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EQUIPPING THE SAINTS

Eph 4:11-16

 

What do these have in common?

astronaut
mountain climber
scuba diver

All must be properly equipped in order to reach his/her destination. Similarly, the Christian must be properly equipped to reach his/her destination. Now, before you jump to the wrong conclusion, we’re not talking about heaven.

Heaven is for ALL those who have

  • realized their sinful condition
  • recognized Christ as their only hope and
  • received the gift of salvation

No, what we’re talking about is another destination: Christlikeness. But we’ll get to that in detail later. The point I want to make now is that we are not going to reach that Christlikeness unless we are properly equipped.

In fact, a lack of emphasis on this important teaching of the Apostle Paul in Eph. 4:11-16 is one of the reasons there are so many ineffective churches and Christians.

So look with me at this crucial passage...Eph 4:11-16

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ; from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Did you notice this was a long sentence? Not the longest Paul uses-- that’s in chapter one.

But also did you notice that Paul’s thought seems to unfold in layers? Paul frequently states an idea or theme and then elaborates and explains. If we look at it another way we will more easily see his flow of thought in this passage:

11   And He Himself

       gave some to be apostles,
                some prophets,
                some evangelists, and
                some pastors and teachers,

12   for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
                        for the building up of the body of Christ,

13   till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of
                                                                       the Son of God,
                              to a perfect man,
                              to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

14   that we should no longer be children,
                         tossed to and fro and carried about
                         with every wind of doctrine,
                         by the trickery of men,
                         in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

15   BUT speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things
                     into Him who is the head; Christ;

16   from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


Notice the breakdown of Paul's argument:

v. 11 action--giving of gifted leaders to the church
v. 12 purpose of gifted leaders -- "to equip the saints for ministry"
v. 13 goal of "equipping"
v. 14 reason for equipping -- negative
v. 15, 16 reason for equipping -- positive

From this passage I want to ask four questions:

Who should be Equipped for the Ministry?
What is involved in this Equipping?
What is the purpose of the Equipping?
What is the result of this Equipping?

Look for these studies to be completed in the coming weeks.

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