If you look around the church world you’ll see that we don’t exactly seem to be winning. What does that mean? We have unbiblical, demonic doctrine being preached as truth, people accepting it, and the power of God seems to be less powerful than in times past. People are saved and years later are in the same state, if not worse, than when they were first saved. But there’s a reason for this and imagine that, the answer can be found in the scriptures.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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 of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. – Ephesians 4:11-16
There are answers in these few scriptures here that explain why the church is having the issues that it is. And if you believe the church world isn’t having issues, you need to get out more. And even if you don’t believe it, you should look at these scriptures and see the truth contained within them anyway.
First, we must realize that these scriptures are written to the church, not the world. If we don’t understand that to begin with, we may get confused and get in the ditch like so many have done throughout history. We see that the apostle Paul tells us that Christ appointed some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Now a problem that we have in the church world today is that many believe that the Bible does not mean what it says. It says that Christ gave some to be, as in ‘He appointed certain mean to take these ministry positions.’ There is no indication that He only appointed these ministry positions for a certain amount of time. In fact, it appears that He did and has been, and will continue to appoint men to these ministry offices throughout history until His return.
Unfortunately, many in the church believe that most of these ministry gifts have passed away, like other gifts that God has given to us that do not line up with the way they want to believe. However, if we accept that the ministry positions of pastor and evangelist are still relevant and God-ordained, then we have to accept that the ministry positions of apostle, prophet, and teacher and still God-ordained as well. Just because we are reading scripture doesn’t mean we throw common sense out the window.
This is one of the problems we are having in the church today. We have totally removed the God-ordained ministry gifts from within the church and so we are only operating partially how God wants us to be. While we accept that God wants us to have pastors and evangelists, we have said that apostles and prophets, perhaps even teachers have passed away. Or if we allow them, we have confined them to our own non-Biblical way of thinking. Sure, there are teachers, but they teach in Sunday School to the children.
Now that we have done away with those ministry gifts we don’t like, what has happened? Well, to a degree, what I explained above. But why? Well, that can be found in verses 12-15.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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 of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: – Ephesians 4:12-15
The scriptures say that the purpose of the ministry gifts is for the perfecting of the saints and the edifying of the body of Christ. But that’s not all. The scriptures say that this will occur until the body of Christ comes into the unity of the faith. There is division in the body of Christ because we have done away with the ministry gifts. Yes, there are other reasons, but this is a major reason why there is division.
What is this perfecting of the saints? What will it do? It will correct of believing. Our thinking must line up with the Word of God, because we cannot believe beyond our actual knowledge of God’s Word. If our thinking is wrong, our believing will be wrong. And if our believing is wrong we cannot receive all that God has for us. If our believing is wrong, then our behavior will be wrong. If we believe that we don’t need to ask for forgiveness of our sins, that God has already forgiveness us of everything, then we will feel free to do whatever we want – sin all day long – and think we’re perfectly fine. You’re not.
The purpose of the ministry gifts is to develop the new Christian into a spiritually mature person. If the ministry gifts are not established and have their proper place in the church you have problems. In fact, the scriptures tell us exactly what will happen – we will be tossed to and fro, and carried away with every wind of doctrine and deception. So the ministry gifts, in developing the new Christian into a spiritually mature one, will combat false doctrine. Because the ministry gifts have not been given their God-ordained place in the church world (as a whole), we have false doctrine, the ways of the world creeping into the church and deceiving believers.
So, as you can see, without all of the ministry gifts working together, we will have problems in the church. Of course, at one point in church history we had the ministry gifts working and accepted in the body of Christ. It wasn’t just one or two, but all the ministry gifts were accepted as God-ordained and welcomed. We see that time in the scriptures in Acts. We see doctrine being corrected that was false. We see the church operating in the power of God.
Today, among other things, we must pray for the restoration of the ministry gifts. Pray for all of the ministry gifts to be accepted throughout the church and to have their God-ordained place. When they are all operating how they are supposed to, you will see the church rise in power, false doctrine removed, and God having His way and His plans in the church.