In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul calls the believers “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... 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.”
Paul compares the church to a human body, which is formed of groups of cells. The body is comprised of nerve cells, muscle cells, blood cells and skin cells. Each cell has a distinct function, and they simply function without voting as to what their function is going to be.
However, when a body’s cells revolt, there are catastrophic damages that occur within the body. Indigestion, cramps and cancer are all caused when a cell doesn’t work properly. When brain cells revolt, the body suffers from dementia and insanity. The body can only experience true health when the cells perform their proper function.
In the same manner, God has given gifts to men (Ephesians 4:8), allowing them to function in various tasks in the church. Paul wants the church to understand that as long as the church’s “cell” function well, the body is strong and healthy.
When the church does not function properly, it splits and has arguments, battles and fights. The church cannot function when the cells revolt.
In order to prevent this, God calls us to walk worthy of the position he has called us to (Ephesians 4:1). When the body is properly functioning, we see an outworking of humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance and love.
Paul refers to these “symptoms” as unity (Ephesians 4:4-6).When all is working accordingly, there is “one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.”
We have received the gift of salvation (Ephesians 4:7) – the saving message of the Gospel. This gift of God has given each of us our name. Without this gift, we are not a part of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:7-11).
Everyone in the church is gifted (Ephesians 4:11). If you know your spiritual gift and exercise, it will contribute to the health and vitality of the body. However, if you do not exercise your gift, you rob the body, and the amount of influence that you need to contribute goes unmet.
For example, if you have the gift of mercy but choose not to use it, the body will be robbed of your mercy to others. If you have the gift of organization and fail to use it, the church suffers in being smoothly run. If you fail to teach, the truth will not be taught. The gifts we have are meant to be used in the body of Christ.
Someone said that the church is like a football game: in the game, there are 24 players running, but when they are exhausted and need a break, there are hundreds of other players needing exercise and waiting for their opportunity.
The term used here is called “katartismos.” We add what is lacking so the original purpose is fulfilled. When a net is broken and you sew it, you katartismo. When your arm is out of place and someone fixes it, it is katartismo.
When used, our gifts equip the saints and body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). There is no revolt, no disease and the body is healthy. Our primary purpose for our gifts is not to evangelize or preach, but to fortify ourselves. When we are strong, then we can reach out to the world.
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