April 15, 00

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 God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13. until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Eph. 4:11

As we well know, there has been much talk about the five-fold ministries, and there will continue to be for some time. There will continue to be a "shifting of gears" so to speak, in how many of these ministries and offices unfold and play out in the coming months and years, until the Lord comes back to take His bride home.

What I want to mention here is the need for "preparing the body for works of service." I believe that much that needs to happen now is the need for preparing the body and training them in ways that will "bring them unto maturity." And essentially, that I believe, is what a lot of the thrust of the five-fold should be about. A prophet will continue and need to "speak forth" what the Lord gives him or her to say and do. A teacher will continue to teach and train what they have received from the Lord. A shepherd will continue to watch over the needs of the flock. An evangelist will continue to "gather-in souls" for the kingdom, and the apostle will continue to "lay a firm foundation of the word." Now, there are other things which each of these ministries do and will continue to do, but I believe, the emphasis should also be on discipleship, or more importantly,"reproducing themselves."(Training others to do the work of the ministry.) Obviously an apostle can't make an apostle, but he or she can train them in the ways that they are familiar with, and impart fatherly wisdom and lay a firm foundation. A prophet can't make someone else become a prophet, only God calls forth someone unto this. However, there can be a training, a school, a "grounding in the word and in the Spirit," of these things, so that people can be prepared, so that they can be nurtured, and can grow-up unto Christ unto maturity.

There are some who have taught that some of these ministries are not needed for today, namely the apostle and the prophet. Many of them perhaps have not realized that there is a great need for the body of Christ to be build-up "until we all reach unity in the faith." We cannot arrive at a unity in the faith until ALL of the ministries are allowed to function and do their part. We cannot "become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ," when some part of the body is not functioning as it should. And it must be emphasized here, ALL are important. Each has a place and a function.

Without the apostle, various "winds of doctrine" will continue to "blow the ship," or the church, in the wrong direction. The cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming, or "hollow philosophy," can destroy what the word of God can do in human hearts and minds.

8. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Col. 2

Without a good foundation, a house comes to ruin.

19. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20. built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Eph. 2

Now, we are ALL part of God's holy temple, and without each part doing its work then there are "gaps" in the wall or the building. We need a firm foundation of what the apostolic and prophetic ministries can bring to the building, and solidify it. Without an "impartation" though, of what they bring, then the building cannot continue to be built. We need to train "in the ways that we are familiar with." By that I mean, to preach, teach, and impart those giftings, those lessons, unto the people. We cannot, and we must not, hoard what we have received from the Lord. Remember the manna in the wilderness was only good for the day it was collected.

6. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" Numbers 11 18. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. 19. Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." 20. However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. 21. Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. Ex. 16

We need the bread that comes down from heaven, that which comes from the Father. We also need the bread which is imparted from the apostolic and the prophetic, along with the pastoral and teaching ministries. We need a "balanced diet." We also cannot live on words and lessons which we have learned from the past, they will only grow maggots and mold with them. We need a "fresh word," and we need to be in the presence of the Lord "daily."


Stephen Hanson