Ebenezer Free Lutheran Church
September 2015 Newsletter Article
Pastor Nate Nash
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up 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 mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. – Ephesians 4:11-14
As we consider this passage in Ephesians in light of our Fall Church schedule, I want to make a few comments. First of all, it’s clear that we as the Church need one another. Verse 12 calls for the “building up of the body of Christ.” We are that body. Each one of us are members of it with various unique gifts and functions. We are unified by the head, who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All things function because of Him, through Him and for Him. We as the body have no life apart from Christ. He is the one who has lived the perfect life on our behalf. Went to the cross to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He died and rose again, once and for all defeating our mortal enemies: sin, death, and the devil. In the head, we are given new life and identity. Part of that new identity is being joined together with others in the Church. God did this for a reason, because we need one another. When we are brought to salvation, God desires to use us for His glory. As it says earlier in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God has called us to be His Church that we may be a part of His mission to bring salvation to the world. He calls us to be His witnesses and ambassadors to the world around us. The mission of the Church is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). In order to do this effectively we need to grow and mature. Paul says here in Ephesians 4 that this maturity needs to happen so that we may “no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves carried about by every wind of doctrine . . .” As we grow and mature, we are stable, strong and focused on the mission that God called us to do. Immature people are unstable, weak and distracted by the schemes of the evil one who seeks only to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10) us and God’s mission. We all need that growth and maturity so that we may be able to live and be the Church that God has called us to be. There can sometimes be an attitude that it’s the pastor’s job to “do ministry.” Yet the Biblical picture of the Church is that all members are working together to accomplish God’s mission brining salvation to the world around us. Look at verse 11-12. God gave the Church various gifted people to the “church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers.” These people are great gifts from God, and mightily used by God in the Church. What’s more interesting is the next verse, which describes what their purpose is. God gave these people “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” The Pastor’s job is not to do the ministry, but to equip the Body of Christ or “saints” to do the ministry. You, the laity are the saints, the ones called by God to do the ministry of the Church. God has given you a gift to use that you may help build up the Church so that as a body we may accomplish the mission God has called us to. I pray that everyone at Ebenezer would come to realize and know how God has gifted them, so that they may use that gift to the glory of God. If you don’t know how you fit into your place within the Church, seek wisdom form God in prayer. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” If you are still wondering how God has gifted you and can use you. Come talk to the Pastors, we would love to talk through ways that you could be used by God. Dear friends, let us humble ourselves before God letting him use us however he wishes, so that the Good News of Jesus Christ might sound forth to the world around us.