“And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11,12.
I just LOVE the book of Ephesians! From the onset of this incredible book, Paul celebrates his identity and infuses his understanding of how identity and ministry function into the flow of the book of Ephesians. In Christ, God brings about newness with a defined purpose. God’s concern relates primarily to our identity, in Christ, and how that plays itself out in our relationships, at home and within the church. Paul’s central argument in this pericope relates to the unity of the church and the specific implications that has for Believers who seek to walk in a worthy manner (4:1), recognizing the oneness of the body, under the lordship of Christ (4: 4,5), while recognizing the grace that our ascended Lord gives to us through gifts (4:7-10). In the light of this, we should all be challenged to live out our Christian identity in mission, taking seriously Christ’s gifts in people for the growth and maturity of the local church.The good news is that 2017 presents us with another opportunity to see this lived out. Do you recognize God’s gifting in your own life? How does your ministry vocation build the ministry fo the local church? Are you walking in your God-given purpose?
SOME THOUGHTS FROM THE TEXT
- Verse 11a starts with words of great encouragement to me: “…He personally gave”. Jesus, as Lord of the church, is personally involved in the ministry of the church to ensure that all that is done glorifies the Father. Christ has a unique role for each one of us and desires that we walk in this. What a wonderful way to start the new year- knowing Christ’s intent for my life and ministry. You truly are God’s gift FOR the church!
- Verse 11b’s use of the term ‘some’ correlates to the diversity within the ONE body of Christ and that not one person has every role. Christ’s church is meant to thrive on plurality and not singularity, or even individuality. Our respective gifts and abilities enrich the ministry of the church and add incredible value. Remember, no ONE person is God’s SOLE gift, we each have a role to play.
- Verse 11b provides for 5 specific roles that Christ assigns to the Church. These are given as:
- Verse 12 is clear that the context of Christ’s gift relates to the direct benefit of the local church. Paul is clear that this ONE body, under ONE Lord, given ONE Spirit is meant to utilize the fullness of God’s gifting through people in vocational ministry settings in order that:
- Believers may be trained for ministry;
- Believers (by implication) should minister;
- That the church, as Christ’s body should be built up in all things.
In my next blog, from this base, I will examine a few ‘obstacles to overcome’ in our leadership with Paul’s thoughts in mind.
I hope this has been an encouragement to you at the start of this year.