Gifts in Unity - Ephesians 4:7-16

Gifts in Unity

As a parent, it is a joy to see my kids grow and develop with their own personalities and talents. They are unique and differ between each other, but they are unified as a family. As a parent and leader of my children, I do my best to ensure they are equipped for their lives ahead of them and tools to equip them in their personal walk with Christ. My wife and I give them the tools they need to grow and, hopefully, become mature adults.

The same is true for us as Christians. There is a spectrum from baby Christians to mature Christians, but what are we doing with the gifts and tools that God has provided us? How are we building unity in Christ?
Ephesians 4:7-16
7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up 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 mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Paul calls us to be unified in Christ. Here he opens with ‘but.’ But grace is the reason. Grace is given to all of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Measuring is a spectrum. There are different lengths and amounts. God has measured our sins and, through Christ, has given us an excessive amount of grace to cover and forgive our sins through faith.

Paul then talks about Jesus ascending into heaven as well as descending into the depths of hades. Jesus led the captives from hades who were faithful so that they may have the promise and be unified in Christ. With this, Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit asks through all of us differently and we all have different gifts. However, we are called to use these gifts for the glorification of God as one body. To further equip us for the ministry God calls for us, he gave us the apostles for the foundation of the Gospel, the prophets so that we may see the fulfillment of God’s promises and consistency throughout the Old and New Testaments, the evangelists to go out and preach the good news of Jesus, and then the shepherds and teachers to provide us with the food and comfort of Christ. When we have this foundation, we can build the body of Christ and become unified in faith. The ones who step forth and do the actual work of God’s ministry are all of us. The leaders in the church are there to feed and equip, but it is all of us that are called forth in unity to make disciples of all nations.

Therefore, when we have a foundation of faith, we will remain steadfast when trials come and be able to identify false doctrine. God gave us tools to progress from a baby Christian to becoming mature in the fullness of Christ. There will be people who challenge us as Christians and challenge our faith, but what matters is that we remain faithful to the simple truth that we are justified by faith alone and the Bible is the spoken and truthful Word of God.

As a unified body of Christ, we are to build each other with the gifts given to us for ministry by the Holy Spirit. Speak in love to one another and work cohesively to ensure the body can move and function as one. We can all work as individual parts, but if we aren’t working together, then our movement and body will not be effectively working. When we work together in the love of Christ, then the body will continue to grow because of our living examples of Christ and being a witness and testament of His love.

So, I encourage all of us to examine your hearts and evaluate the gifts that the Holy Spirit has provided in our lives. Use the tools that God has provided us to establish a firm foundation and grow more mature in our faith. God is calling all of us to step forth and do the work of His ministry, but it starts with making an effort to have a personal relationship with Him and growing together as a loving body of Christ.
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