Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Five-fold Ministry Gifts In The Church

The Gifted Ministers Or The Five-fold Office?

Question : Can you please explain what is mean by "gifted ministers" or "the fivefold office" of the New Testament as some people call?

Answer : The following verse is the clearest explanation given by apostle Paul about the gifted ministers,
"11 And He [i.e. Jesus] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 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." (Eph 4:11-13). This means that God by His sovereign choice chose only some some people out of the Church to edify the Church as the gifted extended mouthpiece of Jesus Himself (1 Peter 4:11). Apostle Paul asked the following question to make the saints of God not to become jealous of gifted ministers instead know that these ministers are chosen for them to receive spiritual blessings from the Lord and act as the God-ordained channel of God to release it upon their lives. Paul asked, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?" (1 Cor 12:29). The answer to this question is No, Noo and a BIG NO! This means these few gifted ministers are a gift given by God to all of us who are in the Church, so that we as the Church might get equipped to do powerful ministry for Jesus as His saints and edify the Church along with the fivefold ministers till the whole Church comes to the unity of faith and the experiential knowledge of walking with Jesus the Son of God, thus reaching a stature of a perfect spiritual man which is the fullness of Christ.

The simple explanation for the fivefold gifted ministers in a nut shell is given in the following words, but it does not describe them any way in a detailed manner. 1. Apostles Governs 2. Prophets Guides 3. Evangelists Gathers 4. Pastors Guards and the 5. Teachers Grounds. All of these are the functional authority that Jesus has gifted to some people whom He has chosen by His own will to act as His ordained representative on behalf of Himself in His Church on earth. Because it is all a call to walk in the gifted authority of Jesus Himself and is not based on one's spiritual maturity, hence nobody is greater or bigger than the other in the natural way. But in the spiritual realm God will use Apostles and Prophets to lead and impart much to the Church as He has called them to be a foundation over which He expects all to build the entire Church
(Eph 2:20-22). Both apostolic and prophetic ministries are foundational ministries.

All the five ministering gift of Jesus to the Church together is represented symbolically in the Scripture as the mighty hand of God's authroity
(1 Peter 5:5-6). So each fingers in our hand represent one fivefold office. Apostles are the thumb which supports all other fingers to lift anything and bring the purpose of God to fulfillment, prophets are the index finger which points sin and gives direction, evangelists are the middle finger who will be able to extend the kingdom farther in to the world where others cannot reach, pastors are the ring finger who keep the Church wedded to Christ and teachers are the small finger who give a structured support to establish the saints in God's purpose. The hand of God will be effective when all the fivefold ministry work together in unity of purpose and design. Or else no matter what, it will be a paralysed hand.

These chosen men are called as gifted ministers because as the Scripture says they are
"gifts [given by Jesus] to men" (Eph 4:8) when He ascended to heaven after his resurrection. These gifts of Jesus to the Church are also called as office because it is a position pre-ordained by Jesus and carries authority over the people of God spiritually to guide them to growth. 'Office' in the Greek means 'episkopen' which means "position of overseer". All the five gift of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are all overseer position of spiritual authority of Jesus over His people. Within the Body of Christ which is the Church, these men operate and supply the grace of God to people according to the measure of Christ's gift (Eph 4:7; 1 Cor 12:28-30). So the best gift for each men in the Body of Christ is that which the Lord has given to them individually to operate (1 Cor 12:31). God has placed the gift by calling in each person and has also given the desire to operate it to satisfaction (Php 2:13). So when one person desires to operate in another person's gift, they will not excel, be blessed or satisfied in it.

1. Apostles Governs

The most prominent apostle apart from the twelve apostles Jesus chose was apostle Paul
(Luke 6:12-16). There are some three main divisions in this apostle realm which we must remember. Firstly, it is the foundational apostles who wrote the Scripture by inspiration in the first century and the Canon was closed forever with the final book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ written around 90-96 AD, which was the final book of Scripture written before the death of the last Apostle John in 100 AD. These apostles lived no more after the first century and there can be no other apostle of this type. Secondly, there were the twelve apostles chosen by the Lord and sent out in apostolic mission of whom Judas Iscariot became the betrayer of Jesus later and Matthias replaced him by the Lord's sovereign choice through casting lots (Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:23-26; Prov 16:33). These twelve are unique in their calling that will be given to no other person because these twelve have been chosen to symbolically become the twelve foundations of the wall of the holy city of New Jerusalem, on these twelve foundations their twelve names will be written on it (Rev 21:14). Thirdly, the apostles who were given to the Church as a gift by the Lord Jesus himself (Eph 4:11).

These apostles were there in the first century and has continued to operate in their calling and gift for these last two thousand years. No where in the New Testament is there any slightest hint of these apostles of the Church ceasing to exist or being told that these people will be there only for the first century Church and then no more. Because of the Babylonic spirit invading the Church through Roman Catholicism, the voice of the apostles have ceased to exist because of severe persecution to all these mighty men of God, many of whom became martyrs for the sake of proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ. When this religious Babylon will fall during the first half of the week of Daniel
(Rev 17:16-17), then God says to the apostles and prophets of the Church in heaven and earth to rejoice over the demise of this religious Harlot Babylon forever (Rev 18:20, 24). God has restored all the lost gifts of the Church completely in the 20th century. Now in the 21st century, it is the time for the Church to rise up and shine forth the light of the gospel of Jesus to the whole world (Matt 5:14).

Apostle is derived from Classical Greek word 'apostolos', meaning "one who is sent away, a messenger or ambassador". So christian apostles are messengers sent forth by Jesus specifically to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God. Apostle Paul was specifically called by Jesus to preach Jesus among the Gentile world
(Gal 1:1, 15-17). God chooses and sends specific men from His Church as messengers with a specific message to reach specific people groups (Gal 2:8-9). They will be able to exercise a divine authority over the sphere of influence which God has appointed for them to do ministry (2 Cor 10:12-16). Apostles are humble men of great sacrifice who move mightily with accompanying signs, wonders and mighty deeds (2 Cor 12:11-12; 11:7; 1 Cor 15:10). Apostolic authority is given for edification and not for destroying peoples lives by acting as rulers over people instead of being servant to both God and men (2 Cor 13:10; Luke 22:25-27). Even apostle Paul Himself being one of the most eminent apostle said, "For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men." (1 Cor 4:9, AKJV). Apostles are the last and the least to receive honor from people because they are sold out to please God and God alone (Gal 1:10).

Are there apostles today in the Church? Many are already present after this present-truth has been restored to the Church
(2 Peter 1:12). Yes they are also being raised up again in the governing authority of Jesus to bring a fullness of the revelation of the Word and the Spirit. These apostles will lay a strong foundation as wise master builders and will plant mighty apostolic centers of revelation through which Jesus Christ will completely be revealed to the Church. For this end time special endeavour to be fullfilled within our generation, a special grace of God will be given to them (1 Cor 3:6, 10-11). These spiritual foundation to bring Jesus Christ out of the saints lives will be laid by the apostles in great spiritual labour pain of prayer and perseverance, and they will not give up until they see Christ formed in all the saints (Gal 4:19). The saints will be led to grow spiritually until they start to walk in the glory of the sons of God (Heb 2:10). Because God has given the apostles the ability to move towards all the other four ministry gift of the prophet, evangelist, teacher and pastor and also draw them towards themselves inorder to lead them in to greater spiritual depth through a strong doctrine of the word, they are generally represented as a thumb finger. Glory!

2. Prophets Guides

The prophets are there to guide the Church along with the apostles who are called to govern the Church of God. These two are foundational office of the Church
(Eph 2:19-20). The apostles receive the blue print from heaven and start to build a work through the prophets who bring revelation, guidance and admonition for the Church to excel and prosper spiritually (Ezra 5:2). For most of the time in the past centuries, the lack of revelation of these two offices have made the Church to be strengthless to face the babylonic adulteration of the word of God.

These prophets are not like the foundational prophets who wrote the Scripture in the Old Testament times
(Deut 31:24-26; Jer 1:1-3; Jer 51:60; 36:2). Those prophets spoke on behalf of God all the time, where people who believed the word of the Lord that came through them always prospered (2 Chro 20:20; Ezra 6:14). No person were born again including the prophets in the Old Testament, so they did not have the Spirit of God within them as like the New Testament believers (John 14:17; Hen 13:5). The Spirit would come upon these mighty Old Testament prophets some times and would make them speak as His mouth piece, then would leave them after the work of God is done (Ezek 1:28-2:7; 3:14, 22, 24; Jer 7:1; 26:1). In the New Covenant, all the saints who are born again and have the Spirit of Christ is greater than all the prophets of the Old Covenant times in their spiritual standing and capability to access God (Rom 8:9). So only the greatest of all the Old Testament Prophets and greatest even among those born of women is John the Baptist (Matt 11:11; Luke 7:28), who was born filled with the Spirit of God from his mother's womb, but is lesser than the least of the saints of the New Testament (Luke 1:13, 15). In the New Testament times, all the saints who have the testimony of a born again experience have the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10). But the prophets have a Spiritual message to the Church always and will be mature in His prophecy because of a specific gift of prophetic mantle of Jesus over His life and ministry (1 Cor 14:3, 5). A prophet will be able to give a personal prophecy or atleast a word or two to encourage believers in their walk with the Lord (1 Cor 14:24-25). At the same time a prophet may be used any time to bring a sign message of repentance to turn towards the Lord (1 Cor 14:22). A prophet is the one who can bring the rivers of God in to the Church and train people to get in and swim in it. Once the prophet stir the prophetic mantle of Jesus over his life, other will be able to jump in and prophecy among themselves to one another in one degree or the other (1 Cor 14:29-32). These New Testament prophets are gifted enough to be able to do this at their will by the soverign will of God, but the spirit must be tested and the prophecy judged by the elders before the prophet can get in to that full flow of prophesying over the saints if no one knows the reputation of the prophet (1 Cor 14:29; 1 John 4:1).

These New Testament prophets were intially raised by God in Jerusalem among apostles and they came to the apostolic Antioch Church in the early 1st century Church to bring great edification, exhortation and comfort to the Church of God
(Acts 11:27). Then one mature prophet leader named Agabus stood up in the Church and predicted that a great famine was going to come through out all the world which exactly happened as he has said (Acts 11:28). In these end of end times, such strong prophets will rise up and be able to edify and predict the destruction that will come upon the whole world, to keep the Church awake and to make it watch and pray for God's salvation through the biggest event in the history of the Church which is the rapture of all saints (Luke 21:36; 1 Thes 4:14-18). Prophetic prediction of events with great accuracy to the Church will come through these prophets. Because of the visit of Jersalem prophets to Antioch Church, a strong prophetic Spirit settled over the Church and made them minister to the Lord continiously in prayer. Then the Antioch Church was able to download the blue print of heaven and thus send apostles strategically to make the world be turned upside down (Acts 13:1-3; 17:6). This will happen in our generation too in the coming days. Jesus himself promised to send apostles and prophets to the world to challenge them to face the kingdom of God face to face (Luke 11:49). These end time apostle's and prophet's will heal the sick and demonstrate that the kingdom of God has come near to people so that they could make a wise choice to be subject to the power of the heavenly King of kings before the Great Tribulation comes to the whole world (Luke 10:9-12). God has been restoring the office of prophets and aposltes in the past twenty to thirty years in a tangible way. Ofcourse finally it is coming in to visibility to all people, especially to the Church of the living God (1 Tim 3:15).

3. Evangelists Gathers

Evangelist are the proclaimers of the good news of salvation to the whole world. They are the middle finger who reach our to the world with the gospel of the kingdom. In the early Church there were many evangelists within the Church, but the one and only person in the New Testment who was called as 'evangelist' was Philip who first went to Samaria to preach the gospel to the heathens and as a result won many converts through his evangelistic ministry
(Acts 21:8). Philip was one of the seven intial deacons chosen to serve food to the saints in the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 6:5-6). Philip who started as a servant to the saints in serving food later became an extravagant evangelist who ministered mightily by the power of God in signs, wonders and miracles (Acts 8:4-8). Evangelist are good at preaching Christ to people who do not know them (Acts 8:5). They also preach things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, then those who believe their message will be given water baptism and will be added to the Church (Acts 8:12).

Timothy the apostolic son of Paul the apostle was exhorted by him to stir up the calling of the evangelist which he had and do the work of the evangelist
(2 Tim 4:5). Apostle Paul himself being an apostle (1 Tim 1:1; 2 Tim 1:1), also did the work of an evengelist in proclaiming the gospel to all parts of the Roman world with mighty signs, wonders and miracles (Rom 15:18-19). This shows that every minister of God who is chosen in this fivefold ministry might have a dominant primary calling and a secondary calling of any of the four other fivefold ministry in combination or even all the four added together in some measure.

Until the start of the 20th century, no one specifically wanted to call some one by the name evangelist because God had not restored the full power which was lost during the dark ages of the Church. But because of God's mercy it was restored and the whole world saw the mighty gospel proclaimed in power through the men and women of God whom God raised and used in the last century.

4. Pastors Guards

Pastors are essentially shepherds who take care of the spiritual health of God's people. They tend the flock of God and protect them from the wrong influence and destructive ways of the world mainly. The pastors are also called to feed the flock of God with good spiritual food
(Acts 20:28; Jer 3:15). All pastors can teach, but cannot systematically teach like the teachers do. All the fivefold ministry are part of the team of elders, overseers and bishops from whom pastors are part of the team ministry (Acts 20:17). One man ministry is not the perfect will of God for the Church, but the eldership ministry fits well to God's original plan to use spiritually mature men to be trusted servants to all (1 Peter 5:1-2; 1 Tim 3:1, 8; Titus 1:5, 7). The words elder, bishop, deacon and overseer, all of them points to the same meaning of someone who watches over others for their spiritual growth. Together they are one team of shepherds who symbolically and spiritually guard the people of God.

Even though the pastor gift fits in to Church eldership category of spiritually mature men of God who lead, still pastors are unique in their calling and so there can be no doubt about their work to shepherd the people of God which they are called to do individually. Jesus himself is the chief pastor of all the elders spiritually
(Heb 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4). Those who are under the shephering care of the Lord become the shepherds and elders of the Church.

When a pastor segregates himself to build a Church for which He is called, he will build a weak Church without the other fivefold ministries working along with him. So the pastor as a responsible leader should form a eldership in the Church and support the other ministries to work along with him. Jesus sent His prophetic message to the pastors of individual Churches present in Asia Minor in the first century, but the message came through the prophetic apostle John
(Rev 2-3). This shows that unless a pastor is connected and open to hearing from apostles, prophets and other ministers of God, they will not be able to stay aground and grow spiritually themselves inorder to lead others in to spiritual growth.

5. Teachers Grounds

The teachers systematically teach the people of God and feed them spiritually with very good spiritual food. Because of lack of revelation regarding this office of the teacher, many good writers have merged the office of the pastor and teacher as one
(Eph 4:11). All pastors can teach the flock of God, but all cannot become a systematic teacher of the word of God. What does it mean? It means that a specific anointing to teach the doctrines of God is needed with great knowledge and understanding of the word before someone can be able to teach the word of God and be systematic teachers of the word.

The teachers of the word are needed desperately to ground the Church in understanding their calling and to apply the word of God in their contemporary world of their day to day practical lives. In the first century Church, great teachers of the word like Apostle Paul was instrumental in grounding the Church with an indepth foundation to defend the truth through their anointed and revelatory teaching of the word. The prophets and teachers worked together at a certain period of time in the Church, which led to the apostolic movement being born within the Church
(Acts 13:1-3). Teachers like Paul became prophetic teachers. Prophetic teaching is the womb that brings apostolic movement.

God has brought teachers who proved to the Church in the last century of how the office of the teacher is much needed to bring the restorative power of God through being established in the word and thus coming in to the fullness by the prophetic and apostolic move of God. Jesus himself was called as a teacher in the nation of Israel
(John 3:2). Jesus taught many truths through simple stories and parables which gave understanding to the spiritually hungry people, but veiled the truth of God to those who came just to have a jolly time pass (Matt 13:10-16).

Elijah Revival Fire Power Is Coming

I believe that a Elijah revival fire power is on the way to revive the Church. We see that a rain came after the fire power demonstration of Jehovah and filled the whole land. In the same way after this fire of God spreads through all His apostles and prophets whom God has chosen to send and will use
(Luke 11:49), Great persecution may arise but the Lord will prevail and glorify through His servants in the coming days (Rev 18:20). This fire of God will release a spirit of prayer to come upon the Church, and therefore all will get filled with the Spirit of God and will pray persevering sustained heaven's prayer through their lips (Rom 8:26-27). When the Spirit of God falls upon people corporately to release this fire of Elijah, all men will hear in their own language the wondrous works of God spoken through the lips of all saints, and also at other times when it is not a sign tongue but a plain one, those inside the Church will understand in their spirit that the saints who are speaking in tongues are actually praising and magnifying God supernaturally and thus are preparing for His enthronement upon their lives and upon the whole Church (Acts 2:3-4, 6,-7, 11-13; 10:44-46; Psa 22:3). This will also be the new wine that Jesus has stored for the end time Church (John 2:10-11).

Hear now what the Scripture says,
"41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 46 Then the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel." (1 Kings 18:41-46).

Just as the
"little a man's hand" (I Kings 18:44) preceeded the mighty flooding rain in the prophetic time of Elijah, so will it be with the five ministry giftings of Jesus' extended hands (1 Peter 5:5,6; Eph 4:11). The greatest end time apostolic outpouring of the rain of the Holy Spirit will start in our generation with a little cloud in the size of a man's hand through the visible apostolic restorative fivefold ministry. Then it will increase in purity and power that will astonish every one within the Church of Jesus Christ because no one has still seen, heard or known such a mighty restorative work within the Church or outside of it. The hand of the Lord will come upon the end time men and maid servants in such a way that they will run to and fro all around the world to proclaim the gospel supernaturally and will bring a great harvest in to the Church of the living God. These mighty servants of God will be able to speak in to the lives and affairs of nations and its political leaders around the world and will exhibit the positive power of God all around the world for HIS GLORY!

The reason for this mighty end time Elijah fire power outpouring will be to prepare the Church for rapture and for the world to finally come in to the knowledge of the gospel of the kingdom before the GREAT TRIBULATION begins. Maranatha! O Lord Come!


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1 comment:

CMASON said...

this is great reading you really explained about the fivefold ministry with scripture I was having a hard time understanding not any more keep up the good work!!! GOD BLESS YOU!S

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