40721Provision for Growth in the Church,Ephesians 4:11-12 By Chuck Schiedler, ,,,~Grace Daily Inspirational ~,June 13, 2014
- Jun 12, 2014
Provisionfor Growth in the Church
By Chuck Schiedler
11) “And, on the one hand, He Himself gave apostles, also prophets, also evangelists, also pastors and teachers”Now, Paul lists some of the specific gifts given to the Church. The terms “apostles”, “prophets”, “evangelists”, “pastors” and “teachers” all occur in the accusative case which means they are the direct objects of the verb “gave”. This grammatical relationship indicates He gave these members as gifted ones, so these gifts are directly connected with our created being. We did not receive them after becoming members of the Body.“On the one hand” (men) He gave “apostles”. This conjunctive particle is used to distinguish the word it occurs with from those which follow. It is commonly used in association with the conjunction “de” to create a list of things as is the case here. The conjunction “de” is translated “also” three times in this verse separating “apostles” from the “prophets”, “prophets” from the “evangelists” and “evangelists” from the “pastors and teachers”. The following grammatical evidence shows there are four separate gifts spoken about here, not five as is sometimes taught.First, the conjunction connecting “pastors and teachers” is “kai”. It simply refers to a connection between two things. The other conjunction translated “also” (de) not only indicates a connection between two things but it also emphasizes there is something different when the connected words or phrases are compared. Often both of these conjunctions are translated “and”, but I have rendered them in a manner which accentuates their core meanings. Second, evidence the “pastors and teachers” are connected as one gift is shown by the fact these two nouns share the definite article “tous”. This article appears a total of four times in verse 11, which signifies there are four separate gifts listed. The other three occurrences of “tous” are coupled with each of the first three gifts listed.“Apostles” (tous . . . apostolous) are the first gifted ones cited who Jesus Christ gave to the Church. This word literally means ones sent from, and thus, ones dispatched. They were sent forth to establish a message, and Paul was the central one Jesus Christ chose to deliver His message of God’s Grace to the Body of Christ (Gal. 1:1 – 2:10, note 1:1 and 2:8; Titus 1:1-3). A number of other “apostles” are mentioned in the Book of Acts and Epistles who worked in association with Paul so the “administration of the grace of God” would gain a foundation throughout the far reaches of the inhabited world (Eph. 2:20; 3:2-5; Col. 1:23).“Prophets” (tous . . . propheetas) are recorded second as gifted individuals given for distribution of the gospel. This noun consists of two words which literally mean speech beforehand. As used in the Bible, a prophet is one who transmitted an original message received from God to those for whom it was intended. The content of a prophet’s message could include historical truths, present events and future realities. Before the message our Lord delivered to the Church was written down, prophets were the channel through whom God’s Word was brought to Christians (Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 14:1, 29-33). Many of those designated as “prophets”, including Paul, were also gifted “apostles”. The purpose of both “apostles” and “prophets” was to institute the groundwork needed to launch the gospel. Then, both of these gifts ceased after the message had been adequately received from Jesus Christ, recorded, and circulated throughout the Church (1 Cor. 3:10-12, 13:8-13; Eph. 2:20). These are two of the gifts God “rendered inoperative” (katargeo) 7 when His need for them became obsolete._____________________________________________________________________________________7 This compound word comes from three Greek words meaning down, not and work. Occurring fourtimes in First Corinthians 13:8-11, it carries the idea of idling down to a non-working state.
The third group of persons mentioned as gifts given to the Church are “evangelists” (tous . . . euaggelistas). This is also a two part word meaning announcers of good. It is built on the same root as the noun “gospel” (euaggelion), so evangelists are those who proclaim the good news of the gospel message. Evangelists replaced the “apostles” since the need to receive and establish revelation of truth had been completed. Certainly “evangelists” are to personally carry the gospel to those who are in unbelief and headed toward eternal condemnation. However, the emphasis of this passage focusses on how these individuals were given to the Body “toward the preparation of the saints” (v. 12).So, the primarily reason evangelists are mentioned here is in regard to their job of training other believers in the art of sharing the gospel. The eternal truths of Scripture never change. Nevertheless, because biblical realities must be related to the lost in light of prevailing societal views, constantly changing philosophies and varying beliefs among people in different geographic locations, Christians need continuing education so we can evangelize our generation. Gifted evangelists insure each Body member can know how to effectively urge all people, with whom we come in contact, to believe the salvation message (1 Cor. 2:1-5; Col. 4:5-6).Finally, “pastors and teachers” (tous . . . poimenas kai didaskalous) were given to the Church. “Pastors” (poimenas) are those who shepherd a flock of sheep. The noun form of this word occurs only here in the New Testament. However, an action form is used in two other passages which indicate Church elders are to be involved in shepherding the flock of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2). It is necessary for those who fill a pastoring roll as trainers in the Body of Christ to also be “teachers” (didaskalous). This noun describes those who can instruct believers with Scriptural truth based on a time-tested knowledge of the Word. In addition, this biblical understanding must be combined with godly character – a lifestyle worthy of respect – in order to have a lasting, positive impact on the Church (Phil. 3:17; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5).In the same way as evangelists replaced the apostles, prophets were replaced by the pastor/teachers. Paul and other prophets orally received truth from God for the purpose of delivering it to the Church. Subsequently, they wrote it down and it became our permanent record of Scripture (1 Cor. 3:10-12; Eph. 2:18). Now, pastor/teachers, who replaced these prophets, study this record and help members of the Body comprehend it (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:9; 2 Peter 2:1).In contexts where “pastors and teachers” are discussed, they are consistently represented as a plurality of gifted members provided to train the Body and are never spoken about in terms of being one individual, even when a gathering of believers was few in number (Acts 12:1, 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2). Also, these gifted ones are never designated by a position held in the Church. Furthermore, they are never called Reverend or given celebrity status. In contrast, they are regularly portrayed as self-supporting servants (Acts 20:32-35; 1 Cor. 9:6-18; Phil. 4:18; 1 Thess. 2:6; 2 Thess. 3:7-10). Pastor/teachers are simply presented as one of the cogs in God’s spiritual machine, the Body of Christ, specifically to educate the other members so all can participate in the “work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12). God did not intend for them to be perceived as more important than other members who faithfully contribute to the Body through the exercise of their gifts (Rom. 12:16; 1 Cor. 12:24-25). Actually, the Word never gives the idea any one gifted individual should be primary or dominant in any assembly; that designation is reserved for Jesus Christ, alone (Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 1:18, 2:19; Heb. 4:14; 1 Peter 5:4).This list is not intended to represent a complete record of all gifts which endure during this administration of Grace. These gifted individuals are simply involved in preparing Christians for the work of ministry, which is clarified by the upcoming context. Additional gifts mentioned in the Epistles, excluding ones having passed off the scene, are designed to serve the Body in order to fulfill every other need.12) “toward the preparation of the saints, for the work of ministry, resulting in the building up of the body of Christ,”The reason Jesus Christ gave gifted members to mentor the Body with Christian norms is “toward the preparation of the saints”. The preposition translated “toward” (pros) directs these Church trainers to the goal which they are to pursue. Their purpose is to follow a course which will accomplish the “preparation” (katartismon) of all the other believers so they will be competent to do the “work of ministry” (2 Tim. 2:2). This word is derived from a noun which transliterates into the English word artisan (artisis) prefixed by “kata”, indicating repetition. Their combined meaning is to perfect something, often by restoration. This noun occurs only here in the New Testament, however, its action form is used for the restoration of fishing nets, unity among believers and Christians who are contemplating sin (Matt. 4:21; 1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 6:1). It is also used to describe the preparation of a disciple, Jesus’ earthly body and the ages during creation (Luke 6:40; Heb. 10:5; 11:3). As this word applies to believers, we need to be re-crafted with godly knowledge and character to be prepared or equipped for ministry (2 Tim. 3:17).When people are first saved, our ultimate destination to be with the Lord forever is based solely on the positional righteousness we have in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Then, spiritual restoration must begin, which will prepare us to serve the Lord during this lifetime. For this process, “pastors and teachers” were given as trainers to equip us “for the work of ministry”. The noun translated “ministry” (diakonias) is a very interesting word built from the noun “konia”, meaning dust, and the preposition “dia”, which means through. This word describes a person involved in busy-ness of any kind, whose activity is illustrated by kicking up dust throughout the process of purposeful movement. For believers, this spiritual business consists of promoting the truths of the gospel through the conduit of transformed lives empowered by the Spirit.“Diakonia” is the primary label found in the Epistles to define Christian “ministry” (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 3:7-9; 5:18).8 Since this context connects every believer to this “ministry”, the indication is all Christians are in The Ministry. The importance of this truth bears repeating. Every single believer is to be involved in ministry, not just those who have a pastoral gift. God’s intent for all His children is for each of us to progress toward spiritual maturity, leaving behind our flesh-controlled infancy, in order for us to be effective for Him. All Christians can and should grow to become good examples, competent to counsel, able to evangelize and teachers of one another – “the work” of ministry (Rom. 15:14; Gal 6:1-2; Phil. 3:17; Col. 3:16-17)._____________________________________________________________________________________8 Paul also commonly uses the related noun “diakonos” to designate himself and others as “ministers” ofthe Gospel of Grace (Rom. 15:8; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 3:7; Col. 1:7).As believers mature and spend more time carrying out ministry work; their efforts will cause “the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). The noun translated “building up” (oikodomeen) comes from two words which mean the building of a house and is often translated “edification”. The Body of Christ, the Church, is referenced by this house analogy both regarding a structure where God dwells and a place from which His truth is sustained (1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 2:19, 22; 1 Tim. 3:15). This verse teaches: Optimal edification of the Church can only become a reality when all the saints are involved. Believers who grasp this concept should have renewed vigor in regard to their own life’s purpose as well as encouraging other members to exercise their Body-building gifts. As we have seen, according to His distinct purpose, God placed gifted people in the Body in a manner which pleased Him. A believer who realizes the important part he or she plays in God’s divine production, which centers on evangelizing the lost and edifying those who are saved, will be revitalized in regard to their individual service for the Lord.
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