Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Logos since 31 July 2017 . Are you a spiritual couch potato? (Part 2)

. Are you a spiritual couch potato? (Part 2)

ONE BODY, MANY PARTS

ARE YOU A SPIRITUAL COUCH POTATO (PART 2)

Last week we started asking a question regarding our spiritual involvement in the Body of Christ and the use of our Spiritual Gifts, our opportunities and our natural talents. Why will we use it to God’s Glory, why will we be involved, what motivates us? Together we are looking at Ephesians 4:7-16 and trying to establish reasons for our involvement.  We discovered our first reason in verse 7 which is the source of our gifts. We saw that we received the gifts of grace from Christ. All good gifts are from above. So not to use it is to dishonour Him and the purpose why He gave us gifts. In a sense, it is a slap in His face. There is a second reason.

Reason 2. Because of the cost, He paid.

 

Ephesians 4:8-10 (ESV) 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)”

What is this about?  This verse sounds odd when just looking at it from face value. Paul is using a kind of parenthetical analogy here.  The language he is using is from Psalm 68 in context and then in particular verse 18.

 

Let me tell you about the Psalm. Psalm 68 that is a victory hymn composed by David to celebrate God’s conquest of the Jebusite city that became Jerusalem and the triumphant ascent of God to Jerusalem represented by the ark up on Mount Zion. In other words, it’s a picture of God’s triumph in the past. After a king won a victory, he would bring home the spoils and he would ascend to the highest hill in front of his people. He would be paraded and he would bring with him the recovered captives that his enemies had captured.

 

Paul now uses this imagery of Psalm 68 to describe Christ returning from His battle on earth to the glory of heaven, and He’s brought with Him the trophies of his great. He descended, was born from a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried, He rose bodily from the grave, ascended to heaven and gave gifts to His church, so that they can manage His affairs on earth, but He will come back to fetch His bride to be with Him forever.

 

Another way to put it is that Paul is looking at Christ’s incarnation in which He conquers sin, Satan and death, as indicated in Colossians 2:15, and then he looks at His resurrection and ascension. And by that triumphant victory, He goes back into glory. He ascends on high and leads captive a host of captives. In other words, the prisoners who once belonged to the enemy Satan has now been delivered by Him, and He now returns to God for they are by God’s decree His own people. And, those people are us.

 

So, we need to use our gifts, because of the cost involved. This descending and ascending is summarized well by Paul in Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV) 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:9-10 (ESV) 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”

So, in short, according to Paul Christ descended, triumphed and then ascends triumphantly to take His people to glory. And out of that triumph He gave gifts to men.

 

Reason 3. Because of the gifts, He gave.

 

What is the first gift He gave?

 

Gift 1. The first gift He gave was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit cannot come until He has ascended. ‘When I go back to the Father, I will send the Holy Spirit’, John 7; John 14. And then we know that in Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came.

 

Gift 2. He gave gifted men.

 

And then with the sending of the Holy Spirit to the church came the gifts by the Spirit. So, Christ in His victory gives the church the necessary gifts by the Spirit which the church needs to minister to one another so that Christ can be made known. From verse 11-12 we are now introduced to the first and most notable gifts that He gave. Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV) 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…”

The first wave of gifts to the church are the gifted men, the apostles, the prophets who were the foundation of the church according to Ephesians 2:20, chronologically followed by the evangelists and pastor/teachers, whose task is the work of ministry to the “building up of the body of Christ.” “To build the house,” ‘oikodomeo’; we get the word “domestic.” And ‘oikos’ is the word for house--“to build the house.” For now, I will not expound what each of these titles apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherds and teachers mean, as that is not the purpose of this sermon.

 

Gift 3. He gave spiritual gifts to the body.

We touched on this last week, as we looked at the various lists in Romans, Corinthians and Peter. Just a reminder the works of service Paul has in mind is obviously not just our spiritual gifts given by the Spirit, but it will include our talents and our opportunities. Christ will hold us accountable. In Matthew 25 we read the story of a man who went away and then gave talents of money to His servants. He then returned at a time they did not expect him. But he held them accountable for what they did with the money. That parable is to challenge us that Christ has left, but He have us gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities to use for the common good of the body, to do His work and to be ready for His return. He will hold us accountable.

 

So, we are committed to using our gifts, because of the source of our gifts which is the grace of God through Christ. We are committed because of the price Christ paid on the cross. The very fact that He emptied Himself and came down to die, deserves our undivided commitment. And we are committed because of the gifts He gave and we will be held accountable for the using of our gifts or not when He returns.

 

Reason 4. Because of the Impact on us.

 

What is the impact of the use of my gift within the framework of the body of Christ? What happens when we are equipped and the gifted men do the equipping? The task of the first line of gifts as seen in verse 12 is that the rest of the believers can serve in the body.

 

Now there are three levels of impact I want to point you to.

 

The first impact on the saints is unity of the faith.

 

Ephesians 4:13 (ESV) 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...” The church, the body will attain to the “unity of the faith.” That refers to objective faith to the body of Christian doctrine. You see people who hear the truth, who believe the truth, who know the truth, who embrace the truth, who hold convictions about the truth and love the truth. In other words, they come to hold to the truth, or doctrine in a unified way.  And when we are united around truth, then that truth begins to show in our lives because the knowledge of the Son of God leads to a mature man who then as a part of the church puts the stature of the fullness on Christ on display. That means, we become Christ like.

 

Ideally people should come to a church and see Christ. They should see a manifestation of Christ in the maturity of the saints who name His name.

 

So, the purpose of those who over the centuries have led the church in its foundational phases and now in our day is to distribute the truth, disseminate the truth and teach the truth, so that in knowing the truth you come to the ‘epignosis’ of the Son of God which is deep knowledge – not a superficial knowledge – of what it is to live a life devoted to Christ. That is why Paul’s primary desire always has been to “know Christ.” Let me tell you why the world is in such a mess. It is because Christians don’t put Christ on display, and the reason Christians don’t put Christ on display is because they are focusing on the peripherals and that which satisfies them. Until we are satisfied with Christ and desire Christ, we will go nowhere.

 

Oh, that Christ will be on display here at Logos. The very work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ and not to give us some holy fix. When people visit Logos, they must walk away having seen a church that demonstrates the character of Christ. So, the positive impact, is an objective knowledge of the truth that goes deep and conforms us to Christ.

 

There is a second impact, because of the gifted men equipping the saints and the saints using their gifts is spiritual maturity. Ephesians 4:14 (ESV) 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.”

We are called to childlike faith, but we are never called to immaturity. Too many Christians claim to be in the faith for donkey years, but still function as children. Immaturity in the church leads to quarrelling, it leads to division, it leads to instability, and every child wants to dictate to what extent the church will simply stay immature.

 

Christian, we must mature. We do not follow waves, we do not get carried around by every wind of doctrine. We are not misled by human cunning, by the fads and gimmicks that so surround us. We are not impressed by the super spiritual entertainers, who impress us with their spirituality, by parading in our towns and on TV with ministries that draw attention to themselves, that advertises them. We cannot run after craftiness of false apostles and prophets who deceive for the sake of gain. It is about Christ. He must be seen. He is not a by-product of our popularity, it is all about Him. Unless we grow up to know sound doctrine we are susceptible.

 

There is a third impact which is being built up in love. We see in verse 15 & 16: 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Christ is still the focus here. That is a powerful, powerful statement of what happens when saints are mature, and when the saints do the work of service using their individual gifts. This is a powerful statement of what happens when we are no longer led astray by deception and false doctrine. This is a powerful statement of what happens when each one does their part:  the body grow and it builds itself up in love.

 

We are to be built up in love, loving one another. Love only operates with humble people, sacrificial people and the church only grows into the fullness of the stature of Christ when believers in love use their spiritual gifts.

 

Oh, how I desire a Logos Community Church that desires to be built up in Christ, who desires maturity, who are willing to get off Purity and eat solid food. Oh, how I desire a Logos Community Church where everybody is doing their part, and nobody being spiritual couch potatoes. The message is clear, even though we have not gone into the details of the gifts. (Read the list that I gave you which should help a little.)

 

So, may we be motivated by the source of the gift, which is by God’s grace in Christ, by His Spirit. May we be motivated by the cost of the gift, which is Christ descending from high to pay for our sins, and when He ascended He gave gifts to His church. May we be motivated by the gifts we have received. May we be motivated by the impact of the gift which is the building of the church to unity in faith, under Christ as head and In Christ as our Saviour, and may we do this while speaking the truth in love, and built up in love.

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: - 12 February 2017

 

There are three biblical lists of the “gifts of the Spirit,” also known as spiritual gifts. The three main passages describing the spiritual gifts are Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; and 1 Corinthians 12:28. The spiritual gifts identified in Romans 12 are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy. The list in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 includes the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. The list in 1 Corinthians 12:28 includes healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. A brief description of each gift follows:

Prophecy – The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God which is designed to influence people. The idea of telling the future was added sometime in the Middle Ages and is in direct contradiction to other scriptural passages that condemn such fortune-telling or predicting the future (Acts 16:16-18).

Serving – Also referred to as “ministering,” the Greek word diakonian, from which we get the English “deacon,” means service of any kind, the broad application of practical help to those in need.

Teaching – This gift involves the analysis and proclamation of the Word of God, explaining the meaning, context and application to the hearer’s life. The gifted teacher is one who has the unique ability to clearly instruct and communicate knowledge, specifically the doctrines of the faith.

Encouraging – Also called “exhortation,” this gift is evident in those who consistently call upon others to heed and follow God’s truth, which may involve correction or building others up by strengthening weak faith or comforting in trials.

Giving – Gifted givers are those who joyfully share what they have with others, whether it is financial, material, or the giving of personal time and attention. The giver is concerned for the needs of others and seeks opportunities to share goods, money and time with them as needs arise.

Leadership – Also called administration. The gifted leader is one who rules, presides over or has the management of other people in the church. The word literally means “guide” and carries with it the idea of one who steers a ship. One with the gift of leadership rules with wisdom and grace and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit in his life as he leads by example.

Mercy – Closely linked with the gift of encouragement, the gift of mercy is obvious in those who are compassionate toward others who are in distress, showing sympathy and sensitivity coupled with a desire and the resources to lessen their suffering in a kind and cheerful manner.

Word of wisdom – The fact that this gift is described as the “word” of wisdom indicates that it is one of the speaking gifts. This gift describes someone who can understand and speak forth biblical truth in such a way as to skillfully apply it to life situations with all discernment.

Word of knowledge – This is another speaking gift that involves understanding truth with an insight that only comes by revelation from God. Those with the gift of knowledge understand the deep things of God and the mysteries of His Word.

Faith – All believers possess faith in some measure because it is one of the gifts of the Spirit bestowed on all who come to Christ in faith (Galatians 5:22-23). The spiritual gift of faith is exhibited by one with a strong and unshakeable confidence in God, His Word, His promises, and the power of prayer to effect miracles.

Healing – Although God does still heal today, the ability of men to produce miraculous healings belonged to the apostles of the first century church to affirm that their message was from God. Christians today do not have the power to heal the sick or resurrect the dead. If they did, the hospitals and morgues would be full of these “gifted” people emptying beds and coffins everywhere.

Miraculous powers – Also known as the working of miracles, this is another temporary sign gift which involved performing supernatural events that could only be attributed to the power of God (Acts 2:22). This gift was exhibited by Paul (Acts 19:11-12), Peter (Acts 3:6), Stephen (Acts 6:8), and Phillip (Acts 8:6-7), among others.

Distinguishing (discerning) of spirits – Certain individuals possess the unique ability to determine the true message of God from that of the deceiver, Satan, whose methods include purveying deceptive and erroneous doctrine. Jesus said many would come in His name and would deceive many (Matthew 24:4-5), but the gift of discerning spirits is given to the Church to protect it from such as these.

Speaking in tongues – The gift of tongues is one of the temporary “sign gifts” given to the early Church to enable the gospel to be preached throughout the world to all nations and in all known languages. It involved the divine ability to speak in languages previously unknown to the speaker. This gift authenticated the message of the gospel and those who preached it as coming from God. The phrase “diversity of tongues” (KJV) or “different kinds of tongues” (NIV) effectively eliminates the idea of a “personal prayer language” as a spiritual gift.

Interpretation of tongues – A person with the gift of interpreting tongues could understand what a tongues-speaker was saying even though he did not know the language that was being spoken. The tongues interpreter would then communicate the message of the tongues speaker to everyone else, so all could understand.

Helps – Closely related to the gift of mercy is the gift of helps. Those with the gift of helps are those who can aid or render assistance to others in the church with compassion and grace. This has a broad range of possibilities for application. Most importantly, this is the unique ability to identify those who are struggling with doubt, fears, and other spiritual battles; to move toward those in spiritual need with a kind word, an understanding and compassionate demeanour; and to speak scriptural truth that is both convicting and loving.