Open up your Bible to the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, and study the word of God along with us......

1* ¶ I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2* ¶ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3* Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

This book of the Bible is addressed to believers in the church at Ephesus. They are told to walk or live in unity--in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and be bonded together by the peace of God. They are told to walk worthily or in a manner suiting their vocation. A vocation is a calling--an invitation, in this case, by God. The apostle Paul is saying that they are to work together in unity in the job that God has given them. What is the "vocation" to which they are called? What is the job that they are asked to do by God?

4* There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5* One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6* One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The admonition continues in these next verses. The call to unity. The church at Ephesus is encouraged to work in their calling--and to use as their example, God Himself. As there is One God in three Persons, (Father Son and Holy Spirit), so the church at Ephesus is encouraged to continue in their calling. To continue the work that the Lord has given them and to function as one. These words of unity, and the call to the bond of peace and the unity of God, preclude the fact that this is being addressed to more than one person. The apostle is not directing his message at the entire body of Christ, since he is comparing some group of people to the body...note verse four.....

4* There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

He is speaking to a group of people and saying that you need to function in your calling, just as there is one Holy Spirit, and as there is one Body of Christ.

7* But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Now we start to see the conditions and description of the calling that is alluded to in the first verses. The calling that is described is in the form of a gift. Again, to confirm that the letter is addressed to a group of people, we see that the words are used.... "unto every one of us". The apostle is saying that all of you have the same calling as I. When he states "unto every one of us"--he is clearly saying that "you and I" have the same thing. And what do we all share in common? We are all given grace. What is grace?

cariv charis {khar'-ece}; n f

------- grace 130, favour 6, thanks 4, thank 4, thank + 2192 3, pleasure 2, misc 7; 156

1) grace 1a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech 2) good will, loving-kindness, favour 2a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues 3) what is due to grace 3a) the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace 3b) the token or proof of grace, benefit 3b1) a gift of grace 3b2) benefit, bounty 4) thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

The Greek word translated as "grace" is the word "charis" It is used elsewhere in the Bible....

2Timothy 1:9* Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Titus 2:11* For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Ephesians 2:8* For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Grace is a gift. The greatest gift that has ever been given is when God the Father sent His only Son Jesus, to die upon the cross of Calvary for our sin. This is the greatest grace that has ever been bestowed on anyone. And we know that this gift of grace is available for free--

Romans 5:18* Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

The word "gift" in the Greek is charisma. So we see that grace (charis), is the root word for gift (charisma). They are two related words and have a very similar meaning. To "give a gift" is the Greek word "didomi".

Again, let us look carefully at this verse......

7* But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

We could say then that "....unto every one of us is given grace (a favorable gift) according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

It is very clear that the word of God is saying that every one of us have been given a gift. And this gift is "according to the measure of the gift of Christ." What is the measure of the gift of Christ? The gift of Christ is the degree to which Christ had the Holy Spirit. He was given the Holy Spirit without measure. Therefore, we see that this gift we have all been given is without measure. We certainly understand that the gift of Christ at the cross is a gift without measure. He died in our place and there is no way for us to ever be able to earn this gift or repay this gift. It truly is a gift without measure. We also clearly understand that this gift of grace is available for all people without prejudice.

Yet these verses go on to describe specific attributes of the gift of Christ, as they are applied to people in the church.

8* Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

This verse continues with the explanation of the gifts to which the church is called to. The gifts that have been given to every one of us. This is a verification from the Old Testament prophecy found in Psalms 68:18....

18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

The apostle Paul is showing that it was told in the scriptures that "someone" would ascend on high,.....and give gifts to men. The psalm adds that these gifts are even for the rebellious. What does this mean? Well we certainly understand that Jesus died for sinners--not for the righteous...

Lu 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

And we know that the gift (grace) of God through Jesus is for any and all people. All people who are willing to confess with their mouth and believe in their heart. ....9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9, KJV). If we are righteous by our own works--we are self-righteous--and the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross is in vain.

So this verse 8 of the book of Ephesians is again stressing the gifts that God has given us, they are in fact for the rebellious also, yet they are free for all people to claim for themselves and believe in. And from the previous verses we are told that we are all called to these gifts, they are for all of us, not just for a privileged few.

9* (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10* He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

The first thing to notice about these verses is that they are in parenthesis. Of course we know that words in parenthesis are actually to be skipped over when reading and they are put in parenthesis to let the reader know that he is to not let these words interfere with the train of though from the previous verses. The purpose of verses 9 and 10 are simple to verify that it is Jesus who is the One who has ascended and He is the giver of the gifts. The previous verse referred to Psalm 68:18 and the Psalm did not identify that it was Jesus who ascended. This verifies the prophecy of the Old testament and makes it clear that it is Jesus who is the gift giver. It is His grace that we receive and are called to. It was He who who first descended and then ascended and is the giver of gifts. Jesus is thus verified as the "he" who is the giver in the following verse number 11.....

11* And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

First we are told we are "all called" next we have learned that we are "all called to a gift". Jesus is verified as the gift giver...and now the gifts are described. Remember, that we began at verse 1 being exhorted to..."walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called," The word "vocation" is an invitation--

klesiv klesis {klay'-sis} n f

---- - calling 10, vocation 1; 11

1) a calling, calling to 2) a call, invitation 2a) to a feast 2b) of the divine invitation to embrace salvation of God We have been told that we all have a "vocation" or an invitation--to a calling.

Well what is a calling?

kalew kaleo {kal-eh'-o} v

----- call 125, bid 16, be so named 1, named + 3686 1, misc 3; 146

1) to call 1a) to call aloud, utter in a loud voice 1b) to invite 2) to call i.e. to name, by name 2a) to give a name to 2a1) to receive the name of, receive as a name 2a2) to give some name to one, call his name 2b) to be called i.e. to bear a name or title (among men) 2c) to salute one by name

A calling is also and invitation--a call to receive something, but it has the added meaning.....

2) to call i.e. to name, by name 2a) to give a name to 2a1) to receive the name of, receive as a name 2a2) to give some name to one, call his name 2b) to be called i.e. to bear a name or title (among men)

So the Bible is saying that we all have been invited to receive a name or a title. We are all called to bear a name among men. Verses 2-10 explain thoroughly that this name is a gift from Jesus. It is a grace from Him--it is a gift from Him, to us.

Ephesians 1:18* The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

This calling or name we all should bear is referred to in other areas of the Bible..

Romans 11:29* For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

We are told not to repent from our gifts and our calling......

1Corinthians 7:20* Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Again we see that every man has been called and we are to abide, or live within that calling or invitation of God.

There is a reward or a prize for staying within our calling.....

Philippians 3:14* I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We see next that our calling is holy, not by our own works, but given us by the grace of God--and this grace gift was given us by Jesus....

2Timothy1:9* Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

If we follow after and are diligent with our calling--we shall never fail....

2Peter 1:10* Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

The calling that is on all people is heavenly, and again from Jesus--who is in this case called a High Priest and an Apostle....

Hebrews 3:1* Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

We all have been invited to receive a name or a title. We are all called to bear a name among men. And the names that we are to bear among men are listed in Ephesians 4:11--

11* And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

These are five ministry gifts that God has given to us all. It is clearly stated that they are given ..."unto every one of us" and given...."according to the measure of the (limitless) gift of Christ." The "He" who gave these gifts is verified as Jesus, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 68:18.

The word translated as "some"

The qualifying word "some" is written four times in this verse. Now, let us assume that this is absolutely the correct translation. Since we have previously seen that gifts are given to all men--and are to be used in "unity" (as we have seen in verses 3-6 and shall see again in verse 13), it is logical to make the assumption that if there are "some" of each--if we were to add all four "somes" together we would have a "whole" that included everyone.

However, when we look at the Greek word that has been translated as "some" we find that it is the word "men"--which should be familiar as it is the root word for "amen"...

men men {men}

a primary particle;; particle

----indeed 22, verily 14, truly 12, not tr 142, misc 3; 193

1) truly, certainly, surely, indeed

The word that has been translated as "some" has the meaning ..."truly, certainly, surely, indeed". We could therefore logically rephrase this scripture in the following way...

11* And he gave truly, apostles; and certainly, prophets; and surely, evangelists; and indeed, pastors and teachers;

The word that has been translated as "some" is not the quantitative limit to these ministries that we might think. There is another Greek word that is much more often translated as the English word some...

5100 tiv tis {tis}

an enclitic indefinite pronoun;; pron

--- certain 104, some 73, any man 55, any 37, one 34, man 34, anything 24, a 9, certain man 7, something 6, somewhat 6, ought 5, some man 4, certain thing 2, nothing + 3756 2, divers 2, he 2, thing 1, another 2, not tr 17, misc 22; 448

1) a certain, a certain one 2) some, some time, a while

This Greek word means "a certain amount"--but this is not the word that was used when the book of Ephesians was written in the Greek. In fact, the Greek word "men" has a very different meaning than the word "some" as we can see. It is a verifying word, it is a word of confirmation--"amen", not a quantifying or limiting word like the word "some". In fact, in most other areas the Greek word "men" appears, it has been translated as "indeed"..

Acts 11:16* Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed ("men" ) baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

There is a similar area of scripture to these verses in Ephesian 4. They are in 1Corinthians 12....

27* ¶ Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28* And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29* Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31* But covet earnestly the best gifts:......

Again in verse 28 we see the word "some" and again it has been translated from the Greek word "men" And once again we see the very same admonitions. The gifts are listed, it is verified that they have been put there by God, for the use of the entire body of Christ. But once again, the word "some" more truly means surely, or indeed or certainly. Again, even if the word "some" is correctly translated, this does not preclude the idea that within the body of Christ, we are all given these gifts, and there are only some of each. In these verses in 1Corinthians, we see that not everyone has all the gifts---yet everyone has a gift!

Many have taught that these ministry gifts are in relation to the body of Christ as a whole. This of course is true and the gifts of God have always worked throughout the body of Christ around the world--Yet, how is it possible for them to be in "unity" if they are not worked by separate people in the same place at the same time? Is not this the unity that the Lord is speaking of in these verses? There is absolutely no mention of a title called a "pastor" in the Bible which usurps all the offices of ministry and is performed by one man. Yet, is this not the definition of "pastor" that we have settled for? We respectfully would like to challenge both pastors and congregations with this question. Should we carry out the ministry gifts as the Bible states and defines them, or shall we stay with the tradition that has been handed down to us? Is this kind of hierarchal tradition the exact type of system that many of us have come out of in other older "established" denominations? Is the type of "pastoral system" that we use in most of our churches obedient to the highest will of God as he has stated in the Bible? Does this system create an environment in which all can fully work in and claim their own ministry gifts? The gifts that were given..."unto every one of us" ? And are we allowed and encouraged to minister and work in unity?

12* For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

What does the Bible say is the function of these specific ministry gifts? It seems as if three things are listed in this verse, but if we look at the Greek text we find that this verse could be just as easily translated in this way...

"for the equipping of the saints towards the business of the ministry in order to build up the body of Christ"

There are four words in this verse that we have redefined according to their Greek meaning---

1. perfecting-- katartismov katartismos {kat-ar-tis-mos'}

from 2675; TDNT - 1:475,80; n m

----- perfecting 1; 1

1) complete furnishing, equipping

2. work--- ergon ergon {er'-gon} n n

----work 152, deed 22, doing 1, labour 1; 176

1) business, employment, that which any one is occupied 1a) that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking 2) any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind 3) an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

3. edifying-- oikodome oikodome {oy-kod-om-ay'} n f

---- edifying 7, building 6, edification 4, wherewith (one) may edify 1; 18

1) (the act of) building, building up 2) metaph. edifying, edification 2a) the act of one who promotes another's growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness 3) a building (i.e. the thing built, edifice)

4. towards-- eiv eis {ice} prep

-----into 573, to 281, unto 207, for 140, in 138, on 58, toward 29, against 26, misc 322; 1774

1) into, unto, to, towards, for, among

"for the equipping (perfecting) of the saints towards (for) the business (work) of the ministry in order to build up (edify) the Body of Christ"

Verses 11 and 12 are really one thought, and when viewed this way we see that they make perfect sense with the rest of the chapter. What is the reason that Christ the gift giver gave the 5 ministry gifts unto all men?--They were given to equip the saints to perform the business of ministry--and the business of ministry is to build up the body of Christ--that is to add new members to the church! These gifts are Gods system for bringing in new members to the body, and guiding them and teaching them once they have come in. Notice that once again, these gifts are for "the saints"--which is every born-again believer. Every person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They are not limited to just "some" as it might first seem--otherwise the Bible would be in disagreement with itself!

13* 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 the fullness of Christ:

Next the apostle Paul has added a further admonition and hope. He states that when we use these gifts in unity, and are all fully knowledgeable about who we are in Christ, we will have attained the fullness of Christ.

question: Do you truly believe that we have attained this level of Christianity? Perhaps more importantly, do we as a body attain to these high goals of unity?

The only example we have of this is the day of Pentecost. In that day, all were gathered together in one accord, all received the Spirit, all spoke in other tongues, and all went out in the streets and ministered in the Spirit to everyone. The result was that 3,000 were saved in a day. The result of their obedience is Christianity today as we know it. All Christian denominations must honestly trace their roots to this day in Jerusalem. Those people at that time conformed to the high goals of unity that God has asked for--do we do this today in our churches? Or are we still children?--

14* That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

According to the Bible we will remain "children" as long as we do not fully attain to the unity of the ministry gifts of Christ. We will be easily swayed by "every wind of doctrine" as taught by individual men. Is it not true that an entire church can be brought down if people blindly follow one leader. If we are Christians, we have one leader, that is Christ Himself. We worship and know a living Savior who is the Head of the Body. People have an innate desire to have a leader. We know that this need can only be filled by Jesus. We attain to this as individuals, yet do we attain to this high goal, of the true pure leadership of Christ through the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit, as a group, in our churches? Or have we accepted a far less effective system in the pastoral system of government? The system which is described here in the Bible would lead to apostleship, and would allow Christ to truly be the Head of the church........

15* But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16* From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Finally we see the promise, that when these gifts are fully activated and used, the Body of Christ will finally be working effectively. This is the goal of God. Is it the goal of your church? Do we all work together in a unity of the ministries of Christ? Are all the gifts of Christ present in your church, and are all the gifts that have been given recognized and given their proper authority? Are all the ministry gifts used together in love and unity in order......

For the equipping of the saints towards the business of the ministry in order to build up the Body of Christ"

Is your local body building itself up in love, by the plan of God?