For the last three chapters Paul has been teaching us about grace and the glorious church, establishing who we are and what we are a part of.
“Therefore” – shows us Paul is giving us the outworking of this grace and glorious church.
Firstly he wants us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have. If we have a solid identity in Christ and have grasped the grace of God that outworks itself in at least five things:
- Bearing with one another
- Maintaining unity in the Spirit
The reason we can do that is because we are ONE! Paul highlights the oneness, the togetherness we share. Just as the trinity is ONE, united, we are too. That’s tough for us individualistic Westerners to run with, so we need the challenge! We have one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and one Father – we are one together.
In that oneness there is diversity – as a few of us have just been chatting about over coffee – we all have different strengths and gifting – it would be a nightmare if we were all a mouth in the body!
Paul lets us know we all have a portion of grace-gifting – even you. Note how Christ has apportioned it “according to the measure of Christ’s gift” – some will have one talent worth, others five and others ten – are you using all that God has so far given you?
The gift list that follows is slightly different to the ones in Romans and 1 Corinthians – here Christ has given each of us ‘a measure’ – the five fold ministry gifts are about the way God has wired us. Their purpose is to equip the rest of the church for ministry and to build up the body; not just to do their thing. So an evangelist isn’t just someone who is particularly fruitful at witnessing, they are wired to equip others to be more fruitful at it too. We have different measures of gifting and it grows. A leader can be just 5 mins ahead of the person they are leading!
Here they are:
Apostles – are sent to care for churches, plant new ones and open up new regions;
Prophets – are wired to receive revelation and equip others to do so;
Evangelists – are wired for witnessing and equipping others to be witnesses. I thought it interesting that Billy Graham said that if he were to do it all again he would have spent more time training others to do it!
Pastors – care for the flock and get them out there doing the stuff;
Teachers – teach the church and equip others to be able to teach.
Those five gifts must still be around today because of v.13 – the “until” hasn’t happened yet – until we all attain –
- the unity of the faith and of
- the knowledge of the Son of God, to
- the fullness of Christ, so that we
- are not tossed around by weird doctrines…
These are all attributes that will be fulfilled when Jesus returns!
Which of those five-fold ministries do you have a measure of? It may be more than one! And how will you grow?