Gifting Of The Church
11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
I will begin to breakdown Ephesians 4:11-16 today as we look at the gifting of the church. God has given certain gifts to the church in order that they may be built up for works of service. Be reminded church that the reason we grow up in Christ is to be of service to Him. I guess one place to start would be to define these offices or appointments within the church.
An Apostle according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary is a person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia an Apostle is one sent forth; and envoy, missionary. According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary an Apostle is a special messenger of Jesus Christ; a person to whom Jesus delegated authority for certain tasks. Eleven of the twelve Disciples became known in the church as Apostles as did others like Paul and Jesus’ brother James. Often a task for an Apostle is to be a church planter, a spreader of the truth to the ends of the earth.
A Prophet according to McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia is a person who acts as the organ of Divine communication with men (and women), especially with regard to the future. According to New Unger’s Bible Dictionary a Prophet is one who is Divinely inspired to communicate God’s will to His people and to disclose the future to them. According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary a Prophet is a person who spoke for God and who communicated God’s message courageously.
An Evangelist according to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary is a person authorized to proclaim the gospel of Christ. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary an Evangelist is a publisher of glad tidings; a missionary preacher of the gospel. According to New Unger’s Bible Dictionary an evangelists is anyone who proclaims the mercy and grace of God.
A Pastor according to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary is the feeder, protector, and guide, or shepherd, of a flock of God’s people. According to the International Standard Encyclopedia a Pastor is a helper, or feeder of the sheep. The term shepherd is often used in other definitions.
A Teacher according to several sources is to discipline, to instruct, to chastise, to model.
I can certainly see where these offices or appointments are needed in the life of the church. Three of the five are often in most churches – the pastor – evangelist – and teacher. Most churches have someone to shepherd or guide – the pastor. Most churches have several persons who are willing to share the good news and evangelize. Most churches have persons who are willing to teach or instruct others in the faith. At times these can be one and the same person or a variety of persons.
What many churches are lacking – in their pastor or in others within the church – are the prophetic word from God and the representative of God such as an apostle. Some believe that a certain measure or level of apostolic ministry died with the Apostles of the Scriptures.
At First Church we have prophets and often are blessed by a word from the Lord in worship or at other times. As pastor I often hear from the Lord through these messengers of the Lord during the week as well.
These offices or appointments from God are very important to the life and health of the church. Has God gifted you with any of them? If so, use them and let God be given glory. The church is not complete without the gifts God has for her.
Next time we will look at verses 12 and 13 and the reason these gifts were given.
Your comments and thoughts are welcome.
Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.
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