The Goal of Grace

Ephesians 4:7-16

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.


Live a life worthy of the grace you have received.

And each of us has received grace from God.

Grace for forgiveness, but also grace to do good works right? Ephesians 2:8-10. So, if we have received grace to do good works, how should we act?  And here Paul is getting going.


Paul starts with God’s grace in his own life, because if all of us have received grace, Paul has received grace. What is God’s grace in Paul’s life?



  1. God’s Grace in Paul


       God’s grace in Paul’s life leads him to …

  1. Understanding the kingdom of God


        Travel back to chapter 3, the beginning:

Chapter 3:1-3, 7

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation,

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.


What understanding does Paul have?


  1. Christ descended and ascended. This is Who Jesus                 is and What Jesus did. Where He came from and                          where He presently is.



  1. as a part of Jesus’ work, He appointed Apostles         right? Paul is one of those appointments.


                Jesus’ statement to Peter: Flesh and blood have not                    revealed this to you. Matt 16:17


  1. Don’t assume others understand what you         understand, but still have some humility. Both                             boldness and humility come from this calling.


Because of God’s grace, Not only does Paul understand the          nature of the kingdom of God, he also understands his identity.


  1. Understanding his own identity


                Prisoner of Christ

Bond slave of Christ

Apostle of Christ

Adopted son of God

Priest of God

One part of the body of Christ


Again, back to chapter 3:

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace    given me through the working of his power.


This understanding will cause Paul to give priority to God’s will in His life.


So, Paul understands the nature of the kingdom and his identity, this leads him to his purpose in life. And that is his role as the     Apostle to the Gentiles.


  1. Understanding his purpose

       This calling to Apostleship informs Paul’s purpose in           the kingdom of God.


       Again back to chapter 3:

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this     grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless        riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery,


And looking ahead, in this passage which emphasizes Paul’s spiritual authority, once that is established, verse 17: So I tell you this…


        Because this is where we are headed. The grace of God has acted in our lives, we are to live in a manner worthy of that grace. What does that look like? Paul is gonna tell us!


In many of Paul’s letters he defends or supports his apostleship. This passage is Paul doing this in Ephesians.


This will work the same way in our lives. We gain understanding into the way that God works, Who He is and who we are in our gifting and calling and finally, we see God’s purposes in our lives as a result. Some of these things will be profound, a vocational calling for example, but much of it will be a purpose that surrounds the regular aspects of life. How to be a good friend, an unselfish parent, child or spouse, a contributing member of the church or a community service organization. A valuable employee at work. As we live faithfully to God in each area of life, we find His blessing, a large part of which is God’s purpose for us.


Because Paul is an Apostle and that is one of the gifts of men that God has given His church, Paul moves on to what is meant to be the impact of God’s grace through His leadership.


  1. Impact of God’s Grace Through Leadership



        This passage seems confusing because it indicates that God has given Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists to the church as gifts. And that is what it says. What is the purpose of these people who are gifts? They are to be a means of God’s grace in your life so that you might be…


  1. Ready for service


        Equip people for works of service


  1. permission: you are gifted and honored


  1. partnership: Paul had folks with him in partnership         almost all of the time. They enabled his ministry. The                  gifts that seem less important… 


                        Examples: Luke: Paul’s Dr. And the writer of                               Paul’s gospel and the Book of Acts.


Some of Paul’s letters were not written by his                              own hand.


People transported information for Paul. Just                               because Paul wrote a letter does not mean he                             traveled and delivered it himself.


Lydia and those at Philippi giving money. And                              later the folks at Corinth giving back.


All of Paul’s letters end with these folks.


  1. wisdom as to the nature of Christ’s service. What         does service in God’s kingdom look like?


                Acts 2: 44-47

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.



  1. Corporate growth, unity and responsibility


        So that the body of Christ might be built up


                We are a body. We are all growing. This is process. You are to be more mature as a result of receiving teaching, participating in service, and loving others.


Paul wants others to grow because of the grace of God in His life, do you? Our attention and attitude needs to be focused outward. This is building the kingdom of God.



  1. We stand in for Christ

              Attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.


God intends for us to have life as if we were Christ. So, redemption is accomplished, but the sharing of the message is not. People need to know about God, about His love, about the quality of life that God intends for every person to live. This is all a part of the gospel. Because we do not live as God intends, our lives are chaotic and we are separated from knowing God and having His powerful spirit live fully in us. It is faith in God, expressed in obedience to His teachings that allows His Spirit free reign in us. And God changes our hearts so that our desires mold to His own and we become increasingly free to act in accordance with our desires.


And the purposes of life that Christ have for us can be fully formed in us as well.


And so here is the goal of leadership of Grace Fellowship Church for you as an individual and us as a church:


Ready for service to Christ.


We are all growing more like Christ in character and service.


And we take on the mantle of standing in for Christ in our world!


Finally, Paul moves on to looking at what God’s intended result is for all of His ministry to the church. This is the result of God’s grace to us! And with reference to Paul, one of the most remarkable things is how long this impact has lasted.


III. The Result of God’s Grace in Us



  1. Growing stronger


No longer like infants tossed about by every wind of teaching.


We are to grow resistant to the influence of bad teaching.



Sin more so grace may abound.

Eating meet sacrificed to idols.

Proud of tolerance of incestuous relationship.

Insensitive to the needs of others.

Spiritual pride in knowledge.

Letters to the churches in Revelation: Good, bad. Grow!!!


        Noble Bereans! Acts 17:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.




Recognizing the desire of people to use us as sheep. Do not trust every voice, and test the voices that you trust. I feel this is still     going on, especially in the realm of politics.


Stand for Christ!



  1. Speak the truth in love


                This is a very interesting challenge. And if it weren’t such a serious issue, I would be more fascinated by it.


I find that people who are influenced by what I would call weak or manipulative teaching are very invested in that teaching in their faith. It is a very serious issue to attack someone’s faith. We have to tread lightly here. Romans 14, I Cor 8:1-3


Truth without love leads to wounding. Love without truth leads to license to sin which leads to death.


        It’s not just what we know, (the truth) but how we act! (in love) We have to do the right thing in the right way!


On a personal note, I find that people, when they believe that you love them, will allow you to speak truth to them. They will consider what you say.


  1. Every person together acting as Christ


        Responsibility and amazing opportunity. Tomorrow when you get out of bed, say to yourself, I am Jesus in my community! This should infuse you with great purpose. What do you do with your grocery cart? How do you communicate with the people you meet?