11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
There are some people who teach that there is no longer Apostles and Prophets in what has come to be called the five-fold ministry, believing that these two offices or callings no longer exist today. There isn’t any scriptural backing for this, actually it’s quite to the contrary as you can see from the Apostle Paul’s writings. Not only do we see the five-fold ministry here listed by the Apostle Paul but he also writes, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?” (1 Corinthians 12:27-29) So what is the purpose of the five-fold ministry within the body of Christ?
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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 fulness 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:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
The five-fold ministry was given to the Church by God for the perfecting of the saints, meaning for the equipping or training of the saints for the work of ministry or the service of ministering so that the body of Christ can adequately minister to the many needs of both the body of Christ as well as to those who are not yet part of the body of Christ.
The five-fold ministry was also given to the Church for the edifying of the body of Christ. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (Romans 14:17-19)
Till we all come in the unity of the faith – The Church is to be a unified body, that there should be no schism in the body, but rather that the body is unified in the faith or the gospel teaching of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. (Philippians 1:27) “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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 15:1-4)
So the five-fold ministry was given to the Church by God so that the body of Christ could be fully equipped or trained for the service of ministering to others, as well as for the edifying of itself in love as seen in verse 16 of Ephesians chapter 4 as the Apostle Paul continues expounding upon the functionality of the five-fold ministry. Not only were we to come to the unity of the faith or the gospel teaching of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and how we are to partake of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection in our own lives, but also the five-fold ministry was given so that we could all come in to the full discernment of the knowledge of the Son of God. Understanding who the Son of God is and what work was accomplished through him through his atoning sacrifice unto God the Father. “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:11-15)
This knowledge of who the Son of God is, the accomplished work of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice to God, and our partaking of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection through the gospel message brings us “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”. Where we “grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”. So that we are “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”.
The five-fold ministry equipping or training the saints for the work of ministering and for the edifying of itself in love coupled with the correct understanding of the knowledge of who the son of God is, his accomplished mediatorial role between God and men, so that we could be born again by partaking of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, was to bring us unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ so that we would not be any longer deceived by false doctrines of men whereby they wait in cunning craftiness to deceive you.
This accomplished mediatorial role of Christ between God and men by the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, finds it’s fulfillment in the correct understanding of the knowledge of who the son of God really is and how we are to partake of the gospel message of hope of the born again process of God by being born of water and of the Spirit (Jn 3:1-7) through partaking of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.” (Galatians 3:20) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
This correct understanding of the knowledge of who the Son of God really is brings you to the fulfillment of the plan of Salvation laid out for us by the mediatorial work of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, which is found in the fulfilling of the gospel message of hope where we are born again of water and of the Spirit by repenting of our sins and being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins, and then we are given the promise that we will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
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