Ephesians 4:11–13 (NKJV)
11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till 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;
Today is one of incredible significance for the life of our congregation. Not only is this our last Sunday in this temporary facility at the Red Lion, it is also our last Sunday worshiping in company with those who will be planting King’s Church in the valley. Later in the service we will have opportunity to commission those folks for that ministry. At this point, I want to remind all of us how to think about our call to ministry.
Paul reminds us in our text today that the risen Christ has given officers to the Church in order that all the saints might be equipped “for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” Thus, the officers do not do all the ministry but equip the saints to do it. Elders minister to the saints in word and prayer so that we all come “to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (4:13) lest we “be carried about by every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men” (4:14). And deacons minister to the saints in deed and service so that we all might learn to meet the physical needs of our brethren, “according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (4:16). Elders and deacons together work to equip the body for ministry.
So as some of us prepare to return to our church home and minister there and as others set out upon a new ministry in the valley, Paul reminds all of us that every part is to do its share. We are not to conceive of the ministry of the church as “their” task but as “our” task which we complete together. We all of us have a task to perform, a service to render, a word of encouragement to speak for the edifying of the body of Christ. The love of God that has been poured out in your heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to you, is training you to look outward to others that you might build up the body. He has done this that you might take up Christ’s call of discipleship. Christ Himself did not consider His own interests, but sacrificed His personal comforts for the salvation of His people. He calls us to do likewise.
So what of you? Are you looking for opportunities to serve and when you see them or hear of them, jumping at the opportunity? After all, how do we build up the body as a whole? We do so by ministering to some member of the body in particular. We cook a meal, clean a home, watch a child, lead in prayer, gather another for prayer, or even pray by ourselves at home; we read the Bible or a book with a brother, hold a brother accountable to pursue sexual purity, serve a neighbor together; we look for ways to serve specific saints so that the whole body may be built up in love. There is no 80/20 rule in the kingdom, where 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. No. We all labor together to fulfill the one another’s of Scripture.
In this vein, as we return to our building, the elders have asked the deacons to speak to all various households in the church to develop a list of folks to do setup and cleanup. Rather than remind us all of this need generally, we have asked them to speak to each household individually and develop a list of those willing to help once or twice a year. We would encourage you, unless you have some extenuating circumstance, to participate in this opportunity to serve; don’t do it because it’s an obligation; do it because it’s an opportunity to build up the body in love, to contribute to the effective working by which every part does its share.
So reminded that we are all called to the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, let us acknowledge that we often dwindle into self-centeredness and think only of what comforts us rather than what blesses the body. And as we confess our sin to the Lord, let us kneel as we are able.