Eph. 4:7-10 the different gifts part 1

Ephesians 4:7-10: By God’s grace we receive Spiritual gifts. Take these gifts seriously and use them for Him.

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes at Bethel Friends Church on September 3, 2017


I believe that I was in kindergarten and I believe I was five years old going on 6 years old. It was Christmas and we were opening gifts. I had a brother who was about 1 going on 2 at the time. I also had an older brother who would have been 7 years old. We were sitting in the living room of our bi-level house. I opened up a gift and looked at it and said, “Just what I didn’t want!” How rude was that! How disrespectful was that! You know what the gift was? It was Mr. Potato head.

Now, watch this young man open his gift:


We are just looking at 3 verses today and next week.

Let’s read Ephesians 4:7-10:

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

When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men.”

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

My theme and application:

By God’s grace we receive Spiritual gifts. Take these gifts seriously and use them for Him.

  1. Gifts are given to us.
    1. Notice how the passage begins with, “but”?
    2. The passage is moving on from what Paul had just written about. Paul had been writing about believers “walking in a manner worthy of their calling” (Verse 1).
    3. Paul had been writing about unity.
    4. These are the practical parts of Ephesians.
    5. Paul ended verses 1-6 writing about unity: There isone body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
    6. We are to be united and we serve one God, but God has given us distinct gifts.
    7. In verse 7, notice the passage it says that to each one grace was given.
    8. Grace, gifts are a grace. We don’t pay for grace, do we? No, then it would not be grace.
    9. We’ll come back to this idea. But notice grace. John MacArthur was preaching on this passage and talked about how the whole Gospel can be summed up in one words and that word is “grace.”
    10. Grace is foundational. We make the gifts about us and they are really about God, His grace.
    11. There is more to be said about these first few verses, but we will save that for the Wednesday night discussion group.
  2. Jesus sacrificed to give us gifts.
    1. In verse 8 Paul quotes Psalm 68:18. Now if we look at that Psalm it says: You have ascended on high, You have led captive Yourcaptives;
      You have received gifts among men,
      Even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there.
    2. Paul changes the text a little bit which as an Apostle He could do. Though there were Jewish traditions at Paul’s time who already had a different interpretation of that passage. One source says: Paul cites Ps. 68:18, where the one who ascends is the triumphant Lord God. Paul sees this as referring to Christ Jesus in his resurrection as head of the church. gifts. In Ps. 68:18, the divine victor is seen “receiving gifts among men,” but Paul adapts the passage to his purposes (as NT authors sometimes do in citing the OT) to show that Christ gave gifts to his people from his spoils of victory (interestingly, ancient Syriac and Aramaic translations of Ps. 68:18 also have “gave”). The “gifts” given by Christ turn out to be the church leaders described in Eph. 4:11. The captives over whom Christ triumphed are most likely demons (cf. this theme of victory over demonic forces in 1:19–22).
    3. Another source adds:
    4. I like what the Life Application Study Bible says about this passage: God is pictured as a conqueror marching to the gates and taking tribute from the fallen city. Paul uses that picture to teach that Christ, in his crucifixion and resurrection, was victorious over Satan. When Christ ascended to heaven, he gave gifts to the church
    5. Paul adapts the text of Psalm 68:18, as ancient expounders of Scripture often did, to make his point (a later targum of the Psalms rewords it the same way he does). This psalm refers to God’s “going up” at Mount Sinai, as Jewish interpreters recognized, and Paul applies the principle of God’s arising to Jesus. (In some Jewish traditions, Moses ascended all the way to heaven to receive the law; if Paul or any of his readers knew such traditions, it would make the application of this psalm to Jesus all the more vivid. But it is questionable how widely known this tradition was in Paul’s day.) Paul’s point is in harmony with the image of the psalm, although he changed its language; once a conqueror had received tribute and plunder from the defeated (as in Ps 68:18), he distributed most of these spoils to his soldiers (as here).
    6. In the Bible Knowledge Commentary it shares: However, it is better to think that Paul was not quoting one particular verse of the psalm but rather that he was summarizing all of Psalm 68, which has many words similar to those in Psalm 68:18. The essence of the psalm is that a military victor has the right to give gifts to those who are identified with him. Christ, having captivated sinful people by redeeming them, is Victor and gives them as gifts to the church.
    7. Now, a few more comments:
      1. We have the idea of a king coming back victorious and giving gifts to His subjects.
      2. We are His subjects and Jesus gives us gifts.
    8. So we come to verses 9 and 10 and Paul is explaining the meaning, it is a parenthesis.
    9. Everyone gets tripped up with verses 9 and 10.
    10. Did Jesus go to hell?
    11. Did He give a second change at eternal life to demons or people in hell?
    12. I would say, no and no.
    13. First, hell does not even exist yet. When people die now they go to Sheol or Hades. Hell is the lake of fire in Rev. 20:10.
    14. Second, there are no second chances. We see this in Hebrews 9:27.
    15. So, there are different views on this passage.
      1. People believe the descent is Jesus taken the form of a human.
      2. Or, it is possible Jesus came to lead the people in Abraham’s Bosom to heaven (Luke 16:19-31).
      3. It is also possible that Jesus went to the abode of dead to show the demons that they did not win (Col. 2:15).
      4. It is possible that the lower parts of the earth is the grave.
      5. The ascension is Jesus ascending to Heaven (Acts 1:9-11)
  • Use your gifts
    1. So, are you using your gifts?
    2. What gifts am I talking about? I am talking about spiritual gifts. We will get into those more in the coming weeks.
    3. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to GIVE you gifts.
    4. Your gifts come from His grace.


Sometimes we receive gifts that we really want. Watch this:


That was a gift he wanted. On one particular Christmas my dad did the same thing. He hid a BB gun all wrapped up behind the couch. We opened it up and we were excited. How do you feel about the gifts you received from King Jesus? Jesus went to the cross to save you and give you spiritual gifts. Are you using them?

Do you know Jesus?

Let’s pray.

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means being with Jesus forever. (Rev. 22:5)

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