In Wednesday’s devotion we learnt that the five-fold ministry gifts are the call to leadership. It is not something that one desires, but rather the call is one that is sounded by God Himself. We learnt that the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors have three (3) functions. Let’s recap.
- The perfecting of the saints
- To accomplish the work of the ministry
- For the edification of the body of Christ.
In Thursday’s special edition, we expounded on the way the five-fold functions. Now that we understand this, what’s the point? Ephesians 4:13-15 has the answer.
“13 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: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
In John 17:21-22, Jesus prayed that the Church may be one. “21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:”
When we inspect the Godhead, we see that they are three personalities but one Spirit. In the same way, we the members of the body, although we are different individuals, we are united by virtue of the fact that we share the same Spirit. Too often, we have tried to be unified by abandoning our differences and uniqueness. We are trying to unite on the wrong level. Being united in the faith means that we all become one, that is, we live in harmony with each other as we reflect and manifest the character of Jesus Christ; the fruit of the spirit; and we work together to do the will of our Father. One people, one goal! This should be our mentality. The five-fold leaders through their ministries, help to birth this unity in the body.
- Knowledge of Christ
This refers to the true knowledge of Christ’s nature, dignity and benefits, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon. It also speaks of recognition.
It is dumbfounding that there are many believers who do not know the basic things about Jesus, His nature, identity and purpose. Sadly so, because we must know who we represent and submit to. Bringing the saints to the knowledge of Jesus Christ is accomplished through much teaching and preaching of the word; not excluding the prophets, the gospels or the apostles’ writings. The entire Bible MUST be emphasized because every part of it speaks of Jesus Christ. I do not believe in disqualifying any part of the word as irrelevant since they all reveal Christ. Teaching, which is a five-fold ministry gift, is the thing that will destroy the spirit of ignorance in the body of Christ and bring people to the knowledge / recognition of Christ.
The five-fold ministry gifts bring maturity. Because they produce unity and the knowledge of Christ, one can be stabilized, firmly rooted in Christ and in the word of God. When the Scriptures are divulged and taught effectively, the saints mature. When the saints are in fellowship, unified with their brethren, they cannot be swayed by anything contrary to the truth; they have been trained to recognize it. Do you notice how difficult it is for gangs or cliques to be broken up? This is because the belief systems of the groups are taught, upheld and preserved. The information and way of life that they have received becomes cemented in them to the extent that it is difficult to deviate from and nothing can sway them. Now, it is not that we should become mindless robots, but the principle is that the five-fold ministry produces maturity in the saints and maturity produces stability.
To simplify all this, the goal of the gifts functioning in the way that they do, is to bring the entire body into unity, the knowledge of Christ, and maturity which produces stability. It is important to stress that we need the input of ALL the gifts. The Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors; it must begin in the local assembly, no man can do it alone.
Father I pray today that You will raise men and women with the vision and mandate to reignite the effective working of the five-fold ministry gifts in our local assemblies. I pray that Your people will be fully equipped and lacking nothing, so that our impact in this world will be what You want it to be. I pray this in Jesus’ name, AMEN!
By Joanna Lloyd