by Joe Alain

Growing the Church God's Way
Joe Alain
Ephesians 4:11-16

1. God provides spiritual leadership for His Church (4:11)
2. Spiritual leaders equip believers for works of service (4:12)
3. When the church is equipped and serving, positive church health and growth will occur (4:12b-16)

Opening: Stories of how people working together can accomplish more than when working independently.

Central Theme: In our passage of Scripture, Paul shows how the church with all its glorious diversity, functions in a healthy way.

Life Application: When you do what God wants you to do, the church is healthy and growing.

How does God grow his church?
1. God provides spiritual leadership for His Church (4:11).
Jesus has given ''grace'' to each believer (4:7). This is not ''saving grace,'' but ''serving (ministry) grace.'' This truth makes Paul think of the ascension of Jesus and he quotes Psalm 68:18 (4:8) which is a victory hymn describing the king's conquering return. However, instead of Christ receiving gifts, he is the one who gives gifts. Paul tells us in verses 9-10 that the one who ''ascended'' is the same one who ''descended,'' a reference to the incarnation of Jesus. And why did Jesus die, rise again, and ascend back to the Father, to the throne? ''In order to fill the whole universe'' (4:10).

William Barclay said, ''Jesus did not ascend up on high to leave the world; he ascended up on high to fill the world with his presence. The ascension does not mean that Christ deserted the world, but Christ filled the world.'' Jesus Himself said, ''It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you'' (Jn. 16:7).

Verse 11 of our text describes the various gifted people that serve to lead the church. These gifts are for the spiritual direction of the church, to lead the church in the right direction. The Apostles and Prophets provided the foundation for the church (cf. Eph. ...

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