Our assistant pastor Stu preached for our church this morning on Ephesians 4:7-16. He ran out of time a bit so skipped through some things which was a shame because it was a really good preach with things I definitely benefited from hearing today, in the context of a time together in which God spoke to us through prayers, prophetic words, tongues & interpretation, songs and the Scriptures - all concerning his great gospel.
Jesus is our victorious leader who gives gifts to his church having descended to death and ascended back to his Father for us. He especially gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds & teachers to equip the church for its ministry. We need these gifts so we can each do what Jesus has for us to be doing.
Two images helped me to grasp what's going on.
1. The Olympic Lift. To complete this lift the whole body must work rightly. If one part is out of action or not able to contribute then the whole body loses. The whole body loses ground where it could have been growing stronger and going further. What can I contribute?
2. Kevin and Perry. The classic image of immaturity that we can all relate to. The church can be like that, lazy and getting no where, or given gifts by Jesus can grow up together - released and faciliated by its leaders to build itself up. Church isn't about being spoon-fed - Ephesians 4 is a step up and take responsibility for the church moment. Where can I step up?
The sermon is well worth downloading - you might want to ponder further some of the gifts that are given to the church, such as 'apostles' - these are important to consider but more so their purpose to equip the church body for it's ministry and growth.