Sermon title: "Gifts of the Ascension"
Text: Ephesians 4:11-14
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 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, 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've learned from Ephesians 4:7-10 that the ascended Christ has given gifts to his church. He gives these gifts for the health and growth of the church, which is the body of Christ.
1. According to Ephesians 4:11, what are some of the gifts that Christ has given to his church?
2. The first two gifts listed are "the apostles and the prophets." What does Ephesians 2:20 teach us about the unique role of the apostles and prophets?
3. The apostles of Christ were eye-witnesses of the resurrection, and the prophets were the mouthpiece of God, revealing his Word. The apostles and prophets were the Spirit-inspired human authors of the gospels and rest of the New Testament. Are we to expect further divine books to be added beyond the Bible? See Hebrews 1:1-2, Hebrews 2:1-4, and Revelation 22:18-119.
4. "The apostles as an order of ministry of the church, were not perpetuated beyond the apostolic age, but the various functions they discharged did not lapse with their departure, but continued to be performed by others--notably the evangelists and pastors and teachers. " (F. F. Bruce) How might these last three roles carry on the functions of the apostles?
5. "Evangelists are the obstetricians of the church." (Kent Hughes) Why is the evangelism gift a much-needed gift in today's church, and in today's culture?
6. While all Christians are called to bear witness to their faith, some are especially gifted. Can you think of someone who might have this gift?
7. "You might have the gift of evangelism if: you have a heart for people who are far from God; you love being around people who are not believers; you are a natural promoter of causes; you are a people-gatherer; you are hospitable toward outsiders." Is there someone in your small group who would say yest to 2-3 of these, and who might have a latent gift of evangelism?
8. "Pastors and teachers are the pediatricians of the church." Why are these gifts much-needed in the church?
9. The word for "pastor" is "shepherd" and thus can be applied beyond paid church staff. According to 1 Peter 5:1-5, the elders of the church are called to "shepherd the flock." At Lake Baldwin Church, all members are under the care of an elder and deacon. What are some practical ways that this can be of benefit to us?
10. Beyond the pastor and elders, the church has gifted teachers. At LBC, care and teaching can be expressed through small groups, among our youth, and in SPLASH with our children. Are there some individuals in your small group who express shepherding and teaching in some of these ways?
11. What is your takeaway from this passage of Scripture