The Mystery Within Gods Leadership Gifts
By Lemuel Baker, PhD
"Herein is the reason every true ministry gift feels and experiences an intimate oneness with the person of Jesus Christ because we literally have a part of Him deposited and living inside our human spirits. We live in awe of Him always. We essentially know who a true Ephesians 4:11 ministry gift is by the deep love and commitment they display towards Christ. Our goal is to become Christ-centric rather than gift-centric." Lemuel Baker
The Focus Points for Ephesians 4:10 -12
Remember the focus of Ephesians 4:11 is the Head of the Church the Lord Jesus Christ Himself because He deposited directly into the human spirit fresh from His hands the specific gift and giftings. Only Jesus Christ Himself is the totality of these giftings which cannot be duplicated and He alone dispenses into gender neutral human spirits the particular endowment. Thus we should celebrate Jesus Christ as the source of all the Ephesians 4:11 endowments rather than the person who carries the gift and title. Titles only describe and identify the endowment discerned or being performed. Thus the sub-focus of Ephesians 4:11 is the spiritual endowment or gifting rather the person or title. If the endowment is not there the person becomes stressed not having the spiritual endowment to perform the work expected from having the title. Focus on the endowment and link the endowment to Jesus Christ as the giver of that gift. All gifts from Jesus Christ draw men closer to Him because the gifts have stamped on them Jesus' DNA and His character. You cannot miss who it is that is associated with Ephesians 4:11 giftings. The Koine greek words of Romans 11:29 and 1Corinthians 12:9 used for gifts and endowments are Charis, Charisma and Charismata. Dorea is another word that is also used that means "a good heavenly gift, a free gift from a beneficent giver." Dorea describes the type of person Jesus is..He is a beneficent giver. So discern the gifts, link them to Jesus Christ, draw closer to Jesus Christ as a result of them and celebrate Jesus as the giver of those gifts."
I decided to write this article as a result of a monthly news letter I sent to the friends of our ministry. The content of Ephesians 4:10-12 is a foundation for the Church as influencing Church Leadership as well as Christians being developed to assume their destiny. As a prerequisite will you take time to read the passages below in all four versions that highlight various nuances important to our discussion?
Ephesians 4:10-12 (New International Version)
10. He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. 11. It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12. to prepare Gods people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
Ephesians 4:10-12 (New Living Translation)
10. And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11. Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12. Their responsibility is to equip Gods people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:10-12 (The Message)
7-13But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,
He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the booty,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
Ephesians 4:10-12 (Amplified Bible)
10.He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).
11.And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.
12.His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ's body (the church),
Understanding Ephesians 4:10-12
Jesus Christ Himself who descended into hell to take back all authority from satan and give all authority back to Himself also ascended up into the heavens above all expanses of the sky and universe victoriously presenting His own blood to the Father who placed Jesus' blood on the alter in the heavenly Holy of Holies where Jesus' blood still exists today crying out for you and for me. Jesus' blood did not dry up on the ground but was delivered to heaven.
Jesus had to ascend to heaven so that He could rule the world as a victorious King. Now that Jesus ascended into heaven He now intercedes and prays the scriptures 24/7 for you and for me, reminding the Father of His atonement for you and His victory over satan for you. Jesus became poor that you might be rich.
Apostles - (koine greek. apostolos) Jesus Himself, truly indeed gave various gifts to each of us to include individuals sent forth with orders, messengers with direct orders from Jesus Christ Himself who are strong and in the full image and character of Jesus Christ Himself.
If we encounter those who may not be apostles we simply make the truth known to them in love only once and try to discern whether they could have a changed heart. Then give them to God and pray for them. Never argue or get angry but stay in the love of God and stay secure in your faith. God has called you and me to live a life of peace. The Apostle Paul had to manage this unfortunate situation in his day but it did not stop him nor discount he was a true Apostle.
There are real Apostles in the world who have been given an authentic endowment (greek. Charismata or Charis) who are strong in the fruit of the Spirit, meek, righteous, wise humble and kind. These individuals only display the power of God when it is needed never for show. This discipline of power under control is the definition of meekness. Moses had this ability so did the Apostle Paul.
You can tell who the Apostle is by the fruit of the spirit even more than the power and authority they carry.
Prophets - Christ after He ascended to heaven also gave the ability and gift to some people to be spokespersons for God or Prophets (koine greek. prophetes), one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation.
Evangelists - Jesus Himself also gave the ability to some to be a bringer of good tidings, an Evangelist (koine greek. euaggelistes). These persons with this gift cannot stop telling and sharing the gospel. Telling the gospel intensely motivates them and keeps them awake at night dreaming of how, when, where and to whom they must share the gospel.
Pastors - Jesus Himself after He ascended to heaven also gave the ability to others to be Pastors (koine greek. poimen), those to whose care and trust others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow. Jesus was and is the perfect Shepherd, The Good Shepherd.
Teachers - Jesus Himself also gave the endowment to teach, one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man one who is fitted to teach. If you are called to any leadership endowment Jesus outfits you for the job. These persons are Teachers (koine greek. didaskolos) with a gift and knowing things from the scriptures by revelation and who love people and desire to see people prosper and be successful in all areas of life. Teachers help connect the dots for all of us. Teaching is a calling to them not a vocation. Teachers know Jesus intimately.
All of the Ephesians 4:11 gifts have the following in common: They are each aware that they report directly to Jesus Christ Himself and that their goal in life is to please Him. Each ministry gift desires to be more like Jesus Christ. It is important to understand Jesus Christ is indeed the,
1. Chief Apostle
2. The Chief Prophet
3. The Chief Evangelist
4. The Chief Shepherd and Shepherd of our Soul
5. The Chief Teacher
We report to Him; He is better at it than we are because He wrote the book on all giftings. All giftings literally come out from Him into our human spirits. HINT, this is the mystery within God’s leadership gifts. Prov 4:23 (KJV) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
To help identify the true apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher look for the following:
1. The person gives Jesus Christ the credit for all things and does not take the credit for himself. You will be able to tell this person really knows Jesus is everything and the person is always dependent upon Christ. A true gifting from God does not want to be called an Apostle or Prophet because after knowing Jesus realizes that Jesus deserves all the glory and all we have in light of Him even titles are as filthy rags. A true gifting will ask and will insist not to be referred to as an Apostle or Prophet. If you want to make a true Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher happy live for Christ maturely before them. Seeing Christians mature into the image of Christ and Christ formed in their lives is sufficient reward.
Before we make a decision to embrace any title, I prayerfully ask each reader to seek a personal revelation, intimacy, and fullness of the person Jesus Christ and move from rhetoric to reality, add experience to positional and at the point when Jesus Christ becomes experience to you and you buckle at your knees and break in His magnanimous presence and glory then at this point lay your title before Him and you will see that He trumps all titles and all titles are judged as filthy rags in His presence. Think about this, at the hour of your death if indeed you are a Christian, your most meaningful thoughts will be of the love of and the person of Jesus Christ not your title.
A True Leadership Gift knows if he considers his gift more important than any other gift given to the Church such as the foundational gift of the server, the organizer or one who shows compassion he immediately is in spiritual decline. The Apostle Paul gives the advise recorded in Philippians 2:12-13 to work out our salvation with fear and trembling knowing the top priority for every Christian is to finish the race strong, being pleasing to Christ and having a good heart. We do not want to preach to others and be an outcast at the end of our ministry?
What does it profit us if we gain all titles and lose our souls? Titles that are too dear to us will cause us to stumble, lose our souls and is considered a weight that can easily overcome us. A title identifies your potential as a result of the gifting you possess, your accomplishments, maturity and above all your responsibility to mankind. Beyond this we must let it go and worship God always in your heart.
The Christ - Centric Heart Attitude of the Original Apostles
To arrive at a reasonable perspective regarding titles it is important to have insight into the thinking of the original Apostles of Jesus Christ a.k.a as the Apostles of the Lamb. This information is derived from the Church Fathers such as Origen, Hippolytus and Eusebius who documented the Apostle Peter felt himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as His master Jesus Christ. At Peter's request Peter was crucified with his head in a downward position. Jesus was all-important and Peter and his apostleship insignificant in light of the person of Jesus Christ.
It also helps to see the selfless life each of the original twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ lived and how each loved Christ exponentially more than physical life. Judas Iscariot hanged himself after betraying Jesus. Andrew preached in the countries of Georgia and Bulgaria then was crucified on an olive tree in Greece. Bartholomew a.k.a Nathanael preached on the Continent of India as did the Apostle Thomas and Bartholomew was crucified upside down like Peter in Armenia or southern Georgia. Thomas died in India and was buried there after being thrust threw four times piercing four organs with a spear made of pine wood. James the Son of Alphaeus while preaching in Jerusalem was stoned to death and buried there. James the son of Zebedee and brother to John the disciple who Jesus loved was beheaded by Herod in Jerusalem. John the brother of James son of Zebedee died of old age in Ephesus after he returned from Patmos where he was previously exiled. Matthew also called Levi who wrote the Gospel of Matthew died of old age like John the Beloved near present day Tehran, Iran.
Philip was crucified upside down in Turkey and buried there. Simon the Zealot Son of Clopas became the second Bishop at Jerusalem lived to 120 years, died of old age and was buried in Jerusalem. Thaddeus Labbaeus Judas Son of James died of old age in Berytus of northern Iran. You will notice four of the original Apostles, John, Levi, Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot all died of old age. We can too if we focus on love and peace. John Mark went on to start and establish the Church in Egypt resulting in the Coptic Christians currently in Egypt and around the world. Paul also known as Saul is responsible for the Church in Damascus, Syria.
Rest assured we will know the true Apostle even if the title is not used by discerning the comprehensive giftings of love, revelation, character and mighty works because of the revelation. The position becomes obvious as we look at the comprehensive gifting package not just the mighty acts but the total package of fruit and giftings in the same basket or life of an individual..not one without the other. Observation of the comprehensive gifting package is the only full proof method to identify an authentic Ephesians 4:11 Endowment. It is appropriate to say a person is an Apostle as a statement of fact.
"The person of Christ is so overwhelming all titles melt in His presence." Please hear this!
2.The person is truly humble and down to earth not a movie star and a celebrity. They are cognizant of reality not detached from reality. They epitomize God's ability to use a human vessel for God's honor.
3.The person lives a meek life not seeking the applause of man but of God. This person does not release God's power to exalt himself but only when the occasion requires it, to prevent misfortune in the life of a person and only because he has compassion on people.
4.Ephesians 4:12 is the outcome God has in mind. You see in all our getting we should have understanding. The goal God has in mind is to see all parts of the body equipped, thoroughly furnished and complete. The Ephesians 4:11 gifted people are God's business, they are set in the body employed by Jesus Christ to help outfit, equip and furnish the Saints.
Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts are direct reports of Jesus Christ. These Direct Reports of Jesus Christ are sent by Jesus Christ to proclaim and promote religion among men. These people are sent by Jesus to promote your growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness and holiness.
The Koine Greek word "Hagios" is used for the word Saints which means "Holy Ones." According to the New Testament you and I are "holy ones" and very valuable to God thus He sends the best endowments to you to help you reach your full maturity which is God's manifested image and likeness. We begin to look like Him and to act like Him.
Final Thoughts about Ephesians 4:11
EACH GIFT OF EPHESIANS 4:11 IS AN EXPRESSION AND AN ABILITY OF JESUS HIMSELF AND INSTEAD OF ONE PERSON CARRYING ALL THE GIFTS JESUS HIMSELF HAS DISTRIBUTED VARYING ABILITIES TO VARIOUS PEOPLE SOME ARE MULTI-GIFTED BECAUSE THEY HAVE A HUGE WORK TO DO. JESUS HAD ALL OF THE EPHESIANS 4:11 GIFTS WORKING IN HIM WHEN HE WAS ON EARTH. TODAY HE DISTRIBUTES THE ENDOWMENTS TO MULTIPLE PEOPLE AS HE WILLS. THE GIFTS OR ENDOWMENTS ARE DEPOSITED INTO THE HUMAN SPIRIT FRESH FROM THE HAND OF CHRIST HIMSELF WHO IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH.