Gracefully Truthful

church,Faith,Glory,Help,Unity

Read His Words Before Ours!

Ephesians 4:7-16
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
Hebrews 10:24-25
Romans 15:1-6
Psalm 133

We have been studying and learning so much together about Christ’s redemptive work on our behalf; this is what Ephesians 1-3 are all about. Now, we have transitioned to studying chapters 4-6, and we are beginning to discover the answer to the age-old question,
“How should we then live in light of the gospel?”

Paul, the early church apostle and preacher who authored Ephesians, begins to address this question in today’s section of Ephesians 4:7-16 where he teaches on the spiritual gifts Jesus gave to believers as they established His church.

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, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

As Paul further explains in 1 Corinthians 12, every believer has been bestowed with certain gifts, ones we have not earned or engineered, but rather were given by grace so we can bless others. We are to put our gifts to the good use of edifying (building up, instructing, and encouraging) our fellow believers, whether in our local church congregations or the global Church at large. 

The Lord gifts each one of us uniquely, leading naturally to beautiful diversity within the church. Yet, even in our diversity, we also are able to see and experience unity, for our gifts are to cooperate toward one purpose: building up the church. 

The writer of Hebrews puts it this way, “And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

As believers, we are given the clear mission of building one another up in faith and in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 exhorts, “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.

Did you catch that? Our mission is to, yes, build one another up in faith, truth, sound doctrine, right living, and good works. 

But it does not end there, nor does it even begin there. 

Love is what begins, ends, and undergirds this ministry work. We are not called to “beat one another over the head with sound doctrine”; far from it! This ministry is to be characterized by truth, yes, but only truth spoken in, and motivated by, the love of Christ Himself made manifest in us, His people.

This is illustrated in verse 13, where we are told our ministry work is to build up our fellow believers “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing in maturity[.]” All of this can, and should,  be done in love! After all, Paul tells us unequivocally in Romans 2 that God’s *kindness* leads to our repentance.

Do you want to see someone progress in their sanctification journey?
Begin with love.
End with love.
Weave it all together in the middle parts with love.

How are we intended to use our God-given gifts to participate in works of loving service today? Well, naturally, this will look different for each of us in our own churches, but for me, this looks like facilitating Bible studies for women in my church, as well as partnering with my husband to teach the Wednesday night kindergarten and 1st grade class. 

Whatever your gifting, whether encouragement, teaching, administration, prophecy, prayer, or anything else the Spirit has given, put it to good use within God’s church for the benefit of His people! I pray God will bring opportunities to your attention, and you will follow Him in serving His church!

Lord, thank You for Your beautiful design for the church. What an honor it is for each of us to have been given a gift we can use daily to encourage and sharpen our fellow believers. I pray for spiritual growth, unity, and continued maturity in our churches, Lord, as we follow You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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