He Gave Some. Paul introduces three very important points in verses 11 through 13. First, Christ gave some believers to be apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Ephesians 4:11-13, NKJV
Ephesians 4:11-16 is actually one very long sentence in the New King James Version of the Bible. I am doing something I rarely do. I am dividing this long sentence into two parts. You will remember from the previous devotions that the "He" of verse 11 is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul introduces three very important points in verses 11 through 13. First, He gave some believers to be apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers. In other words, people do not necessarily choose their profession--especially if that profession is in the realm of the church. Rather, these professions (actually all of our professions) are ordained by God (that even includes being a mother at home, raising her family!)
How does Christ give us a profession? Properly understood as being created by God, everything we are: our personalities, our abilities, even our likes, and dislikes, are ordained by God Himself. Even further, our very circumstances are ordained by God. God equips us through our abilities, our desires, and even our opportunities, to become the person He has ordained us to be. The most obvious result when we understand this principle is that there is no room for pride. We should not feel proud if God made us more intelligent or even put us in a more prosperous family than our peers. All of the honor and glory goes to God, Himself.
Paul then explains why God has done this. First, God has ordained certain people to be involved in the ministry of the church so that they may properly equip the saints for the work of ministry. Every single believer is involved in God's ministry to this world. We all have a job to do even if we have not been called into an active church ministry. Housewives at home, workers in offices and factories, professional people--all believers have a part in God's ministry to this world.
Second, He gave some to work in the ministry of the church so that they might edify the body of Christ. While it is true that almost everyone who reads can find a Bible in their own language, and should, therefore, be reading and studying that Bible. God has ordained the church to edify, encourage, and direct the people of God. Let us not neglect God's ordained means of growing us for His glory!
Why has God chosen this particular method of growing His people? The answer is found in verse 13,
"Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
Looking at God's church today, one might ask, "Where is the unity?" While all Bible believing churches agree on the basic tenets of the faith, there is certainly much disagreement among the various groups and denominations. Truly, due to the sinful heart of man, that will not likely change before we get to heaven. But, in heaven, we will all agree, for our beliefs will not be clouded by our sin natures.
There is an even more important understanding to note. In spite of the disagreements among various groups of professing believers, look at the way in which God's church has grown! Consider the fledgling church in the day of Paul, and then look at God's worldwide church today. I am using the term "church" in this case to mean all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
While the visible church is a mixture of true and false believers, God knows the hearts of every single person. At the end of days when God separates the sheep from the goats, true believers from false believers, no mistakes will be made.
How amazing to consider
the work of God among the children of men! Let us not be filled with
pride or arrogance because we view ourselves as smarter, richer, or more
talented than our unbelieving friends, relatives, and neighbors.
Instead, let us all fall before Christ in complete humility. The
difference is not in us. The difference is in Christ.
With Christ we have everything. Without Christ we have nothing!
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