Bible Dig into Ephesus: Ephesians 4:7-13

God works unity through spiritual gifts of leadership in the church. Grace is the gift we were all given, because no one deserves or can earn spiritual gifts. Before we read in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, let’s read some correlating verses in the New Testament. Obviously, the idea of unity among believers is an important one for us to understand and reflect in our actions and words.

  • God works unity through spiritual gifts of leadership in the church. Grace is the gift we were all given, because no one deserves or can earn spiritual gifts. (1 Corinthians 12 :11. NLT)
  • In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others. (Romans 12:4-6, TPT)

Let’s read our text for the first time in The Message.

7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,
   He climbed the high mountain,
   He captured the enemy and seized the plunder,
   He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. 
Ephesians 4:7-13, MSG

Signs of the Times

  • It was the custom of the time, that once a conqueror had received plunder and tribute from those who had been defeated he returned to his realm in procession (Psalm 68:18). Afterward, he distributed most of these spoils to his soldiers. Ephesians 4:8 uses this picture for the exalted, triumphant Jesus who returned to heaven and distributes gifts to His people.
  • Look to the Old Testament for explanations and examples of the leadership gifts now given by the Christ to the church. Apostles, commissioned messengers or agents, are perhaps best represented by judges such as Moses, Deborah, and Samuel. Prophets such as Elijah and Elisha share messages from God through the Spirit, usually not based exclusively on interpreting written texts. Expounding on Scripture was the job of the pastors and the teachers. Evangelists heralded the good news of salvation. Sometimes multiple gifts were given to one person.

Read Ephesians 4:7-13 for a second time in the New Living Translation. Pay attention to see what you are told about Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit and about His church.

7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift[a] through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say,
    “When he ascended to the heights,
    he led a crowd of captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”
9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 
Ephesians 4:7-13, NLT

Make a chart with two columns: (1) Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit and (2) His Church. Remember to include the numbers of the verses with your answers.

Before you read our text through for the third time, take a moment to quiet your mind. (I sometimes find I need to stand up and go through some repetitive movements and focus us on my breathing as I sit down to read.) Listen for what God is lifting up into your consciousness as you read.

7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say,
   “When he ascended to the heights,
    he led a crowd of captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”
9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 
Ephesians 4:7-13, TPT

Write, doodle, or choose a picture as you respond to what you heard from God today.

If you are so moved, please share your thoughts and pictures with me in the comment section below. Or send an email to KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com.

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