Ephesians 4:12-13: Every born-again believer will become fully mature in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.
Sunday January 2. 2022
[I ran a planetarium for a summer when I was in college. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life… I’m going to read you these wonderful passages from the Psalms because you and I in the Salem OR area are going to have to imagine it. We’re getting 2 inches of rain today. If you’re listening and have clear skies, and find yourself up after midnight, find the Big Dipper, look just below it, and be patient. Think of our Creator Father, Son, and Spirit and be patient, just like They instruct us. It’s legit to make a wish, as long as it is His will. For us in OR, the meteors will be there in the heavens, like our Lord Jesus, but we won’t see them or Him.]
When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,
The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?
And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
We summarized all of the permanent spiritual gifts but three: faith, knowledge, and wisdom. These three are difficult to define as gifts since we all are to have their substance in abundance, and I think more so than the other gifts (all of which all of us have to practice as virtues).
It is difficult for us to describe the function of these gifts outside of conjecture. Still Paul does list them as spiritual gifts.
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
In this list of spiritual gifts, one of three given by Paul, they could all be considered as temporary gifts, unless we consider wisdom, knowledge, and faith to be of the permanent kind. It is impossible to tell for sure in which category these three fall, but if they are permanent, we can only imagine how they would reveal themselves outside of or above the knowledge, wisdom, and faith that all maturing believers possess. Some good theologians settle the question by postulating that all believers have these spiritual gifts, along with helps, service, and mercy.
It would seem that some have a given gift from the grace of God to use knowledge of Him for the betterment of another, or to use wisdom, personal application for the betterment of another, or the ability to have faith in a situation that would help others.
Let all of the gifts that we have studied be options for you, while being careful to know the restrictions for those who aspire to offices in the church, especially those that contain authority. I can only hope that the list is complete. Read 1Co 12; Rom 12; Eph 4 for yourself and pray for insight and determination, knowing that whatever you do it is for the building up of others.
[Until the end of the Book of Ephesians, we are going to do things differently than we have. Rather than pause to develop doctrines, we are going to stay in Ephesians, clearing up translation issues as we go, until the end. Then, we will return to any doctrines that deserve development. So from now on it will be a push to the end of Ephesians, and then our study will be topical.]
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. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Communion: With Christ God will give us “all” things.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
“all things” is the neuter plural panta. We could just translate it “all.” And just like in our passage, Eph 4:11-13, which states that all of us are certainly going to fully know Christ and fully mature, so here, we are all predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ. In my opinion, this will not happen fully in this life. It will require death and the eternal state. Should we not rejoice in this truth, even though we have unanswered questions?
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.