Welcome to Sunday School
Sunday School Lesson - August 9, 2020
"We Support One Another"
Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16
The Point: God gives the church spiritual gifts to accomplish his work.
 Why do you go to church and why do you go to a particular church? Is there a reason? If you really live in the boondocks and you don't have a car or transportation, you might choose the closest church. It might be the church you were brought up in as a child. You might like the Pastor or Choir Director. Your girl or boy friend might go there. There is a spiritual feeling you like in a church. There are literally thousands of reasons you might choose a particular church. A lot of times some of us go for selfish reasons when we first attend a church. What can this church do for me? I am reminded of John F. Kennedy's question when he was addressing the nation: "Ask not what your country can do for you but, What can you do for your country." After you have been attending a church for a while a lot of you might turn around Kennedy's statement to read, "Ask not what your church can do for you, ask what can you do for your church. When we talk about the church, we are talking about the people in the church and not about bricks and mortar.
It is a funny thing, but after a person attends a church for a while, he or she may see a need in the church that goes lacking, so they take it upon themselves to take care of that need. They may not say anything else to anyone. He or she just does it because they love the church. I know a lady who waters the plants at our church every week. I asked her why and she said, "Because no one else will do it." That might be true to a certain extent, but I think the real reason is because she just loves the church. 
The above example is a simple explanation of why a person is willing to do what they do in the church. Most of why anyone does anything for the church is their love for it. However, there are examples of people doing things for their own glory saying in effect, "look at me, look at me." However, in their push for recognition, they still are serving the church.
God endows people with gifts to expand and serve His church. There are different gifts to different people and are to be used for His Glory. Lets explore Ephesians 4 and see what Paul has to say about that.
Ephesians 4;1-7
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
 
Paul writes that he is the prisoner of the Lord. Of course Paul was a prisoner of Jesus Christ in that he had been captured by Christ  on the road to Damascus. However that is not the primary thought here. He was a prisoner in Rome at the time he wrote  Ephesians and it was for Christ's sake he was a prisoner. In "beseech" he is emphasizing the word as
encouragement. God has the right to command and demand, but instead he entreats or beseechs because He wants willing surrender. "That ye walk worthy," the word walk is often used in Scripture in describing our conduct and behavior. For example, "he walks the talk" is a common phrase meaning the person not only talks about doing good, but he actually does it. "Worthy'" is a word that denotes entitled to because of our work for the Lord, Not that we could ever deserve what God has done for us, but that we should act in a manner befitting what he has done for us. "Vocation" represents our calling, which is described as a heavenly and holy calling. 
2 With all lowliness and meekness with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
"Lowliness and meekness" are virtues which can only be produced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. They are totally foreign to the flesh and unfortunately rare in the lives of many Christians. Lowliness carries the idea of humility. Meekness represents gentleness. "Longsuffering"  is preserving an even temperament in the face of adversity and persecution.
3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
"Endeavoring to keep."  God realized that this is not always possible because one person alone cannot keep unity in the church. Paul does not request Christians to make the unity, for only God could make this bond: but it is the responsibility of believers to keep it. This is the unity of the Spirit. which is, the unity that has been forged by the Holy Spirit himself, and its bond or connection is a peaceable one. Christians for example, should not fight over the color of paint used in the nursery.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One body is the organism composed of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head and all true believers unite in him as members of the body. "One Spirit " is the Holy Spirit himself infusing every part of the churches body.
5 One Lord, one faith , one baptism,
Note the unity: "One Lord" is the head of the church, Jesus Christ. The "one baptism" is undoubtedly the baptism of the Holy Spirit by which we have been put into the body of Christ. 
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
 
One God and Father of all,  is of course God the Father. Note that All three persons of the Holy Trinity are mentioned in verses 4,5,and 6. 
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
"But unto everyone of us" This is limited to believers of Jesus Christ. "is given grace" Not saving grace, but grace as a gift to believers - this is God's favor to believers, unmerited grace. "according to the measure of the gift of Christ" This is a measure that is unmeasurable.
Ephesians 4:11-13
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ
In some passages of Scripture, gifts are mentioned which the Lord gave to individuals. Here the gifts are those people of various capacities whom he has given to the church. The various types mentioned are Christs gift to the church; "Apostles." This was a special office at the beginning of the church . The apostles had no successors. They had a unique work from the Lord Jesus. "Prophets." A prophet was a spokesman for God. As used ordinarily in the Scripture, this term refers to someone who has been given a direct revelation which he is to pass on to men. In the strictest sense of the term this office also was temporary in the church for there were no more prophets in the technical sense after the completion of the New Testament. "Evangelists." Those who proclaim glad tidings- those who preach the Gospel. "Pastors and Teachers." These two terms go together the first word means shepherds. Those who are the shepherd of the flock are also to be teachers. The true pastor should carry on an expository preaching ministry of the Word. He is to explain the gospel to the membership 
"For the perfecting of the saints," for the work of the ministry. These gifts were given by God to the church for the perfecting of the saints to do the work of the ministry. That is, it is the business of all the saints - not of just a few leaders to carry on the work of the church. The leaders are for the purpose of perfecting and equipping believers to carry on this work. The leaders should teach by explaining WHY, WHO, WHERE, WHEN AND WHAT needs to be done.  Those who are taught should also learn how to teach those who follow them. Every organization, should incorporate training of subordinates if they expect to remain a viable organization in the future.
"The unity of the faith." The faith itself is one body of truth. As we hold to this, we in turn are to unite with one another. Unto a perfect man. A reference not to the individual believer  but to the composite man; that is , the body of which Christ is the head.
Ephesians 4:14-16
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to an fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
 
"That we henceforth be no more children," Literally, babies. "tossed to and fro, Driven by the wind, which is here used, of course figuratively, By the sleight of men The word translated "sleight" originally meant dice playing. Then it came to mean trickery of any kind, because of the various tricks that were used to cheat in the game of dice. The only way to be able to detect error is to know the truth. Therefore we must come to know the word of God so no one can use sleight of hand or false words to deceive us in the church.
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
But speaking the truth in love, It is possible o speak the truth without speaking it in love. Literally holding the truth. God wants us to be mature or full grown in our knowledge of scripture so no one can trick us. We must know the head of our church Jesus Christ.
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth , according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Look at the perfection of the human body. Observe how intricately it is put together. It is therefore an appropriate illustration of the body of Christ. Someone has said that not everyone can be one of the larger members, but the joints are important too. We are all important parts of the body of the church as long as we know who the head is.
God has given every believer spiritual gifts or talents to be used by and for the benefit of the church. It was not intended to give each person the same gifts but to distribute those talents so as to maximize the efficiency and power of the church. The problem as I see it is  the ability to identify and organize those talents to magnify the purpose of the church. The 
church should have goals just like any organization. Where do we want to be five years from now, ten years, twenty years. If the purpose is to simply  meet every Sunday and have preaching and singing to the same people over and over again are we truly meeting the expectations of our Lord? Are we allowing the talents we have available to be wasted?
Pine Grove Baptist Church is doing very well in serving our membership and neighbors. 
We support many missionaries and charities and if not for the Coronavirus would probably be expanding our membership. We are a loving and caring church. Many churches are not.
Church membership is declining all across the country. Abortion is available on demand. Gay rights is now OK. The Supreme court says you can't terminate their jobs because of  sexual preference. Cities across the country are in turmoil with a left leaning agenda. Murder rates in Chicago, New York, and Los Angles  are at  all time highs. People want to defund the police. Religion is being attacked by atheists. The America we grew up with and loved is under attack. This country was founded by Christian principles. Now we don't seem to have any principles at all. People are refusing to stand up for our national anthem. Drug use is growing and accepted by a large part of our population. Monuments of past hero's are being destroyed. American history is being rewritten.
Why do we accept this behavior? Where do the churches stand on the above issues?  How does the Lord look at churches who do not take a stand?
Parts of this lesson were taken from: 
The Holy Bible, King James version, World Bible Publishers , Iowa Falls, Iowa, New Testament, Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16 pg. 246-247
The Wycliff Bible Commentary. The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago,1968, pg. 1310 -1311.
LifeWay, Bible Studies for Life, Personal Study Guide, Summer,2020, "We Pray for One Another," Rodney Reeves, pg.122-131.
1966, pg. 471.
LifeWay, Bible Studies for Life, Personal Study Guide, Spring, 2020, "Yield," Ben Mandrell, pg.143-151.
 

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