Discipleship: Practical Equipping the saints

Discipleship: Equipping the saints  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:10:18
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From Providential to Practical

God’s providence, provision was gifts given to the church and for the church. Today we take the provisional and add to that the practical (application) with purpose.
God gave gifts to the church (Eph4:7-10)
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.”
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.)
These gifts to the church are seen (Eph4:11)
Ephesians 4:11 NASB95
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
The purpose of the gifts to the church are for the equipping (practical) and that is what we are going to look at today (Eph4:12-16)
The Lord is still building His church (Mt16:18) today. Building through equipping to see and serve through the open doors He makes
Doors of faith (Act14:27)
Doors of effective service (1Cor16:9)
Doors for the word (Col4:3)
Colossians 4:3 NASB95
3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;
We are called to be the church Jesus is building and to be equipped by faith to serve and to share the word of faith, the mystery of Christ with others.
If we desire there to be open doors we need to be equipped, prepared to serve by as individuals and as the church (body of believers) - here is a bonus scripture not on your outline
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.
Prepared for every good work!
This preparation is for the person and for the church itself.
Let me give you are passage for tonight and then I want to address the reason the equipping is needed, the problems we can see in the church today.
Ephesians 4:12–13 NASB95
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 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.
Ephesians 4:14–15 NASB95
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; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Ephesians 4:16 NASB95
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.
(Insert Practical Equipping PowerPoint here)
From the practical viewpoint (application) for a church to grow spiritually, numerically, financially and in serve there needs to be equipping for deployment.
Some things that we can see in the church today:
The revolving door
This is new converts that do not get assimilated into the body and are out the door just as fast as they came in. Or ones who do not get rooted in the church are return to the world.
We are talking about people’s souls here, we can never be satisfied with just someone being baptized, they then need to learn what it means to be the church “to follow all the commands” and that cannot happen if they are not assimilated into the body.
The solution to this issue is the equipping and involvement of the saints, the members, working collectively.
The Apostles and the prophets laid the foundation and then the Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers (Eph4:11) were to build on the foundation that has already been established.
The evangelists, Pastors, Teachers are not to do all the work of the ministry, their part is to equip and then the work belongs to all of us collectively.
(Transition) So here is what we are looking at from our passage tonight
The work (v.12)
The goal (v.13)
The result (v.14)
The method (v.15)
The power (v.16)
Flavil R Yeakley in “why churches grow” talks about the involvement of every member is needed. The more members are involved the more vested there are in the church. The more important the church is to them and they to the church. He also speaks of evangelism goes beyond saving lost souls but saved souls growing to the fulness of Christ. Evangelism is not the the evangelist but the church working together to fulfill the purpose and the commission of Christ (Mt28:20)
Matthew 28:20 NASB95
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The revolving door does not spin as often when members are involved, you have more coming in and fewer going out.
So now may we look at the items mentioned before.

The Work

The work of service is ministry, ministry is service. The words mean to do the work of a servant. Minister means servant.
Ephesians 4:12 NCV
12 Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.
The work as mentioned is ministry is service, to serve the body is to serve one another.
The work of service
The personal work brought to the community work of the body
Each of us does not have the same gifts, same works to be done for the body, but each is to bring their works to the body for the common good
Biblical works of the body described (Rom12:6-9; 1Cor12:8-10, 28)
Take the time to look up these scriptures and look at the biblical list.
While the list is not exhaustive here are some that you can find in Rom and in 1Cor.
To take the place of someone, or, to serve to accomplish practical and necessary tasks
To understand and to be able to clearly convey, explain the word of God
To come along side of, to be able to present God’s truth in away to encourage, strengthen, comfort or urge action.
The giving, contribution of money and resources for the word of the Lord with cheerfulness and liberality
The ability to motivate, direct people and to come along side people to accomplish the purposes of God
To understand what is needed to make an organization to run and function in the manner in which it was intended. This is the ability to plan and execute procedures that accomplish the goals of the ministry
Meaning to have compassion, to cheerfully and practically help those who are suffering or are in need. This is compassion motivated action.
To apply truth practically. This is the enablement to apply spiritual truth effectively to meet a need in a specific situation.
To trust, to have confidence, to believe. This is the ability to act on God’s promises with confidence and unwavering belief in God’s ability to perform what He has promised.
distinguishing of spirits
This is the God given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Word of God and the deceptive doctrines propagated by demons.
Again this list is not exhaustive at all there are other gifts that the Holy Spirit gave at the time, and gives today listed elsewhere in the scripture.
(Illustration) may I use the mercy giver? This person would be perfected fitted for hospitals, nursing homes, even jails and prisons, this is the person to minster to the hurting people.
We are going to in the near future get into spiritual giftedness and do that on a personal level so then we can apply for the common good of the body, until then let me ask a question.
Do I know how God, through the Holy Spirit has gifted me? Am I using it practically for the common good of the body?
May we remember the purpose of the practical equipping
Ephesians 4:12 GNB
12 He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.
The work of Christian service, the work of ministry is for all of the disciples in order to build up the body of Christ (the church). This is only accomplished when all parts do their part and all parts are needed.
Someone plants, someone waters, but the Lord brings the growth, adds to the numbers daily those being saved then it is in the hands of the disciples to fulfil the great commission
Matthew 28:20 NASB95
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Other scriptures used/referenced in this section: Eph4:12; Act2:46; Mt28:20)
(Transition) from the description now to the intended results, or the goal of the practical equipping

The Goal

How long is this going to take, to build up the body? Well in (v.13) we see it.
Ephesians 4:13 NKJV
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Hey we have to be honest this will not be fully attained until the end of time. We will strive together, working towards spiritual maturity continually until then by.
Our goal will be to disciple the new believers that are added to the body so they mature.
Our goal is to grow personally, since we are all growing to the fulness of Christ and we all have growth room
So what are the goals?
Unity of faith (Eph4:13; 1Cor1:10; Eph4:5)
This unity of the faith is like Paul discussed with the Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:10 NASB95
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
and that he just had spoken to the Ephesians about (v.5), for there is only one faith.
Unity of faith through knowledge of Christ (Son of God) (Eph4:13; Jn10:27; Eph1:17; Php3:8-10)
This is beyond saving knowledge this is growing, cultivated knowledge of Son of God
So that he knows you and you know Him and you follow Him (ref: Jn10:27)
Paul’s prayer previously had been for them to come to true knowledge of Him (ref: Eph1:17)
This is knowledge as described in Php3:8-10) and that all other is rubbish.
Philippians 3:8–9 NASB95
8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
Philippians 3:10 NASB95
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
This kind of knowledge comes as the body strives together, each bringing its part, fulfilling its various ministries (works)
Goal: To the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph4:13; Rom8:29; 1Jn2:6; Eph5:1, 1Jn3:2).
Jesus Christ is the standard, the measure. Our goal is to be conformed to His image (ref: Rom8:29)
Our goal should be to walk as He walked (ref: 1Jn2:6)
To be imitators of God (ref: Eph5:1)
For we all long for this.
1 John 3:2 NASB95
2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
We strive, we work personally and collectively until this time. We can spur one another onto good deeds (ref: Heb10:24) and we can carry one anothers burdens (ref: Gal6:2)
We know this side of heaven it is our goal, but will not be fully attained until we are with him, but our goal does not change.
Colossians 1:28–29 NASB95
28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
(Transition) now staying with our passage this evening, may we look at the result of the goals.

The Result

Anything we set our mind to do came from thought, consideration, then application so to obtain the results planned. For the Disciple that is being equipped or the ministry (works) of the body, there is an intended result.
Ephesians 4:14 NASB95
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;
What is the result?
No longer to be children
Spiritual maturity means we are no longer easy pickings for false teachers and the like. You have the spiritual discernment to know the truth from a lie.
Spiritual children have an inherent trust, but as we grow we come to have an anchored trust in the Lord so:
No longer to be tossed here and there
No longer going with the crowd but going with the Word even if the crowd is against it.
We need to know what we believe and why we believe it and hang onto that regardless of what others do.
So I encourage as does the scripture, more importantly the scriptures example to be a good Berean (ref: Act17:11)
No longer impacted, deceived by the trickery of men, or deceitful scheming
Things like faith + works = salvation or Good works = salvation; or that Jesus is not the only way to heaven. Or worse yet that Jesus is not the eternal God but a created being.
(Transition) - The good news in all of this thus far is the if the body, the disciples all do what we are called to do, we would be less susceptible to being led away by some false doctrine. Now having said that, bear with me a little longer. May I bring in the method?

The Method

There is method to the growth through the practical equipping of the saints.
Ephesians 4:15 NASB95
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Speaking truth in love
This is agape love. Love that is kind, humble, patient, willing to forgive, truthful even when it has to bring a warning, admonishment or a rebuke where needed. Of course, with gentleness and respect.
Growing in all aspects into Him.
True Christianity has its goal growing into the likeness of Christ who is our head. And they are marked by speaking the truth in love.
(Transition) This brings us to the last one for today.

The Power

Read the verse carefully, see where the power comes from here. What are the results of the power when it comes together?
Ephesians 4:16 NLT
16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
The power is in the people as they work together and each part does its own special work.
Jesus Christ fits us together perfectly, jesus Christ holds us together collectively. He created the body, He designed the body, and designed the body to be together, to work together. Each has a part, as “each part (joint) supplies” . We want to be a fully operating body and not a handicapped body right? It takes all parts to be attached and doing it’s function.
(Be the church slide inserted here)
(Transition) - Do you know you function? Are you fulfilling your function. Your part is vital to the health and vitality of the body! (invitation)
(Song) (Prayer) (Exit)
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