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Ephesians 4:11

The Gifts of Christ

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

The gifts that were given to the church are listed in this verse. Most modern translations rightly assume that the gifts were given to individuals in the church for the benefit of the church. "And truly He gave some to be apostles, etc...." (MKJV)

The office of the apostle was a limited one, ending with the death of the original apostles. Vincent's Word Studies says, "The distinguishing features of an apostle were, a commission directly from Christ: being a witness of the resurrection: special inspiration: supreme authority: accrediting by miracles: unlimited commission to preach and to found churches." An apostle is distinguished from a messenger (angel) by the degree of authority given to him. The apostle did not only carry the message of Christ but had the authority to act in the name of Jesus. This office ended with the death of the original apostles but, through their writings, testimony, and other works continues to bless the church even today.

The gift of prophecy does not necessarily include the ability to foretell future events. "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort." (1 Corinthians 14:3) It appears that in the early church, before the New Testament had been completed and circulated, there my have been a need for those who could foretell the future, however that is not one of the gifts of the modern prophet.

"God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son..." (Hebrews 1:1-2) Jesus replaced the prophets as the medium through whom God has spoken. Jesus was the greatest of all prophets and there was no more need for the ability to tell the future, because He had the final word. Many people today claim to speak words that come directly to them from God. They are merely fortune tellers disguised as Christians. A prophet should encourage people to grow in Christian faith and character and comfort the people with the prophecies of scripture.

Another important gift is that of an evangelist. The evangelist's job is to proclaim the gospel to the world. Every Christian has a measure of this gift and the duty to use it, but there are some who are especially gifted and will lead many, even hundreds of thousands of people, to Christ. The gift of evangelism is the method that God uses to call more people into His church. The evangelist is, therefore, essential to church growth.

Pastors are the shepherds of God's flocks. They watch over the congregation and keep them on the road to holiness and righteous living. They guide their people in their service to the lord, minister to their needs and oversee the various aspects of the church's ministries.

The gift of the teacher is important for the spiritual growth of the church members. He should not only teach the scriptures but also disciple the members as Christ discipled the twelve.

Each of these gifts help the church operate as a unit in proclaiming the gospel to the world. Jesus did not send His disciples to preach the word without preparing to disciple the many people who would eventually join His church. We are fortunate to have these gifts or we would have a weak faith, a weak church, and would be overrun by the false doctrines of the world.

Before The Throne:

We all have gifts that can be used to help the church grow. Ask the Lord to help you discover and develop your spiritual gifts. Pray for other gifts that you believe you may need. Give Him thanks for the gifted leaders in your church. Submit yourself to them so that you can learn and serve the Lord the way He intended you to do.

For Further Study:

** he: Eph_2:20; 3:5; Rom 10:14-15; 1Co 12:28; Jud 1:17; Rev 18:20; 21:14; ** evangelists: Act 21:8; 2Ti 4:5: ** pastors: 2Ch 15:3; Jer 3:15; Mat 28:20; Act 13:1; Rom 12:7; 1Co 12:29; Heb 5:12; 1Pe 5:1-3;


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