Monday, June 18, 2018
“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).
What does “perfecting” mean here?
Recently, my niece’s softball team competed in yet another championship. They played seven 70-minute games over a two-day period—beating several teams to win second place overall!! After practicing and playing tournaments these past many, many months, their attitudes and skills have improved significantly. While they still make mistakes, they have matured enough to be unrecognizable compared to what they were last year. Now, they better understand the game’s rules. They have become physically stronger, faster, and more proficient. After all that training, they have learned how to win more games. They have also experienced firsthand that losing (more than once… twice… thrice!) is a part of life. Most importantly, they made new friends and had fun!
In today’s Scripture, the local church is under discussion. We will start reading the context: “ But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”
After His resurrection and ascension “far above all heavens” (verse 10), the Lord Jesus gifted various men. Five such spiritual gifts are listed in today’s Scripture—(1) apostles, (2) prophets, (3) evangelists, (4) pastors, and (5) teachers. These supernaturally imparted gifts, which the Holy Spirit used for God’s glory, were not given to entertain others or promote self. They were “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” When we think about it, a sports game is very similar (although not identical) to how the local church operates. In our upcoming studies, let us focus on this issue, especially what the “perfecting” process entails….