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INTRODUCTION:

 

Let's again open God's photo album of His Church & look at another snapshot. The last photograph was that of a showcase. Now a showcase is usually ordered, neat, clean, presentable, attractive. By contrast, this photo depicting another aspect of the nature of the Church is of a workshop.

 

Oftentimes a workshop is untidy, cluttered, messy with incomplete projects lying on the workbench. To the untrained eye the workshop is a place of confusion; so different to the showcase.

 

The Church is God's workshop - a place of renewal, repairs, reconstruction and preparation for service.

 

[1]  THE PROCESS

 

a. Take time to recall Eph 2/10 - we are God's workmanship, re-created in Christ Jesus.  Also read Phil 1/6; 2/13

 

b. God is committed to the process of repairing, rebuilding, renewing us for service.

 

c. Eph.4/11,12 - talks about God's people being prepared, made ready for works of service

 

d. The word translated "prepare" was a medical term used to describe the knitting together of fractured bones.

 

e. It was also a term used by fisherman for mending and washing their nets - Luke 5/1,2.

 

f.  Imagery is of a place where the broken, fractured and worn out are renewed, remade, rebuilt.

 

g. The Church, then, is seen as a a place where broken people are renewed towards their full potential in Christ

 

h. The Church is meant to be a workshop where God's people are brought to state of "operational readiness"

 

i.Such a setting and process are not always neat and dignified - sometimes they are messy & complicated.

 

Question: What would you say to a critic of the Church when they point to the flaws and failings of the Church? Do the insights and emphases above enable you to respond to those criticisms? How would you use them to answer that critic?

 

[2]  THE TRADES-PEOPLE

 

a. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers - these ministries (trades-people) are God's gifts to Church. As they function in their respective roles, the Church is built up, renewed and made ready for action.

 

b. However, the big difference is that these "trades-people" are also part of the renewing process. They are not separate from the process because they, too, stand in need of the very renewal that God is accomplishing through them to build into others.

 

c. Please note that all 5 ministries mentioned above have the Word of God as their key "tool" or major piece of equipment for equipping of people.

 

Question: What does that say about the importance of the Bible in our lives?

 

d. None of these trades-people are responsible to do all the works of service. They are to prepare God's people so that the whole Church is raised up, prepared and mobilized in service.

 

e. These trades-people fulfill their role as they.....

 

*Teach the Word - the Word is where the heart of God is revealed for His people

 

*Impart the Vision - keeping the goal or end result before the people is vital to prevent stagnation

 

*Change the Environment - dismantle mindsets resistant to vision and change - to create a setting of trust

 

*Release the People - recruit, train, deploy, nurture andmonitor God's people in service

 

Question: Explain what you think is meant by the terms 'recruit'  'train'  'deploy'  'nurture'  'monitor'

 

[3]  THE PRODUCT

 

a. The emerging product in God's workshop is a healthy, strong, well-adjusted, maturing, loving, growing Body of people

 

b. As we are being renewed, we are growing up & maturing into Christlikeness (v.16) in two ways.....

 

*The Character of Jesus - life qualities & values of Jesus - these are fruit of the Spirit (Read Galatians 5/22,23)

 

*The Ministry of Jesus - ministry of Jesus expressed through Church - these are gifts of the Spirit   (Read 1 Cor. 12/1-7)

 

c. Vs.13-16 speak about a well-coordinated, integrated body with every part functioning.

 

Question: What does that look like in practical terms?   Look down to Eph. 4/25-32 and list the ways that increasing maturity expresses itself.

 

APPLICATION:

 

1. Every part of Body is to be equipped, prepared, mobilised in ministry - you and me

 

2. Do you want to be a functioning part of Body of Christ?

 

3. Are you in the workshop? Are you letting God renew you & prepare you for service?

 

Next Week: The Church, His Bride

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