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January 31, 2021 5:00 am
For all you want to know mind is able to say that you are welcome to be worshiping with us and for all of us, which take your Bibles and turn to Ephesians chapter 4 Ephesians chapter 4 we are going to jump right in here with this passage. We've already been studying wristbands. Last week we started this passage is a couple weeks we started ago started this passage and today were to continue studying will begin again next week as we really pull apart what it looks like for the church to utilize the spiritual gifts and what are the spiritual gifts were and continue talking through that today and in the next week or two.
Start reading Ephesians chapter 4 and invite you stand for the reading of God's word. Reread starting in verse one, all with verse 16 just to help us understand the context of what's taken place here. Ephesians chapter 4 verse one Paul says I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness with patients bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, just as you are called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one board, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is overall and through all and in all the grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Therefore, it says when he ascended on high, he let a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men and saying he ascended, what is it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions the earth.
He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelist, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ 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 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 and human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes, rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped with each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love is the May God bless the reading of his word. You may be seated. Where works are gonna process through this today and in written gonna be worth or look at this thing with a big picture in mind. Okay, start from the very beginning tell you were looking at this with the big picture in mind today. It went it in biblical times when a king would defeat very specific nation.
Okay, maybe it was Israel going against Syria or Babylon going against Israel. Whatever it was with this king would defeat the nation would inevitably come with that victory a level of of spoils spoils of war.
The king's reward would be monetary. Absolutely he would grow in riches from that defeat.
But then his hits on his. His reward is also a little bit different.
His reward was simply that forever people would know him as the king that defeated that other nation, his name would go down in history books oh so his his reward would be both monetary and it would be in honor he would grow in those two things. However, every single good king would know that in defeating that nation. There was a number of people whose loyalty to him would have been a part of actually seeing that victory come about. Some people were heavily influential in that win. So the king would lavish on his army. So these gifts these the spoils of war. So the riches that would be captured by the king in that victory would be split up among the people who served with the king don't you take that picture I want you to translate it to Jesus as the victorious King. We talked last week about how once he had finished his job here on earth he ascended to heaven, taking with him the host of captives right that he had hit the insured our victory secure that picture of the victorious King Jesus with him and what he does. He lavish his gifts among those who were loyal to him and are part of his victory over sin and Satan. Here's the cool part.
If you are a Christian you are a part of that victory. So Jesus liberally.
He lavish his gifts on you. It was in those gifts are not monetary gifts in the not to build your bank account but they do increase the spiritual currency that brings glory to God and that he will one day see firsthand when you get to heaven as he talked about last week. There is coming a day in which you will get to heaven if you're Christian you will you will go into heaven, and you're likely just for your sin because Jesus is already been judged and paid the penalty for your sin but you are going to be judged based on how you use the gifts that were given to you by Jesus is the judgment that you will experience to the person is been faithful to use their gifts are the ones whose reward is going to be great. The person who has neglected to use their gifts. Thus the person is to receive less rewards because they disobeyed God in their discipline, their neglecting others gifts Jesus taught about this in Matthew chapter 25, effective, younger Bibles, take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 25 to read for us a parable that Jesus told the County illustrates this idea of using this these gifts wisely. Matthew chapter 25 and will start reading in verse 14 Jesus teaching says this fort will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants together and entrusted them to them. His property to one he gave five talents, to another to to another one, to each according to his ability.
Then he went away he would receive the five talents when it wants and traded with them and he made five talents more so.
Also he had who had that two talents made to talents more, but he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money.
Now, after a long time, the master of those servants came and he settled accounts with them and he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more saying master you delivered to me five talents here. I have made five talents more his master said to him, well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little. I will set you overmuch enter into the joy of your master verse 22 and he also who had the two talents came forward saying master you delivered to me two talents here. I have made two talents more his master said to him, well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little. I will set you overmuch enter into the joy of your master.
He also would receive the one talent came forward saying master. I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not so, and gathering where you scatter, no seed, so I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground here.
You have what is yours but his master answered him, you wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I scattered no seed then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers and at my coming I should've received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to want him who has 10 talents for to everyone who has, who has Wilmore been given, and he will have and it had an abundance but from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away and cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth know the story Jesus is illustrating what it means to wisely use the gifts that God has given is if a person is faithful their reward in heaven is good be great, but for the person who is not faithful where there's no fruit whatsoever there's no proof thereof set of true salvation is the one of the proofs of a genuine relationship with God through Jesus, is that the Christian faithful.
He uses the gifts is been given to them by God. The comfortable Christianity and oftentimes the kind of Christianity that we see here in North America that the comfortable Christianity says you know what I can go and I can attend church and I can give every now and then and know God is okay with me.
Got it's okay with that but that is a highly inaccurate understanding of how God works. Now I'm not saying in any way that that works is what's gonna save you.
But in both Matthew chapter 7 with Jesus teaching there than in James chapter 2 we find that the proof of salvation is found in our faithfulness to act based on our faith and suit to be willing to use the gifts that God has given us is what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 he says you can tell a person is his disciple by the fruit that they bear as you can tell that is this person is my disciple by the fruit that they bear you Dr. James chapter 2. Here's what James has to say. He says faith by itself, it is and if it does not have works, so try that again. Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead is meaningless if it is it doesn't, there's no meaning to it here. You may have heard the statement before you are not saved by your works but you are saved to work.
That's how it works okay.
You're not saved by your works but you are saved to work and I'll add all of that. That's how it works is how Christianity works is biblical for Christians to serve God in a tangible way. Once there saved is understandable to look at everything that God is done for us. The salvation he has offered us so it makes sense for us to serve him after he been saved those routers to reasons why want to start out hereby talk about faithfully using our gifts and here's a first reason is that if we ignore or misunderstand the spiritual gifts. Then we defiled the gift that we defiled the gift say what you mean by that. Here's what I mean to say that you receive an extravagant Christmas present that the kind of present that is to be used. The kind of present this to be put on display for other people to see in front of the person you gave it who gave it to you your your thanks for your you're excited about it. But as soon as that person is not around anymore. You take and hide away, put away where it can be seen can be displayed at all. It is just had no way that when you hide that gift away you're defiling it because its value and its purpose is so great that it was meant to be put on display for people to see you if we are not faithful with the spiritual gifts that we are given the weirdo. The very same thing.
We defiled that spiritual gift because its value and its purpose is for something this much greater than what we're currently doing with that gift Jesus paid for that gift with his life. That's the value he paid for the gift with his life. That's the value we are to use that gift of the glory of God for the building up of the church.
That's the purpose so there you see the value and the purpose of the gift Jesus paid for the gift with his life.
That's the value. The purpose of it is for us to put it on display for the building of the church and the glory of God right. Secondly, it is through spiritual gifts that Jesus leads his church is through spiritual gifts that Jesus leads his church. We see this author other than the New Testament epistles starting right here in Ephesians chapter 4 in up in other places we find list of spiritual gifts that are given to believers in general are Mossad others are just a moment here in Ephesians chapter 4 theirs versus a very specific gifts given to specific people. Verse 11 to be on the screen for you here is recess and he gave the apostles. Another translation says say that he gave some to be okay to give some to be ugly. That's more accurate translation in the ESV here. He gave the apostles will read the ESV, the prophets, the evangelist, the shepherds and teachers why to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Now these are the roles these are four roles of the equip verse of the church, the Clippers of the church is the apostle. The apostles were the ones who were sent out by Jesus to launch the New Testament church. The disciples were apostles Paul was an apostle by way of the commissioning that Jesus gave him on that road to Damascus is an apostle also is the prophets New Testament prophets were the ones who proclaimed the word of God boldly you can remember the early church did not have the Bible as we have it right here then have the ability to open it up and to see the word of God to the prophets were the ones who authoritatively spoke the word of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the promises being talked about there don't pause here and say list. I firmly believe that there are no more apostles and prophets in the church. This is a first generation characteristic.
This is what was needed in that first generation Christianity. These apostles and these prophets were desperately needed, but in these other two roles we see here the evangelist in the shepherds and teachers. They are roles we see now in our churches to get to the evangelist of the evangelist is the person who is on the move. They are, they are taking the gospel to different groups of people that always stay there pastor a church, but they are evangelist and that they take the gospel and they rely on the Holy Spirit to bring along someone else who can shepherd and teach the people of been saved never existed at the last croupier shepherds and teachers that looks like two different groupsjust one fact. The apostle Paul joined these to get to together in the Greek when he wrote Ephesians chapter 4, he joined together shepherds and teachers shepherds and and teachers are the ones who who are our pastors today.
The gift of shepherding is seen in people who look out for the spiritual welfare of other people. The teacher is the one who is instructing members and Christians in the truths and doctrines of God's word for the purpose of building up of unifying and maturing the body that these are spiritual gifts that are given here in Ephesians chapter 4 that describe the equip verse of the church shepherds and teachers there.
I told you there referring to what we call pastors so we today call pastors, elders in the church but I say listen, you don't have to be a pastor or to be in full-time Christian ministry to have the gift of evangelism or the gift of shepherding and teaching you have those gifts without being a pastor you give me evangelist without being a traveling evangelist only give you a very tangible example here and from within our church come and embarrass somebody, but they deserve to be embarrassed again. Bob Whitty. Bob is an evangelist. I love you ever been anywhere with Bob Whitty but he shares Jesus with anybody he comes in contact with. Now it is Bob called to be a full-time evangelist that goes around and and if that's his vocation. No, but Bob takes seriously his call to evangelize because he has a spiritual gift of evangelism.
He simply lives that out wherever he goes.
He lives out that spiritual dinner that spiritual gift that that God has given to to Bob now you may say whoa you know I got is gifted me with that the spiritual gift of discernment not evangelism.
They give me an out have to evangelize no because the Holy Spirit still prompts you to evangelize Holy Spirit of the Holy Spirit still prompts you periodically to utilize a spiritual gift that maybe you wouldn't call your own that that you utilize regularly any time the Holy Spirit bumps our comfort zone is says I want you to follow through. In this way, we are to obey him and follow through with that every single spiritual to be every single Christian has at least one spiritual gift to be used for the building up of the church throughout the Old Testament. To me the New Testament here.
Some of the spiritual gifts that are found again will read through some of these give you a bit of a description is leadership spiritual gift of leadership.
There's this is somebody who aids the body of Christ by leading and directing them to accomplish goals and purposes of the church leadership motivates people to work together in unity toward common goals. There's a spiritual gift of administration. This is somebody who who is gifted to lead the body by steering others to remain on task. Okay, here's the big picture vision. Here's how we get there, so does the detail oriented person is the gift of knowledge and that manifests itself in teaching and training in discipleship. This is the God-given ability to learn and to know the comprehended and explain the truths of God's word. A word of knowledge is a spirit revealed truth is wisdom that's the gift that discerns the work of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ in and in and it applies his teachings and his actions to the needs of the body is the spiritual gift of discernment that I missed a couple moments ago. Discernment is is is one of those people who can recognize the true intentions of people within the body of Christ or maybe related to the body of Christ is this discernment is is that is the person who test the message and thinks about it and that they test the action of other people's of other people for the protection the well-being of the body of Christ as exhortation or some people are really good at exhorting hey let's go, listen, encourage, and encourage you will read enthusiastic about the work of the Lord spoke to the exhorts us to move forward.
Often times there good counselors good motivators, there's the spiritual gift of faith in some people just have the ability to be excited about what God can do in the middle of insurmountable odds. It looks like it's impossible but I know God can do this that the gift of faith, there's the service and helps these are people who just step up to the plate and they are faithful to serve, and often times the service and helps their the ones you'll see the ones were behind-the-scenes and they are carrying out the mission in building up the body of Christ in ways we don't see mercy is the person who cheerfully has compassion on other people. They empathize with hurting church members is the person that keeps the body of Christ, healthy and unified by making sure that other people are aware of the needs within the church. There's the spiritual gift of giving this person gives freely and joyfully toward the work and the mission of the body of Christ is a gift of hospitality. People with this gift. They have the ability to just make you feel welcome. Maybe invite you to their home.
Maybe you maybe they meet you when you come to a church service like this, but they have the gift of hospitality.
Now these are spiritual gifts that are given to believers and it is through these gifts that Jesus leads his church in the mission that he has given them to go and make disciples now and say this is not an exhaustive list example.
I believe that encouragement is spiritual gift and contrary to popular popular opinion, the spiritual gift of sarcasm is not a spiritual gift okay so you talk at spiritual gifts. Sarcasm is not spiritual gifts. Don't tell me that I will wrap up today here in the top just a moment about the spiritual gifts in light of our church's philosophy of ministry. Let's talk about this for a moment love, a lot of people think of the pastor is the one who builds the church or the pastors are the ones who do the ministry. When a person goes into the ministry. Lord calls them into the ministry. That means that they are the professional Christians. They are the ones who have the education are the ones who are gifted in the art of Christianity. Rights wrong, the way Jesus has designed his church is for the pastors to be the Clippers, the saints, the Christians to be the ministers the pastors the elders are the Clippers the Christians are the ministers never should a church come together to bask in the gifts of one leader and rely on that leader to be the professional credit catch all Christian the house design at all.
A church is meant to be a group of people who are empowered to be leaders themselves using the unique gifting is that they have been given by God to carry out his mission on this earth don't tell you that if I or any of our pastors ever give you the impression that the success of this church rides on us than I am genuinely sorry as that is not at all how supposed to work the fulfillment of the mission is good come through you, as a church through the individual believers who take seriously the command from Jesus to go and make disciples.
That's where the successes gonna come from.
We say you are sent at the end of every church service and thus not a cliché statement that is a reality you really are, since go take the gospel live out your spiritual gifts you can get the feeling sometimes that some that we think were, like Golden corral Christians now say right from the beginning. I don't like Golden corral right through that obscurity that that that in the end of this illustration with you. Okay a Golden corral Christian has a whole lot of variety. But the really not good at anything at all I suppose is what we think work like the Golden corral Christian, but on the other side of that you got the Ruth's Chris steakhouse now friend of mine was at Ruth Chris last night he text me a picture of his steak and I thought of this illustration way before he did that he also personal Facebook.
But listen, Ruth's Chris knows what they're about. They make good stalemate, but they cook good steak right you know when you go to Ruth's Chris that you are going to get a quality steak. Now you gotta have a gift card to eat there.
But you know what you're going to get you to get quality you go knows the difference between a Golden corral Christian and a Ruth's Chris Christian what if because remember, Jesus has designed his church in such a way were all the get things that are needed for that church are found in the individual members of the church. What is we all decided that we were going to be Ruth's Chris Christians. That means we find out how are gifted job. What is my spiritual gift that you've given me, or gifts that you have given me and we really focus on carrying out that gift, or those gifts in the church stridency trying to be everything for everybody. We just focus.
You know what, here's my gifting's I step up to the plate some other ways. But here's where my focus on. I truly believe that our church would be revolutionized for the glory of God and the good of both our church and our city if we became Ruth's Chris.
I really believe that there we come back to Ephesians chapter 4 here in two weeks written order talk about what it means for us to grow up and mature as Christians to actually live the spiritual gifts out for this week is when ask that if you don't know already that you seek to find out your spiritual gift and then once you know what Jesus has gifted you with what he has blessed you with.
Then you go and you live that out for the glory of God and for the building up of his church fair enough. Sprint father I pray that we be focused on the supernatural spiritual gifts that you have blessed us with father, may we seek to find out what those are.
You have equipped some to be the evangelist and the pastors shepherds and teachers you have called some to be the Clippers hobo father, you have called all of us as Christians to be the ministers to take the spiritual gifts that you have given us, and to live them out in this world so may we do so faithfully for the thank you for your word. Thank you for the challenge today from your word's in Jesus name I pray, amen