Sermon Notes: KDSChurch

Church 2022

KDSChurch

The gospel of the kingdom makes disciples who hear and obey. These disciples work and function everywhere all the time in all domains of society. From here, Jesus is building his church, and this church is made up of these disciples everywhere all the time. 

The church does not have a domain. The church is designed, as the people of God, to be on mission in every domain of society everywhere all the time. 

The church is who Jesus says he is building In Matthew 16, “I will build my church…”

NOTE: The church is the context of the entire New Testament. There is no single book, chapter, or verse that defines and fully describes the church. The church is simply the context of the entire New Testament, so we have to glean about the church from every page. 

Since this is the case, we need a good working definition of the church that works for the universal church (all Christians everywhere all the time) and the manifestation of the universal church at the local level, which we call the local church. 

Let’s see if we can scrape together a good definition that summarizes what the whole New Testament says about the church. 

A Definition of the Church:

“A church is a group of Christians who assemble as an earthly embassy of Christ’s heavenly kingdom to proclaim the good news and commands of Christ the King; to affirm one another as his citizens through the ordinances (Lord’s Supper and Baptism); and to display God’s own holiness and love through a unified and diverse people in all the world, following the teaching and example of elders.” – Jonathan Leeman and Collin Hansen, Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential, p. 124.

If this is what Jesus is building, how might the church work itself out in daily life? Is there a place we can look for a glimpse of the multi-faceted wisdom of God displayed in the church Jesus is building? 

There is a most unique Scripture that does this I’ve been wanting to preach for a while, and have only referenced it as a point here and there. I’m going to work through it a little today to help us see what Jesus is constructing in the local church. 

Ephesians 4:11-16

Chapter 4 marks a shift in Paul’s writing, and this is typically what he does. He spends the first part laying out theological foundations that are necessary, then he spends the rest of the time putting that theology into practice. He gets his theology down in the dirt!

This shift can be expressed in many ways: from doctrine to duty; from creed to conduct; from the Christian’s wealth to his walk; from exposition to exhortation; from the indicative to the imperative; from high society to a high life. Because of the amazing theological realities of chapters 1 through 3, Paul urges the Ephesians (and us) “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” – R. Kent Hughes, Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 120–121.

Let’s look at some of the wisdom of God put on display in how Jesus is building his church.

  1. Christians have been given grace according to Jesus’ created and Missional intent. 4:7
    1. Grace is often used to speak about “second chances” or “mediated consequences”, and this is simply not how the Bible uses the word “grace”.
    2. Grace is the gift of the power of God toward his people and for his people.
  2. Jesus has taken his church to himself and has given them grace as gifts. 4:8
    1. The grace given here is the power of Jesus manifested in gifts.
    2. Psalm 68:18
      1. This Psalm depicts God coming as the conquering and good and holy king he is while receiving praise and gifts from the people.
    3. Paul interprets this Psalm through the lens of the gospel as depicting Jesus receiving the inheritance of his creation and his people as the King and rather than receiving gifts, he gives gifts to the people he takes to himself.
  3. Jesus has atoned for sin and has now ascended into heaven and fills the heavenly places with his authority and reign. 4:9-10
    1. The Ephesians were a people slightly fearful of spiritual powers in the heavenly realms.
    2. Paul takes great effort for them to know that the evil powers that dwell there no longer have dominion.
      1. Rather, Jesus himself fills the heavenly places and rules for his people, and there is nothing to fear.
  4. Now that Jesus fills the heavenly places, he has distributed the gift of himself to his church. 4:11
    1. There are two things going on here.
      1. Since Jesus fills the heavenly places, they / we no longer fear the supernatural and spiritual forces at work. In fact, Jesus will cause this to work for us and our good.
      2. Since Jesus fills the heavenly places, from there he dispenses supernatural power from that realm for us in the gifts of himself he distributes to his church.
    2. Because these are not Holy Spirit gifts, but rather gifts of the Lord Jesus himself to all humanity as the image of God, at his ascension these gifts are specifically and redemptively animated and applied in salvation by Holy Spirit presence in Christians, through the church, for the church, and redemption for the world.
    3. Jesus is the apostle – He is the Sent One.
    4. Jesus is the prophet – He speaks God’s word rightly.
    5. Jesus is the evangelist – He preaches the gospel of the kingdom inviting people to faith in himself.
    6. Jesus is the Shepherd – He is the Chief Shepherd.
    7. Jesus is the Teacher – He is the master teacher, and he does so with authority.
      1. These gifts are not “leadership” gifts. These are gifts given to the whole church, and Paul makes that clear in the following verses.
  5. These gifts are given for application. What are these applications?
    1. To equip the saints for the work of ministry, which is to build up the body of Christ. 4:12
      1. Every saint, using these gifts, as the ministry to build up the church.
      2. Equipping saints is the whole gifted church’s job.
      3. This ensures the church is teaching each other 24/7 not just on Sundays when an elder preaches.
      4. Sunday equips, and the whole gifted church is to continue the equipping the rest of the week.
      5. What is the goal of our equipping? 4:13
        1. Reach unity in the faith.
          1. The unity Paul has in mind is unity among different ethnicities so that we are not segregated fellowships (Ephesians 2:11-22).
        2. Grow into the maturity of being like Jesus.
          1. We become who or what we admire.
          2. When we gain the knowledge of God in Jesus and worship him, we will begin to nS grow into being like him.
  6. What is the result of the equipping that is done by the whole gifted church? 4:14-16
    1. We are no longer tossed around by cleverly devised human-centered and spiritual-sounding teachings.
    2. We learn to speak God’s truth with a commitment to the good of who we are speaking, and in this way, we grow up into Christ who is the head of the body of Christ, the church.
    3. As we grow up into Christ, we learn that we only grow as we are fitted together from him resulting in the proper working of every individual part.
      1. If we are truly in Christ, we will grow up into Christ and from him, each part will be present, do their part which is proper, and the whole body will grow into maturity.

Application

  1. Believe that Jesus is building his church everywhere all the time. 
    1. Believing this is an act of faith to fill our minds and souls with the hope that Jesus is really the Lead Shepherd and he is supernaturally building his church. 
      1. Mark 4:26-29: 26 “The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. 28 The soil produces a crop by itself ​— ​first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. 29 As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
  2. Believe that everyone in this room who is a Christian is gifted to minister and help everyone in the covenant fellowship grow up into Jesus and reach out to our city and world. 
  3. Discover how Jesus has gifted you with his ascension gifts. 
    1. How? Life together. 
    2. Gifts are not truly discovered or activated on standardized tests. 
      1. In the Bible, gifts are manifested as the covenant fellowship is on mission together. 
      2. These gifts are not titles to be worn. 
      3. These gifts are grace from Jesus for us to be an outpost of the Kingdom of God on mission.
    3. What exactly are these gifts?
    4. Apostles, sent ones, are burdened by forward movement and the creation of means to move forward to work and frontiers undone. 
    5. Prophets have a fire in their bones for speaking God’s word. 
    6. Evangelists are the includers of the outsiders who are constantly inviting outsiders to come in. Evangelists also discern who looks like an insider but is not. 
    7. Shepherds are always concerned about how people are doing in every way and taking care of needs. 
    8. Teachers are like to hang out in the theological weeds of explaining the nuances of why and how and who and when. 
  4. Do whichever of these or whichever combination of these Jesus has graced you with inside the fellowship and in the world. 
    1. Don’t fight against Jesus’ empowering gift. 
      1. Work with Jesus for the holy refinement of the use of his grace to you. 
    2. Don’t envy what grace Jesus has given others. 
      1. Do with joy what Jesus has graced you with. 
      2. Don’t wish to become a teacher when you are a shepherd. 
      3. Don’t wait on anyone else to do what you are gifted to do by Jesus supernaturally. AND, to operate in these gifts is supernatural.
        1. I think sometimes we are looking for Harry Potter magic and missing the blatant supernatural gifting of the ascended King of the universe, Jesus. 
    3. Listen to the counseling word of the Holy Spirit to help you apply what Jesus is making natural in you. 
    4. Listen to and with those you walk beside in covenant fellowship for affirmation and help in growth in Jesus’ grace gifts to you.
  5. Let’s worship the Lord Jesus together. This is proper.

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