Ephesians 4:7-16: Spiritual gifts – summary of permanent gifts, part 2.


Wednesday December 22,2021

“The conduct of the Christian is to be determined by the fact that he is in Christ. “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation” (2Co 5:17). That must set its mark on all of his life, on all that he does or allows. But to be in Christ is to be a member of the body of Christ. A member without connection with the body would be nothing. It is a member only in relation to the body and its other members. It has its existence only by the fact that it is incorporated in the body and has its special function therein.” [Anders Nygren, Commentary on Romans]


As Nygren goes on to observe, the Christian must not strive to be everything, for only Christ is everything. Christ is the fulness who fills all in all. The Christian is only a member of that body. “However richly equipped he may be, and however great the commission entrusted to him, he still is, and ever remains, only a member.”


When we consider the differences in our gifts and their different manifestations, we must also consider the harmony of the body as a whole. Each of us must remember that our gift is only one beside others which are just as necessary. We must not imagine that we can intrude beyond the Lord’s allotted work for us and think we should also do that which God has allotted for another. We must use our gifts in harmony with the whole, integrated in its place in the body which functions in one faith, one love, one purpose, and one mind. As in Eph 4:15-16, the whole body is joined and knit together by that which every joint supplies, each part working properly grows up into Him who is the Head.


Our list of permanent gifts will be organized as follows:

PT, evangelist (completed)

Teaching, (serving, helps), (ruling, administration), exhortation, showing mercy, giving, (wisdom, knowledge), faith.


I remind us that we are to mimic Christ in all the service we do and we are by faith to depend upon the Holy Spirit for the power and guidance needed to accomplish the work righteously.


Last time we summarized the gift of teaching and the gift of helps, which can be called ministering or service as well.


Spiritual gifts are given for the purpose of serving others in the building up of the body of Christ. Every one of them need preparation. Teaching needs study preparation. All the gifts, including teaching need spiritual preparation, which is why the gift of teaching is put forward by Paul as first among the gifts (1Co 12:28). All gifts will grow in effectiveness as the believer grows in knowledge and maturity.


The gifts are not to be recognized by how much work is done, or little, for all are placed in the body of Christ as God willed, and not everyone has the same kind or amount of work they are called to. I make that point because one could not justifiably say that a person had a gift of help or any other simply from the amount of work they do.


The deep characteristic of gospel life is surrender for service.


The study of spiritual gifts is a study of self-surrender.


These next gifts come to us from Rom 12. It is in Rom 12 that Paul’s instruction in the full weight of the gospel’s impact on mankind and the world then turns to practical living by those who by faith laid hold of the gospel.


The call is to a profoundly passive inward attitude, with an express view to a richly active outward usefulness. The believer is asked to give himself over to eternal love for purposes of unworldly and unambitious employment in the path chosen for him, whatever it may be.


The believer’s mind must be renewed so as to see in the life of the gospel, the life of the man set free to serve his Lord, his inexhaustible interest, his lineage of quest and hope, his ultimate and satisfying aim; because he possesses forever within himself the identity of Christ, who came to serve, not to be served. And this service is to be done with joy.


Administration and leading: (very similar or the same) a ruling or authority sovereignly bestowed upon a few at various levels of the church organization.


It would seem that “administrations” in 1Co 12:28 is the same or very similar to “ruling” or “leading” in Rom 12:8. The verb “ruling” in Rom 12:8 is also used in describing overseers and elders (1Ti 3:4; 5:17). Therefore, the pastors are to have authority in the church, but out side of that, there is a spiritual gift of administrating or leading that will fill a need in the church.


And, just as in all of the spiritual gifts given, they are to be exercised in the manner that Christ did. 1Pe 5:1-4 is written to the pastors, but the manner of “not lording it over those allotted to your charge,” would be the same for all leaders.


1Pe 5:3

[elders]nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.


Remember what the Lord said about those in His kingdom who were rulers – they were to be the slaves and servants of all, picking up their crosses and following Him.


It is obvious how important good leaders are in all areas of life: family, work, government, etc., and especially in the church. Leaders have to be sober and alert. They have to have a clear eye that will see potential dangers to the church. They have to lead by example (1Ti 3; 1Pe 5:3) as well as by word. They have to remain joyful and hopeful, even in dire situations, for if the leader falls into self-pity or despair, the congregation may follow.


The leaders have to remain above circumstances, always being ready to act, which demands a holy life, publicly and privately.


With this gift we are provided a modifier, which are only given with this gift and giving and mercy.


Rom 12:8

he who leads, with diligence


“diligence” – spoude = haste, earnestness, making every effort.


It is true of all the spiritual gifts that we all have to make every effort to maintain holy lives so that we are always ready to serve.


God is making the point that the leader cannot be lazy. He must always be prepared, always diligent, always watching and praying. As the Lord said, no one knows when the thief is coming. The Lord gave us several parables that emphasized being ready, watchful, and waiting faithfully. A leader always has this responsibility.


Rom 12:8 lists “leading” while 1Co 12:28 lists “administrations.”


1Co 12:28

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.


“administrations” – kubernesis = steering, guiding, governing.


The image of steering a ship is a great one for a leader or administrator. He needs to know the course setting, checking the compass continually, surveying the conditions, looking for dangers, adjusting as he goes, and all in the interest of getting his cargo safely to its destination. If he or she does this well, they are to be considered worthy of double honor. Leaders also incur a stricter judgment.


The church needs leaders in various areas who are self-motivated, humble servants, sober and watchful, meaning that are committed to the flock, involved, and diligent. Without them, the body of Christ suffers in the world system that is designed with the purpose of sapping the life out of the church.


“Exhortation” – paraklesis = literally a person called to one’s side. Exhortation, consolation, comfort.


Rom 12:8

he who exhorts, in his exhortation;


All of us are called to do this for one another, and how very valuable it is to have another believer draw near in order to help us find comfort and consolation when we are on the verge of despair. We are to do so for our loved ones and our enemies.


Paraklesis is a title for the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Father.


2Co 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

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