Teaching on Ephesians 4:11-12, the Five Ministries of the Church
February 7, 2022
Evangelists work to reach every person with the gospel and bring the church to follow the same work: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15. The evangelist is pictured here as the electrician because he brings the light of the gospel to the church and ensures that their light is not “hidden under a basket.”
Apostles establish and prepare the church anywhere the gospel is being accepted, by the power of the Holy Spirit: “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost,” Acts 8:14-15. The apostle is depicted here as the framer of the house because he does not need a foundation and can improvise to build the church anywhere. He looks for a pastor to continue the work so that he can continue building tentative church locations elsewhere.
Pastors lead a stationary church so that their local community always has the gospel reliably lived out alongside them: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee,” Titus 1:5. Pastors are especially valuable for their ability to bring people together to enjoy the grace that God has poured out abundantly. Without pastors, the church drifts apart.
Teachers perfect the church by thorough instruction so that no one will suffer in ignorance, confusion, or doubt during trials: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,” Colossians 1:28. A good teacher can provide the church with deep, immovable roots of certainty and familiarity with the truth. This will guarantee survival through any trial or battle, but without the other gifts the experience will be spartan. This is why he is depicted here as the builder of the foundation.
Prophets safeguard the church by bringing spiritual discernment, counsel, judgment, preemptive awareness, and dictations from the Holy Spirit: “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth,” 1 Corinthians 14:24-25. The prophet is depicted as the roof builder just as a leaky roof needs a specialist to discover the cause. Prophets can solve problems for which the church might never comprehend, due to their ear for the Lord’s revelations.