The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 1 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #225)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 4:7-8:
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Mark Cahill said, “If God gave you a thousand dollars every time you shared your faith in Jesus Christ, would you share your faith? Let’s be honest: many of us would quit our day jobs and become full-time evangelists! Every one of us, including me, ought to repent of the fact that we would share Jesus for a measly dollar bill, instead of sharing Him because of the unconditional love that He has for each one of us.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “I’ve heard a million words, heard many sermons, and read many books. And I’m accountable to God for everything I have learned. I’m accountable for every moment of my time, and every dime of my money.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Cane Ridge Revival of 1800 was described this way: William McGee [a fellow pastor] soon felt such a power come over him that he, not seeming to know what he did, left his seat and sat down on the floor, trembling under a consciousness of the power of God. John McGee [his brother] felt an irresistible urge to preach and the people were eager to hear him. He began, and again the woman shouted and would not be silent. The methods and spirit of that meeting were repeated in other meetings. Pastor Barton W Stone soon ‘learned how to do it’ and organized the Cane Ridge ecumenical communion service. The zeal of that meeting has never been forgotten.”
In the first few verses of Ephesians 4, we have been talking about the unity that we ought to have in the body of Christ. Unity, however, does not mean we are all robots or clones. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Unity does not mean uniformity.” In verse 7, Paul shifts and begins emphasizing the individual gifts that God has given to the members of the body. By way of introduction to this and the next few verses which focus on this topic, allow me to share with you this overview from the Bible Exposition Commentary:
“Paul moves now from what all Christians have in common to how Christians differ from each other. He is discussing variety and individuality within the unity of the Spirit. God has given each believer at least one spiritual gift. We must make a distinction between ‘spiritual gifts’ and natural abilities. When you were born into this world God gave you certain natural abilities, perhaps in mechanics, art, athletics, or music. In this regard, all men are not created equal, because some are smarter, or stronger, or more talented than others in certain areas. But in the spiritual realm, each believer has at least one spiritual gift no matter what natural abilities he may or may not possess. A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve God and other Christians in such a way that Christ is glorified and believers are edified.”
Verse 7 says that “every one of us is given grace.” If you are saved, you cannot say that you have no spiritual gifts. God has given every member of the Church a gift that they are to use. These gifts are not to be used in opposition to each other, but in complement to each other. The diversity of spiritual gifts exists so that no need in the body of Christ is neglected.
We ought not to treat our spiritual gifts the way we might treat our natural abilities or a college degree. They are not a means to “get ahead” in life. They are the means by which we serve God and others. And, it is through that service that we bring glory to God and maintain unity in the church.
Someone once wrote:
God builds His church with different stones,
He makes each one belong;
All shapes and sizes fit in place
To make the structure strong.