Purpose of this Session
When Jesus ascended to heaven He dispersed His anointing throughout His Body in the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus who was The Apostle, The Prophet, The Evangelist, The Shepherd (Pastor) and The Teacher, has been dispersed abroad according to His wisdom and choosing, and He has given these anointed individuals to the Body of Christ to build and equip them for the work of the ministry in the earth.
Over the following lessons we will be considering the Ascension Gift Ministries of Jesus Christ as outlined in (Ephesians 4:11-13 KJV):
“And he gave some,
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:”
The Ascension Gift Ministries
When Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection He did not leave the foundling church an orphan, and His ministry in the earth did not come to an end. In reality, the ministry of Jesus that had been confined to His earthly Body, was released and a great and awesome flood began that would eventually cover the uttermost parts of the earth.
Jesus told His disciples that it was beneficial for Him to go, and that He would send another like Himself to continue His ministry in and through His redeemed Body of people (John 16:7-16).
The fullness of Christ and His ministry was poured into open vessels to be distributed throughout the earth. One aspect of this continuation of the ministry of the Anointed One is in the five fold ascension gifts spoken of in Ephesians 4:11-13.
“And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, travelling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.
His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.”
(Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP)
It needs to be noted that ‘ministry’ is not confined to these gifts. Ephesians 4:7-8 makes it clear that God has distributed gifts to all of His followers:
“Yet grace (God’s unmerited favour) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift. Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)
The gifts of God are many and varied, and the whole Body is fitted perfectly, with each adding and providing that grace and gift given by Christ to the whole. In this respect, if you are a believer, you are minister.
Incidentally, the five fold ascension gifts are not spoken of as five-fold ministry anywhere in the Bible. This is popular church terminology to describe what is spoken of here in Ephesians. At times however, it has limited people’s understanding and they have looked on the Apostle, Prophet or Pastor as the ministry in the church. People may say things like, are you called to the ministry for example, meaning are you called to be a pastor or an evangelist etc. The Scripture does not say that these gifts are the ministry however; it says that they are gifts given to the Body to prepare and train the ministers for the work of Christ in the earth.
The Church Body as a whole is responsible for continuation of the ministry of Christ. As part of this, the five fold gifts are given to specific individuals within that Body to ensure that this ministry is carried out to its fullest potential.
The Five-Fold – Jesus’ Gifts to the Body
“And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, travelling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.”
The five fold gifts are not something one can train to attain, or claim for oneself. They are given by Christ to whom He wills. These specifically anointed individuals are then given to the Body.
I like to think of it this way. The first requirement for one who is called to the five fold is that they belong exclusively to Christ Himself. You cannot give to others that which does not first belong to you. These are men and women who belong to Christ. Their hearts and lives have been set apart for Him alone, and He is able to then give them to others.
Christ continues His prophetic ministry through the prophets; His apostolic ministry through the apostles; He conducts His teaching ministry through teachers; and Shepherds the flock through pastors; Jesus burden for the lost sheep is expressed passionately through the evangelists. No one minister or ministry has or carries the fullness of Christ alone, but together as a Body, and with the manifold graces thereon, the fullness of Christ’s love, power and wisdom is made known (Ephesians 3:10).
Some have used the illustration on the next page to describe the functions and relationship between the five fold.
The Church, the called out ones of God, are called to work together to accomplish His purposes.
Prophet Rick Joyner says in his book, “Delivered From Evil”:
“Prophets need teachers to make their visions understandable and pastors to make them practical. We need apostolic authority to implement them and evangelistic zeal to help motivate those who are called to do the work of this ministry. We will never have true New Testament Church life until the ministries in the Church learn to work together as the team that they are called to be. This will require humility on the part of all members to help destroy the roots of human idealism that is an enemy of true vision.”
Rick Joyner, Delivered From Evil, Destiny Image ISBN 0-7684-2235-3, p22
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