SHEPHERDS VOICE – November 2023

The Church and its five fold ministry

 

The Church in Greek is known as Ecclesia which literally means ‘called out’ or ‘separated one’. Although the Church refers to a local body the word Ecclesia means a universal church which is the Bride of Christ or Body of Christ. God blesses the church with His gifts to carry out His ministry. God’s ministry is servant hood and God desires that a minister should have the attitude of serving and so should every believer in their relationship with one another.

 

Jesus Christ confers upon the church with five fold ministry ie. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. The Church was in God’s plan as is evident of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament of the Bible. In the Tabernacle the Holy place was separated from the Holiest of Holy place by a screen. The screen that joins the Holy place and the Holiest of holy place was made of acacia wood (Ex 26:26-28)) and boards were used for the screen. Five bars of acacia wood was used for the boards for each side of the tabernacle. V.28 “The middle bar shall pass through the midst of the bars from end to end.” The center bar binds all the boards together of the tabernacle.

There are two bars on top and below the boards and all these together holds the boards upright to prevent it from falling. This indicates the church wherein the five bars represent the fivefold ministers. The central rod which cannot be seen represents Evangelists. An Evangelist is not bound by a particular church but has to minister to all ends of the earth. The two bars on the base of the boards represent the Apostles and Prophets. Christ is the cornerstone or foundation of the church and the Apostles and Prophets are positioned above the foundation of the church. The bars on top of the boards represent Pastors and Teachers.

 

Therefore five fold ministry was in God’s plan from the beginning when HE commanded Moses to make a sanctuary for HIM to dwell among HIS people (Ex25:8-9). The Church was in God’s divine plan and He decided to sacrifice HIS only Son Jesus Christ in order to redeem HIS church. The church was formed for and through the precious shed bled of Jesus Christ. We are members of the Church and belong to Christ (Rom 14:8).

 

Responsibilities of the Five Fold Ministry

Eph 4:12 & 13 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the [a]edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”

1) Perfecting the saints.

2) For the work of the ministry

3) Edify the body of Christ.

4) Unify men in faith

5) Unify men in the knowledge of Christ

6) Perfect the church in Christ

7) Bring men to maturity in Christ

 

Blessings of the church through the works of the five fold ministers

Eph 4:14-16 “ that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

1) They will not be children anymore.

2) They will be established in faith

3) They will be rooted and grounded in truth

4) They will be free from deception

5)
They will have the ability to speak in truth and in love

6) They will have constant growth in spiritual things

7) They will be in harmony with all in Christ.

 

1) They will not be children anymore

When we were redeemed by God’s grace with faith in Jesus Christ, we were made a new creation as His child in God’s Kingdom. As the scripture says in John1:12 &13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Born again is a marvellous and inexplicable experience of being born of Christ and made a new creation. One realises he/she is transformed by the experience he has with God. 2Cor5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

 

2) They will be established in faith

You realise your love for God is deeper and will like to grow spiritually in His Word and truth. If not, you need to examine yourself whether you have been saved or born again of Christ. Many who have been born again still remain without further growth in the word of God. Our heavenly Father has provided and shown us the way for growing deeper in His word. It hurts God if we do not build our lives on His word. In Luke 13:6-9 Jesus tells the parable of a man who planted a fig tree in his vineyard. For three years he went looking for a fruit on that tree but found none. So he ordered his gardener to cut down the fig tree as it was wasting the soil. But the gardener pleaded with his master to let the tree remain one more year.

 

3) They will be rooted and grounded in truth

Most of us fall into the state of the fig tree that bear no fruit. Jesus represents the gardener who sits at the right side of God and intercedes and pleads for us to God to give us another chance to bear the fruit of His Holy Spirit. God chose us while He was still forming us within the womb of our mothers. God’s only desire is redemption of our souls and the price He paid for our souls was the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus Christ is now seated at the right side of God and pleads with God to spare us from being cut off from His Kingdom. God desires to see the fruit of His Holy Spirit at work within us.

 

4) They will be free from deception

Heb:11-14 “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

 

Considering the time we were saved we ought to be teachers but we are dull of hearing the Word and seem to need the first principles of God. We seek signs and wonders. In order to experience the signs and wonders of God we need to seek His kingdom first and His righteousness. Our spiritual growth is compared to an infant whose first few months require only milk to grow and in order to grow up fully would require harder foodstuff.

 

Likewise, God expects us to grow in His word in order to assign us with more responsibilities of His Kingdom and not remain in the beginning stages as when we were saved by His grace.

 

5) They will have the ability to speak in truth and in love

Gal 4:1 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ to all the blessings of His Kingdom. Although we are co-heirs with Christ, we are led by the shepherd who God has assigned for us. We have to be submissive to them. Heb 5:13 The Teachers have to train themselves to distinguish good from evil. Every member of the Church should thirst to grow spiritually. God expects spiritual maturity. We too need to fast and pray and seek God’s will like Daniel did because God is our Shepherd and we should be confident that He will speak to us and we will hear His voice. Be at God’s feet and if you have an earnest desire to hear His voice, you will hear and the glory of God will be reflected on you.

 

6) They will have constant growth in spiritual things

Although we are co-heirs with Christ yet we still wait to be led by others. We should not be like the Jews of Berea as mentioned in Acts 17:11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

 

The above says that those who should have been Teachers are still infants seeking milk and unable to distinguish good from evil. We need to exercise our senses and not remain a babe unskilled in the word. The Bible speaks of many saints who overcame their

situations and stood firm trusting in God. We should exercise our faith like them in order to stand firm on God’s word everytime.

 

7) They will be in harmony with all in Christ

1 Cor3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”

 

How do you recognise that you are still a babe?

We were created with three parts – body, soul and spirit (1 Thess 5:23). The spiritual man always looks up to God to be nourished spiritually.

 

1 Cor 3:2-3 “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like

mere men?”

 

When characters like envy, strife etc comes into a spiritual man, he is carnal and not spiritual. A spirtually matured man will not be stirred up by worldly emotions. His senses will always be towards things above and towards his spiritual growth. God expects us to grow spiritually and not be babes anymore. We should be established in faith i.e. reveal our faith in Christ. We need to believe and be confident that nothing occurs in our life without God’s knowledge. Our faith should be so strong during trials as said in Rom 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

We should be like the seed that fell on good soil, grew and bore good fruit. Our faith should be strong at all situations, especially at times when everything is going well with you. Let Jesus be the center of your life because you can do nothing apart from HIM. Our faith in Christ ought to be deep rooted which is also exhorted to us in the church. Therefore, surrender yourselves to God to grow  spiritually.

 

 

Pr. Juxy Mathew