The Apostle Paul made it clear to the Saints in Ephesus that UNITY within The Body of Christ is an absolute necessity.
In VS7-16 the focus is expanded to include an equally necessary reality within The Body of Christ… the necessity of individual parts being equipped and empowered to fulfill their individual roles effectively.
Truth Point: The UNITED Body is only as healthy and effective as the individual parts that make the whole.
The Point: We are ONE BODY! – But we are also individuals who have been given specific “Spiritual Gifts,” and strategically placed within “T.B.C.,” to fulfill a specific role, promoting health, effectiveness and growth.
When I say “Church Growth,” I’m not talking about going from 450 – 850 in Sunday Attendance or from $1 Million – 2 Million in a Ministry Budget. I’m talking about The Spiritual Growth and Health of The Body of Christ.
Road Map: October 1, 8, 15 – Taken from Eph. 4:7-16
· Jesus Earns The Right. VS7-10
· Jesus Gives Gifts. VS11-12
· Jesus Builds The Body. VS13-16
SCRIPTURE READING: Ephesians 4:7-16, ESV:
Grace for our calling – VS7
Typically when we think about GRACE, we think in terms of SALVATION. God’s Saving Favor. However, Salvation is not what’s in view here. GRACE which is… God’s Special Favor…is necessary beyond bringing one out of Spiritual Death to Spiritual Life.
We find that for every child of God, Special Favor is given to enable and empower us to do whatever He calls us to.
Notice the wording… grace was given to each one (no longer talking about the whole, but individual members) of us (followers of Christ-Children of God) according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Whatever the “gift” you are given and the task it may require, God ensures the measure of GRACE you need is always available to you.
Why is that important?... because Christ isn’t bringing you into His family just to give you a seat at the table, but make you fit to engage “the good works” that were ordained for you before the world began. Ephesians 3:8-10:
We find that God’s Grace is poured out to us individually, according to what is required of us individually.
Humility & Exultation of Christ – VS8-10
VS8 begins: Therefore, it says… the “IT” here is referring to Old Testament Scripture… Psalm 68:18.
Psalm 68 is a victory song, written by King David, to celebrate the conquests of God.
The point of the song is to picture God as a conquering King, celebrating His conquest through a victory parade
· When a king conquered his enemy it was customary to hold a celebration parade. The king would ride in front of his armies, dressed in full commander regalia.
· On display would be 2 types of captives…
1. …enemy soldiers who were captured in battle and are being made slaves to his kingdom.
2. …the kings own solders who had been captured by the enemy, and now have been recaptured by the king and are free to rejoin the ranks of his forces.
· It was also common for the people who came to the parade, to give gifts to their victorious king, and in like manner, for the king to give gifts to his people from the spoils taken in battle.
· This is the imagery we find in Psalm 68… Let’s read a few select verses. VS1-5 & 17-18
VS18 becomes the focus. This is the passage Paul makes reference to in Ephesians 4:8
Paul is wanting to show Christ as the Ultimate King, leading the ultimate victory parade, giving out the ultimate “gifts” to His people.
In VS9 he writes:…9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?)
Paul tells us that this victorious King first humbled Himself to the level of the battle. He didn’t stay on the throne, or in the “command tent” giving orders for solders to carry out. Instead He took off His crown, laid aside His privileged position, and took on the “uniform” of a common soldier.
…That He ascended in victory… what does it mean but that he first descended into the very heart of the Battle…
The Depth of Humility:
1. Heaven to humanity: He who created mankind, became man Himself… The transcendent God injected Himself into His very creation. This required Him to lay aside the independent right and use of His Divine attributes so that He could truly be man. Philippians 2:7
2. Humanity to Heinous death: From His lowered place as a man, He humbled Himself even further, enduring the most hideous and shameful of deaths. Death on a cross. Crucifixion was reserved the worst of criminals and was specifically designed to be the most painful, inhuman way to be punished Philippians 2:8
3. Heinous death to Hades: God becomes man, endures the most barbaric form of death, then He descended to the place of the dead… Hades. 1 Peter 3:18-19: Matthew 16
Height of Exultation
1. Death to Life: On the day when the two Mary’s went to the tomb of Christ to finish His burial preparations, they encountered an angel of God and he had an exciting message for them. Matthew 28:5-6
2. Hades to Heaven’s Throne: Having completed the full work of redemption, Jesus returned to Heaven to take His place of power and authority over all things. Ephesians 1:20
3. Humanities Limitation to Divine Omnipresence: When Jesus lived in flesh, on earth, like all flesh He was limited… He could only be in one place at one time
Having been raised to a glorified body and taking up His full rights and attributes as God, He now is unlimited… able to fill all things with His presence. Ephesians 4:10
The Right Build His Church
Truth Point: Jesus earned the right to give GRACE, so that sinful man, who could never earn God’s Favor, could have it in inexhaustible supply.