Nov22MonNovember 22, 2021
NIV Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- 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 to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." 9 (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 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teacher, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
The word emphatically declares that we are one in Christ. All of us together as followers of Jesus make up one body, all submitted to one Lord, one Father, and one Spirit, who are One God. There is only one faith that makes up what we believe, and one baptism that symbolizes our entrance, or initiation into the family of God.
The unity is that we all make up the one body. The diversity comes in the gift given to each one of us to function in the body. In this way, each one of us is unique. Just like every single part of the body is different and has a different function so it is with the members of the body of Christ. Notice closely the wording: “Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift” (Eph. 4:7, AMP). Notice the New Living Translation, which makes the Greek really clear: “However, He has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.” The first 3 chapters of Ephesians talk about what God gave us in Christ through salvation and redemption – that’s because of His grace! This verse talks about what Christ gives to each member of His church. God is a giving God! With this gift, it is our turn to give back to God in service to Him and the rest of the church members. Christ decided what gift we need to serve Him with. Like a fingerprint or a snowflake, we are uniquely crafted and gifted for service. That does not mean that no one has the same gift I do, it means that in me it functions uniquely according to how God has made me. Think about that! Jesus indwells you! He wants to use you specifically and uniquely to accomplish His purposes through your life, with your unique set of talents and skills. What is that one gift God has deposited in you for His purposes, for the building up of the Church? See how clear it is in 1Corinthians 12:7-11 -
“7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another He gives the gift of special knowledge. 9 The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else He gives the power to heal the sick. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” (NLT)
Notice Romans 12:
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of His one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others. 6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. 7 If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Rom. 12:4-8 NLT)
Verses 8-10 of Ephesians 4 describe a victorious Savior who defeated the enemy, and comes back from war with the captive enemy, the released prisoners, and gifts to dispense to the people. What a great picture of our conquering King who defeated Satan on the cross. This same Jesus, who died bodily on the cross, before He ascended on high to the throne, went down to Sheol (Hades) to announce His victory to the old testament saints and the fallen angels in chains (1Peter 3:19, 4:6; 2Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).
He returned to build His church by establishing the leaders that will lead, guide and teach the newly formed community. For this purpose, He dispenses gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, and teacher/pastor, so the body can be built up and work to accomplish what Jesus wants us to do – namely, “works of service” to make disciples. Serving one another with our God-Given gift – that’s what Christ wants us to do to give back to Him in return for all He has given us. There are no spectators in God’s kingdom – we all have a part to play. What is your part? What gift has God given you to build up the body? How does He want you to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ? Jesus wants us to carry on the mission He started. Let’s get off the pew, and get busy, so we can get off this planet and go home to be with Him.
"The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it! (John 14:12-14 NLT)
Have a blessed week!