In Ephesians 4:7-16, Paul is sharing that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, followers of Jesus have spiritual gifts. There is a diversity in the body of Christ in that works together for the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. The gifts are given for the sake of serving others, and they are given at the moment of salvation. Verse 7 is a reminder that we never retire from the Kingdom of God, but that we are equipped to do the work of the ministry. You have all you need for God's plan because He has supernaturally equipped you. These gifts are given when you are "born again", which are different from the talents that you are "born" with.
Verse 8 is a hard verse to interpret, but here are 3 potential meanings:
- Refers to the incarnation
- Refers to Jesus entering Hades (Hell) for a time between crucifixion and resurrection
- Refers to Jesus coming from heaven to earth, dying and buried, then rising to return to heaven. Pastor Alex recommends this definition in light of the context of the verses.
Verses 11-16 are actually one verse thought. It is the pastor's job to equip the body for the work of the ministry. You are a saint if you are saved. You are a holy one, set apart for the work of the Kingdom. The gifts are given to build up the body of Christ. Every gift is given to serve somebody else, and when you serve, you bless others.
When we are "truthing in love", we grow up into maturity in Christ. When Paul says, "Builds itself up in love", it is body growth, not self growth. The church is not for self-development and a place to benefit you. It is a place to serve Christ's body with the way Christ has equipped you. We must live in biblical community, especially now that cultural Christianity is gone.
Don't believe a lie that you're too old, too young, too inexperienced, or that you've already done your part. Remember, you never retire from the Kingdom. Do your part because you have been equipped!
- Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4
- Are you using your spiritual gifts? How?
- What does your biblical community look like? If you don't have one, inquire in the Carmel room next Sunday!