Discipleship: Equipping the Saints

Discipleship: Equipping the saints  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  57:27
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Providence is more than the capital of Rhode Island, so much more. If, we, as disciples of Jesus Christ are to grow together we need God’s providence. So a few words on providence.
When you think of the word providence what do you think of, what does it mean?
Providence: (Noun) 1. divine guidance or care; 2. The quality or state of being provident.
It is interesting that in the Lutheran theology, divine providence refers to God’s preservation of creation, His cooperation with everything that happens, and his guiding of the universe. While God cooperates with both good and evil deeds, with the evil deeds he does so only inasmuch as they are deeds, not with the evil that is in them.” Wikipedia
So, how does providence work?
Traditional theism holds that God is the creator of heaven and earth, and that all that occurs in the universe takes place under Divine Providence — that is, under God’s sovereign guidance and control. According to believers, God governs creation as a loving father, working all things for good.” - Stanford Edu.
Is providence an attribute of God?
While the providence of God usually refers to his activity in the world, it also implies his care for the universe, and is thus an attribute - Wikipedia
Did you know there is only one place in in the bible that actually uses this providential word?
Acts 24:2 NASB95
2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation,
So there is providential necessity for the equipping of the saints; the disciples and that is what this series will focus on, equipping the saints. so let’s enjoy and be challenged by it over the next few weeks. Take into consideration I will be travelling some during June and July.
God’s providential gifts to the church (Eph4:7-16)
Ephesians 4:7–8 NASB95
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.”
God’s providential gifts given by Christ (v.7)
Ephesians 4:9–10 NASB95
9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
God’s providential gifts purpose, to fill all things (v.10)
Ephesians 4:11–12 NASB95
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
God’s providential gifts to the church described (v.11; ref: 1Cor3:9-11)
Some of the gifts given for the church are for the foundation of the church and were temporary, Apostles, Prophets, others are permanent such as evangelists, pastors and teachers. For they are needed to build on the foundation laid by the apostles and the prophets (see 1Cor3:9-11)
God’s providential gifts purpose defined (v.12-13)
Ephesians 4:13–14 NASB95
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
God’s providential gifts intended results (v.13-14)
Ephesians 4:15–16 NASB95
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
God’s providential gifts are a necessity for the body personally so the body can grow together. (vv.15-16)
Let’s go back and high-lite the purpose looking at (v.12)
Ephesians 4:12 NKJV
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
For the equipping of the saints
For the building up of the body of Christ
Speaking of equipping, it is not just any old equipping it is equipping for the work of ministry . Yep that is part of the job of the evangelist, pastors (elders) and teachers. Is it not one of the reasons we meet together?
(Do not need to read below, only for the outline) it is going to be expounded on)
Equipping expounded on (Heb10:24-25; Tit3:1, 8, 14)
Equipping personalized (2Tim4:5; 1Cor12:4-5; Eph4:16)
(Start here expounding)
Hebrews 10:24–25 NASB95
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
To stimulate, to motivate, to encourage one another to love and good deeds (works).
Titus was given instructions to remind them, prepare them for every good work
Titus 3:1 NKJV
1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,
and to maintain good works
Titus 3:8 NKJV
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
and to do it to meet the current needs of the people
Titus 3:14 NKJV
14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.
Our theme this year is “Together we grow” and have defined that as spiritually, numerically, financially and in service. We have on Sunday nights focused on discipleship and about service. So with our lesson starting tonight and through this short series leading up to our next series I’m very excited about we are going to look at the
Necessity of the church to equip the church for service
The need for and value of the diversity of function of service within the body
To look at some direction on how we can facilitate these things.
(Transition) As we press on may we remember whose church it is, what is the purpose of the church, God’s providence that opens doors for ministry (service, works, deeds).

It is His church!

This is a singular church, not a plurality. He is the one with all rule, reign, authority over the church. He gives us His providential care for His church.
He promised to build His church (Mt16:18; Eph1:22-23)
Matthew 16:18 NASB95
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
(expand on the above, briefly)
Ephesians 1:22–23 NASB95
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
He provided for His church (Act2; Act8:26-28; 9:10-18, Act10, Act16)
(Insert His church PowerPoint here)
He provided for the church on Pentecost in the pouring out of His Spirit when He gathered the crowd there to hear the spirit inspired preaching of Peter and the other apostles
He provided by sending Philip on a dusty road between Jerusalem and Gaza to meet an influential eunuch from Ethiopia
He provided by a reluctant adherent, Ananias, that he would get with Paul and tell him all he would have to suffer for the gospel.
He provided to a gentile Centurion named Cornelius who was able to hear the gospel from Peter.
How about how He provided by the gospel the conversions of Lydia and a Philippian jailer that brought the good news to Europe, after the Macedonian call.
(Transition) - - - - looking back at all the
God’s wonderful providence (2Chr16:9; Mt5:6; 1Cor3:5-9)
We have seen some great examples of God’s provision through God’s people for God’s purpose in the ones we just mentioned. These examples also illustrate a great principle and help to open doors today for the people
These examples, gives illustrations:
It illustrates God knows the hearts of all men (2Chr16:9)
2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT
9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”
(Expand on this: you cannot fool God)
It illustrates God knows those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled (Mt5:6)
Matthew 5:6 NASB95
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
(Expand: This is a promise!)
It illustrates God’s people, God’s workers are God’s fellow workers who work together to be servants for the Lord (1Cor3:5-9)
1 Corinthians 3:5–6 NASB95
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7–8 NASB95
7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:9 NASB95
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Fellow servants, that you, that me, striving together in unity , to serve Him and He will bring the increase (Act2:47).
So I think you can see the Lords provision to expand His church through His providential workings in the hearts and the affairs of men.
Maybe a quick reminder of our key verse today and then will look at our next point
Ephesians 4:12 NLT
12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
This from the NLT the Evangelist, the Pastors and Teachers are to equip the people to do the work, we are all in this together as God’s tools to be used for God’s purpose and for God’s glory.

God opens doors

God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. It is not about ability it is about availability. He has called, He has equipped and will provide the way for the church to be do the work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
God’s opened doors exampled (1Cor16:9; 2Cor2:12-13; Rev3:8)
Exampled for Paul at Ephesus
1 Corinthians 16:9 NASB95
9 for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
Opened door that was for 3 years, not without struggles, but was very effective.
Exampled in Troas (2Cor2:12-13)
2 Corinthians 2:12–13 NASB95
12 Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.
God’s door opened that cannot be shut is prepared for those who prepare for it.
Revelation 3:8 NASB95
8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
(expand) - notice who opened the door, whose power is at work here? It is God’s door, God’s power, for God’s prepared (equipped) people.
(Transition) speaking of preparing
God’s people prepare for God’s open doors (2Tim2:20-22; Eph4:7-16)
while this is in context for the masses (the church) but it starts with the people preparing first
2 Timothy 2:20–21 NASB95
20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:22 NASB95
22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Prepare to be used as a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful.
Prepare by knowing, believing and applying God’s word
Prepare by willing to participate in helping new believers to be at home and of service within the body. Because we are all in this together as we grow in righteousness, faith, love and peace.
Consider this, if we as a people personally and we as people collectively as congregation are not prepared how can the Lord use us as His providence to
Teach others the good news
To encourage others with God’s word and promises
To serve others to help them grow or to know and respond
Can we expect God to open doors before us if we are unprepared?
So, there is the providential necessity for us to be be concerned about when it comes to the “equipping the saints for ministry (work)”
(Encouragement slide- let your light shine, choose 1, 2 or 3)
In those days they had to prepare the wick, put oil in the jar before lighting the light so it could shine. So is your wick trimmed, is your jar full? Let’s be the church and let the light shine to others.
(Song) (Prayer)
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