The DEEP

Parts

of something bigger.

Ephesians 4:11–13 (NKJV)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 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;

These are the gifts referred to in 4:8. But pay careful attention to the wording. It doesn’t say that Jesus gave specific spiritual gifts to certain Christians (though that’s true). It says that He gave these gifted people to the church for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. This has profound implications.

First of all, in combination with was we learned from 4:8-10, this means that we should think of the church as a whole as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The gifts Jesus gave for the building of God’s dwelling place are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The receiver of those gifts is the whole church. That’s the full interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit collectively. Each one of us is part of that temple.

Secondly, this puts a great responsibility on those people who are identified as gifts. Just imagine what that must have felt like. It’s one thing to think of giving to the church. It’s something else to see yourself as a gift. You, and your whole life, has been given to a project. How then should you live?

And notice how the wording of 1 Corinthians 6:19 fits this when it says, “you are not your own.”

While some people have greater gifts, roles and responsibilities than others, every Christian should be intimidated by what they’ve been called to.

If you think your role is destined to be minor, think again.


Have you ever felt you were part of something bigger than yourself? Every team sport teaches this. Almost every business runs this way. Doctors need schedulers and accountants. Pilots need mechanics.

But they get to see how everything fits together. Christians don’t. We have to be content knowing that what we do fits into some grand scheme of things, even though we can’t fully see how.

But that’s because the grand scheme of things is so grand. It’s beyond our comprehension anyway. We probably know about as much as we could handle already.

The result is a confusing combination of awe and unsatisfied curiosity. The more we see the more exciting it is – and the more we realize there’s more to see.

This is the connection between faith and works. Do more and you’ll see more, and that’ll encourage and excite you as your faith matures.


The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.