The Mighty Ministry Gifts In The New Testament Church (Part 3)

Dear Visionary Leader:

When our Lord led captivity captive, He gave spiritual gifts to Christians, spiritual leaders, and to the Church. In the last two weeks, have brought focus to the delivery and description of these powerful ministry gifts. We cannot say that we have not been given to the talents to fulfill our divine destiny. What our Lord calls us to do, He equips for the roles and tasks before us. If you have not read the two previous ezines, please check them out on in our ezine archive under “resources”.
How Are The Gifts Developed?
In Ephesians 4:11, we read, “And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Not only does God give to every one of us spiritual gifts; God also gives to the church spiritual leaders.
The fivefold ministry gifts are not only representative of distinct people and ministerial offices in the church, but they also reveal five principles for effective ministry today. The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher represent the principles of governing, guiding, gathering, guarding, and garnering, respectively. All of these principles are needed for equipping Christians for effective evangelism.
There was not much difference between an apostle and an evangelist since all apostles were evangelists. However, not all evangelists were apostles, since a direct call by the Lord was necessary. John Calvin believed there were times when God would raise up evangelists as substitutes for apostles. In a real sense, “the apostles did not know when to stop being evangelists.” Without the ministry of the true New Testament evangelist, the churchwould die out.
“Evangelist” in Ephesians 4:11 seems to “denote an order of workers midway between apostles and prophets on the one hand and pastors and teachers on the other.” There has been much scholarly debate as to whether the ministry gifts consist of four or five separate entities. This debate is the result of the definite article being present before all the various leadership gifts except “teachers” (toùs dè poiménas kai didaskálous). The one definite article for both “pastors” and “teachers” indicates the “close association of functions between two types of ministers who operate within the local congregation. “Even though there is an obvious association between “pastor” and “teacher,” they are also distinctive in ministry (Acts 13:1; Romans12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28). This interpretation is paralleled in contemporary ministry.
As indicated above, sometime these ministerial gifts (Ephesians 4:11) did overlap. For example, Paul functioned not only as an apostle but also as a prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Christ used Paul in a fivefold gifting of itinerant evangelistic ministry. For this apostle, “the work of the ministry is of much greater importance than any hierarchy of officials.”
The aim of all ministry gifts in Ephesians 4:11 is for the equipping of God’s people for the “work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The Greek term for “equipping” (katartismòn) means “to put right” or “to put in order.” In surgery it is applied to the setting of the broken bone. “Equipping” denotes “the bringing of the saints to a condition of fitness for the discharge of their functions in the Body, without implying restoration from a disordered state. The evangelist, along with the other four ministry gifts, is to set the local church in order, making each member fit for the work of ministry. In the case of the evangelist, this “work of service” or “ministry” is “equipping for evangelism.” For the local church to be active in evangelism, the body of Christ must be spiritually healthy.”
The Greek term for “building up” (oikodomēn) refers “to the act of building…to build on something, to build further.” There is a fourfold equipping or maturing function for the evangelist in the church. Even though not specially stated, these functions are easily applied to the pastor’s leadership roles in the local church. For evangelists and pastors to function biblically, their message, motives, methods, and ministry must align with the Christ-given purposes outlined in Ephesians 4:13-16.
Message is continued below in Visionary Coaching.
Now, you may say, “Well, I want God to use me.” Well, do you really? If you want God to use you, you need to stop praying for God to use you and get useable and God will wear you out. God has given you a spiritual gift. How can you know your spiritual gift? Let me give you about five principles to know your spiritual gift.
Number one: Desire. What do you enjoy doing? What do you do naturally? What do you enjoy doing? What do you feel that you do well?
Number two: Discovery. You will discover your gift as you endeavor to do it. Other people will say, “You have the ability to lead in this area.” Dr. Ironside used to say, “It’s a sad thing to hear a man who thinks he has the gift of preaching when no one else has the gift of listening.” 
Number three: Development. You need to stir up the gift of God. That’s what Paul told Timothy. You need to study to show yourself approved unto God. If you have a gift, no matter what it is, it’s like a natural talent. You have a spiritual gift, but you have to develop it.
Number four: Dependence. Your spiritual gift must operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your gifts are supernatural and they operate with supernatural power.
Number five: Deployment. Put it to work. Go to work with other saints. Your gift is significant as it relates to other gifted people.
How Are The Gifts Displayed?
What happens when all of us find our ministry? In Ephesians 4:13 we read, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Now what he’s saying is that he’s given us gifts. When these gifts work together, then the body matures and the body becomes like its head, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be mature. Look in verse 13: “…unto a perfect man…” The word “perfect” here does not mean sinless; it means “mature.”
First, this five-fold leadership team is to help the church become mature in stature. Their ministry is to be active “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” (Ephesians 4:13). This verse paints a picture of the churchmaturing “into a perfect, full-grown man” (eis ándra téleion). “This perfection or completeness is proportionate to the fullness of Christ himself.” The whole body of Christ is viewed as one new man with one faith in the Son of God. “The faith” is the full message of the gospel. “The measure of the stature” (métron hēlikías) indicates a level of spiritual perfection found in the fullness of Christ. The body of Christ is seen as progressing toward its goal of perfection in the fullness of Christ. In short, as Christ inhabits our humanity, we are to display His deity.

Second, this leadership team can help the local churchmature in stability. The Apostle Paul writes, “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” (Ephesians 4:14). In verses 13 and 14 there is a purposeful contrast made between “a perfect full grown man” and “children.” Instead of spiritual maturity, the picture is of “spiritual infantilism.” The immature Christian is “swung around” by the wind and waves of “fashionable heterodoxy. “Instability is one definite sign of immaturity. The Apostle Paul knew a lot about being tossed back and forth on the sea, yet it is far worse for Christians to be “whirled around by every gust of doctrine.” The concept that Paul teaches is not “physical infants in a boat who are helpless to manage it in waves and wind; but of physical men, who know nothing about managing boats, who are infants amid wind and waves.”
Third, this leadership team can help the local churchmature in speech. The Apostle Paul continues, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). “Speaking the truth” (alētheúontes) means “truthing” or “doing the truth” (Wood, 11:59). A mature church does not tolerate error. Mature Christians recognize religious tricksters by comparing them to the truth. They correct the error of these religious charlatans by speaking the truth in love. “Truthing in love” keeps “every joint” (v. 16) limber and flexible in the midst of a changing culture. Someone has said, “Whatever is in the well of the heart comes out in the bucket of speech.” When the heart of the body of Christ is filled with truth and love, Christians will lovingly speak out against all error in their society.
Fourth, this leadership team can help the local church mature in service. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:6, “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.” The ultimate goal of an active, fivefold ministry is a “coordinated body with each member fulfilling his function.” This maturing process depends on the truth that the various ministries in Ephesians 4:11 are interrelated. The whole body of Christ is being “fitted together” and “held together” by each separate “joint.” The Greek term for “supplies” (épichorēgías) is derived from choregos. He “was the man who met the cost of staging a Greek play with its chorus.” It is only when every aspect of the fivefold ministries is working together that the body of Christ receives the full support it needs to do the “work of service.” The lifeblood of the body of Christ is love. Each member is to have a loving heart toward the other members of the body of Christ.
The fivefold ministries of the church are to function like an ensemble singing its various parts. They should produce a harmonic sound throughout the church. Moreover, each ministry joint should be limber, not stiff or limited by spiritual arthritis. Each ministry gift should embrace the other for the dual purpose of equipping the church and evangelizing the lost. When the evangelist is biblically, spiritually, and creatively functioning in the contemporary church, the whole body of Christ is more mature in stature, stability, speech, and service.
When I studied Human Anatomy and Physiology, I found out in college that we have synovial fluid that lubricates these joints. When the cartilage gets dry and the synovial fluid is not there, it gets inflamed and still. It is painful when the body is not lubricated.
What is the synovial fluid? It is love. When we love one another, we don’t inflame one another, we don’t get stiff, and we don’t get rigid. We all have our gifts of God. We become mature in stature – we become like Christ. We become mature in stability – we’re not blown about. We become mature in speech – we know how to speak the truth in love and we become mature. Dear friend, in service, we serve one another, and the body works together!
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking