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Description: The Saints’ Ordered Lives
The Saints’ Ordered Lives
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Will you take a Bible please and turn to Ephesians 4:11? “And his gifts,” [that is God’s gifts]
“were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.”
This statement is in regard to Jesus here on earth and the fact that he – his body is made up of all
of us who know him and love him. God has given to that body certain people for a purpose. What
we’re talking about today is that purpose, and you’ll see it in Verse 12 if you read on, “To equip
the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” It looks as if that’s
the way that verse is to be interpreted. God has given apostles, and prophets, and evangelist, and
pastors and teachers, first of all to equip the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry
so that the body of Christ can be built up.
Actually when you look at the Greek — maybe I can put it commercially for Pocket e-Sword. Pocket
e-Sword is probably the best little Bible program that you can get for the tablet. It’s produced
by a fellow called Rick Myers and it really is remarkable, and I think it is free. I think it is
free, or if it costs something, it costs very little, but it’s called Pocket e-Sword. Why it’s so
good is it gives you the Revised Version translation, or King James English and then alongside it
here I’m reading the Greek, and alongside that are Strong’s concordance words with their number.
And if I – that’s the Bible tab — if I hit this one, it’ll give the American Standard Version, the
King James Version, it’ll give parallel, it’ll give us – I have it here, with the Greek word as
well. So you get three versions right there on the page. Then if I go to the commentaries I get
three or four different commentaries, and three or four different dictionaries, and it’s all linked
together. So it is remarkably good, and that’s – it’s some of that that I’m going to quote in a
moment from Pocket e-Sword so I suggest that you look it up. Put it in the Google search and it’ll
give you the connection then you can download it yourself. So it’s very good.
Anyway that commentary points out that that’s not the way that the Greek is written in that verse.
In other words, you tend to read 4:12, “God gives these gifts, to equip the saints first of all for
the work of the ministry so that they can do the work of the ministry, so that the work of the
ministry can build up the body of Christ.” But in actual fact, the first to equip the saints is
preceded by a preposition called “pros”, and it means “in connection with.” And then the other ones
are preceded by prepositions “eis”, for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ. So
the Greek actually reads, “He gives evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the work of building
up the body of Christ, the work of the ministry in order to equip the saints.”
In other words the main purpose is to equip the saints, and that’s where this little program comes
in that I wanted to tell you about. The word for equipping is far from just equipping, it is a
verb, “katartismon” and that’s in English letters it’s “katartismon.” It actually means to
rearrange the furniture in the house. It actually means to put things in order, to put them back in
the order that they were originally in. And so here “Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible” commentary
says, “See the notes on 2 Corinthians 13:9.” It properly refers to the restoring of anything to its
place. Then putting in order, making complete, here it means that these various officers were
appointed in order that everything might be well arranged, or put into its proper place.”
Especially, of course, it says, “To put in order the “hagion”, and the “hagion” it would be
transliterated that way in English. Well the “hagion” are the holy ones, or the saints. In other
words, God gave apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers first of all to restore the saints to
what they were originally.
Each one of us was created in Jesus, and when God made Jesus, he made the perfect human being, and
he put all of us in our perfect places so that we all did perfectly, exactly what God intended.
Then he sent us, or sent Jesus with us inside him, or sent us inside Jesus to earth, and there we
all did our own thing, and we tore his body apart. God has given pastors, and teachers, and
evangelists, and apostles to restore us again to our place in his Son doing originally what he
intended us to do. That’s the first purpose. Secondly, then we engage in the work of the ministry
and thirdly, we build up the body of Christ.
But do you see what it does? It actually puts you and your conformity to Jesus first above
everything else. The purpose of our lives here is not simply to build up the body of Christ. It’s
not simply to do the work of the ministry. We’re here first and foremost to be restored to the
place we had in Jesus and to become what God intended us originally to be. And that’s the
importance of me allowing – let me put myself first so that you’d just apply it to yourselves, but
that’s the importance of me allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with the things in my life that are not
just what Jesus wants.
It’s why I am here to allow the Holy Spirit to make me fully and completely what God made me to be
in Christ, and to achieve and do the things that Jesus wanted to do through me on this earth.
That’s the whole purpose of it. Yes, Christian Corps is important. Yes, the body of Christ is
important. Yes, the Church is important. Yes, the website is important and the ministry is
important, but more important than all those is that they are all here to make you and me what we
were originally in Jesus, and what God intended us to be. That’s why – that’s why I think the hard
things that we all go through, both in the business and in our living together, that’s why those are
so important. Because that’s what God through the Holy Spirit is doing.
He’s “katartismon”, he’s joining us together, rearranging us into the order that he originally put
us in his Son. So when we talk about Jesus being fully formed in us we’re really talking about us
being fully formed in Jesus, us coming into exactly what he intended us to be, and that really is
the exciting part of it. Yes, it is important that I get on properly and lovingly with my wife.
Yes, it is important that I get on properly and lovingly with Joe, and with Greg, but most
importantly it is for me to be exactly what God intended me to be in his Son. That his Son would be
able to be fully what his Father wants him to be in me, and that everything is working towards that,
to rearranging the furniture in the house, to rearranging the saints so that they are operating
together as they were meant to operate.
It’s chaos. It’s chaos if I say, “Hand, lift the glasses,” and the hand lifts the tablet. It’s
hopeless if I say, “Mouth, speak God bless you,” and I say, “God curse you.” It’s hopeless. Unless
my body will do what the mind and the head wants it to do I can achieve nothing, and so it is with
our dear Father. The universe is vast, far bigger than we can even see with our telescopes. There
are masses of things to do, and to see, and to be, that we have never dreamed of, and that’s what
we’re going into after this life is over.
So, there all kinds of things that we will do that we don’t even understand at this moment but they
will depend on Jesus being able to say, “Do this,” and we do it. On Jesus being able to do this,
and we do it, on him being able to say to his right thumb, “Press on that reading light,” and we
press on the reading light, and that’s what all this life is about. God through the Holy Spirit,
bringing us into exactly what God intended us to be in his Son.
So, the whole business of selling and all the other things we do, it’s not the selling, and it’s not
the doing of those things, it’s what it’s doing to us in our hearts and our lives, and the
difference it’s making to the way we operate. So it is really a miracle and that’s the main
purpose. Then the building of the body of Christ follows from that, and the work of the ministry
follows from that, but the important thing is you and I allowing the Holy Spirit to rearrange us as
we were originally in Christ. That’s really what causes all the difficulty with each other.
That’s why we have problems with anybody in the world, because we are not exactly what God made us
in Jesus, because when we come into that then there comes harmony. That’s why when we come more
deeply into Jesus ourselves somehow things seem to go right. I don’t know if you’ve experienced it
a lot but I’ve experienced it boringly often, that when things are right with Jesus than life itself
seems to flow. The day seems to go easier, and human relationships fall into place. That’s why
God puts that first in this verse, “to rearrange.” So equip the saints, yeah, equip the saints,
alright it’s a translation in a sense, but it doesn’t begin to touch the depth of it. That God is
doing a deep work bringing us in to what we were originally in Christ and then into what we
originally were meant to be with each other.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus, we know that you have perfect peace, we know that you and your Father think exactly
alike. We know, Lord, that there must be wonderful harmony between you to operate the massive
universe. Lord, we know that things must be perfect in your understanding of each other.
We see, Lord Jesus that you keep all the blood in the world flowing, and you keep all the air and
all the breathing going, you keep every heart of the smallest creature pumping. Lord, we see that
there are millions of things that you, in your love, maintain second-by-second. So we know, Lord,
there must be perfect union between you and your dear Father.
We see, Lord Jesus that we are part of you, and so we come into that. We come into that perfect
union and we see, Lord, what clumsy things we are, and we see how often we’re filled with our own
thoughts, and our own ideas, and all our own bright little things. Then we see, Lord, your smooth,
harmonious peace and cooperation in Heaven, and we realize that you’ve made us for that.
So we thank you for the moments when we have sensed a deep peace within. We thank you, Lord, for
the experiences where we have found everything going just perfectly, and we see that that’s what you
have for us every second of our lives. So Lord, we do pray now that you will make end roads into
each of us this very day. That wherever there’s strain or stress in our lives you will put your
finger on the problem, or on the new move that we have to make, then give us grace to do that, and
to sink more deeply into you.
Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each
of us throughout this week. Amen.
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