Devotionals

Ephesians 4:11

He Himself gave some to be … some evangelists… for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30

Those who are wise shall shine, like the brightness of the firmament. And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3


Last Sunday, following the study, a few discussed the role of evangelism in the life of a believer—particularly the believer who is perhaps reluctant to sense he/she has been given the gift of an evangelist. I trust what follows will add clarity to the blessing and delight we all have in sharing the gospel, regardless of our spiritual gifts.

Some people will think “Since God has gifted people as evangelists, only those with such a gift are expected to evangelize.” In light of Eph. 4:11, it is undeniable that some people are gifted as such. But we must read what follows– “for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The goal is to equip the believers so that the work is accomplished. The responsibility (privilege & delight too) that God has given the church is not fulfilled by one, or even a few people. Instead, all of us are to use our gifts and labor together.

Therefore, a believer does not have to have the gift of evangelism to evangelize. He or she can be equipped by someone with such a gift. Consider the scene of Matthew 4:19, seeing the fishermen Peter & Andrew casting a net, Jesus said to them “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This was the first teaching Jesus gave to His new disciples. Follow and fish! Concern for lost people should characterize a disciple of Christ.

That concern may be expressed in various ways. Some give financially so that the lost might be reached. Others promote an evangelistic outreach, others distributing tracts and literature. We need those who are devoted to prayer—speaking to God about men, and those who speak to men about God. The point is, followers of Jesus are to be involved in evangelism.

So we clearly see there is an invitation and an expectation from our Lord for us to participate in the delight of the gospel. It is a wise use of our life here and now, yet also extends into eternity. There is an eternal blessing with an expanded capacity or brightness in Heaven for those who choose such a wise investment into these matters of men’s souls.

Maranatha!

I Corinthians 12:1

Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.


As believers we are exhorted to not be ignorant about five topics specifically. Ironically it is often these very topics many of us are most uncertain of. We are not to be ignorant of Old Testament typology ( 1 Corinthians 10), the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4), Satan’s tactics (2 Corinthians 3), Israel’s future (Romans 11), and spiritual gifts. Each of us are given a spiritual gift(s) to use during our Christian life. Every believer, upon the moment of salvation, possesses such a gift.

Without a doubt, spiritual gifts are a serious matter. We exist to live for God and make our life one of not only praising, but also serving Him. Service is to be a core issue in the Christian life. It is critical for our part in the body of Christ. We have been gifted to serve, and service is a part of the believer’s joy.

How? There is joy in discovery and use of God’s gifts to us. The result is living out a purposeful life as God intends, using one’s gift to build-up the church body. This in contrast to living for ourselves… simply getting though the daily grind or living to fulfill a so-called bucket-list.

A spiritual gift is a God-given part of every believer and is used in every area of life–in the church, home, at work, spare time etc. … there is not a place or time where they are not valued. These gifts are how we are extensions of Jesus Christ in the presence of those around us, foremost in the church. Beware of ignoring them, or burying them in your life (see Matthew 25:14-30).

What are these gifts? They ‘re listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 4:11.

How does one discover their gift? First study and pray through the lists in the texts just mentioned. Give a realistic assessment of your desires, spiritual strengths and abilities. Consider that which seems to come more easily and with desire for you. Give weight to the invitations you are receiving for participation in the body. Ask! Yes, ask mature, wise believers who know you and are desirous to see you grow in your walk with God. Mature believers have an important role to hold up a figurative spiritual mirror to us, so that we can see our unique range of gifts more clearly.

Finally, be honest and humble. Well-known Bible teacher from decades ago, Dr. Harry Ironside used to speak of the many men who felt they had the gift of preaching, but were so frustrated that no one had the gift of listening! These are spiritual gifts, not natural talents, so we must have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us and give us insight & wisdom in these wonderful matters.

Maranatha!

Ephesians 4:3

…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3)


The world continually seeks unity, yet always it is elusive. Laws, treaties, conferences, summits, accords and agreements ultimately fail to bring unity or peace. It has been stated every treaty ratified ultimately with time has broken down. Isaiah wrote it truthfully when he stated, “There is no peace… for the wicked” (Isa.48:22).

Impossible as peace and unity have been, Paul tells us to endeavor or, as the Amplified version says,“be be eager and strive toward unity”. Notice it is not unity–period; nor is it even unity of the Body or Church. Rather, it is unity of the Spirit. Again, I stress it is unity of the Spirit. The Old Testament is loaded with picture types for us to learn from and apply (NT commentary of OT found in Rom.15:4; I Cor.10:11).

Consider such unity as illustrated in Exodus: The tabernacle consisted of 48 boards, built on 96 silver sockets. The silver had come from that given by each man’s half shekel of silver as their price of redemption. Interestingly, all men were required to pay the same redemption price.

This reminds us to consider I Peter 1:18-19 with great thanks!

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (NKJV)

There was likely a half-ton of silver contained in the sockets from which the boards were erected. In this wonderful picture, the tabernacle boards represent believers being formed into one Body.

The silver is a type of redemption; redemption being the very foundation of the church, which is also purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). The boards were held together, unified, by an unseen rod (Ex.36:33), which passed through the heart of each board.

An onlooker could see the outward unity of the unified boards but not the bar inside, which formed and sustained the unity. This unseen or invisible rod represents the invisible Christ living inside every believer–the one who unifies us. Paul writes in Colossians 1:27  “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Maranatha!