- In the assembly (Eph. 4:1-16)
- In the Christian testimony (Eph. 4:17 – 5:21)
- In our natural relationships (Eph. 5:22 – 6:9)
- The Need to Walk Worthy, and How to Do It (vv.1-3)
- The Unity Principle: Three Concentric Spheres (vv.4-6)
- An Ascended Christ is the Source of these Gifts (vv.7-10)
- The Gifts of Christ to the Church (v.11)
- The Reasons for Giving the Gifts (vv.12-16)
- Reason #1: That the Saints might Reach Full Spiritual Maturity (v.12a)
- Reason #2: That Service would Continue and Prosper (v.12b)
- Reason #3: That the Body of Christ would be Built Up (v.12c)
- Reason #4: That the Saints might be Conformed into the Image of Christ (v.13)
- Reason #5: That the Saints might be Protected from Evil Doctrine (v.14)
- Reason #6: That the Members would Increasingly Reflect the Mind of Christ (v.15)
- Reason #7: That the Body might Edify Itself (by its Own Functioning) in Love (v.16)
The Need to Walk Worthy, and How to Do It (vv.1-3)
- Humility. Characterized by two virtues: lowliness, which is not taking offense, and meekness, which is not giving offense. Both these characters were displayed perfectly in the life of the Lord Jesus on earth (Matt. 11:29; 2 Cor. 10:1).
- Patience. Characterized by long-suffering, which is showing kindness, even when trespassed against over and over again.
- Love. As we forbear with one another, we are not to slip into a spirit of pride or contempt for our brother, but always act and live in a spirit of love.
- Unity. We are to maintain practical unity by individually submitting the mind of God as revealed in His Word. “The uniting bond of peace” is the practical fellowship that believers enjoy with one another when submitting to the Spirit of God. The bond itself also contributes to unity.
The Unity Principle: Three Concentric Spheres (vv.4-6)
The Sphere of Reality (v.4)
The body of Christ is a figure used in the New Testament to describe the assembly of God. The body of Christ was formed on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God was sent down to the earth, and indwelt the believers present, linking them to Christ in heaven. Believers on earth who have the Spirit indwelling them are members of the body (Rom. 12:5). Christ in heaven is the head of the body (Col. 1:18). Christ's mind is to be displayed by His body on earth. The Holy Spirit is the one who directs the members of the body; similar to how the nervous system in the human body works. It is important to understand that the body is not a mere concept. It is a reality!Read more…
The Sphere of Profession (v.5)
The Sphere of Creation (v.6)
An Ascended Christ is the Source of these Gifts (vv.7-10)
Christ is the Source of these Gifts (vv.7-8)
What had to Occur for Christ to become the Giver of Gifts? (vv.9-10)
The Gifts of Christ to the Church (v.11)
- Apostles are those who were commissioned by an ascended Christ. This does not refer to the twelve apostles, because they received an earthly commission (Matt. 10, Matt. 28, Acts 1) to witness the resurrection, baptize and build up the kingdom. The twelve were commissioned by a Christ on earth, but the “apostles” mentioned here are of a heavenly order, because they were commissioned by an ascended Christ. Paul would have been perhaps the first of this order. They were “sent” by the risen Lord to edify the Church. Read more…
- Prophets are those who received inspired revelations from God (see note). There are no more of these “New Testament” prophets today, because the canon of scripture is complete. We do have prophetic gift and ministry today, but that is different (see 1 Cor. 12). Instead we have the writings of the New Testament prophets as part of the completed canon of scripture! Read more…
- Evangelists are those who preach the gospel and bring in converts (Acts 21:8). There is only one person in the New Testament called an “evangelist”, although we know there were others. His name was Philip (Acts 21:8), and we get a beautiful example of the activity of an evangelist in Acts 8, where the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch is recorded. Evangelists are not mentioned in 1 Corinthians because the context there is the functioning of gift in the local assembly, and evangelism is never connected with the local assembly.
- Pastors and teachers are linked because they are often found in the same person. Pastors or shepherds are those who discern and minister to spiritual needs of believers. Teachers are those who can intelligently and clearly set forth the truth of God’s Word. It doesn’t refer to one with merely a lot of knowledge, but rather to one who can effectively communicate that knowledge to others; “the word of knowledge” (1 Cor. 12:8). Apollos was one with the gift of teaching, but he himself needed to be instructed “more exactly” (Acts 18:24-28).
New Testament Apostles and Prophets are the "foundation gifts" (Eph. 2:20). Not all the New Testament writers were apostles, and yet some of their words and writings were just as much inspired as the apostles' writings. These speakers and writers were called prophets. This gift was not limited to writing, because much of what they spoke by inspiration was not written down (1 Cor. 2:13). They were prophets in the sense of:  forth-telling the revealed mind of God (like Judas and Silas; Acts 15:32),  foretelling the future (like Agabus; Acts 11:28; 21:10), or  receiving divine inspiration (like Mark, James, etc.) to pass on orally or in written form (Romans 16:25-26). We don’t have New Testament apostles & prophets with us in person, but we do have their writings. The reason we don’t have them in person is that they were the foundation (Eph. 2:20), which is already complete. Thankfully, what God saw fit to give us was written down and canonized, so we have these gifts with us "till we all come" (at the rapture).Read more…
Christians have been given special gifts to aid us in our service for the Lord, and to benefit the whole body of Christ. These spiritual gifts are special abilities given to a believer to aid in the service of the Lord. These abilities are supernatural, although they do not always appear to be "miraculous" in the conventional sense of the word. Spiritual gifts are "spiritual", in that they do not come from man, although they could be given by apostolic power as in the case of Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6). People are not born with spiritual gifts, nor can they be gained by study or theological training. They are conveyed to a believer by the Holy Spirit upon salvation; hence they are "gifts". You cannot purchase a gift of God with money (Acts 8:20). God can use “unlearned and ignorant men” like Peter and John the fishermen, or He can use a well-educated man like the Apostle Paul, who learned at Gamaliel's feet. The Spirit uses "whom He will" (1 Cor. 12:11). I do not believe the lists of gifts in scripture are exhaustive, but does give us generally the spheres of Christian ministry.Read more…
These spiritual gifts are mentioned in a number of different contexts, and it is helpful to keep in mind the distinctions between gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, and Romans 12, etc.Read more…