Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts – the apostles, part 3.

Class Outline:

Wednesday October 27,2021

The gift of apostle.


Apostles were the true freedom fighters.


To the apostles, especially Paul, the spiritual liberty of the church was more important than their personal popularity or security. That’s why the adage, “Land of the free and home of the brave,” will always be true. As long as there are brave people in regards to truth, there will be proper freedom.


Paul was particularly instrumental in protecting the church from becoming a Jewish sect preaching a mixture of law and grace.


The apostles were to protect the gospel of grace that it might be a blessing to the world.


Because of Paul’s courage, seen in the Jerusalem council in Act 15, the gospel was protected from legalism and therefore it was a great blessing to the world.


A flash of Paul’s wisdom is seen when we recognize that he brought along Titus who was a Gentile. Titus was a living example of the grace gospel brought to the Gentiles.


GAL 2:1-5

Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 And it was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.


“that I might be running, or had run, in vain,” does not at all mean that Paul doubted himself or the gospel, but that he was concerned that the Jerusalem leadership might let the false brethren influence the gospel with the law of Moses.


Judiazers were trying to silence Paul’s gospel message. The apostles were the first line of defense against the many false-teachers that attacked early on.


This is why the leadership throughout the church, coming after the apostles, are worthy of honor if they are ruling well. They work hard at teaching the flock, which truth protects the flock against the falsehood that will flat out ruin a spiritual life, and a false gospel which does the same. The parable of the sower comes to mind.


He and Titus went to Jerusalem and consulted with the leadership: James (the Lord’s brother), Peter, and John so that they would also recognize the grace of God that was brought to the Gentiles.


GAL 2:6-9

But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) —  well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.


“reputed” is a Greek word (dokeo) that means to be of a reputation. In English it might seem to cast doubt that they were actual pillars of the church, but this sentence doesn’t. It means that the church in Jerusalem saw these men as pillars, using the metaphor for the church as a building, which is found several other passages.


By coming together, united in the truth, Paul and Barnabas, and the Jerusalem leaders left no room for the false additions to the gospel.


The Jerusalem council approved of Paul’s ministry and encouraged it. There was agreement and unity. One and the same gospel would be taught to the Gentiles and the Jews. But although they possessed the same gift of apostleship, they understood that different areas of ministry were given to different men.


Peter and Paul’s gospels were the same. Peter’s ministry remained among the Jews and Paul’s among the Gentiles. However, that did not mean that Paul refused to give the gospel to a Jew, and in the same way, Peter to a Gentile. We each have our areas of ministry, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t meet the needs that are at any given time in front of us.


The apostles built the church by spreading the gospel and teaching the truth. Saved, maturing people make solid churches.


When the Jerusalem council began, there was the possibility that it could have ended in division, which is what Satan and the false brethren influenced by him desired, but thankfully it was a great success for the oneness of the gospel and the church.


David pictured unity among brethren as the Jordan river flowing from its source in the north and through all of Israel to its southern tribe of Judah, and most important place, Zion, where the sacrifices were made and where David’s precious Son would be sacrificed to make men His brethren.


Psa 133 A Song of Ascents, of David.


1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brothers to dwell together in unity!

2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Coming down upon the beard,

Even Aaron's beard,

Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

3 It is like the dew of Hermon [mouth of the Jordan and very north of Israel],

Coming down upon the mountains of Zion [south Israel];

For there the Lord commanded the blessing —  life forever.


Though they sowed in different fields, James (Paul refers to as an apostle in GAL 1:19), Peter, and John extended the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas. The apostles and other leaders were not in competition with one another, comparing stats on how many saved or coming out, and united in faith and truth, whether witnessing to Gentiles or Jews. We only wish that this state of unity based on agreed truth would have lasted throughout the history of the church.


We drew a parallel between the apostles and Moses, both of whom were sent by God with a message and to lead.


Another parallel to apostles (sent ones) besides Moses and Aaron who were sent to Pharoah, are the OT prophets sent to Israel.


Both the apostle and OT prophet spoke for God; both warned of judgment upon sin; both delivered their message as from God; both dealt with contemporaneous events as well as predicted events of the future. The OT prophet has a lot in common with the NT prophet as well, but not everything. The OT prophet was national, sent to the nation of Israel, while the NT apostles were sent to the world. The OT prophet was to preserve Israel, getting the people and the kings to repent, while the NT prophets were to build the church.


Jesus told them that if the world hated Him then the world would hate them. So then, the apostles were sent into a world that would hate them and their message, and that guarantees their suffering for Christ’s sake. This was also true of Moses and the prophets.