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Showing posts from 2018

“But you have not so learned Christ” – Ephesians 4:17-24

In the tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, we are told how a couple of swindlers were able to dupe a king and his counselors and indeed an entire city into believing that they had made the emperor a suit of clothes which in fact really didn’t exist.The key behind their fraud was that they were able to convince the people of the city that the fabric had magical properties.The magical property was that the clothes they made with this wonderful fabric became invisible to anyone who was unusually stupid or unfit for office.Since no one wanted to admit they couldn’t see the clothes because they had believed the tale of the fabric’s supposed magical properties, everyone agreed with the swindlers that the clothes for the emperor were magnificent.And so the emperor went on parade with absolutely nothing on.(This is almost like some of the parades in our cities, but that’s another story.)It took a child to admit what was obvious to everyone, and though at first people t…

Why we need spiritual gifts – Ephesians 4:11-16

Last time, we saw that our Lord is the source of spiritual gifts and that the significance of the spiritual gifts lies in the fact that they are the fruit of our Lord’s redemptive work.However, this does not fully unpack the reasons for which the spiritual gifts have been given.Paul does that in the verses before us.In verse 12, we are given the purpose of spiritual gifts: “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”The main idea in that sentence is “perfecting” which can mean to equip, to complete, to train, or to mend.The idea that is common to all these meanings is taking something which is lacking in some sense and completing it so that no longer lacks that thing.The church presently is imperfect and incomplete, and so the Lord has given gifts to the church to make up for that imperfection.You see it also in the word “edifying,” which means to build up.Again, you have this idea of taking a building which is incomplete an…

The Source and Significance of Spiritual Gifts: Ephesians 4:7-10

What does Christ expect of me as a Christian?The answer is that he expects you to walk worthy of his calling.This is what Paul beseeches his readers to do in the first verse of the application section of his letter to the Ephesians.It is the banner that waves over the entirety of chapters 4-6.In some sense, everything that Paul will say from this point on is just an exposition of what it means to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called.
He begins with a call to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:3).  For Paul, unity was essential because we live out the Christian life in the context of the Christian community, the church.  Paul clearly believed that spiritual development and maturity happens as we rub shoulders with other believers (cf. 4:16).  But that is not going to happen if you can’t get along with other believers.  And this is not always easy, which is why Paul exhorts us to be lowly and meek and longsuffering and forbearing, all in a spirit of…