ANCHORED DAILY: Ephesians Chapters 4-6

posted by Bethel Communications | Aug 4, 2022

Hey Bethel Church. I’m Matthew Haddick, and today we’re in the second half of Ephesians, reading chapters 4-6. I love this book. It’s one of the first books of the Bible that I remember reading a lot as a kid, and about a year and a half ago we studied this book as a church for several months. Then, during this last spring we studied it in a small group I was leading, and at the same time I read it for my personal devotions along with my dad. So I’ve had my share of exposure and absorption of the content of this letter over the past 18 months, and I’m excited to share some things that stuck out to me.

Ephesians broadly is a book about identity – how a Christian has a new face and family in Christ, and how that affects their new life. In the first three chapters, Paul preaches extensively about Christian identity and family, but beginning with chapter 4, he turns to the real life impact. He discusses how it should shape the Church, family, and our relationship with the world.  I want to focus specifically on chapter 4 verses 11-16. In this passage, Paul focuses on the unique callings that are given to specific individuals within the church, as well as spiritual gifts that are meant to build up the church.

Starting in verse 11, we read And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” You know, I think a lot of times we let church become a routine where we come, listen to a sermon, and do little else. And while we at Bethel have learned by now not to become too attached to our pastors, it’s worth noting that this is not how Paul sees the church. God does call specific people to full-time vocational ministry, but it’s not to set them in a different category and have them do all the work. We have all received grace from God, and we each have a responsibility to build up the church. Pastors aren’t called to preach to people who have no stake, no investment – that means that when we come to church, it’s not just to hear a sermon or listen to the music, but to serve each other. It’s a significant responsibility for us to meet.  The verse says that pastors are given to equip the saints – but the work of ministry is a calling and responsibility for all Christians.

And you know, this leads directly into the topic of spiritual gifts. Now you might be familiar with spiritual gifts, maybe even taken one of those spiritual gift inventories. Typically, we treat it like it’s a new God-given spiritual talent – we identify it, study and develop it, and exercise it. This can anything from teaching to generosity to prophecy. And while those inventories can be useful, I don’t think they fully capture what a “gift” means in this context. In the New Testament, there are six different ways that the word “gift” is used. It can refer to salvation in Christ, the Holy Spirit, one station in marriage or celibacy, ministry, supernatural gifts, and simply people.

The many different uses of “gifts” should suggest there is a deeper meaning here. Like verse 11 says, gifts are given to the church in the form of people who are called to ministry. In the New Testament, Christians aren’t asked to identify their spiritual gifts. Certainly, we each have different skills, interests, and talents given by God that can and should use to their fullest potential. But that’s different from spiritual gifts. Since all Christians have received grace from God, we all have a responsibility to build up the church in service. Your individual skillset is less important than that calling. We can never turn away from God’s call to a ministry by saying, “I’m not gifted that way”. Guided and empowered by the Spirit, we become giftings to the church.

That’s what Paul focuses on in verses 15 and 16: “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.” There’s a role and a calling for everyone. Through the ministry of the Spirit, we become a people who grow together through service and compassion. So that’s my challenge for us today. As the imperfect people of the church, let us receive the grace of Jesus Christ in whatever form it comes, so that we can be the spiritual gifts we were made to be. Let’s pray

Heavenly Father, we come before you today thankful for your provision over our church. We thank you for giving your inspired Word to us to have a deeper knowledge of you. We ask for your hand on us as we seek to become more like you and build up the church through the ministry you’ve given us. Keep us from complacency and fill us with joy and energy as we proclaim your word by your Spirit. In Jesus’ name we ask these things. Amen.


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