The first 3 chapters of Ephesians cover the wonderful and major doctrines of a Christian such as:
- The Purpose of Our Creation - We are not the result of random evolution. We are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the universe to be holy and blameless. Eph 1:4
- Everyone, the so called gentiles outsiders, are all along included in God's plan to be united with Christ as His one new body - His church on earth.
- We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus for good work - God's masterpiece Eph 2:8-10
- We are adopted through Christ as sons of God with all spiritual blessings, having inheritance of Christ, and with authority, seated with Christ in the heavenly Eph 1 & 2.
- We are the New Man - identify of God's children, with Christ within.
- In the meantime, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit as a deposit for future glorification.
- Rooted in the love of Christ, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we are to be filled with the fullness of God Eph 3:16-19. Christ in us is the great mystery revealed.
Walk in a Manner Worthy of Our Calling - The New Man & Body of Christ
Hence Chapter 4 begins with 'we are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling". It immediately follows about how we should relate to one-another - humility & love & patience & unity because we share the same Body, Spirit, Lord,... of Christ.
What is the Gospel?
The Gospel is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross to pay for our sins and resurrected to give us new life (Zoe, God's Kind of life that is eternally good. Those who are not saved, also have eternal life, external bad & suffering life in hell). The Church has spent too much time on sins resulting in a sin-centered sick church because we become what we focus our thinking on. If we have only one word to represent the good news, if will be "LIFE". Christ came to give new Life to condemned and dead people. We are called here to walk in the Newness Life that Christ has given us. Build in this new life and sins will be taken care of.
We stress on "Developing on your strengths and manage your weakness". Developing on your strengths bring success. Working on your weaknesses may lead to failures. There is only one warning about our strengths. Our strength, not wisely employed in the right situations, could be our weakness too. For example, perseverance, a strength in the right thing, is stubbornness in the wrong thing. Managing our weakness includes outsourcing to others - i.e. get other with such strength to augment our weakness. We could also get help and support from others. Remember, in-source strengths (build on them) and out-source weakness, to use business lingo.
If you are concerned about the sinner prayer for salvation, we can check the verses on salvation.
- Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
- Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
What is the commandment of the new life? Love. As in
- 1Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
- 1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Grace is to Empower Us for Goodness, Righteous and Truth
We are not left alone in this walk, Eph 5:7-9 tell us that grace 'was' given to empower us to have fruit of righteousness, goodness and truth. Sadly, quite a number of believers only receive the grace for salvation and did not realise the grace is for our sanctification and glorification as well. Christ want to walk our walk with us.
The 5 Fold Ministries for Equipping & Building the Church
Everyone of us given 'grace' of different kinds for different roles in the church. The purpose of the different gifting are to used in achieving the common purpose of "building up of the church" Eph 4:12. Unity is of diversity and not conformity to the same role. I prefer to use the term "Harmony" instead of unity as unity has be distorted to be "uniformity". Paul in Rom 12 uses body of different parts as illustration of unity in purpose but differences in functions.
For a church to be healthy, we need to see the harmonious function of different roles in action. It is a smooth and optimum synchronization of different parts like a living body. Sickness is when some parts of the body are not able to perform their original functions. Can you tell what roles are being played in the church? It should not be a one man show. What roles are missing? More importantly, what role are you called to play?
Paul in Rom 12:6-13 and 1 Cor 12:28 listed other giftings and roles. The additional roles included are helper-server, ruler-manager, giver of money, doer of mercy, and other gifts like healing and miracle working, speaking of tongues that are gifts related to the roles.
Borrowing from business, the 5-folds are line functions and the other are supporting functions. However, no one is not important and no one is higher than others. As worldly minded, we tend to associate roles with rank and want to give order to be served then to serve. That is not what the Bible says. Those who lead are those who serve.
The Outcomes of a Healthy Church
- Unity of faith
- Knowledge & Demonstration of the Power of Christ the King
- Mature Manhood
- Not fickle minded
- Christ likeness in full stature
- Speaking Truth in Love
- Following Christ as the Head
- Fruit of goodness, righteousness and truth
This posting, Eph 4:1-16 covers the first part of Walk as a member in the Body of Christ - The Church.
- What is a Church?
- What are the Roles in a Church ?
- How are they determined?
- What is the purpose of the Roles?
- How can you tell we have attained the purpose?
- How can we have unity in church? What is a better word for unity?
- A Church a group of people united in Jesus Christ.
- 5 Folds
- apostles: the church planters; CEOs. Go. Pioneers. hunters.
- prophets: knowing God's will for your congregation, God's words for the times.
- evangelists: preach the Gospels. Marketing. Go. Hunters.
- shepherds: care for the sheep; seek & counsel the lost sheep. the builder, farmer.
- teachers: truth and doctrines. builder, farmer.
- Matching of Roles and Strengths & Gifts.
When we work in our strengths, we feel energized and joy. We don't complain and even ask for more. We are focused on doing our best.
- To equip and build up one another to maturity conforming to the stature of Jesus Christ our Head.
- See the paragraph "The Outcomes of a Healthy Church"
- A better word is Harmony. It is a synchronization of differences to accomplish a shared mission.