Unique Gifts

24 Apr
Unique Gifts

We’re continuing to walk through the book of Ephesians. Having showed us the strength of our unity, Paul now talks about the unique gifts we have in the church.

Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 4:7-8 Berean Literal Bible (BLB)

This is great news. Even though we walk in unity as a church, God still deals with us individually. We are each given grace that has been personalized for us by Christ.

That’s why I can’t judge you by what God is doing in me. The Lord works differently in all of us. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. His grace is uniquely catered to each one of us.

But there’s a purpose to all of this.

This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers…

Ephesians 4:8-11 NIV

This passage tells me that when Christ rose from the dead, His desire was for the blessing of His people. He gave grace to some for the purpose of being a gift to the church.

This grouping is commonly called the “five-fold” ministry. Just as the USA has a federal Government and a state government, these ministries are like the federal level. Their influence is more far reaching than a single local church.

Unfortunately, many turn around what Paul is saying here. As a pastor, I understand that my life has been given as a gift to bless God’s people. Too often there are those who think that the church is a gift to them, to further their desires.

Each of these ministries is uniquely qualified to enhance the church in some way. Apostles are the first. We have little understanding of these in the modern church. Their job is to start and establish churches on a firm foundation of truth.

Then there are prophets. These men and women are used by the Holy Spirit to speak on behalf of Christ. They keep us in order, if we’ll listen to them.

Of course, there are many who put “apostle” or “prophet” on their business cards who never received that calling from God. The only way to know for sure is to judge them by the work they’re doing for Christ.

Next are evangelists. We’ve used that word in the modern church as a catch-all for anyone who goes around preaching. That’s not the meaning of this word. An evangelist is specifically someone who brings the Good News of Christ, not merely preaching about the Bible.

Teachers are those who take the truths of the Scripture and make them readily understandable to the congregation. It’s through the anointed teaching of God’s Word that we can hear and apply those things that can truly change our lives.

The word, pastor, literally means shepherd. They are the leaders of local congregations of believers. They’re responsible, not only to minister to the needs of the local community, but to be aware of what God is doing on a global level.

These ministries are gifts to the body of Christ. They’re needed for our growth and maturity. In my next post we’ll see what exactly God wants them to accomplish in His people.

Question: How have you seen the five-fold ministry function in the church?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on April 24, 2023 in Anointing, Leadership, Ministry, The Church


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