Ascension of Our Lord

 Sermon Text: Ephesians 4:7-16

 Other Readings: Acts 1:1-11 and Luke 24:44-53


 

  1. In this letter, Paul has used the word grace in two different ways. In Ephesians 2:8 he used it in the sense of God’s undeserved favor connected to conversion. In Ephesians 3:2,8 he used it in the sense of a specific kind of gift given to an individual. In what sense is Paul using “grace” in 4:7? Defend your position. 
     
  2. According to verse 10, what was the intended result of Christ’s ascension? What comfort does that give you?
     
  3. Paul says that the ascended Lord gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. It’s hard to nail down exactly how these different ministries functioned, but at the end of the day, what was to be the main message of their ministry? Consult Luke 24:45-48. 
     
  4. “Speaking the truth in love…” (v. 15). What role does truth have in unifying a congregation? What role does love have in unifying a congregation?
     
  5. What are believers supposed to be doing until Christ returns? Who equips the believers to do that, and how should that person equip them?

 


 

  1. Paul is using it more in the sense that he used it in 3:2,8. As you look at the other verses, Paul is talking mostly about individual gifts given to help believers live their lives of faith. Consult also 1 Peter 4:10.
     
  2. The intended result is for Jesus to be present everywhere and rule over everyone and everything for the good of the church. So, while Jesus still has his human nature (and will for all eternity), he has begun to use again his omnipresence. This comforts us because we know that Christ is able to help us no matter where we are and no matter whom else he’s also helping! Plus, this has profound meaning for what happens in Holy Communion.
     
  3. Their main message was to be testimony that Jesus suffered, died, and rose again. Therefore, they could preach forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name to all nations.
     
  4. The truth of God’s word is the only thing that truly can unite. Anything else is a liar from the devil and can be used by the devil to deceive and create dissension. But truth that is conveyed without love can leave people with the impression that the church is only about being right, not about working with others who need to be built up and may be less mature in the faith. One pastor put it, “Truth and love are like two wings of an airplane. Remove one of them, and congregation unity goes down in flames.”
     
  5. Each and every believer is to do “works of service” that builds up the body of believers (v. 12). (In some ways, this is what the believers were doing as they worshiped together immediately after Jesus’ ascension in Luke 24:53.) God has given his church pastors who are to equip the saints for these works of service, and pastors equip people as they, in truth and love, preach and teach the word of God and administer the sacraments.