God gave the church leaders to care for her and mature her in every way so that we all might attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ!
Ephesians 4:7-16, “7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (Psalm 68:18) 9 What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. (Luke 16:19-31 & 1 Peter 3:18-22)
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his 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 people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of 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.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY GIFTS*
- APOSTLES: Disciples that are sent out to start and oversee new churches. Today’s missionaries and church planters can be considered modern day apostles. Paul is a biblical example of an apostle (Romans 1:1).
- PROPHETS: Disciples that speak on behalf of God and give spiritual guidance to the church. They are used in the gift of prophecy and are given dreams and visions that help direct the local church. Agabus is a biblical example of a prophet (Acts 21:10).
- EVANGELISTS: Disciples that are sent out from the church to win souls and train new soul winners. Philip is a biblical example of an evangelist (Acts 21:8).
- PASTORS: Disciples that shepherd and care for the disciples in the local churches by preaching and teaching. The elders in 1 Peter 5 are biblical examples of pastors and shepherds (1 Peter 5:1-5).
- TEACHERS: Disciples that work in the local church and instruct in doctrine and Christian living. Barnabas is a biblical example of an appointed teacher in the church (Acts 13:1).
*The five-fold ministry gifts are given by God and those who have them must walk worthy of their calling to be appointed to the church offices of elder or deacon. We are anointed with the ministry gifts by God and appointed to the ministry offices by leaders led by God.
Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:1,10 (KJV) “1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop/overseer (Greek: episkopos), he desireth a good work.” “10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon (Greek: diakoneo), being found blameless.”
The word “elder” (Greek: presbyteros) and “bishop/overseer” (Greek: episkopos) are interchangeable and are used to describe the same position of the main leaders in the church (Titus 1:5,7). However, elder (Greek: presbyteros) is used primarily in Acts (Acts 14:23).
FIVE BENEFITS OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY GIFTS
- Equip the church for works of service, v. 12a.
- Build up and grow the Body of Christ, v. 12b.
- Help the church reach unity in the faith, v. 13a.
- Help the church grow in their knowledge of God, v. 13b.
- Mature the church to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, vs. 13c-16 (Eph. 3:19).
Are you willing to be equipped for works of service in Christ’s church?