Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts – the leaders.
length: 67:46 - taught on Oct, 14 2021
Thursday October 14, 2021
Not long ago, I tended to think that it was best not to consider it and just do the work that you find to do and you will discover it, or something about it. I still partially hold to that view, as agonizing over identifying a gift doesn’t seem healthy, nor the idea that the area of the gift is the only area that one can work in. Those are some of the dangerous aspects of searching for it. But, I’ve modified my view after some more study, after seeing a different aspect of it.
A gift has to be strong enough to function for the benefit of the church.
Tozer in his final chapter of The Knowledge of the Holy, speaks of the church being glorified again. He saw the church as a whole being stuck in a Babylonian captivity. It happens one believer at a time as each comes to know God more and more. He gives a summary of the path to knowledge of God in the church, the final step becoming service. He says:
“As the knowledge of God becomes more wonderful, greater service of our fellow men will become for us imperative. This blessed knowledge is not given to be enjoyed selfishly. The more perfectly we know God the more we will feel the desire to translate the new-found knowledge into deeds of mercy toward suffering humanity. The God who gave all to us will continue to give all through us as we come to know Him better. Any intensified knowledge of God will soon begin to affect those around us in the Christian community. And we must seek purposefully to share our increasing light with the fellow members of the household of God. This we can best do by keeping the majesty of God in full focus in all our public services. Not only in our private prayers should be filled with God, but our witnessing, our singing, our preaching, our writing should center around the Person of our holy, holy Lord and extol continually the greatness of His dignity and power. There is a glorified Man on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven faithfully representing us there. We are left for a season among men; let us faithfully represent Him here.” [Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy]
Different churches, different groups of people have different needs. We can imagine the same believer in a different community or different church doing different works.
This is a way of knowing, as coming from the apostles Paul and Peter. Paul said to use our gifts for the building up of the body and Peter said to use our gift to serve one another.
One of the dangerous aspects of not searching for your gift is that you may never consider how important it is that you serve the church. I’m sure that an entire Christian life can go by without hardly any service in the spiritual gift that was possessed.
Do all the work and service God puts in front of you. And when you see an area or areas where your work benefits the church, you may have found your spiritual gift.
So in one way, you don’t look for it, especially at the early years of your service of God, and you also do look for it, when the time comes that you can clearly tell what it is that you do that serves and benefits the church.
And, it should be mentioned again, that all of us can teach and all of us should witness and all of us must encourage and serve and help and give and etc. Someone who would never teach a class or a Sunday school or Bible study would, and should, teach the Bible to their children.
Paul seems to assume that believers will know what their spiritual gifts are: “if prophecy … if service …”
And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
So, of those who do not know what their gifts are, one place to start is to look for needs in the church and/or in their communities. Sometimes it is the leadership, i.e. the pastor, who doesn’t do a good job of providing sufficient opportunities. And, of course, in the pursuit, the believer should pray and ask for guidance, and when asking, discovering if they truly desire to know.
Eph 4-6: Living the Christian life in experience. What it looks like.
In these chapters, God challenges all of our preconceived notions, removes all of our self-life, and models for us what the life of Christ looks like in us. I highly recommend that you read Eph 4-6 in one sitting, multiple times throughout our study.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you [plural: you all] to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
[second thought: individuality in a unified community]
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,
"When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men."
9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 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.
His second thought finishes at verse 16.
“He” is emphatic - kai autos edoken (aorist active indicative; 3rd person singular). Autos emphasizes the Giver.
Emphasis is on Christ, the Giver. As we know, a gift can be enhanced by the adoration of the giver. A large gift from some person may not mean near as much to us as a small gift from another person. The giver matters to us, and in this case the Giver matters very much to us, and so Paul emphasizes Him by using autos. And, after realizing what spiritual gifts are for, the building up of the body, it makes sense that Christ would give things meant for that purpose.
Christ loves His bride and since all of us are His bride, He would want us to work together in the pursuit of the goal of edification to a mature man. The mature man knows God, walks with God, beholds God, is heavily impacted by God, and pleases God, all of which brings glory to God. This is what Christ wants for His body.
apostolous = apostles or messengers
prophetas = prophets
euangelistas = carriers of the gospel
poimenas = shepherds (Latin: pastores)
didaskalous = teachers