As I read through these verses, I remember this. A friend of mine recently held his new premature grandson, being very careful because the baby was so tiny and fragile. He told me all he could think about as he gazed at this new little helpless human, was that “this is what the Almighty God chose to become, totally dependent on others for his very life.”
Jesus came down to earth for us--totally grace.
He returned to heaven victorious, and gave us more gifts–totally grace.
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.” 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
|Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit||His Church|
|Jesus gives all believers the gift of grace (7).||We all receive the generous gift of grace (7).|
|Jesus descended to earth, defeated death and all His foes, and ascended to heaven (8-9).||Jesus paid for the sins of all believers so that we could be His church and receive His gifts (7-9).|
|From heaven Jesus fills the earth with His gifts (10).|
|Jesus’ gifts are: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (11)||These gifts are given to us by God; they are a Divine appointment, not a human invention (11).|
|God’s purpose for these gifts was to equip His people to do His work and build up the church (12).||We in the church are responsible to use the gifts we have been given to do God’s work and build up the church (11).|
|SO THAT we work together in unity, in faith, and in the knowledge of God’s Son (13).|
|In this unity we will grow in maturity in the Lord (13) and be filled with His Spirit (10).|
The questions I asked myself after studying these verses are:
- “What gift(s) has God given to me? In what way am I using them? To further my own importance, power, and goals or to glorify Him and become more Christlike every day?
- What has my gifting looked like throughout the stages of my life?
- Has my gift shrunk or grown?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace. Jesus Christ, thank you for salvation. Holy Spirit, thank you for living in us. Help us to use the gifts that you have given us for Your honor and glory, to bring unity to all believers so that we can shine for you, and to spread the Good News throughout the world. Amen
Today’s verses brought “Days of Elijah” to my mind. I’ve been singing it in my head all day.