Saturday, November 29, 2014
“And he gave some, apostles; 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:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).
Can you spot a literary device known as “parallelism” in today’s Scripture?
As a Bible teacher, I gladly receive various Bible questions by phone, in person, or by email. I certainly encourage them. If today’s average church member had asked those questions long ago, he or she probably would not be attending that “church.” Bible questions drive us to study for Bible answers; we have no desire to search religions and denominations for Bible answers, for they can provide only religious and denominational answers.
Today’s Scripture says that, after His ascension into heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ “gave”—notice past tense—five spiritual gifts to cause the Church the Body of Christ to progress in spiritual maturity, that we be “no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (verse 14).
God gave those gifts, “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:” (verse 13). Once the completed Bible canon came in the first century A.D., before the Apostle Paul died, the Body of Christ had every revelation it needed from God. Alas, today’s “church” is the epitome of perplexity. Look around at professing “Christianity,” and you see nothing but immature people, ever so confused, deceived, and laden with sins. What happened? Between the apostles’ time and our time, organized religion slowly infiltrated the Body of Christ, and gradually transferred the authority of the Scriptures to fallible men, denominations, and manmade books.
God’s work, not religion’s, will lead to “the perfecting [maturing] of the saints,” which leads to “the work of the ministry” (mature saints laboring in the local church, teaching God’s Word rightly divided), which causes “the edifying of the body of Christ” (all members of the Body growing together). Any other way to do “ministry” is foolish!