Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts, part 2.
length: 89:05 - taught on Oct, 3 2021
Sunday October 3,2021
Title: Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts, part 2.
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. “He” is emphatic as the pronoun autos is used, which is not necessary in Greek, but its use gives emphasis to the subject.
Spiritual gifts: particular gift for ministry to the church and its accompanying works. They are for the edification of the body of Christ.
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, serving, wisdom, knowledge, encouraging) as well as things that are supernatural (prophecy, healing, miracle, distinguishing spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues).
Paul points out that all gifts, natural or supernatural, function under the power of the Holy Spirit. If we assume, and I think rightly, that the supernatural gifts have ceased after the establishment of the church and the canon, then only the natural are left. This makes sense. However, we must understand that these gifts, though the function of them can be performed at some level by the non-spiritual, become supernatural in the Spirit-filled believer.
Natural gifts, permanent in the church, become supernatural in the Spirit-filled believer. They are performed with divine love, truth, endurance, grace, compassion, etc.
Fill in any divine virtue that can accompany and natural act of service and you have a supernatural service. I use the term natural because they are things from Paul’s list that anyone can do to some extent. Accounting for repeated gifts, we gather twenty gifts from Paul’s lists. If we remove the miraculous (apostle, prophet, miracles, healing, tongues, interpretation of tongues, distinguishing spirits) we have teacher, helps, administration, wisdom, knowledge, faith, evangelist, pastor-teacher, serving, encouraging, contributing (giving), leadership, and mercy. Anyone can do these, like teach for instance (to be accurate we would exclude pastor-teacher and evangelist from this thought because they only teach divine revelation). But only the Spirit-filled believer can teach the truth with divine love and divine patience - the natural becomes 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: Very limited in OT; abundant in Christ; poured out upon/in all believers in the Church (most abundant work).
At Pentecost Peter recognized that the new covenant age had begun as a result of the activity of Jesus in heaven. He quoted the prophet Joel (JOE 2:28-32), “And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind;” It is not likely that Peter thought it was the last days, but the part of Joel’s prophecy, the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit upon men, was obvious. A new age had begun, an age in which all believers, regardless of any other factor that divide them (race, gender, socio-economic status: slave or free), would be indwelt by God and possess divine gifts. I don’t think any of us, who have grown used to Christianity in the western world, can appreciate the incredible impact this gift of God had upon the first century Jews and Gentiles.
Regardless of what any denomination thinks of the continuation of miraculous gifts after the early church (I would be classified under the ceasing category), it is clear that the church began as a supernatural church manifesting miraculous gifts.
Spiritual gifts are given to the church which function through the power of the Holy Spirit. They are to equip the church to carry out the ministry of Christ until He returns.
If we compare all the lists, we come up with about twenty spiritual gifts. Prophecy is the only one that appears in all the lists. Again, many expositors do not consider the list to be exhaustive.
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 [adverb hos = as, or like as], 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 Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" 53 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. 58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever."
Jesus reiterated these images at the last supper. The bread was His body. After giving thanks He told them to take and eat. They were to take His body into themselves. The cup was the new covenant in His blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. They were to drink His blood (metaphorically) and take its truth, which was His work, into themselves.
His body is sustenance to live His life and His blood is healing to overcome the old life (sin and death) and world.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.