“And 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 the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11-13.
As stated in the last post, verses 11 through 16 are all one sentence. For this reason and because one tends to run words together in a long sentence, it has been broken down into smaller parts to fully grasp what is being said.
Though verses 11 and 12 have already been studied they have been repeated above for context and because verse 12 will be expanded a little more.
It is stated in verse 11 that Christ gave five gifts to men, and these gifts are specifically for the church, the body of Christ on earth. This is what separates them from the other gifts which seem at times to overlap.
Christ’s five gifts are given to maintain the purity of the church as set up by the original twelve apostles. The gifts given by the Father and by the Holy Spirit are to help the church function properly within that framework.
Now for the reason for the five gifts, verse 12 says first that they are, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry…” Do not separate that phrase, it is not just for the equipping of the saints, it is for the equipping of the saints for work, the work of ministry.
The New American Standard Bible renders these last words as, “for the work of service…” In other words, for the work of service in and out of the church; every Christian has a specific function (job) within the church. There are no exceptions to this.
The work of ministry or service is not a reference to the pastor of a church since many of them are called ministers.
Rather it refers to Christians ministering to the needs of others, whether by teaching the Scriptures, preaching Christ, supplying food or the necessities of life, and ministering to the sick, the poor, or the broken hearted.
Please, please do not become discouraged. If you are frightened at the thought of doing any of these things just pray, pray for friends, folks you hear of or disasters that occur.
Keep a list, pray from it daily, not always all at once, a few a day, whatever the Lord brings to your mind.
In time with Bible study and growth in Christ you will discover what your part is in the body of Christ. When you find your gift you will be ready to do it and even enjoy it, God will not give you something you hate.
“For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors [to the saints in Jerusalem]. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.” Romans 15:26-27.
The word minister here means for those who have an abundance to minister to the poor and needy from their bounty.
In this case, the Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia who had come to know Jesus through the preaching of missionaries from Jerusalem, had plenty of money, so they decided to give to the very poor church in Jerusalem.
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10.
Minister here has the emphasis of attending to anything which is in the interests of another. Notice, this tells the Christian to use their gift which God has given them as a good steward of the Lord.
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians2:4.
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11.
“If anyone ministers…” to minister here is to minister something to someone, to serve someone, or to minister by supplying a need.
The five gifts of Christ are meant to teach the saints (Christians) how to use their gift to minister to others, “for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ…”
The Christians who are gifted to minister to those within the body of Christ, and those who are able to minister the gospel to men and women who are outside the body which brings many new Christians into the church, both edify or build up the body keeping it strong.
And by helping the weak among us to grow enough to minister to others; in this manner the body of Christ literally grows and repairs itself in the like manner that the human body does.
“…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…” Ephesians 4:12-13a.
The training for the edifying, or building up, of the body of Christ goes on until we all come to the unity of the faith. When we all come to a full knowledge of Christ who is the One in whom we have faith.
Our unified declaration of faith in Jesus Christ is first that He is God incarnate, who lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, and rose the third day, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. It is these non-negotiable facts on which the gospel of Jesus Christ is based.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
Christ died for our sins:
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.” Isaiah 53:7-8.
Christ was buried:
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40.
“And they made His grave with the wicked – but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” Isaiah 53:9.
Christ rose again:
“Therefore my [King David’s] heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see [undergo] corruption.” Psalm 16:9-10.
However, without proper training many new Christians are susceptible to the deceptions of Satan.
“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you [lead you astray].” 1John 2:22-26.
The saints, Christians, are to be equipped, trained, or taught to be rooted and grounded in the faith in which they stand. There should be no wavering between faith in Christ and the seemingly logical lies of the devil.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:6-10.
“till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:13.
We will continue with verse 13a in the next post.
Christ’s Church, Ephesians 4:12-13a taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 3-4-16, updated on 6-16-21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.