Ephesians 4:7-10 – Kody Alvarez
The real thing that I wasn’t ready for as a father was birthdays and Christmases. Nobody told me I would need an engineering degree to put toys together. This last birthday my parents gave a toy car for their grandchild.
I thought it looked simple. I am not a handy guy but I can do a few things when needed. Boy was I wrong. It took me hours to put it together. I would build it and then find something wrong and then have to redo it all over again.
It was my nephew’s birthday last week and I paid my mom and dad back by gifting that same car to him. When everyone received the car, and by the time we arrived, you could tell they had spent hours putting it together. They were frustrated.
But it got me thinking. Why do parents stay up all night, sleep-deprived and reading foreign manuals, to put toys together?
It’s simple. We do it out of love.
In Ephesians 4:7-10, we learn that Christ has given each of us a gift that we would use to build one another up in love. Grace was given to each one of us, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it says when He ascended on high, He led a host of captives and he gave gifts to men.
The apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers equip the saints for the work of the ministry. If you’re an airliner, that’s underlying that. Your job and the place you are in life can be used to impact others in Christ.
Jesus, in His Victory, has given each person in the body a measure of grace with which to build the body in love and to serve Him on Earth.
We are liberated by His work on the cross from the oppression of sin and Satan and we are to live out His glory in our lives.
The Work of Christ
Who’s to do the work of the ministry? It clearly says the saints.
You are the minister. He lists the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, and the pastors. We often flip it and think that those are the people God is sending. But we fail to see that they are equipping the saints, us, to do the work of the ministry.
When you’re looking at The Tabernacle and you’re looking at the staff, what metric should you be using to judge the ministries we do by? Start by seeing if your ministers and pastors are investing, training, preaching, and equipping the saints. That’s the win.
If you see the body going out into the community and going across the world, that’s the win. It’s equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. The children should be equipped to go out and make disciples. The adult should be equipped to go out and make disciples.
I’ve never been a part of a church like this, and I believe our church is doing great. Biblical community, I’ve never felt love like I felt in this place. But we have to keep it. We got to latch on to it and we have to fight for it.
We should also judge our ministries by the scripture. How we pray, how we sing, how we go out, is it driven from the word of God? This is healthy ministry— to make disciples of your neighbors and other nations.
We’ve been in Sumatra for seven years and God has done great things. They told us it would be 20 years before we saw a church planting movement. We’ve already seen three churches get planted. Praise God. It was a group of laymen and women in our church that fervently prayed for this to happen.
There are hundreds of stories about how each of you is going out to the nations and making disciples— that’s a work of God through us.
What Should We Do When We Are Equipped?
Good theology produces spiritual maturity. The one who has not spent the time to develop doctrine: they’re like the child who’s taken away by the undertow tossed by the waves. They do not have a firm foundation.
People often want to avoid conversations about doctrine because they feel like it’s dry. Doctrine and theology should cause you to love God and motivate you to go out and live in holiness and walk closely in obedience.
Anything we say about God is theology. Any statement about how we should live is doctrine. There’s no statement that you can make that is not both theological and both doctrinal. There’s nothing neutral.
God is giving you something to add to the body of Christ, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know how you’re called to serve, but I know we’re all to serve in this way.
This requires you to dig deep in the Word, study everything about Him, including theology and doctrine, and listen for Him throughout your life. He will show Himself to you and reveal your gifting.
Your Role in the Body of Christ
In verse 15, we learn how we work together as the body of Christ. The heart can’t function without blood. The fingers can’t move without being attached to the hand. Some of us may be the feet, walking the ends of the earth to spread the Word, while others might be the ear, playing a vital role to listen and understand hurting people.
Maybe you’re not the most glamorous part. Maybe you’re not the eye. Maybe you’re not the mouth. Maybe you’re not the hands or the feet. Let’s say you might be one of the smallest parts of the body like DNA.
DNA, while visually small, has over 10 trillion cells that span 10 billion miles. It’s very important and if it malfunctions, like replicating cells to produce cancer, it will destroy the body. Something that seems small to the human mind is just as critical (or more) as the popular parts of the body. If you are not serving in the way that God has designed you for, it will harm the body.
It’s time for us to stand up now. We need to support each other by living out our gifts and purpose to the fullest. God will use this church to change eternity for many generations. We need you to love on each other in the body as you’ve never done before.
Stand Up and Be Who You Were Called to Be
A couple of years ago, I was able to go to Sumatra to reach an unengaged, unreached people group. They are no longer an unengaged unreached people group. But I was able to go over there and I was able to be a part of something where this guy shared the Gospel with this man. He was the first person saved and baptized, later starting a movement that began three churches for the first time in history.
The person who did all the real work wasn’t there. It was a layperson in the church. They figured out what travel documents I needed. They established a team, they booked our flights, they figured out the money.
They did all these things. But could you see how booking some tickets may seem pretty inconsequential at the moment? But that work? Change someone’s eternal reality. And Lord willing, it will change that island.
There are many stories about how all of you are functioning and how you are taking the Gospel to your neighbors and to the nations. The body must work together.
Many of you are serving well, but some of you are still waiting in the wings. Let’s get up and let’s go. Don’t wait for someone to tell you we need to. The body of Christ needs you.
One day we’re all going to stand before Christ. I pray many of you in here will hear the praise: “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.
You have been given gifts. Will you use them?