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Re:Member – Ephesians Part 4: God ʼ s Body 1

Over the last 3 weeks we have looked at a chapter of Ephesians each week with the intention of highlighting what God says about His church and for our hearts to be reminded and renewed in our thinking towards the high priority and status that God gives His church.

1. The Church is the Plan of God ʼ s salvation for mankind and to be in it means being in Christ, which demands the question: Are you born again?

The Church is where God pours out all His spiritual blessings, all His presence, His Hope, His Inheritance, His power and is Himself united to the church as the Head to the body.

2. The Church is the Household of God where sinners of every race, age, sex and status are elevated to the most esteemed place in all of Heaven by grace through faith in Jesus the Peacemaker and are united together!

3. The Church is the Family of God who do the will of the Father and are called to carry the Gospel with boldness, which comes from the empowering assurance of His great love, adoption into His family forever, filled with the fullness of God! (Full of God!) Are you Spirit filled?

Chapter 4 starts with the word “Therefore” (What ʼ s it there for?)

Because of all we have come to believe in the first 3 chapters:

Salvation, Unity, Love from God – now we are urged to walk it!

Doctrine develops Duty!

Belief brings Behavior!

Praise & Prayer & must Play out in Practice!

1 Apart from using Logos Bible Software & my ESV Study Bible from Crossway, these resources are helpful: The Message of Ephesians, John Stott, 1979, IVP; and commentary by Michael Eaton, http://www.slices.org.uk/Slicesforall/sfeEphesians.html

We are blessed, we are forgiven and saved, we are brought together, we are loved believe these things before you try to do anything ongoingly for God:

[This is why I would rather ask you to be baptized (Water & to a degree, Spirit) as an indication of your faith, before you start to get involved in ministry – ministry without faith will kill you, religion can kill you! We need you to be faith-filled, Spirit-filled and love- filled, so that this ministry can be a joy!]

4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ ʼ s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

1. Calling: You are never called away from unity – you are always called toward the Body!

God has done amazing things (Calling us Home, Drawing us in by the Spirit) – because we are entrusted with what God has done, we are urged to walk out our calling in a worthy manner, we are to maintain the unity He created. Many things that unite us:

One Body

One Spirit

One Hope – for all

One Lord

One Faith – In Jesus

One Baptism – Into Him

One God & Father

Over, between & in us!

But there can be many things that divide us – hence the need for:

Humility – when did you see humble people divided?

Gentleness – when did you see gentle people argue?

Patience – when have you seen impatient people draw a crowd?

Bearing with one another in Love – bearing with people is a great ingredient for unity.

This is how the Trinity, the 3 in 1 God, keeps Himself together – The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all mentioned in verse 4 & 5 under the heading of unity – are so different, diverse, yet so single-focused as One!

Calling, Gifting & Character, have been given to us to by God ʼ s grace for the sake of the body! Let me highlight these 3 from this chapter today: Calling with no benefit to the Body is no calling at all. Gifting with no benefit to the Body is no gifting at all. And Character with no benefit to the Body is no character at all!

9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up 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 mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

2. Gifting: You are never gifted away from unity – you are always gifted for the Body

Community – a unity among diversity: is blessed with leadership! Leadership is one of the great gifts! The Father exercise leadership over the Son & The Spirit! Jesus, is the Head of the Body, He exercises great leadership over the Church. In the church, Jesus gives us the gifts of leadership! A family is blessed with the gift of leadership in the a father where there are children, or in the Husband if its just the wife. No community can exist without good leadership! Even the community of members that

make up my human body, it is good that my hands or my feet do not have a mind of their own! Leadership is precious – it should be supported, submitted to, celebrated, encouraged, desired, used and exercised well!

Jesus shows us what it looks like to be a great leader! It is a gift, and He pours out this gift upon people! Some are called to lead, leadership is a gift for the body:

a) Apostles – A sent one – Like Jesus who is our Great Apostle – He was sent by the Father, Jesus sends out His apostles (12) to make disciples. Disciples make disciples! So they in turn send our many more with apostolic ministry. A ministry that equips the saints Mannie operates in an apostolic ministry to churches locally and abroad. He is not an apostle, but Jesus uses him apostolically to equip other saints for ministry.

b) Prophets – Without getting too much into what it means to be a prophet, prophecy is effectively God ʼ s Words in man ʼ s mouth. Some people are gifted with an ability to bring God ʼ s Word to people in very special and specific ways and have ease in hearing God and speaking for God. Anyone can prophesy as God gives you His words. The nature of prophecy is always in the heart and way of Jesus and usually comes to build up! Sometimes a prophecy might me “stop sinning” that can be prophetic in that it can set someone free and in that way build them up!

c) Evangelists – are gifted by God in the ability to clearly and effectively communicate the Gospel, sometimes with convincing proof even through sings and wonders, but not always. Anyone can trust God for His Spirit to empower sharing the Gospel with people in a way that convinces them of salvation through Jesus Christ. We should all share the gospel but some men are given a gift that sees much harvest and fruitfulness.

d) Shepherds (Pastors, elders, bishops, overseers) – These are the fathers, leaders, called of God, qualified by God and recognized among people as those who love the

sheep, feed the sheep and care for the sheep and must give an account to the Chief Shepherd – Jesus. Shepherds make lambs into sheep. Shepherds are given to bring maturity to a flock. To bring spiritual growth. Sheep like to stray, so shepherds bring direction, sometimes discipline (maybe in the form of a fence or a rod) and doctrine the kind of food of the Word that nourishes the flock. Shepherds are often teachers and they are linked in many ways.

e) Teachers – These men are given by God to help us understand Scripture and the way of the Christian Life more clearly – I am so grateful in my own life for the obvious Teaching Gift that is upon many theologians, more specifically and recently Michael Eaton. He has helped me understand many things and brought incredible passion and balance to what I love about the Bible and about God! The teaching gift helps us solidify our doctrine, anchors us in truth and protects us from the devils error!

All of these do the following:

1. to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Apostles)

2. to build up the body of Christ (Prophet)

3. to attain to the unity of the faith

4. to know the Son of God (Evangelist)

5. to mature manhood (Shepherds)

6. to the full measure and stature of Christ (Shepherds)

7. to no longer be children (Shepherds)

8. to no longer carried about by every wind of doctrine (Teachers)

9. to no longer carried about by human cunning, (Teachers)

10. to no longer carried about by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Teachers)

See how these 5 great gifts produce 10 great effects that benefit the body! Whatever your gift – use it for the benefit and blessing of others, especially the body of believers!

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with

which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

You might not have a fivefold gift that is given to some, but in some way all of us can operate in these gifting ʼ s! It ʼ s to each one that Christ gives. So whatever your gifting (there is no exhaustive list) put it to work! We have all been equipped for the work of the ministry!

I overcooked it a bit at gym with the weights on Wednesday – so on Thursday and Friday my right forearm was pretty sore and I couldn ʼ t straighten my arm without pain. That tells me 2 things:

1. Some parts of the body that do not operate make it very difficult for the other parts that have to. Yes we bear with one another in humility and gentleness, but there is so much more growth when those parts operate well.

2. Some parts of overcooking it! When you see someone is giving their all, help them! I have seen ministry burn people out to the point where they doubt salvation and hate God! Bear with one another! We are a body – when the one does well, we all do well, when one suffers, we all suffer.

3. Re:Member this – you are being equipped so that YOU do it!

[Those of you who enlisted for the ignition teams at the beginning of the year – who committed to 1 week a month of service, I want to thank you and encourage you to continue. We had nearly 20 people per team in January. In July, it sometimes looks like its 4 people per team. For us to grow, for us, crossing over into the Promised Land and all that God has for us is going to mean every person involved and every person carrying some weight. If you see yourself as a member of the Church, then be a member that works. God has done so much for us, and with that He has prepared works in advance that we should walk in them!]

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice

every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

3. Character: You are never have good character apart from unity – good character is for the Body

Our minds, heart, understanding, knowledge, desires should all build in Godly character as you learn from, learn about and learn Christ! Good character is like the character of Jesus Christ. Bad character is easy to find: Selfishness, greed, living for the 5 senses, living for self is opposite to the way of Jesus. This was the old way of living. Good character is restored in righteousness and holiness. This is the new way of living! To live in community, you have to break away from living for yourself! To live in community – God has to restore His image and His likeness in us He loves community, He is in community within the Trinity and this is what He wants us to live in. The old selfish self wants nothing to do with others and is in that sense anti-Christ! Do you run away from community? Find fault with community or are you being restored and find yourself at peace in the place where God wants you.

Lets have a look at how intricately character is linked to unity in the body:

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Falsehood vs. Speaking the truth (in love) – is a membership issue. Are you true to yourself and the body?

Unresolved Anger leading to sin vs. Resolved Anger (Daily resolved) no anger going beyond 24 hours – is a membership issue because it gives power to the devil! The devil lives in a divided house, which cannot stand. We are members who stick together and give him no opportunity. (Make hay while the sun still shines!)

Stealing vs. Honest Work with your hands – is a membership issue because it sets you up to share with anyone in need.

Corrupting talk (Swearing, Sarcasm) vs. Edifying Talk that builds up – is a body and membership issue because we want to give grace to those who hear us speak!

Grieving the Spirit of God vs. Bringing joy and pleasure to the Spirit – is a membership issue because He is the one who seals us together for the day of redemption. He also empowers our call, gift & character transformation!

And Paul wraps it all up with these last two verses:

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 2

Because of what God has done to unify us to Him, we do what we can do to be united to one another:

All Calling points to benefit of the Body of Christ – the Church All Gifting is for the benefit of the Body – The Church All Character is for the benefit of the Body the Church.

May God make our calling clear – He has called all of us! May we respond by using the Gifts that He has given well, and do this with the kind of character that He desires!

God has done His part, God bless you all as you do yours!!!

2 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Eph 4:1–32). Wheaton:

Standard Bible Society.