Ephesians 4:9-16 – “(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 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 fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what 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.” NASU
Let’s look at vv.11-16 specifically and I believe we can glean some powerful and beneficial truths that will enhance our ability to Fight this Fight of Faith and Pull Down Strongholds in our lives and the world.
- HE (Jesus) HIMSELF GAVE – v.11.
These Gifts are from Jesus Himself not a concoction by man. The gifts are for the Church and we must never forget that it is His Church. He is the Master Builder, the Architect and assuredly knows what His Church needs. The nature of the Gifts identifies both order and function. The Apostle is a functional gift that carries governmental authority and order. The Prophet is a functional gift that is designed to be a voice, a guide and somewhat of a rudder for the ship of the church to keep it heading in the right direction. The Evangelist is a functional gift that is designed to gather the harvest. The Pastor is a functional gift that involves shepherding or caring for the sheep in a very intimate manner. The Pastor is to be a guard over the flock of God and is incredibly people oriented. The Teacher is a functional gift that brings grounding as it breaks truth up into bite size portions capable of being consumed and assimilated into life.
Much of the Church of Today has discarded at least two of these gifts and relegated them to history. There will never be another 12 apostles of Jesus but the ministry, gift, and office of the apostle are still relevant and needed today. We have lost both the voice and office of the Prophet in much of today’s church and thus lost a significant and important function and ministry.
- THE ‘FOR’s” (Reason) FOR THE GIFTS – v. 12.
I see this as two-fold. First, it is for the ‘equipping’ of the saints. What are they or we being equipped for? “The Work of Ministry.” I had someone argue that most of the church is made up of sheep and sheep have no ministry they receive ministry. In the natural the sheep are fed, watered, and cared for, they don’t do anything. What a sad picture of the Church and how hopeless it is for the world if that is the true picture. Then the second part is “For the Edifying of the Body of Christ.” To edify means to ‘build up, place in order, or put in proper position.’ So, the Gifts have as their major purpose the “equipping” and “aligning” of God’s family into His Divine Order and enabling them to go to war and manifest Jesus to the world. Some argue we do not need that because we have the completed Bible. Is that correct? Let’s continue.
- THE ‘TILL’ (Duration) OF THE GIFTS – v.13.
TILL we all come into the unity of the faith. Has that happened? TILL we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God. Has that happened? TILL all come to Perfect Man Status (Spiritually Complete). Has that happened? TILL all come to the fullness of Christ. Has that happened? NO? Then, the Gifts are still needed today.
- THE ‘THAT’ (Results of the Gifts) – v. 14.
THAT we should no longer be children tossed about spiritually and doctrinally. THAT we should be grown up in Him. The Gifts help to bring stability, body ministry, maturity, knowledge, faith, unity, growth, and power to the Church. Instead of being a fragmented part of the Body we can become an organized unified and powerful Army for God.
- The ULTIMATE PICTURE AND PURPOSE – v.16.
The Entire Body functions in ministry, united, allowing us to become spiritually mature and manifest Jesus to the World dynamically and powerfully. This requires recognition of the Ascension Gifts and Ministries as well as a willingness to come into relationship with them and be led of God through them. It means that we allow God to become our source and let the Holy Spirit be our administrator. The True Church of Jesus Christ operates through His Gifts, not man’s job descriptions or traditional ideologies. It is His Church and we are members together with one another.
God, bless you richly is my prayer and desire!