Equipping the Saints

28 May 2023 PM – Ephesians 4:11-12 – Witnessing – Scott Childs
Introduction: What does God say is the primary duty of a pastor? __ Get several responses.
Our text this evening, Ephesians 4:11-12, answers that question. He is to perfect the saints. The word translated perfect literally means to complete, to furnish, or to equip. Pastors are to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry so that this will edify the body of Christ.
Transition: Since one of the primary duties of a pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, how is he supposed to go about that task? His titles shed light on his duties.
1.     He is a pastor.
a.      This word “pastor” is poimen.
1)         This word refers to a shepherd or herdsman.
2)         Pastors then are to feed, lead and protect their congregations.
b.      How does a pastor equip the saints?
1)         To equip has the idea of mending, restoring or furnishing.
2)         The pastor then is to equip you by mending, restoring and furnishing you will the spiritual skills to serve the Lord.
2.     He is a teacher.
The pastor is also to be a teacher. The construction of verse 11 links the pastor and teacher together as the same person.
a.      Teachers are to instruct.
1)         Instructors provide information needed to do a task properly.
2)         The pastor/teacher then is to give spiritual information needed to do the work of the Lord’s ministry (i.e., serving, witnessing, teaching, giving, praying, etc.).
b.      Teachers are to mentor.
1)         Good teachers are also mentors. They take the student alongside and coach him.
2)         As a pastor/teacher, I am to coach you. I am to be your driver’s training instructor. This evening, I hope to shepherd and mentor you in the area of witnessing. I got the basic idea for the Gospel Hand from “Sharing Jesus Fearlessly” by Donnie Anthony and the question ideas from Bill Fay, Share Jesus Without Fear.
3.     Learning the Gospel Hand (See the back of your bulletin)
a.      Review again the opening questions
1)         Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs?
2)         Do you think there is a heaven or hell?
3)         If you were to die today, where would you go? “Why would God let you into heaven?”
4)         If what you believe were not true, would you want to know the truth? If they say, “Yes”, you say, “Could I share with you what the Bible says about these things?” If they say NO, try to get them to take a tract.
5)         These questions are not the only way to open a conversation, but they help. As you begin, I encourage you to memorise them as they are. Later, you can modify them.
6)         Before asking the four questions, try to prep the conversation. Listen for personal burdens (e.g., deaths, sickness, trials, etc.). Praise God for things He has done (e.g., weather, health, beauty in nature, etc.). Invite them to church. Perhaps bring up world problems (e.g., Ukraine, Israel, Covid, etc.). Any other ideas? __
b.      Review the Gospel Hand
1)         The Thumb: LOVE – God loves you (John 3:16). “What does mean to you?” __  Jesus, God the Son, came to earth to help us.
2)         The 1st Finger: SIN – (Romans 3:23). “What does that mean to you?” __  (Romans 6:23). Death in this verse is eternal death, as it contrasts eternal life. “What does this verse tell us?” __
3)         Middle finger: CROSS – Central theme. (Romans 5:8). “What does this verse tell us?” __ Jesus died on the cross and rose to life again so that he could forgive our sin and give us eternal life in heaven.
4)         Ring finger: SURRENDER – The finger on which married people wear a ring. Marriage is a surrender. It is forsaking all others and being faithful to one spouse. (John 14:6) “What does this verse tell us?” __ We have been living for sin and for self. God wants us to live for Him. He wants us to be willing to turn from our sin and trust Him alone to save us from hell. The Bible says, (Acts 3:19). To repent is to change your mind about your sin. To repent is also to change your mind about the way to heaven (cf., Ephesians 2:8-9). To be converted is to turn to God for a changed life.
5)         Last little finger: RECEIVE – The final thing you must do to receive God’s forgiveness and eternal life is to receive it by faith. (John 1:12) “What does that mean to you?” __ (Romans 10:9) “What does God require of you?” __ You may receive Jesus’ gift by believing Him and asking for it.
c.       Practice with several volunteers
1)         Ask the questions.
2)         Use your hand and present the Gospel.
3)         Ask them what each verse means.
 d.      Review Closing Questions (use your hand)
1)         Do you believe that God loves you and came to earth to pay for your sin? (John 3:16)
2)         Do you agree with God that you are a sinner, (Romans 3:23) and that your sin condemns you to eternal death in hell? (Romans 6:23)
3)         Do you believe Jesus died on the cross and rose again so that He could forgive your sin? (Romans 5:8)
4)         Are you willing to surrender to Jesus by believing that He is the way, truth and life (John 14:6) and by repenting of your sin and allowing Him change your life? (Acts 3:19)
5)         If you believe what God said in these verses, are you ready to pray to receive Jesus’ gift (John 1:12) and to trust Him to save your soul from hell? (Romans 10:9) (Wait silently for him or her to think and respond).
Conclusion: Each of you can share the Gospel with others by using the Gospel hand. Memorise the opening questions. Memorise the fingers (Love, sin, cross, surrender & receive). Memorise the verses (John 3:16; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8; John 14:6; Acts 3:19; John 1:12; Romans 10:9). Memorise the closing questions. Pray and ask God for opportunities and for boldness. You can do it.
            God can use you even if you mess it up a bit, but He cannot use you if you say nothing. Remember, those who reject are not rejecting you; they are rejecting the Lord.
Song: Rescue the Perishing 432