So … because of what I’ve just said. What was that?
Paul has quoted Psalm 68.
The king in this Psalm has come home from a victory and parades what he had taken back from the enemy: the spoils and the recaptured soldiers. Paul doesn’t focus on the gifts the king received but on the gifts he freely gave after he received them.
The King has recaptured his soldiers – us!
He has ascended and has sent the Gift, the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has distributed those gifts.
It cost God for our free gifts.
It was the death on the cross. It was the fact that the King descended to the lower, earthly regions.
“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.” Ephesians 4: 11-13
So … because of what I’ve just said … Christ himself gave …
Gurus? Geniuses? Beyond reach? Untouchables? Hierarchies? NO none of those.
The Lord Jesus Christ descended to earth to pay the price and then ascended having laid the foundation for the Church. In the same way. This is really important so let me stress again. In the same way the Lord Jesus Christ who from heaven sends the Gift, the Holy Spirit, His presence within gifts (of which there are many) to us.
So … in the same way Christ, through the Holy Spirit, has sent 5 ministries to the Church. These are not offices high above all. These are not an elite SAS force that the ordinary pew-filler will spend their whole life hoping for such a title. These have been given. It is high risk. A gift can be discarded, forgotten, neglected, abused, slandered and put on a cross to die by those the gift was given to. If anyone serves the Lord and His Church within the parameters of these ministries then you will have experienced such risks. Reaching out to care for those in need can result in you being hurt as the hurting can hurt. But that is the same way. Any other way is not the right way. Many have experienced the spiritual abuse of a leader who got it the wrong way round. I am concerned when I see people moving into these ministries and what is first in their minds is their remuneration and rights. Spiritual abuse is not far away.
In the same way. So … given. These 5 ministries are gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit who is the Gift sent by Christ who is also present for where one part of the Godhead is God is.
Jesus the apostle (Heb 3:1) sent to the earth as a messenger. He moved and He mobilises others with a call to the nations for that is His heart.
Jesus the prophet (John 6:14; 8:28) sent to the earth to speak repentance and holiness, not afraid to preach about the destruction of sin.
Jesus the evangelist (Mark 2:17) sent to bring good news to the broken and those who are lost, least and the last.
Jesus the pastor (John 10:11) sent to feed and take care of the sheep who lays down His own agenda for those He loves.
Jesus the teacher (John 3:12) sent to bring wisdom through what He taught with no subject off-limits.
In the same way. So … sent, given to do the same in the same way for the purpose of equipping, which is repairing, making whole, mending the people of God in order that they will:
- Serve through work. His work.
- Build and attain, to reach, arrive, to come, to get there.
- To the place of unity where only then will we have …
- Personal and experiential knowledge of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- To be what God intended, to be mature.
- That is to be conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole measure!
We have to do it the same way.