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In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis

The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 1 of 14)

The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 1 of 14)

July 12, 2001 | Andy Davis
Ephesians 1:1-3:21
Spiritual Gifts

In this sermon, Pastor Andy Davis surveys Ephesians 1-3 to give context for the study of spiritual gifts.



Tonight we're going to begin a new study. There's a lot more we could have been doing in Proverbs, there's more topics, but I felt led by the Lord at this point to change and to zero in on this topic of spiritual gifts because I think they're so vital. It's so vital for us to understand what these gifts are. We see the doctrine of spiritual gifts laid out in various places in the New Testament, and we're going to be going to each one of them in turn, not all tonight. We're going to begin in Ephesians tonight. You can turn to Ephesians 4, and that's where we're going to focus our attention tonight. But the doctrine of spiritual gifts is also laid out very plainly in Romans 12. We also see it in 1 Corinthians 12-14, in 1 Peter 4, and in James as well.

In various places, we see the doctrine of spiritual gifts and because it's so widespread through the New Testament, we can believe and understand how significant this doctrine is. Not just that, but also because of how it's positioned in these key texts. For example, in the book of Ephesians, after three chapters of doctrine, which I'm going to go through a little bit tonight, we get to the doctrine of spiritual gifts. It's not long after Paul says that we should live up to the calling that we have received as Christians, that we're taught about spiritual gifts. We get the same thing in Romans chapter 12. After 11 chapters, and by the way, when do you think we'll get to it Romans 12 on Sunday morning? Just guess. At our present pace, it could be a while. But at any rate, you'll see that we've got 11 chapters of doctrine in terms of what the gospel is, followed by a tremendous doxology in which the Apostle Paul says, "Oh, the depths of the riches, the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable his judgments and his past beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the Lord and who has been his counselor?" And he goes on with this incredible doxology of praise to God for all of this doctrine. And then chapter 12, he goes immediately into spiritual gifts. It's a remarkable thing. And so, you can see that this is an important doctrine, not just because it's mentioned in various places or because there's extended treatment, but because of where they are in these key epistles in Ephesians and in Romans. And so, I think it's important for us to understand.

Also, I believe it's important for me as your pastor, to prepare you for judgment day. I desire to prepare you as if you're an unbeliever for judgment day in that you may escape the wrath to come. That you may know salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and not have to bear the wrath that is due to all sin, but would find salvation through faith in Christ. But then, as believers in Jesus Christ, "We still must appear," it says in 1 Corinthians or in 2 Corinthians 5, "before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may give an account for the things done in the body, whether good or bad." And I believe that our spiritual gifts is going to be a big part of that accounting. And so, I can't be there with you at that time. I'm going to be occupied. I'm going to be giving my own account for what I did with my gifts. You'll stand alone to give an account to Jesus for these matters of stewardship. And the spiritual gift that God has given you, what I call, a gift package. It's never just one gift, but an arrangement, I believe, of gifts that he's given to you, he's going to want it back and he's going to want it back with interest. And so, we're going to be talking about that. And so, for me, I'm using my gift tonight in teaching and preparing you, but each one of you has a gift. And I think as we use our gifts, we're going to see incredible things happen in this church. We're already using them. It's not like we've never heard of this topic and that we're starting from zero. You're already, many of you, using your gifts in a marvelous way. But I think it's still good for us to return to the roots, to the scripture, to try to understand what God has given us.

Now, I would like to begin in Ephesians 1 and go quickly through one, two, and three before we get to chapter four, I'd like to do everything in context. Ephesians is a marvelous book and it begins for me tonight, in Ephesians 1:3, where it says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." Let's stop there. Isn't that incredible? That God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus? He's withheld nothing from us. Now, this makes sense because in Romans 8 he says, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things?" And so, he's lavished on us, it says in Ephesians 1:3, "...every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms." You lack nothing. There's nothing you lack. Everything you need is provided for you. And you have 10,000 other blessings of grace yet to come. For a Christian, always, the best is yet to come. Landis' mother knows what I'm talking about right now. The best is yet to come. You're going to see Jesus face to face, but there's things to be done in the meantime, isn't there? There's work to be done. You're not there yet. Our wise and gracious God has left you here on earth for a purpose and you've got some things to do, and spiritual gifts is a big part of that. But you don't lack anything. You have everything you need. Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms is yours in Christ Jesus.

Now, look down also in verse 13-14. It says, "You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; having believed you were marked in him with the seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit, guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory." So you have also received this down payment, the Holy Spirit. You have received the indwelling Holy Spirit and he is a deposit guaranteeing you a future inheritance, the full amount. And we have by this Holy Spirit, I believe, this gift package, the spiritual gifts- they're given to us by Jesus Christ, but they're mediated directly to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, this down payment, this deposit, guaranteeing our inheritance.

Now, if you look at the end of chapter one, we want to try to understand what God's purposes are. He's given us this spiritual gift package or he's gifted the church for a reason. He's trying to accomplish something in this world. And what is he seeking to accomplish? Well, if you look at the beginning of verse 18, it's hard to know where to start with Paul since the entire book of Ephesians is one sentence. Well, actually that's not true, but it seems that way. So, where do you jump in? At what point do you find a place to start? But at verse 18, I'm going to jump in, right in the middle of a thought. It says,

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

What incredible words these are and it gives you a picture: Jesus Christ is going to fill the whole universe. Jesus Christ is buying back and redeeming to himself, all of the universe. The whole universe is going to be wrapped up and given to God the Father by God the Son, it says in Corinthians. We're going to learn more about that. But the whole thing is a redemptive plan of God. And he is doing all of this work to the praise of his glory. And he likens, the beginning of a thought here, he likens what's going on in you, the work of power inside you, to what he did in his own Son when he raised him from the dead. There's a comparison being worked here in which he says, you should know what kind of power is at work in the church, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and had him travel up to the highest place to sit at the right hand of God at the highest place of authority, from the lowest place, the grave, all the way up to the highest place that very same power is at work in you. Isn't that incredible? And we talked about that a little this morning in the union of Jesus Christ, you died with Christ and you've also been raised with Christ. And so also, he says in Ephesians 2, as you continue, it says, "You also, were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world." And remember we said this morning, isn't there an infinity of difference between being dead in sin and being dead to sin? I mean, that's just the biggest difference in the world. From negative infinity to positive infinity, from hell to heaven. Dead in sin means chartered for hell, on your way to hell. You're on that wide road that leads to destruction, "dead in sins and transgressions," it says in Ephesians 2. Dead to sin means you're in Christ now. Isn't that beautiful? And so, all the authority and power that sin had over you, it's gone now. It's broken. You're free. And so you've been raised with Christ spiritually. Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms is granted to you. You were dead in your transgressions and sins, but now you're alive. So you should know this kind of power that is at work in you. And as he continues, he talks about it in verse 6. He says, "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages, he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." What are we going to be talking about in heaven? Is it not grace? Is it not the grace of God given to us freely in Jesus Christ? Is there any other theme or topic in heaven than that? The grace of God, what God did to us and through us by grace?

"Jesus Christ is buying back and redeeming to himself, all of the universe. The whole universe is going to be wrapped up and given to God the Father by God the Son."

Now that is the theme of heaven, isn't it? And so, in the coming ages, He's going to demonstrate, he's going to show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works." “Not by works, so that no one can boast.” We talked about that this morning, but you've got to keep reading, "Not by works, but for works." There's a big difference there too, isn't there? You have to be careful about these little words. We're not saved by works, but we're saved for good works. Look at verse 10. It says, "For we are God's workmanship." just stop right there. You're God's masterpiece. God is working in you, amazing things. Raising you up from dead in transgressions and sins and now he's working in you, he's working on you; he's working through you. And not just you, but all of your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. He's working marvelous things in us, isn't he? We are his masterpiece; we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them.

"We're not saved by works, but we're saved for good works. "

And so, what does that mean? He has charted out a course for each one of you, a course of good works. I've talked about this many times before, but I guess I'm going to keep talking about it as long as I read it in the Bible. Ephesians 2:10 says that God has laid out a track of good works for you to do, that you should walk in those good works. He's apportioned, I believe, just as he said, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil therein. Each day has enough trouble of its own." So also, I believe, on the other side, each day has enough good works of its own, right? He's not given it to you to save the whole world in one day. That's beyond you anyway. He's given a field for you to work. And so, within that, there are some good works he's wisely laid out for you to walk in them. And each day has, I believe, an apportionment of good works. And I've often challenged people to think about what's your batting average? How many of those good works that God has laid out ahead of you, have you walked in today? How many did you do or how many did you miss because of selfishness or sin? I don't want to miss any of them. I want to feel when I lay down my head at night, that I walked in all the good works God had for me to do today. All of them.

But this is what I'm saying. I believe that so many of the good works that he's laid out for us to do are laid out along the tracks of our spiritual gifts. In other words, he has arranged us in a certain way to do a certain kind of ministry, primarily. I think, the other ministries we're going to be doing, we're going to be involved in relief for the poor, we're all of us, going to be involved in prayer and evangelism, Bible intake in some way. We're all going to be involved in certain things collectively, isn't that true? But we've also got these spiritual gifts and God has in a very wise way, ordained, laid out before you, a track of gifted ministry that he wants you to do. And as you do that ministry, the body of Christ is going to grow. I'm getting ahead of myself, but that's what's going to happen. He's got these good works laid out for you to do.

Now, what is his purpose? What is he seeking to accomplish? Well, he goes on from there to talk to the Gentiles. He says, "Remember, you were Gentiles by birth and called uncircumcised. At one time, you were aliens and strangers to the household of God. You weren't welcome here." You weren't part of us, speaking as a Jew. He said, "But now in Christ Jesus," 2:13, "you who were once far away, have been brought near through the blood of Christ." And now I’m down in verse 19, he says, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people," excuse me, "and members of God's household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets." Oh, what kind of truth there is there. Built on the foundation. What is the apostles and prophets? Is it not this book? I believe it is. Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the scriptures, the truth that God has revealed to the world through the apostles and the prophets. The church is built on those revealed truths, isn't it? Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. And then it says this, look at 2:21, I'm sorry, "In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." This is one of the two great metaphors of the two great images of the work of God on earth that he gives us in Ephesians. One of them is this rising cathedral, this rising building, this temple that is being built up, living stone by living stone it says in 1 Peter 2. Each of you are like living stones and you're set into the walls. And as he builds this structure, little by little, he's got a blueprint, doesn't he? He's got a plan. He knows what it's going to look like. And it's not until every single living stone is set in place that he'll say, "It's finished. My masterpiece is done. The temple is built." We are going to be indwelt perfectly by the Spirit. But that's what he's doing in this world, isn't he? He's building His church. Remember what Jesus said to Peter? He said, "On this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prove stronger than it.” “I'm going to build my church." And so, Paul talks about that here. It's built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. And verse 21, it says, "In him, the whole building has joined together and rises." It's in the presence of rising. It's not done yet, is it? Is this spiritual temple completed? No, it isn't. How do you know the spiritual temple's not completed? How can you tell? Because we're still here. That's right. You woke up this morning, you weren't in heaven yet. And so, there's still work to be done. And it's work on that temple, isn't it? It's temple work. We're going to be building that temple. We're going to be seeing new living stones set in place and we're going to be offering up sacrifices of praise to God, spiritual sacrifices, spiritual offerings to God. We're going to offer to him. And I think again, so much of that offering that you're going to do, you're going to do along the tracks of your spiritual gifts. You're going to use your gifts to offer up to God every day, a sacrifice of labor and praise, and it's going to be for a purpose. Isn't that beautiful that God has given you an eternal purpose? He didn't just save you and say, "Now, just sit over there and stay out of my way. You're going to cause me nothing but trouble. You're going to get in my way. Just wait and I'm going to go do it myself." No, he said, "I'm going to do it through you. I'm going to do it in you and through you. I'm going to use you. You're strategic, you are important in my plan and I'm going to use you." How inefficient of God. Think about it. The church has been rising for 2000 years. How efficient are we at using our gifts? How efficient are we at doing those good works that God has ordained, that we should walk in them? But God seems to be willing to put up with that inefficiency that he may accomplish his ends, his wise ends. But look, that spiritual temple, look at the verb tense, it rises. It's rising now. It's going on now all over the world. Can you see that structure? Only by eyes of faith? But it's rising here, isn't it? Do you feel it? Do you feel the spirit moving here? Do you feel living stones getting set in place? Do you feel people using their gifts? I feel it. I'm encouraged by that and I'm glad to be part of it. But you know, we're going to be part of it no matter where we are geographically located because that's what God is doing in the world. He's building up this temple.

Now, one last thing that I want to say before we get to chapter four and that's in chapter three Paul talks about his ministry and his own personal gift. In 3:1, he says, "For this reason, I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus..." By the way, when he begins, "For this reason," you should always look back, for what reason? Well, for the reason of this rising, invisible spiritual temple. For that reason. "I do everything for that," he says. For that rising spiritual temple, for that reason, “I Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, for the sake of you Gentiles-" and then typical of Paul, he interrupts himself, big parenthesis here, right in the middle of a thought. He says, "Surely [by the way] you've heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me." Just stop there. That is a spiritual gift. Read it again. Look at it. “I have been apportioned out and there's been an administration of God's grace measured out to me. I'm the apostle to the Gentiles. I've been given a job to do and I'm going to carry that ministry until I die. That's the ministry. Have you heard about it? Surely you've heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you.” That is a spiritual gift.

And Paul had a very defined clear sense of what God had given him. He knew what his field was. He knew what his call was. He knew where he was to be working and how he was to be working. I believe that that's possible for each one of you as well. Each one of you should have a clear sense of calling, a sense of the field that you are to work, a sense of how you are to work it. “Surely, you've heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you?” That's how it works. Now, we receive benefit from using your spiritual... We receive the joy, but really it's for others, isn't it? We're using our spiritual gift that others may grow, that the temple may rise. But he's speaking about a spiritual gift.

Now look down, he says in verse 7, "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power." What is Paul talking about there? Spiritual gift. He said, "I've been given this gift, this gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power." Ephesians 3:7, "Although I am less than least of all God's people, this grace was given to me." We're going to talk more about this word, grace; “charis” is what it is in the Greek. “This grace was given me to preach to the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God who created all things.” Paul says, "I was given a preaching ministry and my job is to make plain to everyone, the administration of a mystery that was hidden for generations." Do you think that sounds like milk? "I'm into the meat," says Paul, "I'm going to make it plain to you." I'm going to unfold the deep mysteries to you. And there's a lot of deep mysteries in Paul's writings, aren't there? But he says, "I'm going to make it plain to everyone. The administration of God's grace that was given to me for you is hidden." Now look at verse 10. This is so powerful. “His intent [God's intent] was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose, which he accomplished in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Stop there. What is he saying? This word, manifold, “poikilos” in the Greek, is a very interesting word. It's the incredibly, richly varied aspects of God's wisdom seen in the church. There's a sense of variety in this word. Now, I don't know what a manifold is. I think it's something where a lot of things come in and go out, like that kind of thing. We use that word in English. There's a sense of variety mixing together, I guess. I don't know how to get the Greek word across except that there's a sense of an amazingly varied wisdom in the way the church is set up. The church is complex. The church is remarkable. The church is amazing. And in effect, God is saying, "I want all of the rulers in the heavenly realms to see what I've done in the church. I want to put you on display." That's what he's doing. He said, "I'm here to preach. I'm using my spiritual gifts so that you will know who you are so that the wisdom of God in all of the apportionment of the church may be made plain to everyone." And it's an incredible wisdom, a varied wisdom. And then at the end of chapter 3, he talks about his eternal purpose again. “Now to him, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power, that is at work within us,” And by the way, do you see what a big theme that is? He wants you to know how much power there is in you, how much power there is in the church. It's an eternal power, a power to transform this world. It's an incredible thing. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in the church and it's at work in the church in a varied, wise way. An incredible way that you may know what kind of power's at work in you. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church." just stop right there. He wants to demonstrate his glory in us. He wants to put us on display so that he's really putting himself on display. Isn't that the way it is? He wants to show what he's done in the church. He's going to display this. "To him, be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout..." What does it say? "all generations." That includes you, doesn't it? We're a generation, aren't we? We're included in that. And he wants to display his glory in the church in this generation, and he's going to do that through the spiritual gifts.

So now we're ready. We're in Ephesians 4. That's all introduction. We've used up two thirds of our time on introduction, but I'm not in any major hurry. I want you to understand this doctrine, understand the roots of it, that you can see, it's not just, "oh, I think I'll... What should we do with them while they're kind of being saved? Why don't we do the spiritual?" It's not like that. He's got this whole thing worked out. The salvation plan of the world includes your labor, it includes your gifts. He's got it all worked out. And so he says in 4:1, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then," what does the word "then" mean or "therefore" mean? It means you should do what? Look up, look backward. “Well, based on all of what I've been saying as a prisoner for the Lord, based on all of that,” “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” What calling have you received? Well, to be a Christian, yes. To be holy, to be like Jesus. But I think it goes deeper than that. To walk in the good works that God has ordained, that you should walk in them. That calling. And to walk in the way that he has apportioned, according to his wise ways, according to the manifold wisdom of God that you walk in a manner worthy of the calling you've received. And then he tells you character-wise, what that's going to be like. "Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called, the one hope when you were called. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Now, recently in the teacher training, many of you have been there and you've heard this. What is the big theme of these verses here, verse 1-6 of chapter 4? If you could sum it into one word, what one word would you choose? One. Thank you. Oneness, unity, that we are one.

There aren't many different spiritual temples rising in the Lord, are there? How many are there? There's one spiritual temple. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one temple. One spiritual temple that's rising and you are all one. Okay? “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." And verse 7, there's that key word. What's the beginning? “But-“ what does that tell you? It tells you we're going in a different direction, right? We were heading in one way, now we're going in a different direction. We were talking about unity, now we're talking about diversity within the unity. “But to each one, grace has been given, as Christ apportioned it.” Or, it says in the Greek, “according to the measure of Christ.” Isn't that beautiful? To each one of whom? Well, to each Christian, to each individual Christian. Jesus Christ has measured out grace to you. To each one of you, he has measured out a certain amount of grace. Now, is he talking here about the grace which saves you? No, that's not according to measure, is it? We already talked about that in Romans five. There is no measure to that grace. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, right? Well, this is a different kind of measured grace handed to you. This, I believe, is your spiritual gift package. This is what I think he's talking about here. To each one. Now who receives it? Well, justified believers, right? Anybody who's justified by faith in Christ, you receive this gift of grace measured to you, according to the measurement of Christ. And by the way, just stop there. Doesn't that just blow you away? That Jesus Christ, the ruler of the universe, thought about you individually and measured out a package and handed it to you? Isn't that something? I mean, individually, handed each one of you a grace package? And how precious is that? And what's it going to be like when he wants it back and asks for the interest? What's it going to be like when you ask for the package back and say, "Well, tell me what did you do with it? How did you use it? I want to hear all about it. I want to hear all the stories. Tell me." "Well, I gave my tithe, and my pastor used his gifts." No, that's not going to work. You've got your gift package. He's going to want it back and he's going to want the stories. He's going to want the interest. He's going to want what you did with it because He's measured it out to you. It's yours to use here in this world. "But to each one of us, grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.’ (What does, "he ascended," mean except that he also descended to the lower earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens in order to fill the whole universe.) He puts that in there that you may know the greatness and the majesty and the power of the gift giver. He's an incredibly great gift giver. It's God who has filled the whole universe. It's Jesus Christ who has been raised higher than the highest heavens. He's the one who's measured out this gift. And therefore it says in verse 11, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers." All right, well, those are all kind of gifted ministries. I think they're of a certain type, and I'll talk about that, probably, next time, God willing. But he's given these specific gifts in these verses, verse 11. And for what purpose? It says in verse 12, "To prepare God's people for works of service." What does that remind you of? Well, it should remind you of Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, works of service." So in other words, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are given to the body to prepare each of you for works of service. And what will come out of those works of service? We'll keep reading, "In order that or for the purpose of the building up of the body of Christ." Now we have the second great image of what God is doing in the world. It's not a different image. It's not like he's doing the spiritual temple over here and he's doing the body of Christ over here. It's the same thing. It's an assembly he's bringing together. But now he shifts the metaphor a little, and he's talking about the body. And this is the same analogy he's going to use in 1 Corinthians 12-14. The body analogy. So we have one body with different members, different parts you see, but he's building the body. It's not different than the spiritual temple. It's the same thing. It's a rising, growing project that God is working on in a unity.

"Jesus Christ has measured out grace to you. To each one of you, he has measured out a certain amount of grace. "

So he says, "It was he gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Stop there. So the reason that the gifts are given, is so that, at least those five gift packages, so that the body may know what their gifts are so that they can do good works and what is the result of their good works? The building up of the whole body of Christ. All right. So, the teachers of the word prime the pump, we get the thing going, and then the body of Christ uses their spiritual gifts. And as the body, each part does its work, the whole thing grows up into perfection and maturity. Do you see how it works? “Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature.”

And so, what is God about? Well, he's about growth. He wants church growth. He really does. Now, I'm not talking about the church growth movement, I'm talking about growth. I'm talking about growth in numbers through evangelism, and I'm talking about growth in maturity through discipleship. I'm talking about these two working together and spiritual gifts are given to accomplish both forms of growth. And both forms of growth are intrinsically related to one another. And so, in this way, the body grows to maturity. The temple rises until it meets its full completion in the Lord. I'm going to finish tonight by just reading the rest of this little section, and God willing, next time we'll continue looking at it. Verse 14, it says,

Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men and their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ. From him, the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.

Do you see how vital these spiritual gifts are? Every single part has to do its work or we will not reach maturity in Christ. We need all of you. We need everybody doing what they do, everybody doing the gift that they've been given. And in this way, the final end is maturity in Christ.

Now, my prayer, as we end, I'm going to be praying in a minute, is that each of you would begin saying, if you don't know what your gifts are saying, "Lord, what are they? What are my gifts?" If you do know what your gifts are, that you would use them all the more for the building of the body of Christ. We're going to be talking, I think as the weeks go on, God willing, we're going to be talking about practical ways that you can determine what your gifts are. But if you're not sure yet, if you don't know what your gifts may be, that you would begin at least asking the giver, "Tell me what you gave me. Tell me what it is and how I can find out that I may bring you glory by using them for the building of the body of Christ." Won't you join with me in prayer?

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