Series: He Gave Gifts
Message – Maturity: The Purpose of Gifts Pt. 3
Maturity: The Purpose of Gifts
Up to Last week…
Paul has pointed out to us…
- Who we are in Christ
- That we have been brought into union with God, and along with our Jewish brothers of faith are now part of His family, citizens, partakers of His promises.
- We are seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father
- That we are destined to exist to the praise of His glory
- We are destined to be prepared a dwelling place for God
- He begged us to live a life of humble gratitude mindful and worthy of the blessings you’ve been invited into.
- He strongly encouraged us to strive for unity in the peace that binds us together remembering that there is only…
- One Lord
- One Baptism
- One body
- One Father
And Jesus, the Lord of the body personally gave some AS gifts to the body (corresponds to 1 Cor. 12:28):
Now before we go further I wanted to show you that this giving people AS gifts from God has it’s origins in the Old Testament. Someone turn to Numbers 8 and read verses 17-19.
Num. 8:17-19, “(17) For every firstborn among the Israelites is Mine, both man and animal. I consecrated them to Myself on the day I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt. (18) But I have taken the Levites in place of every firstborn among the Israelites. (19) From the Israelites, I have given the Levites exclusively to Aaron and his sons to perform the work for the Israelites at the tent of meeting and to make atonement on their behalf, so that no plague will come against the Israelites when they approach the sanctuary.”
Foundation layers :
- Apostles – Instructors and Teachers of foundational truths who establish a new body of believers in otherwise unevangelized areas.
- Prophets – Inspired teachers and preachers. Their focus is ALWAYS the testimony of Jesus. They build up, exhort and comfort the church by means of their teaching.
- Evangelists – Ones who are especially anointed of God to preach the Gospel to the world.
- Pastor-teachers – These are the shepherds of God’s people. They lead and feed & oversee the spiritual development and welfare of a local body of believers. The ideal situation is always have a group of elders who co-led with equal authority concerning the flock. (1 to every 35)
Now as we discovered last week ,God gave these people as gifts to the body FOR…SLIDE01
- Equipping believers for the work of the ministry.
- Remember the word equipping was used in the Greek for setting broken bones. So, these people God gave as gifts to the body are to work in concert to set believers as strong, well-established ministers of Christ.
- Notice they are ministers of CHRIST – meaning He is both WHO they serve and WHAT they serve to others.
- SLIDE02 As Guzik says, “God’s people do the real work of ministry. Leaders in the church have the first responsibility to equip people to serve and to direct their service as God leads.”
- SLIDE03 Smith says this, “The primary purpose of the Church (meaning the local body) isn’t to convert sinners to Christianity, but to perfect (complete and mature) the saints for the ministry and edification of the Body.”
- Equipping believers for the work of the ministry.
- “For the building up of Christ’s body UNTIL we all come to the unity of”:
- Last week we determined three things about this portion of the verse…
- Until proves that these gifts are NOT eternal – they are temporary. We only have them UNTIL certain objectives have been satisfied.
- The words “we all” was referring to “the saints” & “the body of Christ” who are supposed to be matured and equipped for ministry as mentioned in verse 12.
- We ended last week looking at the phrase “the faith” & knowledge of Jesus
- The Words, “THE FAITH” are in reference to the established Christian Doctrine laid down by the Apostles.
- The one remaining word in this verse which needs to be unlocked to helps us out in determining how long we have the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-teacher is the word “KNOWLEDGE”. In the phrase, “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.” ~ Eph 4:13
There are several words for “KNOWLEDGE” in the Greek N.T. and we are going to look at three of them today beginning with the word “knowledge” in this verse.
- “the knowledge of Jesus” is Epígnōsis (G1922 ἐπίγνωσις).
It is more intensive than the word Gnṓsis (G1108), which is used to express the kind of knowledge we all possess now in this present age. It is simple academic knowledge that is limited to the present and is fragmentary (or only part of what can be known).
Epígnōsis expresses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge.
Grammatically, when used as an object as it is here in Eph. 4:13, Epígnōsis shows the relationship of the learner to what is learned, in a way that powerfully influences the life, and compels toward personal involvement. (It evokes Koinonia)
So let’s work from the lesser to the greater and look at the kind of knowledge we all possess today – Gnṓsis. To illustrate this and it’s connection to how long we will have these people as GIFTS in the body, let’s turn to 1 Cor. 13.
This chapter tells us about love being the driving motivation behind the gifts and while there IS a day when the Gifts (both those who ARE the gift as well as the gifts everyone in the body has been given) will come to an end – love never will!
Let’s pick up then in verse 9 and read on to verse 13.
1Cor. 13:9-13, “(9) Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will come to an end; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge(G1108 – Gnosis – present and fragmentary knowledge), it will vanish away. (9) For we know (G1097 – Ginosko – have begun to know) in part (G3313 – meros – with limits) and we prophesy in part. (10) But when that which is perfect (G5046 Teleios – complete, full, finished and wanting for nothing) has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (11) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (12) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (13) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
So 1 Cor. 13 agrees with Ephesians concerning how long we will have these people God has given as gifts.
The knowledge that will replace our current fragmentary Gnosis knowledge is Epignosis a complete knowledge that will completely lay claim to our whole character – making it like Christ!
So those given as gifts to the body AND the gifts given to everyone in the body will continue until the whole body of Christ is in agreement concerning true Christian doctrine and until all boundaries and limits of understanding of Who God is have been removed once and for all.
The Bible tells us when this will happen…look again at 1 Cor. 13:12
Then turn with me to 1 Cor. 15:50-58 & 1 Jn. 3:2,3.
In other words, expect these gifts in all of their forms to continue until Christ returns.
All of this agrees with our verse in Ephesians 4:13,
“until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”
- Notice that Jesus – not each other – is our goal. HE is the One by Whom we measure our spiritual growth and development. As Paul said in 2 Cor. 10:12, “…but they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are NOT wise!”
- No wonder he says, “(14) we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. (15) But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head–Christ. (16) From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.”
In closing turn with me to Hebrews 10 and let me offer you a little encouragement towards “doing your work as a minister”…
Heb. 10:19-25, “(19) Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, (20) by the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh); (21) and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. (23) Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (24) And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, (25) not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Now please close your bibles. Now as I am encouraging you – prepare your hearts to not just receive – but participate in communion. When I am though, I will invite you to go and get the sacraments and commune with Christ in taking them. If you need to go to someone in repentance for not living Christ IN LOVE with them – do so at that time and do not delay.
The knowledge we have received from and about Christ may be incomplete and fragmentary but it nevertheless gives light! Ps. 119:130 tells us that the entrance of His words gives light – it causes the simple to understand. So even if the totality of our knowledge is lacking completion, those parts that we know can be epignosis – it can be koinonia to us!
Jesus as He was preparing to leave this earth in death, had great desire to commune – to have a shared experience with His disciples. In fact it was called the table of Koinonia – of shared resources, shared experience and shared life.
When He took of the bread He broke it and said, this is my flesh which is broken FOR you, eat it all for as often as your experience being unified with my flesh in shared experience you are proclaiming by death until I return.
In like manner after supper He took the cup containing the New Covenant in His blood, and told them to drink it all for if you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no part with Me – but if through faith you and I enter into joint and shared experience with Christ both in the realities of a surrendered life and the symbolism that participation in this meal represents – we join with Him in experience not only of His death but also His resurrection and so preach HIS victory over death until He returns come.
One of the ways we enter into the broken body of the Lord is by surrendering the will of the flesh to His total Lordship and die to its base cravings and desires. And one of the ways in which we enter into the restoration we have with God offered to us through His blood is by drinking in His life – replacing our own until He comes. Christ comes to live within us – NOT through the symbolism of the sacraments, but through the real life sacrement of a surrendered life lived in total dependent faith in Him.
As Paul said,
“(20) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. (21) I do not set aside the grace of God; for if right standing with God comes through my self effort in keeping the law, then Christ died for nothing.” ~ Gal 2:20-21
We then took about 15min. to enter into communion with Christ through the bread and wine (grape juice) and we then closed in song.
This service had no notes since it was an open discussion…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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