Amen, it’s great to be together. I hope you guys enjoyed the singing, but you guys go up here practicing and kind of getting ready before Church. I thought, man, oh, man. It’s gonna be nice when this auditorium is filled again and all of us can blend our voices together. So let’s keep praying for that.
I know God’s of working is going to be amazing. We’re going ahead and dive right into our lesson. We have been going through Ephesians chapter four, you guys have been with us. And really, if you forgot anything that we covered thus far, just go back and listen I believe those lessons are there, and they’re available online. So we’re gonna go ahead and get into it.
And if you will start the PowerPoint. Eric, that would be great.
Our theme for this year has been one. And so we’re taking the time to look at all of the ones of the Ephesians chapter four. And I thoroughly enjoy going back. The Bible talks about how there’s one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope. When you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
And we take the time to look at all of those, and it’s a rich, rich study. If you can really understand just that section of Ephesians, you’ll be so much farther ahead than most people because it’s a lot of great stuff there. Tyler, A couple of weeks ago got it started in Ephesians four that section where we’re going to talk about the various roles that God has set up in the Church. And then, of course, Marshall came after that. And it was kind of cool having Marshall here.
And it sort of neat when you see a person slant. Marshall’s a music guy, so he takes the time to play 2001 A Space Odyssey. How many y’all remember that from last week? Okay, we got several that do. I mean, the first part sounded amazing.
I mean, I love that. And then when you play the kids. I thought, this is painful. This is really difficult to listen to. And why you commend the kids because they were doing the best they could and all that. At the same time, it’s like, okay, you can stop Marshall. This is really painful.
But I think we understood the point he was making. And the point he was making is that when things are done properly, when they’re done according to the way they should be done, whether it’s in an organization or our human bodies, when things are done the right way and everybody’s in the right seat on the bus and the gifts all come together, then it is an amazing Symphony. And he compared that to the Church. And I really believe that it’s very, very important for us to understand is that God has a design for the Church.
He has an intent. He had intent when he created the Church. Jesus says, I will build my Church. It’s Jesus’ Church. It’s not yours. It’s not mine.
And so we have to listen to him. So we’re going to go ahead and get into it today. Today, we’re going to take a little bit deeper dive into the gifts. We’re going to look at those roles in Ephesians four first. And then we’re going to go to Romans twelve, and we’re going to look at some of the gifts that the Bible talks about there.
The real key for all of this is to understand that God had a plan. And then we’re a part of that plan. Here’s a theme passage, Ephesians, chapter four. So Christ himself gave the Apostles, the prophets the evangelists the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
What I’m going to do today is to kind of give you a 30,000 foot view of these roles and some of the gifts. Obviously, one message won’t be enough time to really exhaust that. But I want to give you a big picture view of the roles that God has set up in the Church and why they’re so important. But why your role is also very important. God has given all of us gifts and you may be thinking, well, I don’t know what my gift is, but we’re gonna go there.
We’re gonna talk about it a little bit. And there’s a handout that I want you to take with you today and fill out, because it’s a way to begin sort of figuring out where your gifts are. And I’ll share a little bit about our journey and some things that helped us. The bottom line is that God designed the Church. He set it up.
It’s biblical that we follow what’s there. But God also gave gifts to men. And if you wanted to study this out, you can look at these are five different places where it talks about gifts in the New Testament. And, you know, it is the kind of thing it would be a great study for you.
Take the time to look at it and read it and read it about those, and you can start understanding more about the gifts. And but before we dive into that, I want to talk a little bit about the roles that I just read about in Ephesians where it talks about how he gave apostles and prophets and all that and then pastors teachers the whole 9 yards. First of all, he talks about how he gave Apostles and prophets Apostles and prophets. The Church was founded on the Apostles and the prophets.
You see that in Ephesians chapter two, verse 20, it says the foundation of the Church are the Apostles and the prophets.
The Apostles preferred New Testament prophets primarily in the old. And I want to just say a little more about that. Typically, when we talk about prophecy, our focus is somebody who foretells the future. And that was one way you knew if a Prophet was a genuine Prophet of God, his words came true. They echoed the very words of God.
But prophecy is also telling the message of Jesus. Prophets also spoke the word of God to the people. Jeremiah was a Prophet. Jeremiah and I’ve been reading through Jeremiah in my quiet times. And the man must have had one just a tough job because day after day he’s telling these guys, guys you’re going into captivity. If you fight this, it won’t be good if you try to go against the babylonians it’s not going to work out well. And just this morning, I read about how all the people said, Well, we’re going to go to Egypt because we believe Egypt, Egypt can help us and Jeremaiah says “Don’t do it. It’s not going to end well for you.” He could change it to preach God’s message to them, even though they did not listen.
And in one sense, we also have to do that when we teach the message. The critical role that the Apostles played. Now think about it. The new testament had not been written. They were writing the New Testament. They were the New Testament.
And so Jesus said, you know, you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna preach the word and I’m going to confirm your words to the people because they had no way of knowing. How do I know I could listen to this man? And God says, I am going to confirm your message. And so by Hebrews chapter two, I believe here Hebrews 2 I have it in my notes.
And it says, the word had been confirmed. Guys, the good news for you and me is that we have the completed word of God today. We have all we need for life and God, we don’t even need prophets and Apostles anymore. But these were critical roles that God used in the establishment of his Church.
Let’s go, let’s hit evangelists we’re gonna hit these rather briefly. Evangelists these were the heralds. These were the ones to proclaim the good news of Jesus. They were the Proclaimers. You see, Paul was an evangelist. You see, these guys going place to place, and they’re establishing Church after Church after Church. And, of course, some evangelists stayed longer in one place.
And they weren’t just telling and always on the move. Some state Paul was in Ephesus, I believe, for at least three years. And so that is also a pattern, you see. But if you want to know more about the kind of thing Paul expected of evangelist, you can look at Timothy I’ll just give you a couple of these. He talked about the public reading of scripture.
First Timothy 4 verse thirteen, a public reading of scripture. Preaching. Second, Timothy four, verses one and two, teaching 1st Timothy 4, verse 13, and appointing elders first timothy 5:17. And Titus one five. And I’ll hit those quickly for you again. Reading scripture, first Timothy 4:13.
Preaching second Timothy four one and two, teaching first Timothy four 13 and appointing elders first Timothy 5:17 and Titus one five. That wasn’t all of that evangelists did but I just want you to understand this is a critical role in the Church. Often Paul would start a Church, and he says, okay, go back and appoint elders, and he relied on the evangelists to do that.
Now let’s go and look at pastors and teachers. The commentaries that I looked at said, these two should probably be together instead of pastors and teachers it should be pastor teachers. What were the pastors? Pastors were overseers. They were shepherds.
They would oversee the flock. That was their role, and they would teach. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. He called himself the Good Shepherd. He was also referred to in the Scriptures as the Great Shepherd that’s Hebrews 13:20.
And the chief shepherd First Peter five, verse four. Now, I know I’m hitting you with a lot of scriptures aren’t I? And y’all didnt know you’re gonna have to take so many notes did you?
I see some heads shaking like, no, Eddie, this is a bit much. But no, this is good. We need to get into the word of God. And that’s why I wanted you to have these. Teachers explain the scriptures. This is the one gift that appears in some form in all five of those lists that I showed you. The importance of teaching. We need to be taught.
They needed people to help them to understand the word of God. The key for all of this as I’m going through this rapidly is that it goes on to talk about the why. It says he gave these roles, it says so that the body of Christ might be built up, and we reach unity in the faith and then the knowledge of the Son of God and reached maturity. That’s why God set up the Church the way he did. The roles that he put in place are critically important, and we just need to make sure we understand that this was the reason.
But in addition to all of these roles, he also gave us different gifts. And I want to just read this section for you in Romans chapter twelve is that we have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith, if it is serving, then serve. If it is teaching, then teach. If it is an encourage, then give encouragement.
If it is getting, then give generously. If it is to lead, do it diligently. If it’s to show mercy do it cheerfully. And he starts off with prophecy here, and we just kind of hit that a little bit. The prophecy true prophets will always be those people who spoke the Word of God. That’s why brothers and sisters and friends, we need to know the Word of God. You need to study your Bible it says in 2 Timothy 2 study to show yourself approved of God.
I don’t know how you’re doing with your quiet times. When I talk about my quiet times up here, it’s not to boast it’s because I really want you to know that as a leadership Marcus and I take seriously the study of the Word of God? And we’re trying to learn it every single day. And I learned something new all the time. I love the Old Testament, especially, the old testament just fires me up.
But I learn something all the time. Prophets were the ones who spoke the Word of God. And a lot of times I don’t know about you, but I’ll run into people in the religious community, and they’ll kind of give their opinions and their thoughts and all of this stuff. I really don’t care. I really don’t need your opinions and your thoughts.
I need what the Word of God says. And that’s what the prophets was all about. And some people are I think in one sense more gifted at proclaiming the Word of God. And that’s that other form of prophecy. I want you to understand it’s not just foretelling the future its telling forth the Word of God.
And so in that sense, we’re all prophets here today. Okay. Second Corinthians 5 says that we’re all ministers of reconciliation. So we’re trying to get that message out to the world. And so that’s prophecy. Let’s hit serving, he talks about serving.
And I really like this one because and the word there is. And I know I joke with you about how if you don’t know how to say it just say it with confidence. Now, at this time, I actually looked online, and that’s okay to pronounce this word. And it’s diakanos, diakanos is the way you say Deacon, and that’s the root word here for service.
You know, Reggie Price serve as a Deacon for the Orlando Church. We probably need more Deacons in the Church and Deaconesses, but serving God calls on all of us to serve. Okay. I want you to hear that. When Jesus washed Disciples feet, he said I set you an example that you need to follow. It concerns me that we have too many who are on the sidelines.
You know, there are a lot of needs in the Church. Even in this setting where we’re not at full Force as a Church, there’s still lots of needs. You got the Phillips in the world that get it in early and set up all the sound and the bubbas setting up the sound. You got Marcus, Bless is heart, this man preaches the word for us. They lead the region, and he’s taking all the time and set up a camera to record services. And some of y’all caught me doing that recently.
And it’s because, you know, we wanted the service recorded, and I just didn’t have anybody. And what my point is that there are plenty of opportunities to serve. We need to not sit on the sidelines. We need to say, how can I serve? And I’ll help you to see a little more about that in a moment.
There are men like Richard Martin. I think Richard Martin has a gift of service. I mean, the thing you see him doing for Jerry Wagon. He also does for Novel Johnson, and he’ll do. I mean, Richard and Jess has a heart of a servant.
Don, these guys serve all the time. But serving is something God calls all of us to do. In one sense, you can almost say Jesus was a Deacon because what did he say? He said the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
I came to be a Deacon and to serve people. So serving is very important. Listen to this next one, teaching. We kind of hit on this one already a little bit. And the thing I want to point out to you about the teaching thing is all of us can teach.
All of us can teach. And what I mean on that, sometimes you say, okay, well, teaching is what you’re doing here, Eddie, before the whole Church. Its that that the formal presentation. Well, a lot of you will get to do that. You’ll have opportunities to come up front, and maybe you’ll do what Yves did, and you’ll welcome everybody to our service and teach in that sense.
Or maybe you’ll come up and do a Communion message, some of the most incredible times of teaching that we had in this Church, are those times when someone would come up here and they share their story. And so in a formal sense, yes, you can teach. But in an informal sense, you can also teach in conversations with people. You’re out and about. You’re at publix, you’re at Home Depot here, you’re picking up enough stuff.
All of a sudden you’re in a conversation. Guys, I constantly look for opportunities to just be friendly, talk to people. And I’ve had some great opportunities to teach in an informal setting as well. So we can all do that. We can all do this teaching.
Encouragement. Palotas and I looked that one up to par acolitos. That’s the way you say it. Say it with me… Okay, good. So good.
I love this one because it talks about the importance of encouragement. When we say encouragement, it’s not just going up to somebody and saying, oh, good job. Cheer up. It was a lot deeper than that when this word is used of Jesus its translated advocate.
In other words, just talking about someone who is a lawyer, an advocate, a helper and encourager a consoler, an intercessor, a mediator. And really the picture you have is someone who comes alongside someone else and really puts courage in that. You can do this. You can make it. Some people have this gift of encouragement. Oh, my goodness.
You hang out around it. And even if you were in a bad mood when you got to Church, you had a better mood after you see them because they encourage you so much. And who was the guy in Acts who was known as the son of encouragement? Barnabus, you guys are on it.
Yeah, Barnabus. Now, do you know, Barnabus real name, though. It was Joseph. His name was Joseph, but he was such an encouragement that they said, let’s call you encouragement. I mean, how cool is that?
I believe we have people like that into Orlando Church who are you’re just sons and daughters of encouragement. Let’s go on to hit giving. The context here. He says give generously. He’s not a preacher up front trying to make sure you make the budget. He just said, if this is your gift and guys, I have over the years I have been so encouraged, I’ll never forget this.
One time many years ago, I was serving on the count team. I was helping put the collection together and turn it over to the bank. And as I was picking up the check, I picked up the check and I had $29,000 on it. And the brother who wrote that check was in the room and he saw my mouth drop when I saw this $29,000. And the thing that I appreciated about it is that some of the most generous people in the world, you’ll never know it because they don’t do it to be seen.
In fact, they don’t want to be seen. But I’m going to take you to another place. What’s encouraged me even more lately? We have so many people in this Church who make it a not for $29,000 people, but they’re only looking for an opportunity to give. There’s a sister that I dearly love will remain nameless every now and then she’ll call and she says does somebody have a need? Because I’d like to give. Well, maybe we have a lot more folks like that. But guess what?
We’re all called to give, right? We are all called to give. We’re going to hit the last couple ones leadership. I think if you’re a leader in the Church is certainly a qualification of a pastor of a shepherd, that you must lead. And so you must have that gift of leadership.
I believe if we put someone in leadership that’s not gifted in that role, it not only hurts the Church, but it frustrates them. Now, that isn’t to say, I don’t want you to aspire to that. We’ll talk about that in a moment, but just understand that. Mercy we will finish with this one here. The Bible talks about mercy being is forbearance shown toward an enemy or forgiveness. He said if you show mercy show it cheerfully. And I started thinking okay, you have wronged me. You have hurt me. You deserve to be kick around, beaten around. You deserve to be thrown in prison.
And I’m just saying, I know you really, you know you did me wrong bro, but you know what though i love you. I’m gonna let it go.
It’s gonna be great. I mean, I’m excited. I’m happy he’s gonna do it cheerfully. And I think that’s the high bar we got to set.
Now, this is just one list. Like I said, the five of them here. But the point I want you to understand is that when the body comes together, where we have leaders in place that God intended, where we have each of us using our gifts and really lending what God has blessed us with to help others.
Then the Church functions the way the body is supposed to function. I don’t have the hand saying I’m not part of the body, and so leave me out of this. I mean, I understand this hand has a critical part, and it’s doing this part. And the brain has a part and the toes and whatever. God wants his entire body to come together in a powerful sense.
Now, for some people, you say, okay, well, I don’t know if I have a gift. I love the very first part in the ESV it says each one has received a special gift. So God just took it away from him. Don’t tell me you don’t have a gift. God has given each of us a special gift.
And you think, okay, well, how do I know what my gift is? What do I do? I think the key is to Bloom where you’re planted. Just start where you are, start with what you’re into, what you like. Start with the things you’re commended for. You can really begin to get an idea of how God wants you to serve in this life.
You say, okay, well, what if I want a different gift? Okay. Maybe you don’t want to be a servant. Maybe you wanna be up there like Marcus and Eddie. Teaching the masses or whatever. That may be God’s will for you, but here’s the thing.
The first part of Romans and Ephesians. It says by the grace given May I say to you don’t think more highly of yourself than you are. I remember having to come to grips with that in my Christian life. I have some things that I wanted to do that I thought, well, God’s will didn’t seem to be in the cards for me.
Just says don’t think yourself more highly than you should.In Ephesians it says, be completely humble and gentle. Humility. We need to be humble if we have the more showy gifts. But we also need to be humble if our gift is of a lesser variety, because the Bible teaches that they all came from God. I mean, nobody, I didn’t make myself who I am. It all came from God. And I have to learn to think in the right way and learn to Bloom where we’re planted like I was saying. And I remember my early days after I became a Christian of in Gainesville, freshman of the University of Florida, and I’m fired up, I’m loving life I am so thankfully be saved. And I just started sharing my faith.
And I remember that first year a couple guys got baptized and it was really good. And some of you remember those days. You remember how we had an SGP, the spiritual training program. Marcus has a program right now for training readers. But we also had CMP Per campus Ministry to training program.
And these were designed is you got to need an upper classroom. Hopefully, God put it on your heart to go on and lead a campus mission somewhere. And I saw all these guys in the Church, and I really respected and loved it. And they were being trained and they were going out to lead ministries in various places. It was so exciting.
And I remember thinking, well, gosh, I want to do something like that. But for whatever reason, that it didn’t seem to be in the cards for me. So that’s okay. I’m still going to serve God no matter what. So I’m going to serve.
And then later on, of course, I’m there at Church. This is after being a disciple for a number of years. And I’m still trying to figure out what God wants to do with me. And along comes this beautiful lady that I saw across the way in the auditorium there at crosswords. And I remember thinking, man, I want one just like that right there, right there.
And so, you know, I went over and I got to know her a little bit. And I can tell you about how she’s away a set of bars of perfume. And I can just tell me she was in the room because you know what I’m saying? okay, getting off the point here. Point is, eventually, I married that young lady, and we moved to Orlando, Florida, and lived in Winter Park churches on this side of the world.
There was no outreach to the other side of the world. No, no South Southwest region. And God put it on our hearts, he said, Well, look, we’re serving here, and I got involved in a ton, okay? I’m doing okay.
I got involved in a ton. We did. We got shoveled on the finance committee, stewardship committee, serving kingdom kids. We’ve got a bible talk, a house Church, I was on count team really, really active. But we looked out at the Church and we saw that there’s no outreach to the other side of town.
So we decided to move. We moved to the other side of town again. No South Southwest region. And we got there and we had a house Church. And we had folks from Orlando, people like Mary Walter who’s still part of the Church. And Lisa Dean who’s still a part of Church. They were part of that bible talk. But we had a young lady named Connie who drove in from Lakeland . And we had Bill and Gina Perkins who drove in from Lakeland.
And then we had … that drove in From Tampa. That’s how far people were coming. And over time, our little House church grew. And one point we had House church service with over 100 people in attendance. And then we got a phone call from John Porter and Phil Lamb and all these guys.
And I thought, oh, my goodness. I said, hey, what do we do? We’re going to be rebuked so bad. I mean, why are these guys calling us? And because they want us to go into the full time ministry, and that’s what we chose to do.
It was a no brainer. We wanted to serve God. Amen. My point in all of this is simply, just bloom where you’re planted. Just serve God where you are.
Use your talents, use your gifts and service to the Church. Some of you, please get off the sidelines. Reengage, look for ways that you can help us out when we come together. And I believe God will work in a powerful way. I’m sharing all this because I’m hoping I’m inspiring you a little bit.
The Bible talks about how we need to fan into flame the gifts that we have. We need to give them to God guys. We need to just decide what is my gift? God help me to use that to bring honor and praise and glory to you and as a get ready to take communion I just want to remind you that that is Jesus.
Jesus was a servant. He said, I didn’t come to be served, but to serve. And I love what it says in Phillipians 2 it says have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus set us the example of what I’ve been talking to you about today.