By the Rev. J.B. Rowe
Scripture: Ephesians 4:7-13. Ephesians is addressed to believers. “But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
“Wherefore he said, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto man (Whatever you and I may be captive of, Jesus fought that sin/iniquity with his blood. They are not ours anymore. If you and I hold onto this, we are robbing Jesus of his property; give it up to him.).”
[“Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descends first into the lower parts of the earth (He went into hell)?”
“He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.]
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
These five ministries belong to/in the church of Jesus Christ. Some religious groups do not recognize the office of the apostle. “Apostle” means “one who is sent” — “all given for the salvation and perfecting of the saints (There is that word again; Jesus comes for a perfect church! Ephesians 5:27).”
The saints are to be involved in the work of/as a witness. When there is a lost person to visit or witness to, I have heard this said, “Let the pastor do that; that is what we pay him for.” The Bible says, “We all are sheep of his pasture.” The pastor is the shepherd of the flock. Shepherds do not get sheep! Sheep get sheep to build up the body of Christ, strengthen.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of fullness of Christ.” There surely is not unity among professed believers today.
We are to measure ourselves by the standard of Jesus Christ. In Galatians 5:22, the fruits of the spirit is a standard of Jesus Christ — read them and measure yourself. Nine things that portray the life of Jesus. The things that are lacking in our life we can add to our stature by faith, obedience and Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is given to us to help us to put on the “new man” and crucify the “old man.” Many people reject the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some have said, “I got all that God had for me when I was saved!”
Not according to scripture. I ask you a question: If there was/is nothing else that God/Jesus wanted us to love, why did Jesus and the Father send the Spirit on the day of Pentecost? The baptism with the Spirit is as valid as John 3:16.
Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me.”
In Luke 24:49 Jesus said, “Wait — tarry ye to Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The Holy Spirit gives us power to overcome the “old man” (sin nature) to resist temptation — to walk through the “straight gate and the narrow way.” You need him in the dark day. Jesus said in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast (the feast of tabernacles) Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (in most parts) shall flow rivers of living water.
[But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.]”
God knew a long time ago that man would reject the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues.
Isaiah 28:9-13: “Whom shall he (God) teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts (Babies live by milk from their mother’s breast).”
“For precept must be upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little (This is the way we learn knowledge and doctrines of God. There is no ‘shortcut.’)
“For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to the people.
“To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”
The same conditions prevail today. This is a prophecy for this very day and all those in the past.
“But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
God wants us to bless and for us to rest in him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
God wants to refresh you day by day by his Spirit. But if you will not believe in faith and obedience, you will be snared and taken captive by evil. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and teacher.
John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
You see, friends, the fivefold ministries of our scripture is for the express purpose of bringing his people to the understanding of the Son of God and his plan for building the kingdom. Where are you in this great plan? It is time to shed all the weights and sins that beset us and look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Be it done unto you and me! Amen.