As I have noted many times before I am a contributor for a great blog titled 66 Books In A Year. It’s a Bible reading blog that takes you through the Bible in a year. I strongly recommend it for those wanting a regular reading plan for a year. Below you’ll find my post from today. Hope you enjoy it.
4:9-16, (9In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
You know how there are just some passages of Scripture that grab you. That really speak to you. This is one of those passages for me. In fact these are probably the most favorite verses of mine in the entire Bible. As Jesus was ascending into heaven the Holy Spirit was dispensing spiritual gifts. He’s been doing it ever since. Anyone who has crossed the line of faith has been given at least one spiritual gift. The gifts mention in this passage are commonly called equipping gifts. People who have been given these gifts by the Holy Spirit have been given the supernatural ability to equip others in the body of Christ for acts of service. These are not like the other gifts mentioned in the New Testament. They are given so that the other gifts may be matured and grown and well stewarded in the lives of others. And with awesome results. As these Christ-followers use their gifts, the whole body is built up and attains unity in the Father. What a fantastic way the God of the church plans things out so that everyone has a function and all the parts work together to make the body all God wants it to be.
There seems to be at least two application points here. If you have one of these gifts mentioned in this passage you/I have a serious charge to keep. Our equipping of others in the body contributes to unity and spiritual growth to the point that those in the church grow up in knowledge and love for God and one another. If you/I don’t practice these gifts, not only are we not living up to our God-given potential, but the church isn’t either. So we need to use these gifts.
Second, if you don’t have one of these gifts, seek out those that do, so that you can grow to be all God is calling you to be. You need others to help equip you to use your gifts in ways that will build-up the body of Christ and to reach it’s God-given potential. Encourage those with these gifts to be active in the body.
Father God. Thank you for distributing Your Holy Spirit’s gifts in such a way that Your church can be all You have created her to be. Help us with the gifts mentioned in today’s passage to use them for Your glory. Help those that don’t to seek out those that do have these gifts, so that they can be all they can be in Christ. Your are the great designer of the church. Thank You for calling us to have a part in that design. I pray all these things in Jesus name, Amen!