“Back To the Holy Fire” – part 12
EPHESIANS 4:7-13 “7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” 9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
The Apostle Paul gives a detailed account of the giving of gifts in first Corinthians chapter twelve, verses four through seven, and again in Romans chapter twelve, verses six through eight. Of course, then there is today’s passage found in Ephesians, the focus of our study. Paul gives us three glimpses of gifts from three different angles or views, because of the diversity of the grace of God, and how His charism operates in our lives and in the church. In Corinthians, the gifts Paul mentions are gifts that are resident in the Holy Spirit, who then operates through any believer at the will of the Father. In Romans 12, the gifts there are motivational gifts; those that are innate in people that cause people to be who they are. In today’s passage, the forth chapter of Ephesians, the gifts mentioned here are people who are gifts to the church. Paul clearly states in Corinthians that there are three basic principles to understanding spiritual gifts: first, there are diversities of the kind of gifts, second, there are different ways to administer those gifts, and third, there are different ways that each gift can operate. I love this explanation, because it takes God out of any fabricated box in which humans tend to put Him. It makes the gifts of the Spirit eternal and immense, and it makes anything possible in our world.
Today’s passage reflects this thought when we are told that “we are given grace (charism, or gifts), according to the measure of the gift of Christ. That is big. In another passage, we are told, “IN Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…” -Colossians.
In today’s passage, Paul also reflects that Jesus ascended that He might “fill” all things. This is in reference to His giving grace. The word “might” is there because the result depends on our receiving what He has to give. It is given, but we must receive. Now, the people He gave to us to help us receive are the gifted people ordained to lead us into that grace. The Apostle, (one who is sent), the Prophet, (one who speaks forth truth), the evangelist, (one who gathers in), the pastor, (one who shepherds), and the teacher, (one who gives admonition). These five “offices” are still active today, and are gifted people anointed in the church to help believers received the full measure of Grace from Jesus Christ. In doing so, we begin to grow up into Jesus Christ as mature Christians, and minister our own special gifts to the world.
Not everyone who wears a collar is called, and there are some who are called who do not wear collars who nonetheless walk in this anointing. You see these people come from God the Father. It is great when our human institution recognizes them, and ordains them institutionally, yet, the true gifted person cannot help but be and do the will of the Father. It is equally imperative that we recognize those in ministry who are truly called and who do truly walk in their heavenly vocation, that we acknowledge them as gifts from God the Father, for that is who they really are. They are loving extensions of the arm of God, here to help us along the journey to full measure and stature in Christ.
One more thing is important to note about this passage. It does not say here that they are to do the work of the ministry. It does say that they are gifts given to us to equip us so that we can do the work of the ministry. You see, God left no one out of the mission and intention of kingdom building. Amen.
Back To the Holy Fire 12
“Back To the Holy Fire” – part 12