Measurements of Grace (Ephesians #19)

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Text: Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16

Paul has explained doctrinal unity and has begun to lay a practical approach to getting along with fellow believers.  Then in verse seven Paul says while there are seven points of unity, the gifts are not points of unity, they are diverse.  Notice the contrasting word ‘But’ at the beginning of verse seven.  Not everyone has the same job in the body of Christ.  God doesn’t waste anything, so grace is measured by the task at hand.

If you’re building a house, you’ll need wood.  But “wood” isn’t what I ask for.  The job at hand has specific requirements.  How much wood?  What kind of wood.  The job has specific needs, not generalities.  Spiritual work is the same way.  The task at hand has specific requirements.  Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Noah is a great example of WHAT grace is and HOW grace works.  Genesis 6:8 Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  What grace did Noah find?  Noah found blueprints to the ark that would survive the global flood (Genesis 6:14-16).

Measurements of Grace

  • According to the measure of the gift of Christ…
  • Grace is measured by the task at hand
    • Someone who works with teens is going to need different things from the Lord than someone who works in the nursing homes.
    • Even pastoring requires different things.
    • If I pastor 50 people and another pastors 500, we need different things from the Lord.  
    • Even in your own personal life, your needs will change.  And grace will be tailored to your need at the stage of life you’re in.
    • The question is what is God doing and what is your part in what God is doing?  And for your part, he provides sufficient grace for the work.
  • Grace specific to the infirmity.
    • Grace that is specific to the infirmity in the flesh.
    • 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a favorite verse that says my grace is sufficient for thee in answer to Paul’s prayer request.  You need to make note of the word sufficient.  It is not exceeding abundantly above all (3:20), but it is sufficient.
    • Grace came to Paul in the form of answered prayer.  The answer was no, but the explanation changed Paul’s perspective completely around.  Grace came in the form of seeing the situation from God’s perspective.
    • Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
  • Grace specific to the pain you’ve experienced.

Measured by the gift of Christ (vs 7)

  • According to the measure of the gift of Christ… when he ascended up on high… and gave gifts unto men… he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…
  • These men are described as gifts after Jesus Christ ascends into heaven and pours out his spirit.
  • The apostles were at Jerusalem.  They were gifts to the people – he gave some people apostles.  We Gentiles were given Paul the apostle and we learn our doctrine from Paul.  He is God’s gift to Gentiles.  Thirteen books in the New Testament that we get our baseline of doctrine from were written by Paul.
  • These prophets are also after the ascension.  Agabus is one of them.  In Acts 21:10-11 he’s given to Paul to warn him not to go back to Jerusalem.  
    • Paul’s love for his own people overrides God’s word to him and Paul says I am bound in spirit.  Meaning I’m not going to be persuaded otherwise.  And he ends up being bounced around courts, not bearing fruit, losing valuable time in the ministry until the Lord takes him in chains to Rome where he wanted him to go three years earlier.
    • Paul takes a gift God’s given him in the form of a prophet warning Paul.  And Paul does what many kids do with gifts, they don’t take care of them.  They ignore them.  Except when you ignore the grace of God it cost you something.
  • Evangelists like Philip in Acts 8.  He was led to the Ethiopian Secretary of Treasury in Acts 8 and guided him through the scripture to preach to him Jesus.  And the man got saved.
  • Pastors and teachers.

Measured by the fulness of the stature of Christ (vs 13)

  • Grace is measured by Christlikeness.  In this case it is measured by building the members of the body of Christ to be like Christ.
  • Positively:
    • Perfecting of the saints
    • Work of the ministry
    • Edifying of the body of Christ
  • Negatively:
    • No more carried about with every wind of doctrine
    • But speaking truth in love
    • May grow up into him in all things

Measured by every part (vs 16)

  • Grace to be fitly joined together
  • And when you are not joined together with the body, you will not “grow up into him in all things,” you are more susceptible to being “tossed to and fro,” you will miss what “every joint supplieth,” and you will be “carried about with every wind of doctrine.”
  • Grace is the joining together of believers.  The local church is God’s grace.  It’s the provision He’s made for believers.