The Power Of The Gifts Of Ministry

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Ephesians 4:11-12

Teddy Roosevelt once had a little dog that was always getting into fights and always getting licked. Somebody said, “Colonel, he’s not much of a fighter.”
Teddy replied, “Oh, he’s a good fighter. He’s just a poor judge of dogs.”

The Church must have leaders. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.” God has always been about the business of calling His leaders. Sometimes we wonder God’s reasoning, but God’s choice is always best. Someone asked the great preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, if he really believed that the dead lived. He answered, “Yes, I have absolute proof. If you want it, just attend a meeting of my board of deacons.” An old Scottish proverb says, “He that won’t be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock”.

God selects leaders. Paul was going in the wrong direction and God sent him on the Damascus Road. Gideon was a wheat farmer and God called him to be a leader even though he was a man who was uncertain about his calling.

The various types mentioned below are Christ’s gifts to the church. God called some to be Apostles. This was a special office at the beginning of the church. The apostles that surrounded the ministry of Christ had no successors because the criteria was to have witnessed Jesus’ ministry. They were given unique work by the Lord Jesus. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. (Eph 2:19) Protestant churches shun using this term today because the term seems to get caught up in apostolic succession of the Catholic Church. The Pope is the pope because he is an apostle in a line of apostles dating from the Apostle Peter. Later in the history of the Church the term “apostle” simply meant “one sent forth.” As time went by and all those who personally witnessed Christ’s ministry had died, the messenger of the good news became the apostle. One who carried letters between the Churches. Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. (Heb 3:1) The Jews, called the collector of the half shekel, which every Israelite paid annually to the Temple, an apostle; also those who carried about encyclical letters from their rulers were called apostles.

A prophet is one who is divinely inspired to communicate God’s will to His people and to disclose the future to them. In classical Greek, Prophetess signifies “one who speaks for another,” especially “one who speaks for a god” and so interprets his will to man. Hence its essential meaning is “an interpreter.” The medieval use of the word propheteia ( “prophecy”) passed into the English language in the sense of prediction, and has retained this as its popular meaning. It was part of their commission to show the people of God ‘their transgressions. They were, therefore, pastors and ministerial monitors of the people of God. Prophecy is not intended to open the future to idle curiosity but is for the higher purpose of furnishing light to those whose faith needs confirming. The prophecy of Jonah against Nineveh seems to be exceptional. He was sent to a pagan power to denounce the judgments of God against it. He did not, in his own land and among his own people, preach against Nineveh, but he entered the great city itself and delivered his message there.

In a general sense an Evangelist applies to anyone who proclaims the mercy and grace of God. This passage, accordingly, would lead us to think of them as standing between the two other groups-sent forth as missionary preachers of the gospel by the first, and as such preparing the way for the labors of the second. The same inference would seem to follow the occurrence of the word as applied to Philip (Acts 21:8).

Pastors have three functions: The ministration in divine service includes the ordering of worship, administering the sacraments, and preaching the Word.
The responsibility of pastoral care springs out of the worship of God.
This pastoral relation passes naturally into the scriptural authority for calling the spiritual government of the church. The design of the Lord’s gift of pastors and teachers, as supplementary to that of apostles and evangelists, is “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).

Teachers (Rabbi) at least some of them, had private lecture rooms but also taught in public. Their method was the same as prevailed among the Greeks, that is, any disciple was allowed to ask questions to which the teacher replied.
They did not have any official position and received no salary other than voluntary gifts from their disciples.

Leadership is accepting people where they are, then leading them in the right direction for growth. Much of the wasted effort in human activity is a result of lack of clear definition of the real or total reason for doing something. If you cannot determine why you are doing something, you probably won’t do it very well . . . Don’t miss the opportunity to expose your real purpose to yourself. A true leader is committed to the cause, and does not become the cause. Staying personally dedicated to the cause can become extremely difficult, particularly if the cause succeeds.

I admired Mother Teresa, who decided after winning the Nobel Prize that she would not go to accept any more recognition because it interfered with her work. She knew she was not in the business of accepting prizes; she was in the business of serving the poor of Calcutta. Are you a leader?

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