Find Your Place, Do Your Part

The Church grows healthy and effective when you find you place and do your part within its mission.

I will break this passage down into several short statements that reveal our responsibility before God on behalf of His church — it’s mission and health.

A position to assume — See Ephesians 4:1.

Paul was a prisoner because of his testimony of Christ as Savior and Lord. He gave his life to making Christ known. See 2 Timothy 1:8. We, like Paul, choose to place our lives under Christ’s command. Christ’s love, grace, and mercy has captured our hearts. It is from that position, His prisoner by choice, that we can rightly serve Him, His mission, and His church.

A way to live and serve — See Ephesians 4:1.

The Greek word for “worthy” refers to a balance, as on scales. Believers are to live “in balance” with their calling. How they act should match what they believe. The calling Paul speaks about is your salvation. See 1 Peter 2:9. If you are saved by Christ, you are called. All of us are called to live our lives in a manner worthy of our salvation. We don’t just give Jesus our heart, we give him our very lives. Paul now goes on to describe what the life “worthy of our calling” looks like.

An attitude to adopt —See Ephesians 4:2-3.

These are not different attitudes we try to adopt. All of these are a product of our new attitude in Christ. See Ephesians 4:20-24. God’s work in our lives by the Spirit is always an attack on the ego (self) to bring it into submission by choice to God and then to repurpose and redirect its interests.
Humility — focuses on one’s thinking; it means “lowliness of mind” as opposed to arrogance or conceit. Christ expected his followers to be humble not only before God but toward one another. Humility means putting Christ first, others second, and self last. See Philippians 2:3-5.
Gentleness — Humility is an attitude, and gentleness is the action it produces. Gentle people do not attempt to grab for positions of importance or assert authority over others.
Patience — the ability to handle one another’s faults and failures and refusing to avenge wrongs.
Tolerant Love — Bearing with one another in love is the action side of patience. It emphasizes the willingness to forgive and involves empathizing with the other person.
Unity — True unity among believers follows naturally from the characteristics described in verse 2. Such unity is only possible when the Holy Spirit acts in believers’ lives—the Spirit starts and sustains oneness among believers. See Ephesians 4:4-6. Paul uses the picture of the Trinity (Spirit, Son, Father) to exemplify the unity within God that God desires within His church.

An individual gift to exercise — See Ephesians 4:7.

All of Paul’s passages dealing with spiritual gifts and the body of Christ stress the diversity of the church in the midst of its unity as one body. The church holds a unique blend of unity AND individuality. Every believer has a gift; no one has all the gifts. In this way, believers need one another in the church as they seek to accomplish the work of the kingdom.
Next, Paul lists some of these “gifts” or “graces” that were given the Church. The list given here is by no means complete (for other types of gifts see Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12).
See Ephesians 4:11-12. Christ gave leaders to the church for a very specific purpose — to equip Christ’s followers within that local community to exercise their individual gifts. One of the rallying cries of the Reformation was that every member of the Body of Christ is a minister. See 1 Peter 2:9; 4:10.
Do you know what the best spiritual gifts are? The best spiritual gifts are the ones you already have! But it’s more than just having gifts; we must find them and then use them! The ones you put to work in serving Christ’s mission.

A goal to achieve — See Ephesians 4:12-16.

The goal is that the body of Christ, His Church, may be built up, united in our faith, united in our understanding of Christ, maturing believers who are full of Christ and serving His mission in our individually assigned way.


Leave No Generation Out

All throughout Scripture, you see God’s desire that each generation would know Him, follow His principles, and serve His mission.

God’s covenant love and purposes are for each generation.

See Genesis 17:1–7.
God commands that older generations inform and influence the faith of the younger generations. See Deuteronomy 6:1–12.
There are personal and cultural consequences for failing to develop the faith of younger generations. See Judges 2:7–13.
Faith in God is meant to be embraced personally AND shared generationally. See Psalm 78:1–7.
The future of the church and the success of its mission is dependent on multi-generational discipleship. See Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 2:38–39; Ephesians 3:20–21.
The Bible reveals God’s desire for multi-generational faith development.
How many of you know someone between the ages of 18-35 who has dropped out of church? This is the generation — the Millennial generation — that we must not leave behind. But unless things change, we will continue to see them left out.

The ages 18-29 are the black hole of church attendance…missing in action from most congregations. — David Kinnaman, “You Lost Me”

More than two-thirds of young churchgoing adults in America drop out of church between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two! — Thom Rainer III, Sam S., Essential Church

The problem is not that this generation has been less churched than children and teens before them; the problem is that much spiritual energy fades away during a crucial decade of life—the twenties.
Millions of young adults leave active involvement in church as they exit their teen years. Some never return, while others live indefinitely at the margins of the faith community, attempting to define their own spirituality.
The dropout problem is, at its core, a faith-development problem…it’s a discipleship problem. The church is not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ faithfully in a rapidly changing culture. — David Kinnaman, “You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith,” 2011
How can we follow Jesus—and help young people faithfully follow Jesus—in a dramatically changing culture? Recognize that we have both individual responsibility and institutional opportunity.
To respond effectively to the spiritual needs of the next generation, established institutions and communities must understand them, and change in appropriate, biblical ways.