THE FIVE GIFT MINISTRIES
Ephesians 4: 11 -- And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
To assist us in our renewed mind, in our spiritual growth, God made sure that the Church of the Body of Christ had some help. God designated and provided the gift ministries to the Church to:
1) Enable believers to walk with God’s power while adding new members to the Body of Christ.
2) To keep the present members in fellowship.
The five gift ministries are put into operation by born again believers who are ordained by God and who believe to operate a specific ability. This enables other believers to perfect their renewed mind walk with the Father. It's the renewed mind that needs perfecting. Spiritually, we are perfect so the gift ministries are not for the spiritual perfecting of the saints. The Apostle Paul had at least one gift ministry and he believed to operate this ministry to the benefit of the believers in the Church. Many great leaders have a gift ministry. However, one does not necessarily need to have a gift ministry to be a great and important leader for God. It is also possible that a believer may have a gift ministry such as a teacher or a prophet, but it has not been recognized by the believer's peers in the Church. It is also true that if God knows that a believer has the potential to operate a gift ministry but he, the believer, never rises up to the occasion, then that gift ministry will lie dormant in the 'unbelieving believer' and will not benefit the Church.
If a person is ordained with a gift ministry, it is operated by that person's free will. I prefer to use the term "free will' in place of the term "used". "Used" implies control and God never controls anyone -- not the true God. If a believer operates his gift ministry, it is because HE WILLS TO DO GOD'S WILL -- he has a choice to do so or not to do so. God may "work within" a believer but God never "uses" a believer. There is a thin line here but we need to get our terminology correct. "Using a believer" has a negative connotation while "working within a believer" has a positive connotation. God's Word is accurate and perfect in it's original form. We too, need to imitate God and speak as accurately and precisely as possible.
Now let's look at the specific purpose for the five gift ministries according to the Word of God:
Ephesians 4: 12, 13 -- For the perfecting of the saints, for [with a view to] the work of the ministry, for [with a view to] the edifying of the body of Christ: Till [until] we all come in the unity [oneness] 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:
The word "edifying" means to 'build up'. The ordained believers who operate their gift ministry by their own free will, build up the Body of Christ. They meet the needs of the believers by their knowledge of God's Word especially in their strongpoint -- their particular gift ministry. If an area needs an evangelist, then God will send a believer with a gift ministry of an evangelist to that area. "For the perfecting of the saints" and for "the work of the ministry" is God's purpose for the gift ministries. How long will we need the gift ministries? UNTIL JESUS CHRIST RETURNS, as verse 13 above clearly states.
Now, lets back up a bit to Ephesians 4: 8. I would like to explain at this point that verses 9 and 10 are a parenthesis -- take a closer look. A parenthesis is a figure of speech inserted as an explanation. For the sake of clarity, we are going to read from verse 8 and skip to verse 11 to continue the direct point and continuity of thought. Then we will go on to explain the five gift ministries so that an accurate understanding of the Scriptures in this important area will be made available to you.
Ephesians 4: 8 and 11 -- Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Not only did Jesus Christ lead captive everything that could captivate us physically and mentally, but he made sure He gave gifts unto men. He knew man would need help with his renewed mind, so he gave us the gift ministries. The Word says that gifts were given to the Church and we live during the Church of Grace Administration, so the gift ministries must still be available. People who like to contradict the Word contend that the apostles and prophets, etc. no longer exist since the New Testament Apostles died. Chapter and verse, please ?!! That's not what the Word says. I have had the experience of being around many believers who effectively operated a gift ministry. Their positive impact on the body of believers is truly hard to explain.
Now, before going any farther, let's take a look at some examples and definitions of the FIVE GIFT MINISTRIES:
APOSTLE -- one who brings new light to his generation. It may be old revelation, but it is new to the generation to whom he speaks. I happened to be fortunate enough to have been taught the Word by , in my opinion, someone who had a gift ministry of an apostle. I was able to learn the Word in the twentieth century like it was taught in the first century church. It was not new revelation but it was new to my generation.
PROPHET -- 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 into fellowship with God. Many of the Old Testament believers were prophets such as Moses.
EVANGELIST -- One who wins the lost, the unsaved to Christ by teaching them the new birth and seeing them born again.
PASTOR -- One who cares for the individual needs within the Church. He cares for the flock.
TEACHER -- One who expounds the accuracy of God's perfect Word to the believers.
Now remember, Ephesians 4: 2 tells us the PURPOSE of the five gift ministries which was for the perfecting of the saints in their RENEWED MIND. Ephesians 4: 13 tells us when we will no longer need these gift ministries, which is at the return of Jesus Christ. Until that time, we will have pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists and apostles to help us to manifest the more than abundant life in Christ Jesus.
The overall effect or outcome of the gift ministries is given in Ephesians chapter four.
Ephesians 4: 14, 15, 16 -- 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; But speaking [or living] the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which [who] is the head even Christ: 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 does not want us to be children but to grow up spiritually so that we are not blown about by every wind of doctrine by the sleight and cunning craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive.
The word “sleight” in verse 14 is most interesting. It is the Greek word that means “dice playing” like in a game or gambling; hence entrapping by deceit. Men will gamble with your life if you allow it, and they will trap you by deception. The Word of God in your renewed mind will allow you to separate truth [the Word], from error [the world].
Finally, we should take a look at the book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 4: 16 -- Let us therefore come boldly [not hesitantly] unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Go to God with your need and thank Him that it is fulfilled at this very moment. Romans 8: 17 says that we are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." We share fully in everything which Christ has inherited because we are members of the Body of Christ -- the Church. Therefore, we must have tremendous wealth.
The Aramaic text of Colossians 2: 10a is given in the extra extensive form in English which is a very rarely used fourth conjugation and says:
“We are completely, completely, absolutely complete in Him!”……………….
Then we cannot be lacking anything.
God always covers every base. He dots every 'i' and crosses every 't' and NEVER MISSES a detail. Our God And Father loves each and every one of us equally and to such a degree that our minds are incapable of understanding the magnitude of His love.
When God gave us the Five Gift Ministries, He made sure that the Church of the Body of Christ was completely and absolutely complete, lacking nothing.