Church United

Sermon: PastorBryon – Sunday September 2, 2018


 Introduction

Have you ever been on a rafting trip or canoeing with someone who just couldn’t seem to get the paddling down or get in sync with the others? The boat doesn’t do well does it? In fact I’ve asked someone to stop paddling altogether and just paddled myself in order to get the boat under control. However, when everyone is paddling in sync as they do in the sport of rowing, the boat glides across the water and appears to do so effortlessly. Wouldn’t it be great if the church functioned like a well conditioned rowing team? Our work would seem effortless, and yet the church would continually accelerate in its goal to complete the great commission.

Throughout the book of Ephesians Paul focuses on the incredible potential of the church. It’s like he knows this secret that they don’t even know about themselves and he desperately wants to enlighten them. In Ephesians 1:19-23 Paul declares that God has made available to the church the power that raised Jesus from the dead, so the church, His earthly body, would express His fullness.

God has given us, His church a pretty toll order to fill, to make disciples and to work as one as the Body of Christ here on earth. As we’ll learn today there are two main ingredients Paul speaks of to reach this goal, gifts that God has provided the church and the church working as one, united together in love.

Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16

 

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

 

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

 

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also [d]first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

 

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 edifying 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 edifying of itself in love.

Spiritual Gifts

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also [d]first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

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 [e]edifying 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 edifying of itself in love.

Paul a Prisoner

This is another letter from Paul and as with others he has written this letter from prison. In verse 1 Paul says, “I the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you…” Paul knew there wasn’t any power on earth that could imprison him unless God allowed it. So he never considered himself a prisoner of Rome. As Paul wrote from prison he understood this is where God wants him to be and so he wore his chains as if they were his ministry. He wasn’t waiting on the Lord to free him, he served God right where he was. Since Paul couldn’t preach, he prayed. He couldn’t plant a church, so he prayed for church plants, he couldn’t go to Ephesus so he encouraged through letters and prayed for them. He God shut Paul up with his pen and prayers, so Paul praised Him by writing letters and interceding at the throne.

If I’m a Christian and  my desire is to be in the will of God, where I stand today is in His will no matter where I am.

4 Things We Learn from this Scripture

  1. Unity is the foundation for Kingdom service (VV.1-6)

The Seven Sticks A man had seven sons, who were always quarreling. Some bad men looked forward to the death of their father and planned to cheat them out of their property by creating a quarrel. Hearing of their plans, one day the good old father called his sons around him. He laid before them seven sticks, which were bound together. He said, “I will pay one hundred dollars to the one who can break this bundle.” Each one strained every nerve to break the bundle. After a long, but vain, trial, they all said that it could not be done. “And yet, my boys,” said the father, “nothing is easier to do.” He then untied the bundle and broke the sticks, one by one, with perfect ease. “Ah!” said his sons, “it is easy enough to do it so; anybody could do it in that way.” Their father replied, “As it is with these sticks, so is it with you, my sons. So long as you hold fast together and aid each other you will prosper, and none can injure you. “But if the bond of union be broken, it will happen to you just as it has to these sticks, which lie here broken on the ground.”

  1. The exalted King gifts His church (VV.7-11)

This scripture tells us that your church pastors, teachers and evangelist are gifts from God. I met a woman some time back who shared with me that she disliked Pastors as a whole. She had no idea what she was doing was rejecting God’s gift to her and the church.

These gifts in that they are living in sinful bodies are not perfect however people have a tendency to set the bar for them higher than they are willing to live for their own lives.

  1. Gifted leaders equip gifted members for service (VV.11-12)

My job as a pastor is to equip you for the work of the ministry in order for you to take your place in the body of Christ.

  1. Gifted teamwork builds up the church (VV. 12-16)

You have your gifts not so much for your own sake as for the sake of others. You are like an apple tree that produces fruit not for its own consumption but for the consumption of others. Your gifts are given so you can bless others by ministering to them. If you have the gift of teaching, you have it so others in the body will be taught. If you have the gift of hospitality, it is because others need the gracious welcome they receive from you. If even one gifted person fails to function, the body of Christ is deprived of a ministry it needs to function well.

4 Things that will prevent us from being a united church

  1. Not knowing our purpose
  2. Miscommunication
  3. Lack of humility
  4. Losing focus on Christ

Conclusion

Have you ever heard of the term synergy? It means {syn·er·gy} The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

An example of synergy: One horse pulled 9,000 pounds, another 8,000. Together you would expect them to pull 18,000 pounds. Not so! When teamed together, they pulled 30,000 pounds. This is the principle of synergy.

More can be done in a team effort than can be accomplished solo. In order for the principle of synergy to work like it should, there has to be teamwork. Everything we do takes teamwork and trust. Every person in the local church is valuable and needed. The church is a team, and together we can build for the Lord.

Remember Philippians 2: 1-3 teaches us, Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

We are the parts through whom God has chosen to manifest His supernatural power on earth through the growth of His church. Too much is at stake for us to play church! Do you know your place in His body and are you serving according to your giftedness?

~AMEN

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