EPHESIANS: LIVING IN ALIGNMENT WITH OUR HIGH CALLING
Part II: Walking Worthy Of Our High Calling In Christ, Ephesians 4:1-6:20
B. Walking Worthy Of Our Calling Regarding Our Spiritual Gifts
A. Having extensively written about the high calling we believers in Christ have in our Lord, clarifying the great extent to which God's grace in Christ has been administered in our behalf in Ephesians 1:1-3:21, Paul applied that truth to the Christian walk in Ephesians 4:1-6:20.
B. In Ephesians 4:7-16, Paul presented the second realm of walking worthy of our calling, that of our spiritual gifts for ministry that God has given to all of us believers in Christ. Remarkably, though our spiritual gifts are so important at all times, they are especially important in the current COVID-19 pandemic quarantine!
C. We then view this important and timely passage for our insight and edification (as follows):
II. Walking Worthy Of Our Calling Regarding Our Spiritual Gifts, Ephesians 4:7-16.
A. At salvation, every believer in Christ is given a supernatural spiritual enabling called a "spiritual gift" by Almighty God the Holy Spirit that the believer is to use for effective Christian service, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11.
B. In Ephesians 4:7, our ascended Lord gives the gifts (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Eph. 4:7), so Christ bestows the gifts and the Holy Spirit administers them. (Lewis S. Chafer, The Ephesian Letter, 1935, p. 127)
C. Paul explained how Christ arranged to give out these gifts in Ephesians 4:8-10, writing that when He ascended above the heavens, Christ did so to fill the whole world, from which position He bestows gifts as He wills due to His initial descent to the earth to perform His work on the cross of providing salvation for man, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 634. This truth fits Paul's earlier reference in Ephesians 1:23 to Christ's imparting all the fullness of His blessings to the Church and the universe, Ibid.
D. Thus, the sovereign, saving Lord gave supernatural enablings to all believers in two sets, Ephesians 4:11-12:
1. Christ gave out a "starter" set of supernatural gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11 (as follows):
a. He gave the gift of apostleship to some in the Early Church (Ephesians 4:11a), a foundational gift (Ephesians 2:20) equipping one to perform all the other gifts (as exemplified in Paul's case, 1 Corinthians 9:1; Acts 20:7-10; 1 Corinthians 14:18) and to write Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16 also of Paul)
b. Christ also gave the gift of prophet (Ephesians 4:11b), what was needed for guidance and instruction in the Early Church before it obtained the complete canon of Scripture, cf. Acts 20:22-23; 21:10-11.
c. Jesus Christ also gave the gift of evangelist (Ephesians 4:11c), the supernatural ability to give the Gospel with special effectiveness, which is one of two "starter" gifts we still have in today's Church.
d. He also gave the other "starter" gift we still have in today's Church, that of pastor-teacher (Eph. 4:11d):
i. One article governs the nouns "pastors" and "teachers," referring to "two characteristics of the same person who is pastoring believers (by comforting and guiding) while at the same time instructing them in God's ways (overseers or elders are able to teach; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)," Ibid., p. 635.
ii. Thus, the other "starter" gift we still have in today's Church is that of pastor-teacher, an enabling that combines Scripture instruction with its application to comfort and to guide fellow believers.
2. These "starter" gifts are to be used to prepare the rest of God's people in the Church to use their supernatural gifts for works of service, Ephesians 4:12. ["To make the meaning" of Ephesians 4:12 KJV "clearer," we must "delete the commas" in the verse (Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Eph. 4:12). Thus, God uses the "starter" gifts to equip and motivate the other believers in the body to use their gifts to serve the Lord.]
3. As a result, the entire body of Christ comes into a unity of the body of truth and an experiential knowledge of Christ, maturing so as to gain victory over apostates and their errors, Ephesians 4:13-14.
4. The whole body achieves this by God's grace and power as each member uses his supernatural gift to edify every other member in the body in the sphere of love, Ephesians 4:15-16.
Lesson: We believers are to walk worthy of our high calling in Christ by using our supernatural enablings from God to edify fellow believers. Those with "starter" gifts are to evangelize, teach and pastor as the Lord directs, equipping all of the other gifts to be used by the other believers to edify the body for its protection and maturity.
Application: (1) Even in the COVID-19 quarantine, "starter" gifts can edify the other believers from a distance via electronic communication, and other believers can respond in using like communication and acts that edify every other believer, for these spiritual gifts are supernatural, the work of God! (2) May we then use our gifts right now!