Power in Christ Jesus
Ministries in the Church
According to God's Word Series
Reading Time: 10 Minutes
We are part of the Body of Christ, the church unto which God has called us to glory and virtue. We are His family, His sons and daughters. In His family He sees that His children need direction, education, comfort, motivation and new members. Once we are born again that is not the final act. God wants all to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). Ephesians chapter four expounds on our membership in the body of Christ.
:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We have been called and have answered that call. Now we are to walk worthy of it and God explains how, with lowliness (humility), meekness (willingness to accept the authority of another and learn), longsuffering (enduring patience in adversity), forbearing one another in love (have patience with one another, we are all growing in Christ). Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That word "endeavouring" is the Greek word spoudazo: to diligently exert oneself; there is intensity in this word. With great effort and diligence we are to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, we must remain like-minded and not let the body of Christ become fractured.
:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one
hope of your calling;
:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Regarding keeping the unity: there is only one body of Christ of which we are all members, only one holy spirit which God gives to those that believe, and only one hope of Christ's return, the anchor of our soul. There is only one Lord, Christ Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. There is only one faith, one way to believe which is written in God's Word, and one baptism in the spirit. There is only one God and Father of us all who is above all, through all, and in us all. Do you get the idea that He is all in all?
:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of
the gift of Christ.
:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Everyone of us who believe is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ, which is a full measure. When Jesus Christ ascended he fully accomplished the redemption of mankind and led those that captivate us (our adversary and his host) captive. This is also a figure of speech Gnome, a quote from another section of scripture (Psalm 68:18). Figures of speech draw attention to themselves, emphasizing here the that Jesus Christ has led our captivators captive, we need not be held captive by the adversary any longer. In order to keep us from getting entangled in the lies of the devil and the worldly misconceptions of truth God has given us gifts. Verses 9 and 10 are a parenthetical phrase expounding on Christ ascending, we will continue on to verse 11. The gifts that God gave in order to help us live the more than abundant life are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
A gift ministry is a calling of God, a person's forte is one of the five ministries. They are defined as follows in Power for Abundant Living by Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille.*
An apostle is one who brings new light to his generation. It may be old revelation, but it is new to the generation to whom he speaks.
A prophet is one who speaks for God to God's people. He is not an evangelist; he works within the body of believers. A prophet is a man who speaks to God's people to get them back to God's Word and back to the fellowship which the Father ordained.
An evangelist is one who wins the lost, the unsaved, to Christ by teaching them the new birth and seeing them born again.
A pastor is one who cares for the individual needs within the Church. He cares for the flock.
A teacher expounds the accuracy of God's wonderful matchless Word to the believers.
Since Pentecost men and women have risen up to accept these ministries and perform them for God in the body of Christ. The purpose of these ministries are stated in verse 12. "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." The word perfecting is katartismos: to completely furnish with emphasis on horizontal motion, ministers attending to body of Christ. Since the spirit is already perfect (I Peter 1:18-25) it does not need perfecting, what needs perfecting? Our minds. The gift ministries are given to the body of Christ so people can be added to the church, be taught the Word, be cared for, be edified (built up), and be brought back to God's wonderful matchless Word. The gift ministries are for ministering to the church, the body of Christ. They are not for the perfecting of the flesh, for that cannot be perfected (Romans 8:9, II Corinthians 15:5, Galatians 3:3, 5:16 & 17, 6:8, I Peter 1:23 & 24).
God tells us how long these gift ministries are in effect:
:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of
the Son of God,
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
When will this happen? In I Corinthians 13: 8-12 God tells us that we currently know and prophesy in part but when that which is perfect is come (the return of Jesus Christ) that which is in part shall be done away. We see through a glass darkly now (like in a tarnished mirror, not really able to see completely) but we shall see him face to face and that will happen? At the resurrection. At that time we will have full knowledge and be raised incorruptible when the fullness of time has come.
The purpose of the gift ministries:
:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things,
which is the head, even Christ:
:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted
by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
God has given these gift ministries to the church so that we can stand firmly on the truths of God's Word and not be swayed and drawn away. We are to minister the Word to each other so that we stay like-minded and grow in the knowledge of Him. Together we can stand strong and grow in Christ personally and as the body of Christ.
When we know who we are, what is available, how to receive it and what to do with it once we've got it we are powerful sons and daughters of God.
:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;
:17 And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The five gift ministries are God's way to keep the body of Christ vital and powerful.
* Wierwille, Victor Paul. Power for Abundant Living. New Knoxville, Ohio: American Christian Press, 1979.