And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesian 4:11-16, ESV.
We have looked at gifts God gave the church in Ephesians 4:11: apostles and prophets whose word blesses us in the pages of the New Testament, evangelist-missionaries who take the gospel to new places and start churches, and pastor-teachers who nurture and care for the flock with the Word of God. Today we will consider why God gave these gifts.
Paul explains the reason in the next five verses. To summarize, God gives these men to the church so the saints will be equipped to lovingly serve one another and grow together as the body of Christ in a world that will tempt them with ungodly schemes and outright lies. The Word of God nourishes and strengthens and unifies the body for its work. The word of the world is dangerous junk food that leaves the church weak and divided.
Since the apostles and prophets have done their part and the evangelist-missionaries are those who start churches, we can conclude that this is the objective of the pastor-teacher’s Word ministry. In fact, led by the pastor-teacher, this should be the primary goal of the church’s teaching and discipleship ministry. A church that is genuinely growing disciples is doing so by teaching the Word of God and providing ministry outlets for what is taught. A church that is united in such a Word-driven ministry will grow strong in the Lord.
I pray that you will know the joy of being part of just such a ministry in the church. Fitting with that prayer, I also ask you to join me in praying that we at TBC can resume more of those ministries soon while continuing to give thanks to God for what we have been able to maintain during days of isolation.