Jesus Gives Gifts to His Body: Part 2
Paul was an evangelist can you see him and Silas in the prison. Right after Lydia the seller of purple, the first European convert gets saved, they're in the streets preaching the gospel. And Paul casts the devil out of that young girl who was filled with the spirit of Python, a spirit of divination or fortune telling. And because of that they get thrown into jail because with the demon gone, she could no longer tell people their fortune, so her masters who made money off of her lost their finances.
But even in the jail Paul and Silas said, "We've come to lift Jesus up. We've come to praise His name. We're going to sing unto Him, and the chains break and the earth quakes and more people get saved. We should learn a valuable lesson from these men: when we are working for the Lord, there will be times that we will come against opposition. It’s in these times that we must hold onto Jesus more than ever before. We must be willing to sing His praise in both the good and bad times, and I have learned from personal experience that when I face circumstances I can’t control, if I will turn it over to Him, He will carry it, He will resolve it.
What about Phillip in Acts 8:26-38. He was led by the Holy Spirit to go down from Jerusalem into Gaza where he found the eunuch reading Isaiah, the spot where it foretold 600 years before our Jesus was born that He was a lamb led to slaughter, and He didn't open his mouth.
Candace's eunuch had to know, "Who does this speak of? Tell me does the prophet speak about himself or someone else?" And from that point forward Philip preached Jesus to him. "What prevents me from being baptized in water?" The eunuch inquires.
"Nothing, you just have to believe with all your heart."
The modern church has all but kicked the evangelist out. They have said, "We don't want the people stirred. We want to work our programs the way we have them set up, and don't you say that we're asleep, preacher, because we're doing stuff. We're moving and shaking."
But the people perish in the pew because the preacher refuses to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. And because you kicked out the evangelist the gospel is being preached without evangelical zeal and the people in the pew have no desire to see the lost saved.
The word pastor is closely connected to our English word pasture, and the thought is literally a shepherd. We won't take the time to separately discuss the concept of a teacher. Most Greek scholars explain that these two words are connected to one another according to a certain Greek language rule. Nevertheless, we should point out that certainly there can be teachers who aren't pastors; however, it's unlikely to be God's will for a person who isn't a teacher to be a pastor.
By nature a pastor's job is to provide food for the sheep. The food the sheep need in a Christian sense is the covenant God has provided where man can have relationship with Him, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
As long as I'm teaching you Jesus and how to hear His voice, you're in the right place, a safe place where like the Psalmist said the Lord is the shepherd. He will lead you to a place where there is provision in your time of want. He will lead you to green pastures. If you really want to know Him, He will send you to a place where you can be fed right.
He will also lead you beside still waters. There is chaos abounding in this world. But if the under- shepherd can feed you Jesus, if He can teach you to hear Jesus, then there can be peace in your environment even though chaos abounds.
There are also some good concepts regarding shepherds for us to learn in John 10.
1st scenario: (John 10:1-8). The shepherd is Jesus. The sheep are His people, the others are imposters of false doctrine, and the scenario is that the porter is in charge of allowing entree' of the true shepherds.
In ancient times, there were fenced areas in pastures where multiple flocks could be kept for safe keeping. The sheep were trained to know their shepherd's voice; therefore, when the shepherd would come for His sheep, He would follow the proper protocol, going through the gate with permission from the porter, and calling His sheep by name, the sheep, in turn, would follow Him because they were used to His voice. Satan is always trying to get God’s people to go in an opposite direction of God’s plan. Jesus entered through the doorway, meaning He was obedient to the Father’s will. While Satan wanted Jesus to go another way a crown without a cross, He didn’t succumb to his deceptive devices.
Parable: story para- side ballo- throw-- (a parabolic teaching throws two things alongside each other for the purposes of comparison and contrast).
The parable being offered here is that the shepherd (Jesus) operates according to the Father's will. There is no hidden agenda. However, the thief and the robber are going another way, a way of deception.
2nd scenario: (John 10:8, 9).
Once the shepherd's flock was gathered, they were then brought to a safe place where a smaller enclosure was provided for their safety. In this enclosure, the shepherd allows access in and out of the gate, for he becomes the gate. And the sheep can come in and out safely as needed. Walvoord says that the concept is that it's only through Jesus that the sheep are able to enter into the true provision and safety of God; for He (Jesus) alone is the gate for the sheep.
3rd scenario: (John 10:9-10). In this scenario there is still the thought of thievery, but also added is death and destruction. It should be noted that there is no doubt there is reference to our enemy Satan here; however, the reader should also be made aware that the immediate context is that Jesus is directly addressing the blinded and deceived Pharisees (John 9:39-41).
So a more specific interpretation would be that Jesus as the only real door to the sheep, which allows entrance into life is being contrasted with the false doctrines of those that have come before Him, who's purpose was to bring destruction to the sheep of God.
Lastly, as part of the contrast between Jesus' ministry and the Pharisees, which also applies to ministers today, Jesus, the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep; a hireling, on the other hand, is only concerned about a paycheck, and he won't do what's best for the sheep if it interferes what he thinks is best for him.
One obvious thing that strikes me in this regard is people's unwillingness to call out false doctrine or ministries that are presenting the gospel in such a way that it will harm the sheep.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The purpose of the five fold ministry is: perfecting the saints for ministry work for the purpose of edification of the body of Christ.
There are three action words in this verse that drive the thought God is communicating:
(1) perfecting- kartismos. The thought of this word is to bring something to perfection or completion. This word was used in varied ways during New Testament times: re-fitting a ship, setting a broken bone, and mending fishing nets. Undoubtedly, the idea is that all of creation finds themselves in the same predicament; we are fallen in Adam; however, God wants His people’s nets mended, He wants to bring us to a place of completion, so that we can minister Him to a lost and dying world.
The root of this word is also used in this verse here:
Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
The word mending is kartizo. The overall thought that I'm trying to communicate is that the purpose of these gifts are to help bring God's people into a place of mending and maturity. The effects of the fall have left holes in our nets, we need mending, so we can properly function in the kingdom of God.
Work- is ergon, and the work is ministry, which is diakonos, and is where we get our word for deacon. While the word deacon isn't specifically used to describe people in Acts 6, this is the first reference we have to the idea of a deacon and it's related to the word service:
Acts 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
...is from the same root diakonos. So a deacon is a servant. If you go back and review the criteria of a deacon, you will see that they must be full of the Holy Spirit. When a person is full of the Holy Spirit, their heart beats for what Jesus' heart beats for. Jesus’ heart beats for the souls of men. We should never be deluded into thinking that busy work like feeding people, clothing them, or even working on this building is the essence of what is spoken here. Our focal point must always be to minister Jesus to others.
The overall essence of service in the New Testament surrounds spiritual service where others are learning Jesus, so the idea is that God will use some as a Pastor- teacher, making me a vessel to minister Jesus to you, and as you are perfected and equipped, others are ministered to out there. In some cases, those people will come to church with us, in some cases they won't. That isn't what matters to me. Don't misunderstand me, I want people to come to our church, but my immediate concern is that you be built up, and that you minister (diakonos) to the people that you encounter on a daily basis and help them find Jesus. There is an eternal reward in that. If I'm so consumed with a desire to increase the numbers in this building, that I can't get excited when you tell me that you talked to someone long distance and ministered Jesus to them, then God help me, because I'm in error!
(3) edifying- oikodomos. This word comes from the root oikoos, meaning house. In this sense, the word has connected to it architecture or structural integrity.
To be truthful, the local church is only as effective as the believer's within its walls allow themselves to be submitted to Jesus; furthermore, their ability to submit their lives to Christ is directly related to their understanding of the gospel, which allows the Holy Spirit freedom to work in their lives.
As the individuals in local churches grow in Christ, the church is strengthened, but as we will soon see, the danger of false doctrine looms in the air. Satan and his false ministers will attempt at every moment to change the gospel ever so slightly to prevent the people from being perfected and edified so that they could do their part in the work of the ministry:
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure (metronome: measurement) of the stature (adult maturity) of the fulness of Christ:
So the gifts given by Jesus to the body are for the purpose of perfecting and building in preparation for ministry, and all this is to take place until we all come in the unity...
We must take a moment and ponder what's being communicated here. The word unity describes oneness, but notice the place unity is supposed to occur. In other words, the idea isn't unity just for the sake of getting along with everyone. Instead, the idea is that the unity is centered upon "the faith" and "the knowledge" of the Son of God, which results in a "perfect" or completed man who is being measured against Jesus.
I've said it before, and I will say it again, "Jesus is the plumb line. He is the standard of righteousness by which we measure our growth in Christ."
We have discussed this before, but the terminology, "the faith" isn't speaking of faith as an action word; instead, it's speaking of faith in the sense of a noun. In essence it's describing the covenant of God, which is where we are to keep our verb faith placed. What is the New Covenant of God:
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
In addition, the word knowledge used here is epignosis, which is a Greek compound word with a prepositional prefix: epi= upon and gnosis= knowledge. The idea is upon knowledge or above just information. The word has an experiential aspect to it. When we walk with the Lord and are taught the scriptures from their right perspective, we travel the pilgrimage of Christianity. As we travel this path, learning of Jesus, we encounter trials and tribulations. When we have a right understanding of the scriptures, understanding that it's faith in Him and His work on the cross that gives access to grace, we are empowered for victory in the trial. Once we start seeing the hand of God move in our lives, we begin to gain epignosis about the way God's plan works.
Ex: a welder can be taught is trade school how to perform certain welds and how hot certain ones have to burn, but until he holds the rod in his hand and begins to weld, there is no experience.
Other ex of how added experience increases knowledge and understanding about a situation as opposed to just knowing something intellectually: suturing, sweating a copper pipe, filling a cavity.
So the New Covenant is Jesus and His sacrifice. Therefore, when the scripture says that we are to come into unity or oneness in "the faith," it's speaking of the fact that we are to be in agreement or unity in our understanding of Christ.
As already stated, the knowledge we are speaking of here is not just something superficial that we heard about once; instead, it describes knowledge that has become part of who we are. It has an experiential aspect to it. It's becoming part of who we are, and our daily walk is being changed by it. We're learning what works and what doesn't work in our Christian lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to operate in us.
2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Here is another great scripture with this Greek word epignosis. In this verse, we're told that God has given us everything we need to live godly in this life. Access to this power in some way is connected to knowledge. Once again, the knowledge spoken of here is experiential or a more full understanding. We all know that it's faith rather than knowledge that allows the believer to gain the benefits of God. However, if the believer doesn't know what to properly believe, or if his faith is superficial, then he will have difficulty believing God for victory because he doesn't really know where to keep his faith placed.
So Jesus has gifted the body of Christ with the five- fold ministry for the purpose of bringing believers into a right understanding of faith so that growth can take place. And the standard by which our growth is measured is Jesus:
Ephesians 4:13 ....unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
In other words, as the five- fold ministry operates properly according to its function, the body of Christ is taught proper faith which gives access to grace (Romans 5:2) and as grace is flowing in the life of the believer, we are conformed or molded into the image of Christ:
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This passage is focused on two things:
(1) there is a process taking place in the life of the believer called sanctification, which means that they (believers) are being made to become holy like their savior through grace working in their lives (2) this process will continue until glorification. He was the firstborn (resurrected), and one day we will be like Him [glorified].
Titus 3:5-6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
And this is that ongoing process that takes place. It's started at salvation and completed through the lifespan of the believer's walk. Regeneration is made up of two words: palin= anew and genesis= beginnings.
In Christ, we receive a new birth and a new beginning. At conversion, you could say that we are given a "receiver," the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and we now can receive from God. We can hear his voice.
The words: and renewing of the Holy Ghost;...describes an ongoing renovation. One scholar explained the process like this: "When the believer is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in his heart, and it's as though a building permit has been received, allowing construction to begin; whereas, the renewal of the Holy Spirit is the ongoing process.