Thursday, July 26, 2012

Touching Base! Part 174

Rigorous Faith in Turbulent Times, Part 13
Be A Wise Guy!– Ephesians 5:15-21

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Two thousand years ago in a port city, bolstered economically by tourism, Christ followers were finding it difficult to stay the course. From within, they were experiencing relational challenges. From without, the city of Ephesus was not exactly “Christian friendly”. The temple promoted worship that was contrary to the values and teachings of Christ. Being a port city made it vulnerable to every form of new thought or wayward lifestyle that came ashore. Rigorous faith was needed!

Life has not changed. To follow Christ today demands the effort of swimming against the tide of culture. I think Paul would say to us exactly what he said to the Ephesians, “Be VERY careful…!” (5:15) Even two thousand years later there is a need for each of us to Be A Wise Guy! Indeed, to be very careful how we live so that our faith in Christ does not get shipwrecked.

Text: Ephesians 5:15-21
What does it mean to live with wisdom in these days?

Before answering this question, think about what makes following Christ challenging for you. Where do you feel the most vulnerable? Where would you say the waters are choppy, where you need to be very careful that you don’t run aground?

Okay, back to our question.

1. Carpe diem (v.16)
This is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace meaning to “seize the day”.
Notice how Paul describes the days. Then note the action encouraged – “making the most of every opportunity,” This is an interesting statement. It means to buy back or take off the market.
To make the best of the opportunity for God’s purposes not evil. Take it back from the enemy! What I want you to note is that you cannot put life on auto-pilot but you must be active, intentional, calculated, planned, deliberate, fight the current of evil, walk upstream - make the most of every opportunity. The idea is of redeeming something that has been used for dark purposes and instead, using it for the glory of God.

Being a wise guy means not sitting back and saying "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” but seizing the day, the moment, the relationship, the CITY for God’s purposes.

Where personally do you need to “carpe diem”? Is there a relationship that you need to take back? Is there a personal issue in your life that you need to carpe diem? Possibly you have been indifferent to issues of your own soul that the enemy has used as his playground. It is time to carpe diem!

Corporately we can see how evil is destroying a sector of the city and so we “carpe diem”, and use our resources to steer people and situations in a more redemptive direction. Think of our partnership with Salvation Army that helps us touch kids’ lives with the gospel, and also enables us to be involved with alcohol recovery through the Bethel House ministry. In partnership, we are making the most of every opportunity because the days are indeed evil.

2. Pursue God’s Purposes (v.17)
Notice that this point is deeply connected to point number one. The action encouraged here is to not be foolish but understand the Lord’s will. Certainly being a wise guy is rooted in knowing God’s will for every situation in life. This verb form, “to understand”, means:
  • to give your mind to something
  • it implies an effort has to be made and that you are walking close with God
  • “try to grasp”
  • to bring together- like pieces of a puzzle

Do you have any situations in life where you need to know God’s will?
Here are some filters to use as you attempt to be a wise guy!

A.     Is this prompting truly from God?
         Does this square with who I know You (God) to be?
         Is it consistent with Your (God’s) character?
         Is it aligned with Your (God’s) attributes?
B.     Is it Scriptural?
C.     Is it Wise?
         i.e. the wise one seeks knowledge
D.     Is It In tune with your character?'
         - Education, wiring, expertise, experience
         - He may lead you in a 180 different way but....
           often his lead builds on past experiences.

E.     What do the people you most trust think about it? (note seeking the Lord’s will in
        Ephesians is in the context of community)
        - The godly counsel test will save you boat loads of heartache.

(From The Power of a Whisper, Bill Hybels)

3. Be aware of your P.O.V. (Point of vulnerability) (v.18-21)

As you read these verses what would you imagine to be the POV of many of Paul’s Gentile listeners? Not hard to figure out - alcoholism leads to debauchery. This is not a nice word but one that means destruction and excess. Your POV might not be alcohol but I am sure you could identify at least one issue that if you are not careful can be intoxicating, compromising your relationship with God.
People can become intoxicated on careers, materialism, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, pornography, self-adoration. These and many others can rival our relationship with God.

On Sunday I contrasted the effects of alcoholism vs. the effects of being filled with the Holy Spirit:

The brain - Chronic alcohol abuse actually causes the brain to shrink. As it is a depressant, alcohol can trigger episodes of depression, anxiety and lethargy.
Medical Morbidity: Alcohol can be a significant contributing factor to medical conditions such as hepatitis, hypertension, tuberculosis, pneumonia, pancreatitis, and cardiomyopathy. One half of all cases of cirrhosis in the US are due to alcohol abuse. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to an increase in the risk of most cancers.
Economic Costs:
The total cost (direct and indirect) to the US economy from alcohol abuse and dependence was estimated to be $185 billion for 1998. Annual costs include the cost of treatment, associated diseases, crime, maternal abuse and neglect, perinatal care, food stamps and other federal and state benefits, foster care, and loss of work time.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13)
God fills our hearts with his love through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8)
The Holy Spirit guides us in all truth (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit teaches us everything and reminds us of everything Jesus taught (John 14:17, 14:26)
The Holy Spirit establishes our unity with other believers (Ephesians 4:3)
Living by the Holy Spirit will produce fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
The Holy Spirit gives guidance in every part of our lives (Galatians 5:25)
The Holy Spirit controls us, controls our minds (Romans 8:6, 9)
The Holy Spirit helps us to pray (Romans 8:26)
The Holy Spirit gives us power to witness for Jesus (Acts 1:8)

In our text (v.19-21) Paul lists examples of the impact of the Holy Spirit that illustrates relational health with people and with God.

As we are aware of our POV’s we need to actively seek to be filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit. The actual Greek language gives us some clear instruction on what this looks like. V18
a. The imperative makes it clear that this is a command for all Christians. Don’t allow other vices to compromise this relationship.
b. The present tense rules out any once-for-all reception of the Spirit but points to a continuous replenishment (literally, "go on being filled"). Ask God to fill you every day. All Christians have the Holy Spirit - but there is a need to daily yield. “Filled” means getting at the issue of control, not an amount like a liquid. The Holy Spirit is a person not a fluid.
c. Finally, the verb is passive: "Let yourselves be filled with the Spirit." This is not a manufactured experience, though it can be rejected (cf. Gal 3:2, 5).
Be a wise guy! Carpe diem, knows God’s purposes, be aware of your P.O.V. and instead be filled with God the Holy Spirit.


If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Monday, July 23, 2012

Touching Base! Part 173

Rigorous Faith in Turbulent Times, Part 12
Living Together – Ephesians 5:1-14
Posting by Fred Grendel

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This Sunday our Big Idea was that “Walking the line is the only way to live”. I introduced my message with the song Walk the Line by Johnny Cash and yet contrasted the fact that Johnny Cash did not always “Walk the Line”. Do you always walk the line?

THE NUMBERS ARE FRIGHTENING (Source websites are listed at the end of this TB)

Sex sells right? And if it sells it’s okay, right? “After all who can really tell me how far is too far when it comes to sex?” WRONG. Here are the stats I shared on Sunday. Notice how only small children are exempt:

- According to a 2005 report on the state of the adult entertainment industry by Adult Video News, a trade journal on the adult-film industry, 55% of hotel movie rentals are porn movie rentals.

- In 2010, out of the million most popular (most trafficked) websites in the world, 42,337 were sex-related sites. That’s about 4% of sites.

- From July 2009 to July 2010, about 13% of Web searches were for erotic content.

- Sex DOES sell:
Adult Video             $500 million to $1.8 billion
Internet                    $1 billion
Pay-Per-View          $128 million
Magazines               $1 billion
Total                       $2.6 to $3.9 billion

- 10 percent of married people — 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women — say they have had sex outside their marriage.

- The age of first sexual experience is trending down:

Turned 15 in                       Age in 2002-03          Median Age at
                                                                                First Premarital Sex
   1954-63                                    55-64                            20.4
   1964-73                                    45-54                            18.6
   1974-83                                    35-44                            18.0
   1984-93                                    25-34                            17.3
   1994-2003                                15-24                            17.6

- Rates of sexually transmitted diseases have doubled among 50- to 90-year-olds in the past decade.


In the rest of this tool I will give some tools on how to combat sexual temptation and expose the darkness in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.

1. Avoid asking the question “how far is too far?” Is this question really pleasing to the Lord (v.10)? Ask instead, “God, is this pleasing to you? Is this magazine… night with the opposite sex… conversation… website… TV show.. pleasing to YOU?”

2. Do you struggle with sexual sin? Unfortunately many of us do (yes, believe me, even here at Bethel). Find an accountability partner of the same sex who is willing to keep you accountable. Ask them to keep you accountable on the root issues, not just on whether you acted on it. Of course, they need to pray for you and with you.

3. If you struggle with sexual sin, take each day as it comes (Matt 6:34). One day at a time. This is one of the principles of AA. Wake up each morning and commit your day to God. Do not worry about tomorrow.

4. Gauge your media content. Is it pleasing to the Lord? Websites, movies, TV shows, Facebook, Twitter... Remember we have a sexual appetite - trash in, trash out! If you are single (and/or dating) keep your appetite low or nil by controlling the media in your life (Jesus was single and this is what I believe he did). If you are married, keep to your diet within in your marriage.

5. The biggest killer of Christians is heart disease - guard your heart. After all, it is a precious gift from God. Watch your heart especially when you are tired, hungry and stressed. We become more vulnerable in these situations.

6. Is it time to confront a brother or sister about sexual sin? Take a look at Matthew 18:15-20. You can also read my TB 137 (available on the website) on how to lovingly confront someone.

7. Draw clear boundaries with non-family members of the opposite gender, who are of the same or a younger generation. I am not going to draw this out for you because you need to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (v.10).

8. “God loves you and as a wonderful plan for your life (Bill Bright).” “Satan hates you and has a horrible plan for your life (Tom White)”. If you give in to sexual temptation, it will destroy you! It is a wicked, powerful tool of Satan’s! Do not play around with this issue.

9. Know that you are loved (v.1). Know that you have your Bethel community. Satan will tempt you to believe you need to fight your battles alone - this is a lie! I would love to meet with young men who need help in this area. Young women and older women, we can find someone to meet and talk with you. If you need help, ask! This is nothing to be ashamed of.

10. For those of us who are married: keep the marriage bed pure (Heb 13:4) and enjoy sexual love with your spouse. Read the Song of Solomon. This is the problem with a sexually immoral culture - we can be tempted to believe all sex is evil. Sex is a pure gift from God for married couples. May God bless your marriage and your love life with your spouse.

Have a wonderful week and remember walking the line is the ONLY way to live.

Fred Grendel
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Sources (all accessible as of 19 Jul 12)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Touching Base! Part 172

Rigorous Faith in Turbulent Times, Part 11
Living Together – Ephesians 4:25-32
Guest posting by Lew Worrad

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

In some senses, Believers are a product of the environment in which they are reared. In North America, that translates into a strong focus on the individual. Our society has been described as “Narcissistic”, “Egoistic”, “Individualistic” and “Libertarian”. Even our theological terminology reflects our individualism. Salvation is “personal”. So is sanctification. And each believer is a priest [priesthood of the believer].

It is good, at some point, to remind ourselves that in the Letter to the Ephesians, Paul is writing to a church or maybe churches. This latter thought, churches, gives some explanation for the fact that there are no specific personal greetings in this letter. Paul is talking to churches. True, churches are made up of believers and so what Paul says has personal application. But, to view a church as a mere collective, a group of individuals is a mistake. The church is more than a collective, it is a community. As was noted last week, New Creations [believers] are part of a New Community. Their development is not merely personal, it is communal. In fact their personal development is very much affected by the communal input. Paul has emphasized this though of interrelatedness throughout the 4th chapter - what we do has an effect on others. What they do has an effect on us. It is not personal, it is mutual. This is what Bonhoeffer had in mind when he wrote Life Together (by the way, it too was written to a church exhibiting rigorous faith in the turbulent times of Nazi Germany).

The text, Eph. 4:25-32, gives us instruction as to how the New Creations and the New Community are to put on the Image of God or at least be conformed to His likeness. In this brief little text Paul makes four references to our relationship to others: vs. 25, 28, 29 and 32. In this text we will note 6 things that will make your church a better church and make you a better person in the process.

1] Authenticity [vs. 25-27] Put off falsehood. True, it implies speaking the truth. But it also implies ‘walking the talk’ – there’s no room for spiritual games-playing.

2] Appropriate Anger [vs. 26] Most believers are angry at the wrong things. There are things to be angry about. And, the church should be angry about those things. But, anger is a dangerous thing and needs to be monitored very closely. Rational Anger, Controlled Anger, watching out for the Devil!

3] Generosity [vs. 28] The church is a place for giving. Giving of every kind! As C. Truett Cathy says… time, talent, tithe and touch. That about covers it all!

4] Encouragement [vs. 29] It is the Devil who comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. It is the believer and the church who have the responsibility to repair the damage. Encouragement is a powerful tool.

5] Spiritual Sensitivity [vs. 30] In the clamour of the world in which we live, we need to be listening for the ‘still small voice of God’ and the voice of the Shepherd.

6] Forgiveness [vs. 32] There are all sorts of behaviours that come as a result of being wronged. They certainly are injurious to self and surely injurious to the community. But, in this whole text, the New Creation is becoming like the Creator. Christ, therefore, is the model. He forgave. He loved and He forgave.

One can only imagine how attractive a church bearing these characteristics would be. Or for that matter, how attractive a believer bearing these characteristics would be!
In response to Paul’s teaching in this text there are three questions we can ask:

1] As I look at my life through this grid of characteristics, where do I need to improve?

2] As I look at my church through this grid of characteristics, what can I do to help my church improve?

3] As I look at my relationship with other believers through this grid of characteristics, what can I do to help my fellow believers improve?

Lew Worrad
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Touching Base! Part 171

Rigorous Faith in Turbulent Times, Part 10
Are you experiencing some interference?– Ephesians 4:17-24

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Would you not agree that, in following Christ, there are some issues that we deal with that are just like flicking a switch? We can, by the power and grace of God, experience instant change. However, there are other issues that are like a dimmer switch, not instant but require a process, not quick but sluggish, not effortless but demanding. Such issues could be described as step-by-step, little-by-little, in-by-inch, day-by-day.
Got any dimmer switch issues?

Text: Ephesians 4:17-24
This past Sunday we talked about how we need to choose daily the life God has given us. The crisis of our salvation leads to the process of our sanctification. Note in our key verses (22-24) that Paul is admonishing the Christ-followers in Ephesus to “put off” and “put on”.
Put off - meaning to lay aside a garment. What kind of garment? Paul describes it here in v.23.
Put on - references the day-by-day choices we must make to realize all that Christ has done for us. Note how Paul describes this garment (v.24).

The question that I want to answer is, “what were they taught with regard to their former way of life?” Note Paul states very clearly in v.22 that “class” was in session and they were intentionally taught about this priority of putting off and putting on.
Here are three issues I believed they taught, and talked about, in that port city of Ephesus.

1. Choose new thinking (v.17)
Notice that this issue of thinking is the first thing Paul raises. Thinking characterizes the old garment but not just any kind of thinking, futile thinking, empty thinking, good-for-nothing kind of thinking! I call this “stinkin’ thinkin’” and apparently this kind of thinking was running interference with their new life. Thus Paul needs to insist that they no longer think this way.
We can connect some of the dots in this text and identify some of the stinkin’ thinkin’ that was justifying some of their actions. For example…
- V.25 - Perhaps the lie behind this was that honesty in relationships is not important, and my integrity is not as valuable as getting what I want.
- V.29 - Perhaps the lie behind this was that I can say what I want about people. My tongue is free to flap in the breeze.
- V.31 - Perhaps the lie behind this was that I can harbor my anger and get away with it and not hurt anyone.

Here are some further examples of stinkin’ thinkin’ that can run interference. These are some that people gave me.
- “My worth is rooted in my performance.”
- “What people think of me is more important than telling the truth.”
- “I can never deal with my stuff because people will think I am crazy.”
- “I can walk in my new self and flirt with the old self.”
- “I can stop whenever I want.”

What’s the result? You have Christians thinking in ways that are very contrary to the new “wardrobe” in which God has dressed us. These lies run interference with the new you!
What are examples in your own life of stinkin’ thinkin’?

2. Choose new boundaries (v.18-19)
Note the flow of this text. Thinking leads to behavior but is also rooted in an unhealthy heart. Check out some of the words Paul uses.

Hardness (v.18)- It means literally “the covering with a callous.” Hardening" (gr. porosis) describes a state of petrifaction. It is used medically to denote the callus formed when a bone has been fractured and reset. Such a callus is even harder than the bone itself. Hardness results in losing all sensitivity.

Sensuality (v.19) - relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite: Note that Paul illustrates this sensuality.
“every kind”, i.e. a life without limits
“continual lust for more.”, i.e. a life without satisfaction

Does this not describe so much of our culture?

A life without limits, and a life without satisfaction.

No doubt Ephesus was a tough place to follow Christ. It required rigorous faith!
Notice in this text how stinkin’ thinkin’ lead to rotten walkin’! I think that in the teaching (v.22) referred to by Paul, that they were challenged to draw new boundaries. New boundaries that were a reflection of new thinking that would result in new behavior, behavior that is consistent with the (v.21) “…truth that is in Jesus.”

I am pretty sure that when these Christ-followers read v.19 they must have thought of the temple of Artemis/Diana. As I talked about on Sunday this was one of the wonders of the world, built in Ephesus, adored by thousands and which promoted sexual engagement with the priestesses as one of the forms of worship. The temple may have been what Christ followers had to draw a boundary around. It may have not been a spiritually “safe” place to be.
What do you need to draw a boundary around?
Discuss the following diagram and talk about healthy boundaries that you have had to set so to encourage true righteousness and holiness v24.

- What would you add?
- Why can drawing boundaries be difficult?
- Who has helped you draw boundaries?
- What has God taught you about yourself in drawing boundaries?

3. Choose new community.

Put yourself in the shoes of the Gentiles receiving this letter. If they were not to live like the gentiles do and if they were not obligated to become Jewish, then what or who were they? They were a new self (v.24)…created to be like Christ Jesus.
Christians constitute a third race that is neither Jewish nor Gentile. And that third race makes up the church.
I have to think that when they were taught with regard to their former way of life to put off and put on, that it included choosing a new community. Get around others that are on a similar journey. If you read chapter 4 you will note that Paul is talking to the community. It is the community that is, together, putting off the old and putting on the new. It is in community that the church is growing into the fullness of Christ and into Christ who is the Head (last week’s message) Community was key to choosing new thinking and setting new boundaries. To read this with an individualistic western mindset is to miss the corporate aspect of all that Paul is saying. In fact one of the ways to improve on the picture above is with the following.

- Who knows what thinking you sometimes do battle with, what thought patterns you need to boundary? Is there a safe community where you can talk this out?
- Who knows you well enough to be able to hold you accountable on the boundaries you need to be setting? Who knows you well enough to offer grace and healing when a lapse occurs?
- Who might benefit from seeing this tool?
- How could you encourage them in their walk with Christ with this tool?


If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Touching Base! Part 170

Rigorous Faith in Turbulent Times, Part 9
Don’t Bore Me With Your Gift– Ephesians 4:7-16

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Churches that are not dynamic are not healthy. Agree? What I mean is that like all healthy organisms, growth and development are not only signs of health but necessary for health. While the truth is unchanging, the body “grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does it’s work.” Ephesians 4:16b

Text: Ephesians 4:7-16
This week we looked at how the church is constantly changing, growing and maturing, Succinctly said, the Church is dynamic! At least, that is what is suppose to be happening. We looked at why that change is systemic to the church and what that change looks like.

Why change?
The very simple answer is because Jesus has hard wired the church to be changing.
Read v7-11 and note what Jesus gave the church.
  1. Gifts v7- grace is interpreted as gifts. The lists of charismata in the NT (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:4–11, 28–30; cf. Eph. 4:7–12) are clearly incomplete. 1 You will note that Paul parallels Christ giving gifts with a triumphant king by summarizing Ps 68. This chapter describes a conqueror who had received tribute and plunder from the defeated (as in Ps 68:18), in which he then distributes most of these spoils to his soldiers. Many commentators believe that v9 and v10 refer to Christ earthly ministry and triumph on the cross which ultimately lead to his ascension. However you may interpret these challenging verses (8,9,10) the clear point is that Jesus is distributing gifts. He is the triumphant king! But note that it is not just gifts he distributes.
  2. Leadership v11. Paul lists 5 examples of leadership in the early NT church. Below are definitions of each role that you may find helpful.

(i) *APOSTLE (Gk. apostolos, lit. ‘one sent forth’, envoy, missionary, 1 Cor. 12:28f.; cf. Eph. 4:11). The title of ‘apostle’ was originally given to the Twelve (Mt. 10:2; Lk. 6:13; Acts 1:25f.), but was later claimed by Paul (Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 9:1f., etc.), and applied in a less restricted sense to Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14), Andronicus and Junias (or Junia) (Rom. 16:7), and possibly to Apollos (1 Cor. 4:6, 9), Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thes. 1:1; 2:6), and James the Lord’s brother (1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19). The special function of an apostle was, as its meaning suggests, to proclaim the gospel to the unbelieving world (Gal. 2:7–9).

(ii) *PROPHECY (Gk. prophēteia, Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10, 28f.; cf. Eph. 4:11). The chief function of the NT prophet was to convey divine revelations of temporary significance which proclaimed to the church what it had to know and do in special circumstances. His message was one of edification, exhortation (Gk. paraklēsiš) and consolation (1 Cor. 14:3; cf. Rom. 12:8), and included occasional authoritative declarations of God’s will in particular cases (Acts 13:1f.), and rare predictions of future events (Acts 11:28; 21:10f.). His ministry was primarily directed to the church (1 Cor. 14:4, 22). Some prophets were itinerant (Acts 11:27f.; 21:10), but there were probably several attached to every church (Acts 13:1), as at Corinth, and a few of them are named (Acts 11:28; 13:1; 15:32; 21:9f.).2

iii) Evangelists - "Evangelists" are not primarily Gospel compilers but missionaries who pioneer outreach in areas where the faith has not as yet been proclaimed.

iv) Pastors/teachers - Paul turns from itinerant to local ministry. "Pastors and teachers" are grouped together in such a way as to suggest that the two roles are regarded as complementary and often coordinated in the same person. Pastors (literally, "shepherds") probably included presbyters and bishops; they were entrusted with the nurture, protection, and supervision of the flock. Teachers are linked with prophets in Acts 13:1 and follow them in the list contained in 1 Corinthians 12:28.

So Jesus gave gifts and gifted leadership to the church. Note how dynamic this church is. Leaders are preparing people who each have at least one gift for works of service. This is an active, moving, dynamic picture of the church. The church is dynamic! Nobody is standing around wondering what to do.

The picture of the church is not of 12 hockey players on the ice playing while 20,000 sit in the stands but of everyone on the ice using their gifts, fulfilling a role, embracing a key part.

What kind of church did you grow up in? Was it an “It’s all about the team kind of church” or “it’s all about the pastor” kind of church?
What are the downsides of a pastor only centered kind of church?
What dysfunctional attitudes develop in this kind of church?

What does the change look like? V12-16
Let me highlight some of the words and phrases Paul uses to illustrate how dynamic Paul’s vision of the church is.

Prepare - V12 "To prepare" (pros ton katartismon) is "to put right." In surgery katartismos is applied to the setting of a broken bone. In the NT the verb katartizo is used for the mending of nets (Matt 4:21) and the restoration of the lapsed (Gal 6:1). What I find interesting about this word is that it brings another dimension of thought and insight to the ministry of preparation. It is at times not enough to help people just discover their gifts but also to bring them to a greater place of personal health, so that their gifts can operate from a context of wholeness.

Ever seen damage done in a church because a gifted person is operating out of brokenness?

The picture of a dynamic church is a picture of restorative ministry so people can fully function with the gift God has given.

Reach v13 - What a great picture of the church. The church is extending, stretching to move from where they are to where they need to and want to be. Note what the church is reaching for.

“Attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” v13

The expression “the fullness of Christ,” refers to the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is. These are to be imaged in the Church (1:23), and when these are in us we shall have reached our maturity and attained to the goal set before us.

We want all of the beauty of Christ to be seen in the church. Over the last 10 years one aspect of the beauty of Christ that the church has reached for is- social justice. Not a new idea but a major aspect of the character and ministry of Christ that the church at times has missed out on. Churches have really changed in this area. What other aspects of Christ’s character do you feel the church needs to reach out to attain?
The church is dynamic!

In your group or on your own you can finish what I don’t have space to continue. Check out other words and phrases that demonstrate that the church is dynamic in this text.

Some closing questions.
  1. Are you growing, changing, deepening, maturing, reaching? For what? What aspects of Christ’s character are you desiring to be more powerfully seen in your life?
  2. Are you aware of your gifts and are they contributing to the building up of the body? If so, how?
  3. Do your gifts operate from a place of health? In your journey, what personal brokenness has at times limited your gifts being used most affectively?

The Church is dynamic!


If interested in joining or starting a small group contact 

1 Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1130). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.