In the last couple of these ‘Thoughts for the Week’ we have been thinking about being ‘Equipped to Serve’ in making disciples of Jesus by prayerfully speaking God’s word to ourselves, to one another and to those who don’t yet believe. So far we have seen that it is God himself who does the equipping (Hebrews 13:20-21), that he does it through the teaching, rebuking, correcting and training that Scripture gives (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and that what he equips us for is “doing his will… what is pleasing to him… every good work (both passages).
There is another ‘equip’ verse which paints very much the same picture: “It was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare [or ‘equip’] God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Notice the sequence of ‘characters’ in these verses: Christ… apostles/prophets/evangelists/pastor-teachers… God’s people… the body of Christ. So the gifts Christ gives to the church are actually people: we are his gift to one another! And it is God’s people who build up the church, not just the pastor-teachers (although it is their job to equip God’s people for this work). To put it simply, Jesus really wants his church to grow, and he wants us all to be involved!
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)