Book information

Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0962-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 41 of 97 Section 1 of 4

LIFE-STUDY OF EPHESIANS

MESSAGE FORTY-ONE

THE WAY TO BE PERFECTED

In 4:12 Paul speaks of the “perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” In this message we shall consider the way to be perfected.

GRACE ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE
OF THE GIFT OF CHRIST

Ephesians 4:7 says, “But to each one of us was given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Notice that in this verse Paul does not say, “to each one of you”; he says, “to each one of us.” This indicates that Paul was including himself. He did not put himself in a special category, in a category separate from that of the other saints.

Grace has been given to each of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Each member of our physical body has a certain measure. For example, the measure of the ear is of one size, and the measure of the shoulder is of another. The words “the measure of the gift of Christ” refer to the size of a member of Christ’s Body. With every member there is a certain size, a certain measure. Just as our blood supplies the members of our body according to their size, grace also is given to each member according to its size. Although there is more blood in the shoulder than in the ear, the quality of the blood is the same. Just as blood is the life supply to our physical body, so grace is the life supply to the members in the Body of Christ. Praise the Lord that all the saints are gifts of Christ to whom grace has been given!

THE WORK OF MINISTRY

Since verses 9 and 10 are parenthetical, verse 11 is the continuation of verse 8. Verse 11 says, “And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers.” As verse 12 makes clear, these have been given for the “perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” According to grammar, the phrase “unto the building up of the Body of Christ” is in apposition to the phrase “unto the work of ministry.” This indicates that both phrases refer to the same thing. Hence, the work of ministry is the building up of the Body.

The apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers perfect the saints unto the work of ministry. Whose work is this—the work of the gifted ones mentioned in verse 11, or the work of the saints? Is it the work of the perfecting ones, or the work of the perfected ones? The answer is that it is the work both of the perfecting ones and the perfected ones. The building up of the Body is not only the work of the apostles and the other gifted ones, but also the work of all the saints. I believe that the work of ministry in verse 12 refers more to the work of the saints than it does to the work of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers.

The work of building the meeting hall in Anaheim is an illustration of this. Many brothers worked on the construction of the hall. But very few of these brothers were professional builders. Most of them had little experience in the building trades. The few experienced tradesmen took the lead, and gradually the inexperienced ones were perfected. Eventually, both the journeymen and the learners worked together on the building of the meeting hall. However, most of the work was done, not by the professionals, but by the learners. In the same principle, the work of ministry refers to the unique work of building up the Body of Christ. This work is the responsibility not mainly of the apostles, but of all the saints. Both the leading apostles and prophets and all the believers, including even the smallest member, work together to build up the Body.


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