When You Subtract the Prophets and Apostles

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I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called… (Eph 4:1)

What calling? Consider how Paul began his letter to the Ephesians:

  1. Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places is available in Christ (1:3).
  2. We should be holy and blameless before him (1:4).
  3. In love our heavenly Father predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (1:5-6).
  4. We have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of our trespasses (1:7-8).
  5. God has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose (1:9-10).

…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:2-3).

What unity? By God’s design, there is (4:4-6):

  1. One body
  2. One Spirit
  3. One hope
  4. One Lord
  5. One faith
  6. One baptism
  7. One God and Father of all

In accordance with the purpose of his will, God gave… (4:11)

  1. The apostles
  2. The prophets
  3. The evangelists
  4. The shepherds
  5. The teachers

“…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (4:12-16).

But what happens when you subtract the apostles and prophets?

  1. The foundation of the household of God is removed.
  2. We are left with evangelists, shepherds, and teachers; but whose will?
  3. Human cunning, craftiness, and deceitful schemes are introduced into the equation.
  4. Saints of God are tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

This sermon was delivered on April 17, 2016.

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