Larry's Lines

Christian Articles to Edify Folks

Thoughts from Ephesians # 26 A Healthy Church Is Marked by Spiritual Diversity (Eph. 4:7-12)

June 3rd, 2018

Unity does not mean sameness. Each of us has talents which we can use to enrich and bless the church.

We Have Diverse Gifts (4:7-10) This one of the key passages in the New Testament concerning spiritual gifts (cf. Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12-14) The gifts or talents we have are to be used to edify the church and to help. build it up and to help us reach the lost with the saving grace of Jesus.

Someone said, “These gifts are ways in which we extend the ministry of Jesus on the earth. When you see gifts at work, you should adore Jesus who gave them. When someone’s gift blesses you, you should see that as Jesus blessing you.”

In verse 8 Paul refers to Psalm 68 and relates Christ’s triumph and authority. Jesus triumphed over sin, death, hell, and the grave.  He gave/gives His congregation spiritually gifted people so that we might minister to His church.

In verses 9 and 10, Paul speaks of both Christ’s descent and ascent. He sees the incarnation (descent) and the ascension of Christ as evidence that Jesus is booth Savior and King. Christ is above all and fills all. We must marvel at His generosity and authority.

We Have Diverse Responsibilities. (4:11-12) Christ gave us gifts that we would USE them. Both leaders and members have been given gifts to use to reach the lost and strengthen the saved. The church needs different people playing different positions to be a unified and effective teem.

The leaders equip the saints. (4:11) Paul mentions those in positions of leadership in the church such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

The office of apostle and prophet was temporary and ceased to exist after the first century. There are no apostles today and no need for prophets as we have the entire Word of God for us today.

Evangelists are those gifted in proclaiming the gospel (Acts 21:8; 2 Tim. 4:5). In one sense, all are to be involved in evangelization, but God has called and ordained some to publicly fulfil this “office.”

The term Pastor is the same “office” mentioned in the New Testament as elder, bishop and overseer. It does not refer to the preacher, although a preacher could be one of the elders.  It is the responsibility and privilege for the shepherds to tend and oversee the flock (the church). The term teacher is mentioned here also. Elders and shepherds have a responsibility to feed the sheep (Christians).

The saints do the work of ministry. Church leaders prepare, complete, train, and equip God’s people for ministry. We all must use whatever talents that God has given to us to help reach the lost and strengthen the saved. There is room in the kingdom for all of us to do our part.  We can never do enough works to be saved, but one we are saved we must be the best workers that the Lord has. There is nothing greater to do with your life than to spend it for the glory of our Redeemer-King and the advancement of His Kingdom.

-Larry Miles, June 3, 2018, Anguilla

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Thoughts From Ephesians # 25 – A Healthy Church is United By a Gospel Confession 4:4-6

June 2nd, 2018

This passage gives us the “7 Unity’s.” These “one” statements emphasize the oneness we share as Christians. We must understand however, that Eph. 4:4-6 is not teaching unity at any cost. There is a difference in unity and uniformity. Our unity must be in Christ.

One body. The Lord only has one church, and all who have accepted Jesus and have obeyed the gospel are members of the church  universal. We are diverse in background and gifts, but united in Christ.

One Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the  3rd Person of the Godhead indwells every believer (Acts 2:38). He enables us to live the Christian life.

One Hope. The one hope is the “Blessed Hope.”  (Titus 2:11-13) Jesus has promised to return for His Church. We are  to live in anticipation of that hope.

One Lord. Believers in the early church confessed  and proclaimed, “Jesus is Lord!”  (2 Cor. 4:5) When doing that they were saying, “Caesar is not Lord.”  This confession could’ve caused them their life. Today we  proclaim the Lordship of Jesus.  It is our aim and desire to live according to what He taught.

One faith. Jude wrote that we are “to contend earnestly for the  faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” The one  faith is the body of truth we  embrace and believe.

One Baptism. This is  immersion into Christ for the  remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). It is  after we are baptized that we receive our sins  forgiven and we receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

One God and Father. As his adopted children, we share the same Father (cf. Eph. 1:5) He is God over all and Father of all His children.

-Larry Miles, June 2, 2018, Anguilla

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Thoughts From Ephesians # 24 – A Healthy Church is United by Divine Calling & Christlike Conduct (Eph. 4:1-3)

June 1st, 2018

United by Divine Calling (4:1) Paul wrote, “Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.” The word “walk”  is very important. It means  to conduct one’s life.”  Our  Christian life is a life  of walking for the Lord. We are to be in step with Him under His lordship.

We have been called to Him through His grace.  We have been blessed with every spiritual  blessing. (1:3) Remember who you are as you live this life.

United by Christlike Conduct (4:2-3) Paul now explains what it looks lke to walk worthy.” In short, it looks like Jesus.  Paul writes, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.”  The more we look like Jesus individually, and the more we live like Christ relationally, the more united we will be.

Humility.Humility is an essential characteristic of belivers. People must be living for the good of others. Someone wrote, “The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”

Gentleness. It involves  being “mild spirited” or “self-controlled.” Gentleness is  a fruit of the spirit, and it is the way we are to care for one another. (Gal. 5:23; 6:1)

Patience. Lack of patience displays a lack of humility and a lack of love. Accepting one another in love means we put up with each other in love. Peter says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet. 4:8) Diligently keeping unity. We must We must be zealous  to maintain this unity.

We do not work to create unity but to keep it. God unites us, and we are to seek to maintain unity

-Larry Miles

June 1, 2018, Anguilla

 

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