Please find my teaching notes below to Pt. 4 of “Chosen to Belong”- The Book of Ephesians. For personal use only. (c) 2014, Terry Broadwater.
When you hear the word “Ministry” what do you think of? For those with a “special calling.” For those with “specific giftedness.” For those with a “full time church role.” Church I grew up in…. Ministry for a few elite, never good enough… School teacher- youth ministry!!!
Fact is: IF you are a FOLLOWER of Jesus, you’ve been called into the MINISTRY! To MINISTER CHRIST!
KEY: Paul is relating to “Gentiles”- who would have felt they weren’t “chosen” like the Jews. But he wants them to know, and us, that we are all “the people of God” and as such, we’re chosen for ministry!
Eph. 4:12-13 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
Every person who has chosen Christ IS the multiplied, manifested ministry of Jesus in the world!
Define “the Ministry”- Service to God and to others in Jesus’ name! Serving God by serving people! Think of all the ways you can serve others in Jesus’ name?? Think specifically about how you can serve others in Jesus’ name out of your giftedness and passion?? “Ministry” is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning “to serve” or douleuo, meaning “to serve as a slave.” Jesus provided the pattern for Christian ministry- He came, not to “be served, but to serve!”
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We can say, “If you serve others in some capacity in Jesus’ name- meaning you feel compelled to, feel a compassion in it, it’s the “Christian” thing to do, then you are doing ministry!” So, in the Church, we’re here to serve, not to be served; like Christ to unselfishly give ourselves to raise the level of life for others!
4 KEYS TO BEING “ONE WHO SERVES”- MINISTRY:
BE EQUIPPED (4:12) “… Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work…”
Who’s “responsibility?” Those who function in leadership roles of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. Meaning: Church Leadership foremost must EQUIP the church to facilitate the ministry of Jesus!
What is “Jesus’ work-ministry?” We know Jesus said things like, “He came to seek and save the lost.” “He came to destroy the work of the devil.” “He came to serve… and give his life as a ransom for many.” We know Jesus commissioned his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
KEY: You are chosen to belong and called to that “work!” We minister to others as a primary means of encouraging them to be reconciled to God!
John 6:27-29 “…Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” 28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” 29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
KEY: The purpose of all ministry/service is to help people “believe in Jesus!” Believe he is the “way, the truth, and the life!”
What does it mean to be “fitted and fully prepared” (Equipped) for ministry? The Greek word is “KATARTISMOS,” used for “mending a net” or “splinting a broken arm” so it can fully function properly!” Being “equipped” IS NOT giving people tools! It is creating an environment where people’s lives can be mended, splinted, restored to full function- where every part is functioning and flowing together.
BE EDIFIED (4:12) “… and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
Paul specifically says that when we each “do our part in doing the work of Jesus” it results in “building up the church!” This speaks to both physical and spiritual growth!
Why is “building up others” the real work of ministry? Because that is the truest sense of serving others- lifting other people’s lives to a new level! Think about how powerful it is when we “build each other up!” Actually building up others, you build up yourself!!
Instead of asking, what can get, we ask: what can I give? That changes everything! Phil. 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Ministry is simply about serving the needs/interests of others again, as a means of helping them to believe more in God; be reconciled more and more to God! Our “work” is to “build up the church!” Practical application of this can be simply inviting others to our Easter Weekend services!
BE EDUCATED (4:13) “… This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”
How do you “measure the effectiveness” of ministry? PEOPLE ARE BEING RECONCILED TO GOD AND BECOMING MORE LIKE CHRIST!
“Knowledge of God’s Son” implies INTIMACY not simply INFORMATION! This means we are growing in our relationship with Christ. We are representing more and more of who he is. We are responding more and more to his heart. We are reaching out more and more to minister to others!
Paul says, “this is maturity- measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” That STANDARD is “WHO Jesus is and WHAT Jesus does!” It’s not a reflection of the information I’m gaining, but the intimacy Im growing in!”
WE MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MINISTRY IN TERMS OF CHRIST-LIKE MATURITY!
BE ESTABLISHED (4:14) “… Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.”
Again, the “work of the ministry- why we serve, regardless of what that service is… is to help others to BELIEVE MORE IN CHIRST and BECOME MORE LIKE CHRIST! And this is not merely so everyone can go to heaven. This is so everyone will be able to withstand the “winds of doubt and deception” that would keep us from the best life possible now and the eternal life to come in Christ!
When is it most necessary to have a solid “foundation” in the ministry? ALWAYS- because never is there a time when we’re not being faced with adversity, attacks on our faith, “winds of doubt and deception!”
SERVING OTHERS- MINISTRY SHOULD BE ABOUT STRENGTHENING OUR’S AND OTHER PEOPLE’S FAITH!
“Terry, you mean greeting people at the door will strengthen mine and other people’s faith??” “You mean working in the nursery, volunteering to cook a meal, painting a classroom… will strengthen mine and other people’s faith- make us all more like Jesus, make us all more mature in Christ??” YES!! And here’s why!!
Heb. 6:10-12 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
You are chosen to belong in ministry! What is the “work of the Lord” for your life?
Jesus said, “I came to serve…. to give my life as a ransom for many…”
Your response: Luke 9:23-24 23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.