The Pastor's Corner is designed to strengthen the faith of Christians and to bring understanding regarding various biblical topics so that Christians may connect the dots, be outfitted to do that which God designed them to accomplish in this life. The topic below may help challenge us and open our spirits to be all God designed us to be and may indeed provide some "nuts and bolts" needed to run the race effectively. Now come aside away from the hustle and bustle and join me in the Pastor's Corner.
The Mystery Within Gods Leadership 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?
Quote: "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
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),
To understand more thoroughly what Christ is trying to accomplish one further prerequisite is necessary to understand the end goal of this scripture. This prerequisite is known to Judaism as Chabad which is Jewish religious studies, excellence and becoming an expert in your field.
Proverbs 4:7 says the following: "Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." The original text in Hebrew uses the following words:
For wisdom the word "chokmah" is used which means skill and prudence. The Hebrew word used for "principle thing" is "re'shiyth" also used in Genesis which means first, beginning or the best. The Hebrew word "qinyan" is used in the original text for "thy getting" which means the thing acquired or possession. Finally the Hebrew word used for understanding is "biynah" which means discernment.
One of the goals of Judaism is to ascribe great importance to "ChaBaD" which is an acronym for "Chockmah-Biynah-Da'at respectively. Chockmah (Wisdom), Biynah (Understanding) and Da'at (Knowledge) are very important to Judaism and the writer of Proverbs Solomon knew that and in this text attempts to convey this to all readers.
These three words that form the acronym Chabad describe three core mental functions of learning that Ha Shem teaches through Solomon to help young and old achieve full understanding. Chockmah means "thought" or the first flash of insight we receive towards learning a subject. Biynah means cognition, the act of pondering and meditating on a subject. Da'at means internalizing, the act of processing a subject and making it a part of your heart.
Solomon who was an Orthodox Jew tried to achieve this goal and was responsible as an orthodox Jew to share knowledge, wisdom and understanding with fellow Jews. As an Orthodox Jew it was Solomon's responsibility to share Chabad with fellow Jews who are it's rightful owner thus the Book of Proverbs was written to that end in mind. Gentiles who need wisdom now have access to wisdom because of Yeshua. Ha Shem fervently presses the issue to seek out and to obtain understanding for this simple reason only those with complete revelation and understanding can be a sustainable winner in life. As a good father Ha Shem wants all His children to be winners.
Proverbs 3:13 records "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." Solomon (Shloomo) again is giving insight into how success is achieved and how to become a winner in life. Again the Hebrew word "Chockmah" which means wisdom and skill. Solomon uses another Hebrew word for understanding "tavoon" which means understanding, intelligence, understanding or mastering your skill.
The Apostle Paul originally known as Rabbi Saul recorded in Hebrews 5:13 " For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness.." The Apostle Paul a converted Ultra Orthodox Jew knew about and practiced Chabad from his youth.
Winners in life are those who prepare well and master their skill. This plays out classically in the work place as well as in society in general. The Hebrew word "eh-sher" is used for happy and this is the end result of "Chabad" to obtain a very high quality of life, stress free and happy. The Hebrew word used for man is "awdam" which means mankind. Now wisdom is available to all mankind who will realize the essential need for it. The Hebrew word used for find is "mat-saw" which means to find or to attain.
The key is to realize wisdom is more precious than gold because among other things wisdom will help attain gold but not vise versa. The Hebrew word "pook" is used for getteth which means to bring out, furnish, produce, cause to come out from. According to Solomon if we adopt as a life style developing our talents and skills to optimum levels and receive pleasure in a lifestyle of excellence we enhance our quality of life. Also if we spend our lives mentoring, furnishing and bringing out of others high level giftings this lifestyle is rewarding.
There are three pillars of sustained success which are as follows and if there is a breach of any of the three pillars the success experience will be halted until the broken pillar is rebuilt:
1. Preparation and mastery of skill sets
2. Sustained good character
3. Wisdom and making appropriate decisions
The classical example for this nurturing is a mother developing her children at an early age and who lives to see her efforts yield high dividends as her child grows up to be a success in every area of life. Solomon was a recipient of this nurturing from Bathsheba his mother as well as from King David his father.
See Bathsheba's nurturing to Lemuel another name given to King Solomon in Proverbs 31:1-9 as she prepares him to be a wonderful husband for a virtuous wife and also prepares Lemuel to be a success in life. This tender nurturing is very central to Judaism especially at a very early age.
Proverbs 31: 1-9
1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. 2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? 3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink , and forget the law , and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted . 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish , and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink , and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. 8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. 9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
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 at the cross when He took on our sin, poverty sickness and curse so that you and I might be rich.
But Jesus Himself, truly indeed gave something to someone and that someone is each and everyone of us. Jesus Himself gave this something to each of us. Jesus gave us Ones 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. These are Apostles (greek. apostolos). Unfortunately there are those who call themselves apostles, prophets and pastors who are actually sent from satan and misguided to varying degrees. 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.
If we encounter those who are "wolves in sheep's clothing" 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.
There are real Apostles in the world who have been given an authentic endowment (greek. Charisma, 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 to prevent misfortune in the lives of others 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.
Christ after He ascended to heaven also gave the ability and gift to some people to be spokespersons for God or Prophets (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.
Jesus Himself also gave the ability to some to be a bringer of good tidings, an Evangelist (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. These are traveling ministries who go into mission fields to preach to the unbeliever.
Jesus Himself after He ascended to heaven also gave the ability to others to be Pastors (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.
EACH GIFT OF EPHESIANS 4:11 IS A PERSONALITY TRAIT 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.
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 (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. 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. Deuteronomy 6:5 is the experience of a true leadership gift which records "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Literally Christ in us the hope of glory as recorded in Colossians 1:27b.
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.
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, Irenaeus, Papius of Hierapolis 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 in Rome under emperor Nero in 64 AD. Emperors Domitian and Trajan were also responsible for the deaths of several of the other original Apostles.
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."
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. It is appropriate to say a person is an Apostle as a statement of fact. If a person uses the title officially in print it is respectful to address the person according to the printed title as you would for any discipline to avoid any discord. This is my advise.
"The person of Christ is so overwhelming all titles melt in His presence." Please hear this! If we live in His presence and we should, all things melt away to include titles. Christ is and has always been sufficient to satisfy the soul. In Christ's presence inevitably ones knees buckles in His presence and yields to Him what is rightfully His which is worship. Friend the "offices" of Ephesians 4:11 are only "gifts" that are inferior to the "giver" of the giftings thus see the gifts for what they are and put them in perspective as far inferior to the "Giver" of all gifts. See Jesus as superior and the gifts as inferior and this will be the proper perspective.
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, for example to prevent misfortune in the life of a person and only because he has compassion on someone.
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.
"May the grace, love, faith and power of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself be in you, and around you taking over all situations in the earth for you to give you victory strength and rest and empower you to finish your mission for this life victoriously and with joy."
God Bless You