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Tag Archives: Ephesians 4

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — The GIFTS of God the Holy Spirit! (Part 3)

As we continue discussing the believer’s relationship with God the Holy Spirit, we recognize that some Christians overemphasize Him, while many of us overlook Him. And we are poorer because we don’t biblically relate to Him. We can speak to Him because He is personal and, because He is God, we can (and should) worship Him. Neither of these actions are intended to minimize the primacy of the Lord Jesus, for the Spirit of God’s primary job is to glorify the Lord Jesus.

In these recent posts we are seeing that the various ministries in the church are not all to be performed by professional clergy. Every believer is given gifts by the Holy Spirit to be used to build up the Body of Christ and to serve a broken and needy world. We’ve looked at the first two of the four major passages on spiritual gifts (Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12) in our last post. Let’s continue our study by looking at the third of our four passages, Ephesians 4 —

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

In this third passage on spiritual gifts, we see that the emphasis is on the “unity of the Spirit” (v. 3). Paul stresses the oneness of the body and of the Spirit and of “the hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (vv. 5-6).

We learn that Christ (through the Spirit) “gave gifts to his people” (v. 8). The gifts listed in this text are: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers (v. 11).

Why are these gifts given? We are clearly told “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (v. 12). But building up the body also involves strengthening the body to no longer be infants in its beliefs (vv. 14-16).

The Challenge: God the Holy Spirit’s gifts include people — people who help us mature and stay strong in the truth. For what person in your church can you give thanks today for their ministry to you? Why not thank them personally?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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“Servants of the Servant” — A Sermon in Preparation — Part 3

I’m looking forward to catching up on the episodes of “Little House on the Prairie”!  What?  Yes, I get to stay with my mother-in-law Mary (who’s 92) — and that’s what she watches.  During that time I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel (their website is here) in New Jersey Sunday, October 7th,on the issue of our using our spiritual gifts to serve in the local church. And I’m entitling this message “Servants of the Servant.”

Becoming servants of the Servant, the Lord Jesus, involves knowing and using our spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.Our four passages on spiritual gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4) all emphasize the point that every believer has a gift or gifts and must use them to serve the Lord!

We’ve looked briefly at Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12.  Let’s examine Ephesians 4 this morning and draw some tentative conclusions:

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2018 in service

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #5- Service) (con’t)

One area in which believers get BOGGED DOWN concerns SERVICE!  We are often self-centered consumers who want to know, “How is the church going to serve ME?”

This series (which we are preaching at Crossroads Fellowship Church; website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com) deals with topics which often cause the Jesus-follower to get STUCK!

But we have been saved to serve!  Ephesians 2:8-10 make it clear that, although our works can’t save us, once we are saved we are to do good works for Him!

There are four major texts on spiritual gifts — Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4.  Let’s take a look at Ephesians 4 this morning:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

There is so much here.  Just a few points:   (1) The Christian life involves living a life worthy of your calling, an attitude of humbleness, gentleness, patience and love.  The goal is to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  (2)  That unity or oneness is balanced by different gifts given by Christ to all believers.  (3)  Some of those gifts are: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.  (4)  Why are those gifts given?  To equip God’s people for works of service, to build up the body of Christ, to move toward maturity and the “fullness of Christ.”  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in christian growth

 

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A Life of Living Biblically (reprise of a past sermon)

Friends: I was inspired to preach this message in Columbia International University’s chapel a while back. A.J. Jacobs’ book The Year of Living Biblically inspired me to do this study on Ephesians 4.  Comments welcome.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Ephesians 4

 

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A Life of Living Biblically (a sermon)

A sermon I preached recently at our church in Columbia, SC.  It is a response Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 7.30.46 AMto A.J. Jacob’s experiment “A Year of Living Biblically.”

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in christian life

 

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