You will be baptized by the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (ACT 1:4-5). And, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (ACT 1:8).


The pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the (partial) fulfillment of the New Covenant to the church occurred at Pentecost, fulfilling Joel’s prophecy (JOE 2:28; ACT 2:16).


Peter recognized the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all believers at Pentecost as a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Peter recognized a lot that day. All of Jesus’ instruction during His ministry, as well as Jesus’ instruction to them after His resurrection and before His ascension, all of a sudden became clear. It wasn’t time for Jesus to install His kingdom on the surface of the earth, but from the right hand of God, Jesus would put individuals into membership of His kingdom and that kingdom, its way, life, and reality would be in their hearts.


Peter recognized that the new covenant age had begun as a result of the activity of Jesus in heaven.


ACT 2:16-21

but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:


17 'And it shall be in the last days,' God says,

'That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind;

And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

And your young men shall see visions,

And your old men shall dream dreams;

18 Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women,

I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit

And they shall prophesy.

19 'And I will grant wonders in the sky above,

And signs on the earth beneath,

Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.

20 'The sun shall be turned into darkness,

And the moon into blood,

Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.

21 'And it shall be, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'


This passage, or actually, the reason why Peter quotes it on the day of Pentecost, has a wide range of interpretations by very respectable commentators. Joel’s prophecy is for Israel concerning the Day of the Lord, pointing to the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ. Perhaps Peter is simply saying that the same Holy Spirit prophesied by Joel is now here in us who believe (we’ll leave it at that for now).


Peter goes on to speak of what he sees; the new covenant age (partial fulfillment) has come.


ACT 2:29-35

"Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear [Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues]. 34 "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says [PSA 110:1]:


'The Lord said to my Lord,

"Sit at My right hand,

35 Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."'


Regardless of what any denomination thinks of the continuation of miraculous gifts after the early church, it is clear that the church began as a supernatural church manifesting miraculous gifts.