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Question: Please explain the gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-15.

Intro: In vv. 1-3 we see the unity of the Spirit, and the
disposition necessary for unity to be achieved and maintained. In
vv. 4-6 we see the unifying facts--the seven-fold basis of unity.
In vv. 7-16, the unifying gifts that God has given.

11) Apostles. Laid the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:19-20).
Laid only once, hence no successors. To witness (Acts 1:8,21-22;
2:32-33; 10:39-41). All truth revealed to them (Jno.16:13; Eph.
3:5). Credentials (2 Cor. 12:12). There were then, as today,
false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 2:2).
     Prophets. Inspired teachers (Acts 11:27-30; 13:1-3; 21:9-
10). Also laid foundation (Eph. 2:19-20). Received revelation
(Eph. 3:5).
     Evangelists. Function: to preach the Gospel. Examples:
Philip (Acts 21:8). Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5).

     Pastors. Shepherds, to feed the flock
     That these are the same as elders and bishops can be seen
from Acts 20:17 and 28.  Elders are limited in their oversight to
the flock "over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers..."
(Acts 20:28). The elders which Peter addressed are commanded to
feed or tend the flock of God "which is among you, taking the
oversight thereof..." (1 Pet. 5:2). Qualified elders have all
they can handle when they oversee the one flock as God ordained
(Heb. 13:17).
     Teachers. Instructors. Faithful and able (2 Tim. 2:2; Jas.

12) The Purpose: for the perfecting or the maturing and growth of
the saints, eis (unto) the work of mutual service, eis (unto) the
great end of building up the entire body. (Lk. 6:40; 1 Cor. 1:10;
Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 5:10).
     All Christians are called to the ministry (Green). To serve,
to bear fruit. (Acts 6:1; Rom. 12:7).
     Some obviously feel they can hire a preacher to do their
work. But the preacher's work is to equip the brethren to do
their work (Green).
     This passage gives emphasis to the fact that we are to help
each other grow!

13) "Till": the goal that we should constantly strive for.
     The unity of the faith is unity based upon God's word.
Growing as a Christian, and becoming more and more like Jesus.

14) Becoming unmovable.
     The church is not a perpetual playpen for spiritual babies.
Goal is maturity in Christ.
     Children can be convinced of about anything. They are
unstable. They like to be entertained and excited.
     The word "sleight" is translated from kubos from which we
derive "cube." It refers to the throwing of dice, and apparently
a reference is implied of using dishonesty in gambling (Green).
     They are described as "cunning" and "crafty." They don't
miss a trick. They are religious con-men. Saints cannot afford to
continue very long as novices. Paul could not give the
Corinthians the strong, spiritual nourishment they so desperately
needed because they were still babies and were not in a
sufficiently mature state to receive it (1 Cor. 3:1-3).
     These wolves are further described as "lying in wait to
     Mormons, JW's and others are not slack when it comes to
their efforts of proselyting disciples.

15) Truth is often spoken without love. Let's speak the truth,
but let us make certain that we don't make it unattractive with a
rotten attitude (4:1; 5:1,2 Green).

     Every day as we practice this exhortation we shall find
ourselves conformed more closely to His image.
16) If the body/church is to grow, the members will have to work
     Bound closely, even as the bones of our physical bodies are
fitly joined at the joints.
     Each part of the body works together with every other part
to make the body move and function.

If you have corrections, questions, comments or suggestions about these questions and answers, please contact Leon Mauldin directly at

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