Waking with The Word | Ephesians 4:11-12
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:
We took a break from our devotions for the month of December and we are excited to pick up where we left off. We have been looking at the gifts that God bestowed on us trough Jesus. Beginning in verse 4 Paul tells us of the distinctives that unite all believers and separate us from the lost. As believers we all share One Body, One Spirit, One Hope of Your calling, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and One God and Father. These are the distinctives that all believers share. Now He is moving from the distinctive gifts to the differing gift's. These Gifts mentioned are not like the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians that are given to every believer but these are offices or titles that are/were bestowed upon certain men. This men are the gift given to the church. It is true that the office is a gift or a calling given to a man but the subject here is not so much dealing with the gift of a bestowed office or title as it is concerning the gift of the Officer to the church. Notice the wording "He gave some, apostles: He gave some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" He did not say He gave some apostleship or ability to prophecy or the office of a evangelist or a pastor but rather He gave these officers of God's revelation to certain groups of people. To the early church He gave Apostles, a office that was foundational and temporary. To the Old Testament saints He gave prophets and even in the early church there were those who would prophecy. To some He gave evangelist and to some pastors/teachers. All of these Men were officers of God's revelations to men the Apostles and prophets in a miraculous and foundational way and Evangelist and Pastors in a practical and continual way. We want to understand these offices and the place they held and hold today.
Prophets and Apostles both held a foundational office given to the people of God to be the means of God's revelation to man. I say foundational because that is how Paul refers to them as well in Ephesians 2:20. Men who held the office of prophet were spoken to directly by God and penned down what God had directly revealed to them through His Spirit, these revelations became Old Testament Scripture. The Apostles served the in the same way, God reveled to them truths by His Spirit and they penned them down and they became New Testament Scripture. The prophets gave us the Old Testament (Genesis-Malachi) and the Apostles gave us the New Testament (Matthew-Revelation). I am of the persuasion that the office of Prophet and Apostle are over, The foundation for the faith of God's people have been laid and there is no need to go and try to lay again the foundation. What foundation did they build? The Scripture, they were the heavenly engineers of the Word of God, lead by the Heavenly Architect. The same one who framed the worlds framed the word of God and He used these officers of revelation to do so. And when we come to the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and John foretells the events of "Things that must be hereafter" I believe that completes the foundation of the church, that is the scripture. This is a important belief to have tacked down, either you believe that God's revelation to man is completed in the scripture or you are open to other extrabiblical revelation, which opens the door to modern day prophets and apostles and what keeps us from denying Joseph Smith's so called new revelation in the Book of Mormon? The Foundation for the church is completed in the canon of Scripture, this foundation was built by the prophets and Apostles and should not be tampered with or added to or taken away from. A foundation is what the rest of the building stands on and it has to be perfectly plumb and if it isn't the integrity of the building is severally compromised. Now what will you build your faith on? The Rock that is Word of God? Or on the sand that is the babblings of so called modern day prophets and Apostles and dreams and visions of all sorts of men? Your whole house will come crashing down if you build your faith on the words of men rather than the Word of God. The foundation has been laid and now we no longer need the office of Apostles and Prophets, nor the gifts that were given to these groups of people. The gifts they were given were for the purpose of validating their revelation from God(1Cor 14:22)
Now evangelist and pastors are the offices that remain unto this day. Evangelist is by definition a preacher of the Gospel and a pastor is a Sheppard. These are offices similar to those of the Apostles and Prophets and yet completely different. Similar in the sense that these are offices that God calls a man into or a gift/calling that God bestows upon a man. Different because God was revealing things to the Prophets and Apostles directly by His Spirit and for Evangelist and Pastors revelation comes from the Spirit showing us the Word of God. It is not that we forsake the Spirit for Scripture alone, this is a recipe for error as much as forsaking the Scripture in the name of the Spirit. This was the case even for Paul. God revealed to Paul by the Spirit the Old Testament scriptures and through the OT He opened His eyes to many mysteries. The Scripture and The Spirit work in tandem and we should never attempt to separate the two. What a blessing it is to have the Author walk you through the book that He wrote and to remind you of what He said in different passages concerning the same issues. That is the work of Pastors and Evangelist, for us to walk through the scripture hand in hand with the one who wrote it. Then we Pastors stand and walk our flock down the blessed avenues that He has walked us down. Evangelist are particularly sent to the lost and we are all to do the work of a evangelist, yet we may not be all evangelist. That Evangelist stands before one or one thousand people and walks them down the blessed avenue that leads to Christ and the new birth. We aren't looking for new revelation, we are looking more into the revelation God has already given us. We shouldn't expect God to show us new revelation of Scripture but we should be looking for Him to reveal the Scriptures to us. I promise you that what God has given us in his Word is sufficient for a million lifetimes and at the end of those million there will still be more to discover in His Word. He revealed to the Prophets and Apostles His Word and they built the foundation. Now He reveals to His Pastors and evangelist His foundation, The Word of God. They built the foundation and now we build on the foundation. These Men are the gifts God has given to the church and it was and is there job to edify the saints and to do the work of the ministry God has called them into.
According to the riches of His Grace!!