March 17, 2011
Unity in the Body of Christ
and the Saints’ Service
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,”
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I am very firmly opposed to the concepts of laity and clergy today. This separation implies that the clergy has more power, or a better connection with God. The use of the term clergy also implies that ordination to ministry is something just for some believers, and not others. In fact, every believer has been ordained by God with a spiritual gift to use every day in His service. The Christian ministry is not a profession, but rather a service to be performed daily by every believer. As a believer, Christ has gifted you with a special spiritual gift to be used today, at work, at home, with your friends, wherever you may be today. He commissioned you and sent you to reach the lost, and build up the body of Christ by using your spiritual gifts to His glory.
God teaches us that He gives grace to each one of us, according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Ephesians 4:7). In Ephesians 4:9-10, Paul explains that Christ descended from heaven, lived among men on earth, and then ascended on high, leading captive a host of captives. At the time of His ascension, Christ gave gifts to men. In other words, Christ gave spiritual gifts to men when he ascended to heaven.
Next, Paul lists some of the gifts he gave to some believers (Ephesians 4:11). He lists apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. I will not spend time here describing what these gifts mean, and how each one works, because Paul only mentions them. He wants to focus upon unity.
The reason that Jesus gave spiritual gifts to men was for the equipping of the saints for the work of service. The equipping gifts then are apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. These gifts equip the saints for the work of ministry. The saints themselves carry on the ministry. The result of the ministry of the saints is the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
So we learn more about unity in the Church of Jesus Christ today.
● We learn that Christ gave gifts to men when He ascended, and He intended specific gifts to equip saints for the work of spiritual service.
● We learn that when the saints use their gifts for the work of service, then the body of Christ is built up.
● We hinder unity when we fail to use our spiritual gifts. Today, pastor-teacher gifts and evangelist gifts equip the saints for the work of ministry, combined with the work of the apostles and prophets recorded for our edification in the Bible.
Application for Today
Today, I want to use my spiritual gifts to the glory of God and the building up of the body of Christ. Furthermore, I want to encourage my spiritual friends in Christ to use their spiritual gifts too. Every believer has received a gift from God, and He wants to build up the body of Christ through you and me. Will you use your spiritual gifts today?