How to Live Worthy with the Church’s Spiritual Gifts

Rod Hutton May 19, 2024 Ephesians 4:7-13

I. Recognize Jesus’s Kindness and Power to Give a Variety of Gifts to His Church (v.7-10)

A. Each one gets to experience His grace

Ephesians 4:7 - But to each one of us grace was given…

B. According to the measure of Christ’s gift

Ephesians 4:7 - But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

C. Your gift is a victory prize from Jesus

Ephesians 4:8 - Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:9-10 - Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.

II. Deploy Your Gift in the Work of Service for Building Up the Body (v.7-13)

A. Considering the benefit of different gifts

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.

B. Knowing the church still has room to grow from the use of your gifts

Ephesians 4:13 - …until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

i. Attaining unity of the faith

ii. Growing in knowledge of the Son of God

iii. Maturing more fully in Christlikeness

It is good to be back home and to be back with our church family. It was not the same for us as we wanted to be with all of you for Mother’s Day, but instead of being here, we had to listen in the car as we spent the 18 hours that it took to return from Orlando to Lafayette so that we could jump right back in, get our girls back into school, and dig out from under a stack of e-mails that was taller than the Northend…

I love where we are at in the series on Ephesians right now as we are making the transition into the part of the letter that helps us to think practically about how we are called to live based on the truths that we have covered so far.

Recall, as we began the year, we described how the Letter to the Ephesians can be summarized by splitting it into two halves…

Chapters 1 through 3 are sometimes referred to as the Gospel indicatives, helping us to learn truths about what God reveals about Himself and the truths about how God sees us and the beauty of the gospel that we might know that it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

There is such freedom in knowing that salvation through Christ does not depend upon my work, but only through faith in His work on the cross. And then God continues to reveal His plan, a plan previously hidden from our view, of God’s plan to build His kingdom by including every nation tribe, and tongue, Jews and Gentiles both included as fellow partakers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now as we have stepped into Chapter 4, we are beginning to explore God’s word regarding how we are called to live because we are partakers of the gospel and so we are now, as part of our annual theme of building on our Heritage, we are specifically looking at how we are

Building on the Gospel

Over the coming weeks and months, I want to encourage you to commit to being with us as we will be unpacking incredibly practical truths regarding how the heart changes, biblical communications, Strengthening marriages, parenting, work all while being prepared for the spiritual battle. I am still just as excited about our Ephesians study today as I was when we started in January.

Before we step into our short passage for today, I want to recommend to you that in order to bathe all of these truths in the beauty of the gospel, in order to not allow them to be viewed just as individual good ideas, I would recommend that this week you would go back through the Letter of Ephesians specifically to review the truths that we have explored these first 5 months

  1. Sit down and Read Ephesians in a single sitting…
  2. From Chapters 1-3: Write out a list…
    1. What does Eph say about God?
    2. What does Eph say about me?
    3. What is God’s plan for me?

By reminding ourselves of these truths, they will help us to see our motivation as well as the power that we need in order to take the steps that we are called to in chapters 4 through 6.

Two weeks ago, Pastor David helped us to embrace the truths concerning our walk as a Christian, that we might walk in a manner worthy of the calling, to display godliness, and to seek unity…

Today I would like us to explore the next passage in Ephesians where we will find the truths regarding how we are to…

How to Live Worthy with the Church’s Spiritual Gifts.

If you will open with me to Ephesians chapter 4, our focus will be on verses 7-13, but I am going to read starting at verse 1 so that we continue to find the flow and the context of Paul’s letter…

See right from the start the connections. Paul begins by saying “therefore…” because he wants us to consider that if all the things that had come prior are true, and they are, then what will follow should be our response to those truths…this is why I think it is important that you would choose to read Ephesians from start to finish again so that we do not lose sight of those connections…

READ Eph 4:1-13

And now focusing on the last half of our reading, we can explore from these verses two ways in which we are called to live worthy in view of the spiritual gifts that have been given to the church.

The first truth that we need to embrace is to

I. Recognize Jesus’s kindness and power to give gifts to his church (v.7-10)

Eph 4:7 but to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Having emphasized the importance of unity in Christ’s body for spiritual growth in verses 1-6, Paul now explains the value of diverse ministries among its members…

As we begin to look at the gifts which are being given to God’s children, it is important to see that God has a purpose in how he gives gifts as well. It would be easy to look at the verses right before and focus on the issue of Unity thinking that we should be seeking to make each of you the same, because if we are uniform in our thinking and actions then we will be able to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, but as we continued to today’s verses, we begin to see diversity over sameness we might ask if Paul is changing his story…

I think we can clearly say no to that question…

John MacArthur describes it this way that “Unity is not uniformity and is perfectly consistent with diversity of gifts. God’s gracious relation to “all” is also a personal relation to each one and a personal ministry through each one. Thus Paul moves from the unity of believers to the uniqueness of believers.”

Thus as we recognize Jesus’s kindness and power to give gifts to His church, we should give praise and thanks to God as

Each one gets to experience his grace.

A truth that we can hold firm to from this verse is to know that every single believer in Christ, without exception, has been given some grace…

You might respond to that saying, of course that is truth, because Eph 2:8 says that it is by grace you have been saved…and that is absolutely true as well, but from 4:7 what we are talking about is not saving grace, but a continued grace that is expressed through the giving of gifts in addition to the free gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

The saving grace of God is the same for every believer, then from there, Christ continues with the spiritual gifts of His grace of the ministry, not for our personal satisfaction or for our reputation, but to enrich the life and service of others in our church.

Because these gifts are distributed perfectly by Christ, we must be cautious not allow ourselves to indulge in feelings of inadequacy, “I did not receive that gift” or to be tempted to prideful feelings of superiority,

Romans 12:3, 6a For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith…Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly

for through Christ’s gifts, we all have something to contribute to the church and because Christ is the source of every good gift, we can know that He values every gift given.

And we can know that as Christ distributes the gifts, he will give perfectly to each one for the purpose of the building up of the church…We need to give thanks that He does not gift us all the same, because that would be pretty boring.

But no gift of grace given, no matter how big or how small we might view it, can be seen as boring or not of use when we realize Jesus’s kindness and power to give different gifts…

According to the measure of Christ’s gift.

This truth can also help us in how we are able to maintain the unity of the body by having correct thinking about others in the church.

1 Corinthians 12: 4-7 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

As we embrace the truth that each gift is given for the common good of the church, it helps us to align our heart and avoid the temptations of desiring gifts that we have not been given, trusting that Christ has given us exactly what He intended so that we might be a blessing to the church.

Again, looking back at the truths of the first three chapters, we can hold firmly to the knowledge of how God sees us and what He says is true about us based on having our identity in Christ…we can know that Christ does not apportion His gifts based on our value, but on his purpose for the ministry for we are approved of by God and will receive rewards in heaven for our godliness, not our giftedness.

Whether we serve others by praying for them, reading the bible with them, serving in coffee ministry, or on a rotation in children’s ministry, Paul is not emphasizing what the ministry is, but rather where these gifts of ministry are coming from.

That is why Paul follows up the great truth of verse 7 by quoting from Psalm 68, so that we might see that…

Your gift is a victory prize from Jesus.

Paul is exalting Christ here by referring to the truths that the giving of these gifts is all part of the continuing victory party following His death, burial, resurrection and ascension to sit at the right hand of the Father.

When He ascended on High, refers to the Father’s exaltation of His Son as He is restored to His rightful position, something that Christ had willingly given up in order that He might carry out the Father’s plan and was obedient to the Father’s will

When Paul makes the statement, “now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that he also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?” I believe he is referring to Christ humbling himself for his ministry on earth. There are some who consider this passage to indicate Jesus descended into Sheol or hell during the 3 days, but I believe it is more likely speaking of his ministry on earth.

Christ’s exaltation and ascension back to heaven was the conclusion of his first coming where Philippians describes Jesus

Phil 2: 6-11 although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Before we even continue into this victory party, we must acknowledge what it is a victory over…

Jesus humbled himself becoming obedient even to the point of death…

Why? Because His death on the cross was the only way for sinful men to be restored and reconciled before a Holy God

It is our sin, since the garden of Eden until today that has caused our separation from our heavenly Father. It is our sin that required a penalty to be paid to satisfy our perfectly good and just Judge. But even the penalty, which if we pay it ourselves would not be enough to restore us in relationship to our Father who is rich in mercy and abundant in grace.

If I choose to pay my own penalty, the wages of sin is death, an eternal separation from our Holy God and there would be no end, there would be no point where God would declare that my “time out” was over as with a disobedient child before their parent.

But God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son…Jesus, by humbling himself to take the form of man, the form of a bond-servant was able to take my sin, your sin, the sins of the world, past, present and future upon himself to pay the penalty that we owe.

And today, we are a part of the victory party, because we can know that the Father was satisfied by the sacrifice of the Son, because at the end of three days, God raised Him again from the dead, just as he said He would, not because the Father decided 3 days was enough, but because the work was complete…Jesus declared it upon his last breath on the cross…It is finished.

O Death where is your victory, O death where is your sting?

If you are with us today and you are not certain you are included in Christ’s victory over sin and death, if you have questions about what that might look like for you, please take the time today to speak with one of our pastors or someone close to you so that we can explore what God’s Word has to say about any questions or hesitations that you might have.

Eph 4:8 “When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men.”

Because Jesus was victorious over death, and the prisoners, those who were previously His enemies…He took captive, they are the spoils of war and from that battlefield, Christ led captive a host of captives.

At times in history, we see where God sent Israel into battle and called for the utter destruction of the enemy because they were the enemies of God, they worshipped and followed false gods and God knew their hearts, that if they were brought in among the people of Israel, they would lead his children astray and because of this God called for their destruction. But this was not always the case. Sometimes, there were those were led captive and brought under the rule of a new King as the victor led the captives back to serve their new King.

In Christ’s victory, He has captured His enemy, he is leading captive a host of captives, that we might serve our new King…that we might choose to be bond-servants of Christ and that we would share in His victory, for He no longer views us as enemies of Christ, but now as children of God and as His children, he is choosing to give you a victory prize. We are not captives to be sent off to the salt mines, but rather we have become children of God who, by His grace, share in the spoils of victory, who are receiving gifts from the victor.

And even more than that, as grace is given to each of us for the ministry of the church, we are also the gift given to the church. We don’t just have gifts, We are gifts to his church…

The implication for each of us is that we are not just shoppers at the supermarket filling our baskets. Rather the opposite is true, we are saved and then we are given to our church to bless others in the church by serving them with the gifts that we have been given.

This is why we must then embrace the truth of our call to

II. Deploy your gift in the work of service for building up the body (v.11-13)

Here is one of the places where we find a list of the spiritual gifts that are given by the grace of God to His children. Like all lists in the Bible, we have to look at them and ask a few questions. Is this list intended to be all-inclusive? Within this list, are these all unique items or are they describing the same things? Then from there we can begin to understand the purpose and the use of the list within the context of the passage we are reading.

So what do we have today?

Eph 4:11-13 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; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

First – is this the list of all the spiritual gifts given by grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift…

I think that one becomes clear when we see the lists of spiritual gifts in Romans and 1 Corinthians

In Romans 12, we find we have gifts that differ according to the grace given…and in this list, Paul points to prophecy and teaching, but he also lists serving, exhorting, leading and mercy as gifts of grace.

There for since the list is not all-inclusive, we look to see if our list today is multiple of the same or all unique…

This is an area where there is not complete agreement among scholars, with the most common difference of opinion being about whether pastors and teachers are one group or two. I will explain what I believe when we get to those last two, but thankfully, we are not talking about a decision that impacts the gospel nor is this an interpretation that would change the overall meaning of the text…As such, I will only briefly mention the issue.

Instead, I would like to focus more on

Considering the benefit of different gifts.

Paul states that Christ gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

To properly understand this passage and this list, we must first consider the original audience, during the first century in the city of Ephesus.

We see the benefit today that God gave some as apostles and some as prophets, because we have the revealed Word to read today, but for the first century church, we have to remember that they lived in a time when the canon of the Bible was not complete. They had the inspired Word of God in Law, the Writings, and the prophets, in other words, they had what we refer to today as the Old Testament, but our New Testament was not yet formed and collected, therefore the gospel message that was revealing the truths not previously understood with only the Old Testament, this message need to be carried with authority and needed to be confirmed.

Thus Christ gave some to be Apostles, which means one sent as an authoritative delegate. These included those designated as apostles by Jesus himself as well as those sent by the early church to carry the gospel forward. Paul also mentions some were given as prophets.

New Testament prophets, like their OT counterparts were gifts to the church to provide the edification, exhortation, and comfort.

1 Cor 14:3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.

They probably revealed God’s will to the church when the biblical canon was incomplete…

We find the blessing in these gifts because they were foundational to the completion of the word and to the establishment of the early church.

The blessing is that…

Eph 2:19-20 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

As we seek to build on the gospel, as we build on our heritage, we give thanks that it has been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. But since the apostles and the prophets were foundational to the church, we can imply that these gifts are no longer being given to the church.

But the gifts remaining on the list are not included with them elsewhere, so we need to consider the benefits of these different gifts…

Some were given as evangelists, those who were engaged in the spreading of the gospel, similar to present-day missionaries so that the gospel might be spread within our community and beyond for the purpose of winning souls to Christ…this is a benefit of the gift to the church.

Then we get to the issue of Pastors and teachers. This is where we could get bogged down in the structure of the original Greek attempting to determine exactly which grammatical rules apply to decide of pastors equals teachers or if pastors area different from teachers. I believe the grammar leads to the latter understanding, but this is not without a level of overlap.

In 1 Tim 3, where we find the character traits of a pastor, it says that we are to be, among other things, prudent, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach…

Thus when we as a church seek to choose someone gifted for the ministry of Pastor, it is clear that they must be able to teach.

So then why even include the gift of teaching on the list? Because even though pastors must be able to teach, they are not the only ones who God has gifted to teach.

We are blessed here at Faith with many who have these different gifts. For example, I give thanks for evangelists like Sam and Jamie Hornbrook who have given their lives to carrying the gospel to those who have not yet heard it, or those given to be pastors, Pastor Viars would never put himself up on a pedestal as an example, but I would be falling short if I did not give thanks for the benefit of the pastoral gifts that Christ has measured out to him and then when it comes to teachers. How about our amazing Sunday School teachers like Marcia Beutler and Jonathan and Nikki Lambeth, or the incredibly gifted teachers we have in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries like Amy Baker, Dan Wickert or Janet Aucoin

But God has not limited us with just a few gifted ministers, god has not set a cap on the size of our ministry by only measuring out a little bit here in Lafayette.

The truth is that Christ has measured out his gifts for the service of the ministry to every believer in the church

And if that is true, then we can know that we are not done growing the church until we are able to fully use all of the gifts that Christ has measured out…

Therefore for each of us, we can

Knowing the church still has room to grow from the use of your gifts.

Sometimes the church might be described like a Saturday afternoon in the fall at Ross-Ade Stadium where we find 61,000 people desperately in need of exercise watching 22 young men desperately in need of rest…

Are you thankful that this is not what we find here at Faith…I am, because it enables us to use the gifts given to us to carry out the ministries entrusted to us.

Next month we will host Vacation Bible School at all three of our campuses…do you realize that it will take over 300 servants to share the gospel with about 600 children. Some might say that is not very efficient, but I would say that it is deploying our gifts in the work of the service. If we only need teachers, well then maybe would do all of this with under 50 volunteers, but bring God the glory we need to use all of the gifts which he has given…teachers, hospitality, worship, games, organizational and leadership.

We will only grow the church if we recognize the there is room to grow by deploying all of God’s gifts.

Now VBS, we have done that for years and we can be confident that God has gifted us at the right measure…

Sometimes to deploy these gifts, we take a step of faith. For example, we are planning to add a second Living Nativity to separate walkers and the cars to share the gospel more effectively with everyone…but a second set of 12-15 scenes will require Christ to measure out the gifts needed. Do I believe he can and will…

I believe He already has… because He has measured it out according to Christ’s gift and he has done so for every believer in the church.

Do you want to help me prove God right…sign up for VBS by going to…but then, you are not done when VBS is complete…commit to being a part of the Living Nativity this year to deploy your gift in the work of the service…

Because Christ has done all of this for a purpose in the church

Now sometimes it may feel like we are so busy, how could we possibly do anything more, but underlying it all we find the purpose of the serving.

You see, Jesus doesn’t want our churches just to be united in diversity and busy with ministry; he wats the church to grow-up in maturity in Christ-likeness. Paul uses several phrases to describe this goal: unity in the faith, to become mature and the fullness of Christ.

  1. Attaining unity of the faith.

This unity in the faith means a shared and true understanding of God revealed in Christ as he is revealed in the Bible.

None of us can understand God perfectly. So Christ wants us to grow in our understanding by discovering more in Scripture, and then learning to apply these truths to our lives. This year as we seek to build upon our heritage, part of that heritage is the commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture and the truth that god has provided all we need for life and godliness. My prayer for our church would be that we would all continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ…

As a means to grow in the attaining of the unity of the faith, consider a step that you might make…

  • We should all be committing to being a part of Sunday worship and to hearing the teaching of the Word. If you come through this summer and do not find practical ways to be blessed in seeking the unity of the faith through the application of the Word in your own life, I will give you your money back on each of my sermons…oh wait they are free…
  • Another option would be committing to being a part of a small group – Point Man groups, Women’s Bible Studies or Faith Groups, or commit today to sign up next fall for one of the Wed night FCI classes. By committing today, you can ensure you don’t put other things on our schedule to get in the way.
  • You want more…consider signing up for the foundational training or track 1 of Biblical Counseling Training. You could start on Mondays on June 3rd, or over one weekend a month starting June 11th or commit today to block your calendar for February 9-14

You see it is all too easy to be content to be a spiritual Peter Pan, who was just fine staying a boy and never growing up.

Jesus does not want us all to become academics, but he does want us to wrestle with grown-up questions about the application of Scripture to our lives in a way that causes us to be

  1. Growing in knowledge of the Son of God.

We can come to a greater understanding us what God wants us to do, but if we do not grow in our knowledge of the Son of God, we will find ourselves continually in a battle with our own flesh.

We may see the benefits of deploying our gifts, but when our flesh rages in a way that tempts us to seek our comfort, our ease, or our refuge in anything other than the Son of God, we would find the unity of the faith eroding.

But when we are seeking to grow in the knowledge of the Son of God, it is not possible to miss the beauty and the power of the gospel for our lives and when we more fully comprehend the depth of his love for us as demonstrated by nature of His sacrifice on our behalf, we can no longer choose to live for ourselves, but we can now seek to deploy the gifts we have been given or to be blessed by the gifts given to others in the church such that we are all being used for the equipping of the saints for the work of the service to the building up of the body of Christ…

And what is our Saviors goal for us?

  1. Maturing more fully in Christlikeness.

And what does that goal look like? That we would attain the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God and that we would become a mature man measured against the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Now that might seem an impossible goal, and it would be in our own strength, but praise the Lord…

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

As we recognize Jesus’s kindness and power to give gifts to the church and we choose to deploy those gifts for the work of the service for the building up of the body, we can know that we will never be the same, and our church will never be the same because He will be at work to mature us more fully in Christlikeness.


Rod Hutton


Pastor of Faith North Ministries - Faith Church

Director - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries

Executive Director - Vision of Hope

Chair of the Northend Properties Board - Northend Ministries

Certified Biblical Counselor - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries


B. Mathematics – University of Minnesota
M.A. – National Security Affairs – Naval Post Graduate School
M. Div. – Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Rod Hutton and his wife Kathy have been married for 34 years. They have five children, Chris, Tim, Malia, Grace and Josie. The Hutton’s came to Lafayette on assignment with the Navy to Purdue University which afforded the opportunity to attend Faith Bible Seminary. In 2018, Rod retired from Naval Service and joined the staff to lead the efforts in opening and operating the Northend Community Center and in 2019 he was ordained as a pastor with Faith Church. In 2024, he transitioned to the role as Director, Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.