Following on from last week’s focus on receiving and using Spiritual Gifts, today I am going to focus on God’s grace in carrying out some of these Spiritual Gifts.
Grace to Every Member
I have often considered myself on the receiving end of grace and to an extent that is true in that we all receive God’s grace, but it doesn’t stop there. The scripture verses today change the focus from ourself to others and talks about how we pass on God’s grace to others.
“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” Ephesians 4:7
“Grace,” the Greek noun charis indicates the “exceptional effect produced by generosity, favour, given to us for great works of grace to be carried out in the world. The New Testament clearly indicates that “each one,” each Christian has been given gifts in order to build up the Body of Christ and carry out Christ’s work in the world (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Peter 4:10). The idea of giving is predominant in this passage of Ephesians and in fact 416 times in the New Testament we are called to use our gifts for the benefit of others and the building up of God’s Kingdom, “as Christ apportioned it.” Christ has measured out to each one of us one or more gifts for service.
Let me reminded you of some of the Gifts Given to the Church and how they are to be actioned.
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers
So, Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
Those with these gifts are tasked with – building up the church.
An Apostle is an individual or individuals sent with Jesus personal authority to establish his church. The original apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus ministry (Acts 1:21-22). Later apostles included Paul, who had a special revelation from Jesus. In addition to the Twelve and Paul, the New Testament lists James, Barnabas, Andronicus, and Junia. Though an apostle might have a home congregation, much of the apostle’s time is more than likely spent traveling, since apostles are a gift to the larger Church.
Here is a working definition of a prophet: The gift of prophecy is the special ability … to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely anointed utterance.
An evangelist is one who brings good news, announces good news, a proclaimer of the gospel.
Every local congregation today needs men and women as gifted evangelists to bring people to faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Local church evangelists are also important because they can instruct other church members how to effectively share their faith.
Pastor is the Greek noun poimen, “shepherd, one who serves as guardian or leader.”
Not all with the gift of pastor are ordained, ministers paid by a congregation. The largest church in the world in Seoul, Korea, uses house church leaders to extend the ministry to neighbourhoods and apartment buildings all over the metropolitan area. Surely these are pastors. Certainly, the elders of the Ephesian church had that sort of role (Acts 20:28).
Teacher is the Greek noun didaskalos, teacher. The Hebrew title rabbi, sometimes used to address Jesus, uses this word. The term teacher describes officers in Christian congregations here and in Acts 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; 2 Timothy 1:11; and James 3:1. The Great Commission includes this vital teaching function “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Teaching is the ministry of the Word (Luke 1:2; Acts 6:4).Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders and small group leaders who teach are so important to the work of the local church!
Together each of us are to do the work of ministry ourselves and not leave it just to the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers. However, as the scriptures tell us we need to be trained by the Pastors and teachers. More on that next week.
I encourage you to think on these words, pray about then and talk about them with your family.
Please feel free to give feedback on any or all of these weekly thoughts.