Ministry Gifts

He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children… but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. “(Eph 4: 11-16)

Paul distinguishes three giftings in his letter to the Corinthians:

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. “(1 Cor 12:4)
The Gifts of the Son: “There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.” (1 Cor 12:5)
The Gifts of the Father: “And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” (1 Cor 12:6)

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, often known as the fivefold ministries, are the gifts that Jesus gave to men. They are distinct from the gifts of the Holy Spirt enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and distinct from the gifts of the Father, sometimes called the “motivational gifts,” listed in Romans 12 vs 6-8.

The gifts of the Son are unique in that they refer to people rather than the gifts of the Holy Spirit which can be “given to each one for the profit of all;” or to the “level of faith” imparted by the Father to every individual to serve in a particular way. Everyone in the church is given a “level of faith” for a specific area (or areas) of service; everyone in the church can be a channel for the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself through a particular supernatural gift or ”manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Cor 12:7), and certain individuals in the church are ministry gifts given  by Jesus to the church to bring it to maturity.

Jesus will be returning for a grown-up; not a child bride. The yardstick we are given for maturity is the “fullness of Christ” Himself. When He returns “we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2) We will be “a perfect man,” we will know Jesus intimately, and our Unity will be complete. The cry of the Saviour’s heart narrated in John 17 will be answered, because we will be one as He and the Father are one. The fivefold ministries are given to the Body so that we can attain to this perfect goal.

How? When the church is functioning and the Body growing according to the Ephesians 4 blueprint, the saints are equipped as for “works of ministry.” The word for ministry – diakonia –means ‘obedient service.’ In other words, the body learns to do what the head tells it to do. And if we untangle the convoluted language of verse 16, the picture that we find at the core is that everyone grows when Love and Truth flow from the head (Christ) through all the connected members. The purpose of the fivefold ministries is to enable that flow of love and truth into and through “every part.”

What comes next is key. This equipping that brings the bride of Christ to maturity is enabled by what Paul calls the “effective working by which every part does its share.” The language  means more in the original Greek than the English translation suggests. The word “Energeia” – ‘effective working’ – is only used in the New Testament  for superhuman power. The body of Christ grows to maturity when, enabled by the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, each member relates to the others through the operation of supernatural connections. Placing this in the context of the gifts of the Father and of the Holy Spirit, this means that we have to apply “a measure of faith” – going beyond our natural abilities or inclinations, and reaching into the Father’s inexhaustible supply – to whatever works of service we are motivated to carry out; and it means that we expect and rely on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to touch the spirits of our brothers and sisters in ways that are impossible in the flesh. The gifts of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all work together as the church grows into the “perfect man.”

In his book “Into Action,” Reinhard Bonnke saysChristianity was never intended to be anything else but an outpouring of the spirit. It is a reviving, quickening, renewing energy. Revival is not an extraordinary work beyond normal Christianity. Christianity is revival.” Reinhart Bonnke has raised the dead, seen thousands of people healed, and led millions to Christ, so he has some credibility. The church cannot grow to maturity without the power of the Holy Spirit impacting every member and enabling each one to respond to the Head by reaching out supernaturally to others. Jesus has put five ministries in place in order to bring this about, so unless leadership is in the hands of all five the growth will be unbalanced and incomplete.

Revival isn’t just about a lot of people getting saved and healed; it’s about the Church growing up.

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