And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping (perfecting) of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Each of the ministry gifts is here for the same end. The first goal of the ministry gift is to equip, or perfect, the saints. An interesting Greek word is used here for perfect. It is katartismos which means to provide a complete furnishing. The Christian, in addition to studying the Bible and praying, needs to be under the authority of a minister to get his complete furnishing. Perhaps that is why Paul wrote the following:
1 Thessalonians 5:12,13
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.
I don't know how many times I have heard Christian people say they do not have to attend church to get what they need from God. These Christians are robbing themselves of a great blessing and their complete furnishing by not being exposed to all of the ministry gifts Christ has given. Of course, there are churches that have no idea there are any ministry gifts. The Christian should seek where God would have him worship and he should support those that minister there.
The second goal of the minister is twofold. They are called to the work of the ministry. They are also called to perfect the saints so they (the saints) can do the work of the ministry also. Too many Christians expect the pastor to be the one to go out and lead people to Christ when they are the ones that are out in the world the most. In my own personal life I have been able to lead more people to the Lord as a layperson than a minister. The reason for that is, as a layperson, I was around more people not involved in the church than I ever could have been as a pastor. The pastor has the Lord's flock to deal with and that takes most of his time. It should be the goal of the minister to teach and prepare his flock to reach the lost and to bring them into God's fold.
This brings up the third goal of the minister, which is to edify or to build up the flock of God. This is where the teaching gift comes into play for each of the gifts. Each person with a ministry gift will also have an ability to teach God's word. Through his teaching and his familiarity with his flock, the minister will be able to build them up and help them strengthen their walk with the Lord. Spiritual maturity is the target here. As a Christian becomes more mature in the Lord he will not be tossed to and fro by every doctrine that comes his way.
Paul is very clear in his letter to the Ephesians that these ministry gifts will continue in each of these goals until the church has attained unity. All it takes is for one to look around at all the different churches and it is plain to see that unity has not been reached. This will not happen until Christ returns to reign for a thousand years in Jerusalem. Each of these ministry gifts will be in operation until Christ's return, including the apostle and the prophet. It stands to reason that if any of these five ministry gifts is missing, the church cannot be brought into unity, it cannot perfected, its members cannot be prepared for the ministry and the members cannot be fully edified. Most mainstream churches today only recognize the Pastor, Evangelist and Missionary. If those are the only ministry gifts that the church is being exposed to, they will only be sixty percent complete. With each generation come new Christians and new people with the ministry gift calling placed in their lives.
Another job of the minister is to speak the truth in love. There are times when Christians need a gentle loving hand to guide them and care for them. And there are times when Christians need a harsh word spoken to them to correct them when they are in error or sin. Bear in mind that sometimes love has to be hard. This is especially true of the prophet's call and sometimes the call of the apostle.
In Ephesians chapter four Paul likens the body of Christ to a human body where all the parts fit perfectly. The end goal of the ministry gifts is to bring each person that God has given them, into the place where they are supposed to be, perfectly furnished for that work. God's body is not to be deformed.
As we begin to learn about each of the ministry gifts, realize that even though there are certain traits that are applicable to each one, there are differences of administrations and operations.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Each of the specific ministry gifts will have common characteristics but one person that is blessed with that gift may have a very different and distinct method of performing that call. Just as God did with Jeremiah, God has sanctified each minister to their distinct calling and anointed them to a specific job within that calling. He has literally set the bounds of their habitation.
,,,and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,,,
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Click Here to read Chapter 5
Click Here to read Chapter 6