A note from our pastor:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”Ephesians 4:12
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
As we examine Ephesians 4:12, let us begin with the middle phrase. This particular phrase had more meaning for the Apostle’s audience in his day than it does for us today. Referring back to the previous verse, the Apostle had named those gifts given to the church, apostles, prophets, evangelist, and teachers. All were present in the church at that time.
The Apostle is saying, despite their differing gifts, each was given for the work of the ministry. He is reminding the disciples to see how each man, no matter his extra gifts, is with them for the preaching of Jesus Christ. This was important because by nature we are prone to give more honor and respect to those with greater and more powerful gifts. In their day it might have been the apostles and prophets, whereas for us today it is often one who is charismatic. The apostle is warning disciples in every generation to honor and respect all who have been called to the ministry and fulfill their calling.
As we move back to the first phrase, the Apostle provides guidance on how to evaluate if a minister is fulfilling their calling. It is important to understand the actual meaning of the word perfecting as used here. The Apostle was not saying the preaching of the gospel could make disciples perfect as in sinless. The meaning of the word as used here is a movement towards completeness. In other words, the preaching of the gospel should make the disciple of Christ more complete in his or her following of Christ.
This is an incredibly important concept when conversion is common among God’s people. A convert often finds their way into the church because the basic tenets of God’s love for a people resonates with him or her, but it is necessary to teach the gospel in order for a new convert to develop a more complete understanding of Jesus Christ and his work. Whether a new convert or one who has been in the church many years, this portion of the verse addresses how the work of the ministry impacts individuals.
On the flip side, the last phrase in this verse addresses how the work of the ministry impacts the church body as a whole. Consider the instruction Jesus gave to his Apostles, feed my sheep and my lambs. In other words, the work of the ministry should be able to edify the entire body. There is a necessity, according to the Apostle, for a minister to be able to instruct the entire congregation with all of the diversity it holds.
In our day and time the gifts of apostles and prophets have expired, but the same standards regarding the teachers of the gospel remain today.
Our Prayers are with you daily,