to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until 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,
(Ephesians 4:12-13 ESV)
Yesterday we learned that Jesus gives spiritual gifts to each and every one of His followers. We also saw four gifts that are given to those who are leaders within the church. The gifts – which are essentially abilities and talents – are to be used to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” and to build up the body of Christ. (As we learned earlier, every believer in Jesus is a “saint”).
Those people who are called by God to teach others about His plan of salvation through Jesus do so in order that those people – their students – will be able to serve others by meeting their needs. In so doing, we are building up the “body” of Christ, which is the collection of all believers. When we evangelize and lead others to faith in Christ we make the body of Christ bigger. When we teach existing believers so that they have more knowledge and understanding we make the body stronger.
Once we are saved we are not to sit idly by waiting for death so we can go to heaven. God gives us a gift to be used, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of our Christian brothers and sisters. We are all to serve others. And in so doing, we all become closer to what God wants us to be. The Christian life is intended to be one of reciprocal service – people helping people.
God is omnipotent. Certainly, it would be much faster for Him to wave a magic wand over us. But that is not how God works. God invites each of His children to help Him carry out His plans. Just like a little kid helps his dad fix the leak under the sink by handing him a wrench, we help God by utilizing the spiritual gifts He has given us. God does this not because He needs our help. But by allowing us to participate with Him we learn and grow.
Here is another verse that clearly separates the biblical God from all other gods and proves everyone doesn’t worship the same god. Other gods don’t do this. Instead they demand certain behaviors in exchange for a reward in the next life. This is the direct antithesis of the God of the Bible, who invites His children – who are already guaranteed to get into heaven – to participate with Him in what He is doing on earth. How cool is that?
Not all of us are gifted to be church leaders. The other spiritual gifts that Jesus gives are listed in Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12. If you are a believer in Jesus and have been saved by faith in His work on the cross, then you have at least one gift. It is up to you to find out what that gift is and use it to benefit others.
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