Meanderings of a Minister

The Body of Christ
January 23, 2017, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Articles


In Ephesians 4, God compares the Church to the Body of Christ.  Here is what he had to say:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:7–16, NASB95)

Did you catch some of what Paul had to say?  First, he said that every single believer in Christ has been given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  To some, He gave the privilege of being an Apostle.  This meant that they were actually present with Jesus and were personally commissioned by Him.  Paul had such a commissioning on the road to Damascus with the risen Lord.  The position of Apostle was a gift given to the Apostles and then they were a gift to the Church as they provided leadership and some of them helped to write the Bible we use today.

He goes on from there to talk about prophets.  These are those whose job it is to forthtell the people of God how to live for God.  Each of us should have someone with the gift of prophecy in our church.  This is someone who helps us to understand the word of God in proclamation.  Sometimes, they can seem graceless, but they are called to help us by heralding God’s Word.  They are a gift to the Church.

Evangelists are those called to a special emphasis on evangelism and they are a gift to the Church through their inspiration of others to share the gospel as well as those who God reaches through their ministry.

Pastors and teachers are those who teach us the Word of God and then help us to live it out.  Unlike the prophet, the pastor represents the comfort and guidance that comes from gently leading sheep to eat and drink.  Pastors and teachers are a gift to the Church.

But what is their function overall?  All of these, and many others in the church are there for leadership for the people to equip them to do the work of ministry.  In North America, we want to the pastor or leadership to do all of the ministry while we sit back and pay them.  This is not what Paul had in mind.  He had in mind that the leadership would lead people to live for God and do the work God has called us all to do in preaching the gospel to the whole world and teaching them to obey all things whatsoever Christ commanded us.

And what happens when all the parts of the body are performing their functions as God intended?  The Body works properly and is healthy.  I personally know what happens when the pastor or leadership tries to take the ministry away from the people.  I also know what happens when one part, or many parts of the body refuse to serve and function.  Neither of these situations is what God intended for the body to work properly.

So, are you a follower of Jesus?  Are you a part of the Church?  How are you currently serving with the gifts and talents God has given you?  Are you helping to make the body healthy or are you making it sick or disabled?  Maybe it’s time to talk with God about what to do differently if the answers leave you unsettled.


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