Jump Start # 3347
Ephesians 4:11-12 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
This past winter and early spring was very hard on many shrubs in our region. Driving about, one sees a lot of dead bushes in the landscape of homes. Mine was no exception. I had three that bit the dust. They were big. I got them dug up. But I had to bring out the arsenal of tools to get that done. Started with my shovel, a spade. Then I have a special shovel called, root slayer. It has jagged teeth on the edges. But those big roots were a real problem. Clippers. Then a special landscape saw. The job was done. I was a mess. I couldn’t have done it without all those tools.
And, that takes us to our passage today. God’s arsenal of tools for us. One can’t do a job effective without the proper tools. These “tools” of Heaven are for the equipping of the saints so we can get about the work in the kingdom.
Several things to notice here:
First, it is God who provided these tools. “He gave,” simply means, God gave. He knew exactly what we need to get the work done in the kingdom. You’ll notice, there are no coaches, motivational speakers, growth experts, cooks, counselors or many other things that modern churches believe are necessary to do the work in the kingdom. God knew.
Although there are major differences between apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors, there is a similar thread connecting them all. They are all teachers. They teach God’s word. That’s what apostles did. That’s what prophets did. That’s what evangelists do. That’s what pastors do. The means to equip the saints was not a weekend get-a-way at the beach. It was learning from these godly men. It was being taught the word of God.
Interestingly, here is the only time the word “pastor” is found in the N.T. And, just this one time is all it takes for the religious community to get things scrambled up and confused. The pastor is not the preacher. A pastor is one who pastures. Properly, it should have been translated “shepherd.” That would have eliminated a lot of confusion.
Second, we are taught to then go and work in the service of the kingdom. We are not the end of the journey. We have been taught so we can teach. We have been given tools so we can use them. Showing up once a week to fill a pew with no intention of doing anything in the kingdom that week is missing the thrust of this passage. In fact, one must wonder if a person has truly been taught if that is his mindset. Equip the saints. Put the tools in their hands so they can work the fields of God.
The farmer has his tools. The mechanic has his tools. The cook has her tools. Even folks like engineers, writers, and musicians have their tools. I have watched many videos about various musicians. In the background, one sees rows of guitars. Why do they need so many? Each is a tool that helps him do what he needs to do.
I have two rooms full of books. Those are my tools. My beloved wife has never said, “Don’t you think you have enough?” Or, “Is it really necessary to buy another book?” She understands that those tools help me to do what I do.
Third, have you ever considered these Jump Starts as tools that can help you in your work? On the Jump Start website (jumpstartsdaily.com) are two search engines. One allows you to look up passages that I have written about. In the other, one can search a specific word and if I have mentioned it, those Jump Starts will be listed.
· Consider using these tools to generate ideas. You need an idea for a Wednesday invitation or a sermon. Ideas come from many places. Chase down some of these Jump Starts to help you.
· Consider using these for illustrations
· Consider sharing these with someone you are trying to help
· Consider using these for home studies or even the basis of Bible classes
Tools. Tools that can help you get your job done. I suppose I could have dug those dead shrubs out with my bare hands, but I expect I’d still be at it and I wouldn’t be able to type again for a long time. Having the right tools makes all the difference. So it is spiritually.
Equipping the saints…