BSF Acts: Week 24, Day 3: Ephesians 4:9–16

Questions:

6. Apostles: founders, leaders, backbone of church;  prophets: speakers of God’s unwritten truth, listen and tell His direction;  evangelists: Going forth to spread the good news to those who have not heard or do not understand; pastors: shepherds of a local flock of believers; teacher: those who explain and encourage believers in the word of God

7. By preparing God’s people for works of service we build up (strengthen) the body.  We do this through bringing people to faith, teaching, supporting, helping structure local places and practices, so they can do the work that God has called them to do with the skills and knowledge passed on by the holy spirit through the church

8.

a. As we mature in faith, Christ’s dwelling in us increases up to the full measure.  This fullness anchors us, like a rock in a bag, so that we are not tossed about by false teaching, whims, deceit, cunning and craftiness

b. By doing the work in my head to grow the spirit’s home in my heart.  He brings strength and weight and an anchor to my life – a firm foundation in Christ

9.

a. Talk more about God and specifically what the Lord is doing or what I am asking Him to do.

b. This is not an argument, it is prayer.  We speak the truth in love more by actions than words

c. Study and prayer.  I need to work to remove the hoarding in my temple so God can dwell fully

d. Flex, but don’t break.  Bend to reach out to others as God, in grace, bent down to save me.

Discussion:

Let’s look deeper at 4:11 and 12.  “It was He who gave some to be…”  the offices of the church and the people who serve in them are commissioned and selected, i.e., called by God.  While we may have processes in place to identify and select people for certain jobs in the church, our efforts should be directed to affirm God’s calling.  When it comes to leadership in the body of believers, God has already decided who is going to do what, we just need to listen prayerfully to His choices.

“some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers”  Depending on how you count the last, this is either 4 or 5 distinct jobs in the church.  We often expect our leaders to be able to “do it all.”  But Christ calls people to different roles.  Now, it may be that He calls one person to different roles at different times in life, but we should expect that He has identified specific people at a specific time to serve in each of these specific roles within a body of believers.

“to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”  Newsflash: the purpose of church is not entertainment.  Even if we are not called into one of the 4 or 5 offices of the church, we are still called to do works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.  We are in the construction business, not the demolition business.  Our work of service is to get underneath people and lift them up.  God lays a new foundation under them – puts a new structure on the outside of them (new creation) all while filling them up with all new insides (the spirit) and, by grace, he let’s us play a part in that service.

At the BSF conference we were encouraged to learn about some of the heretical teaching of our day, to read some of the popular books that deny everything from the existence of heaven to the virgin birth to many other truths of scripture.  As I’ve read the books, what I have found is shoddy workmanship.  Rather than building to code, they are like bad builders who want to cut corners.  It sounds like a bargain at first, but then you see the cracks, the paint peels, the floor boards come loose, the roof like and the air conditioning doesn’t work.  I don’t want help from these builders – I want help from someone who follows building code standards – and, for a Christian life, those are all printed in one place, the bible.

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