A month or two ago I was happy to announce that I would be returning to the blogging community with new content and would be reading your stuff again. Well, it’s taken longer than I planned.
Have you ever noticed how life can get a little busy?
Anyway, today I want to start a short (maybe) series of posts based on some study I did in the 4th chapter of Ephesians. It was a short (mini) commentary that was, among other things, required for me to complete my Doctorate of Ministry (D. Min.).
So, without further ado, let’s begin with the beginning: the title and a short introduction.
“The Edification of the Body of Christ by the Gifts Given by Jesus to the Church”
(An exposition of Ephesians 4:1-16)
The following exposition focuses only on one small section of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. This section uses the metaphor of a human body to explain the truth that the Church is the Body of Christ. But even more, he delineates between the corporate truth and the individual truth: that the Body is being built up and matured, but that God is also concerned about the individual member’s development.
This section is also where we find an explanation of the “grace” gifts to the Church Body and members in particular. These are the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. As Paul explains, it is these gifts that are necessary for growth.
Paul then details the progressive steps toward growing “up into Christ” as not only the supreme Example, but the very Framework and pre-determined Design for the Church and individual member alike.
Ephesians 4:1-16 is the blueprint for a successful and healthy Church, where the rest of the chapter focuses on the individual member of the Body’s walk. Yet, these sixteen verses are full of encouragement and hope. No matter our station, no matter our abilities, we are all designed by God, equipped by God, placed by God, and are guaranteed to grow with the Body through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
But key to our success is the faithful application of the gifts He has given us. They cannot be ignored, kept to ourselves, or prohibited. In whatever measure we are given these gifts, the ultimate goal is not self-edification, however important in its own right; the ultimate objective is the edification – the building up into Christ – of the Church, the Body of Christ. Only by seeking to edify the Body can individual gifts find their greatest fulfilment.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 in this series.
If any of it is a blessing or an encouragement, I’d love to hear about it.