Ephesians 4:11-13closeEphesians 4:11-13 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 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, (ESV) – So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelist’s, pastors and teachers – to equip His people for the works of service; so that the body of Christ may be built up – until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
In general, the church as a whole we have been operating mainly with Pastors and Evangelists. If God has five ministry types and we are only receiving two that means we are only getting 40% of what God has for us. So we will be talking about this so that you are getting all that God has for you. It is the same in the natural realm. If we have a diet that is not balanced we will be lacking in certain things. If we hear messages every week on only one aspect of God’s Word we will be lacking. We need to see ourselves as He sees us and not just being a believer but ‘doing also’. You do not need to get saved over and over. You need only to get saved once – then it’s time to grow up – mature in Him.
In the church an ‘Office’ is a ministry God has appointed someone to fulfill. You can have someone who has a gift in a certain area, but they may not ‘be’ the office of that. I will list the one that we are most familiar with, the office of the Pastor.
The Pastor: The Pastor is the one who protects the sheep , makes sure the sheep are well-fed and leads the sheep where they need to go. Of all the things a pastor does, in my opinion the greatest is the role of ‘protecting the sheep’. This doesn’t mean you do not allow anyone else to have an influence in their lives, that would be control; the pastor can feed his sheep through other people that he knows operates in giftings and callings different than his own. This way you can receive the ‘full nutrients’ of the five-fold ministry. If I do not have a prophetic ministry how can I allow you to grow in the knowledge of it if I never allow you to get exposed to it. If I don’t allow the apostolic gift and all that it brings, how can you get exposed to it? So many pastors assume the role of all of them – pastor and prophet, teachers, apostle, evangelist…but they are not able to deliver that which that person has. There is nothing in scripture that says he is expected to feed sheep himself. But he is responsible to make sure they have access to good food.
The Teacher: The role of the teacher is to study and to teach. Some have an anointing to teach adults – some teens and some children. You can’t put a teacher anointed to teach adults and place them with the children, it won’t work. Nor can you place someone who teaches children with adults…again – won’t work. So we have a responsibility to place people in the right position according to the callings they have.
You can be a Pastor and operate as a teacher, but you cannot be a teacher and expect to have the ability to pastor. Teachers are unique in the fact they have to know…is it true or false? A teacher will take the time to research and study out something they have questions about and find the answer in scripture to determine the truth of a matter. Teachers need to be recognized as what they are and that they have a certain anointing in that area.
The Evangelist: The work of the evangelist is twofold: Evangelizing and Motivating. Even though everyone in the body has a responsibility to work within this the evangelist is ‘called- equipped and anointed’ to operate within this office. They have a specific anointing to do a specific work, however, if you only heard an evangelist every week then you might be fired up but you would not know how to proceed. Their messages are generally very emotional, very animated and very alive, but often they won’t be filled with deep spiritual truths.
The Apostle: Many will tell you that this office is not for this day, however I can’t find any scriptural basis for that statement. Greek word for apostle is “The one who is sent’. An apostle is one who is commissioned by the Lord to accomplish a specific purpose. The apostolic ministry was to be the foundation of the church government in the New Testament; just as in the Old Testament the foundation was the priesthood. Ephesians 2:20closeEphesians 2:20 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (ESV) – You were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. Luke 6:13closeLuke 6:13 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: (ESV) When morning came Jesus called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles. Jesus was the one who called them this.
An apostle has a heart for the pastors. If you have an apostolic anointing, you have a heart for pastors. You yearn for them, you desire to take part in their lives, you care for them just as a pastor cares for a congregation. So, an apostle can actually pastor pastors.
The Prophet: God’s messenger or mouthpiece. Throughout history He has used them to communicate His warnings, His plans to those who had turned away from His voice. All true prophets are always very sincere intercessors. If you have the office of a prophet you are an intercessor. You spend a lot of time with the Lord in prayer and worship. This is necessary because it is impossible to deliver His message without truly and clearly hearing His voice. It is impossible to hear His voice without cutting out the distractions of the world, and focusing completely on Him.
Those that hold this office are most likely very misunderstood individuals. They see things differently than others. They are very serious about the Word of God, they are not tolerant with people who are not serious about the things of God. They can offend people. They are not doing this to offend, but often times the office that they hold will require that. A prophet cannot hear things as much as they can see things. In the Old Testament the prophets were often called ‘seers’. When they see things they often verbalize them in ways that most of us may not be able to understand. They see things in the spiritual realm and then allow the Holy Spirit to help them describe what they are seeing.
People that hold a prophetic office are uncomfortable being in a congregation. They feel like they don’t fit in. They are not always accepted within the congregation, but we need them. They are just very serious about the things of God. The average Christian to them, it seems as though they are just wasting their time. In Amos 3:7closeAmos 3:7
7 “For the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets. (ESV) – Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without first revealing His plans to His servants the prophets. In Acts 21closeActs 21 Paul Goes to Jerusalem 21:1 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. 7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” 15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge. Paul Visits James 17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” Paul Speaks to the People 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: (ESV) : 10-11 (NIV) After we had been there a number of days a prophet named Agabus came down to us from Judea. Coming over to us he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles”. So we see that the prophet can operate in different ways than we might operate in.
There is the Gift of Prophecy, and then there is the Office of Prophecy. You do not have to stand in the ‘office’ of a prophet to minister a gift of prophecy. We can all operate in the gifts, because they are not from us, but as God wills them in our lives. The best thing you can do is offer a word of encouragement to someone. But, when we look up the word ‘edification’ in the Strong’s Concordance , it gives a deeper meaning and helps us see how someone operating in the Office of a Prophet might use this. The definition is : The act of one who promotes another’s spiritual growth through Christian wisdom , piety and happiness. The definition of the Gift of Prophecy; To stimulate, to encourage and to admonish.
People operating within the Office of a Prophet might say something to you that sounds harsh, but they are doing so to bring about spiritual growth in you. They do not like people taking the things of God in a casual way.
We all have different callings and different giftings, but when you hear a prophet speak you will recognize something different about them. They will give an edification that will be a bit different from another’s. In the Office of a Prophet there is Exhortation: Which by definition is a ‘Calling Near, words of entreating or appeal – a persuasive discourse’. The word ‘comfort’ from within the Office of a Prophet: [in the gift of prophecy it meant to ‘cheer up’] in the Office of the Prophet it means: any address made from the purpose of persuading or of arousing and stimulating.” The Office of the Prophet can be used to speak a warning to others. However if you are acting within this prophetic gift your words are more likely to be to exhort, encourage and comfort.
However the person operating from the Office of the Prophetic will say things a bit deeper than ‘God loves you’. He may say something like “God does love you but He desires that you turn from sin right now”. They are not bringing gloom and doom they are just telling you the heart of God, because they are feeling the heart of God.
We will be speaking more on the Motivational Gifts later, but know this – people want hope. They want to know what you know. Walk up to someone, open your mouth and speak hope, encouragement – life!
Let people know that God is real, that He loves them. If you follow the Standard Operating Procedures for our daily walk with the Lord:
Walk in Love – Walk in Faith – Always be led by the Holy Spirit.