Dear Fellow Believers in Christ, (Christ still ministers in every Five-fold Office Gift)
What is the purpose that the five-fold office gifts were given? What order is the Father setting the five-fold office gifts in the church for His eternal purpose? Are all five-fold office gifts resident and evident in the Body of Christ today? How long are the five-fold office gifts to be resident in the Body of Christ? Are there some liars with false representions that do not truly have the gifts they claim? What are some spiritual indicators of these true office gifts resident and evident? Let us be open to rightly divide His Word of truth and let the Holy Spirit guide us into that truth to see Christ, who still ministers through us in every five-fold office gift.
FIVE-FOLD OFFICE GIFTS
"And He once then gave some to be apostles; others to be prophets; others to be evangelists; others to be shepherds and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building of the body of Christ, until we all once then arrive into the unity of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, unto a complete man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13, author's translation).
First, Christ has Once Then Given the Five Offices to the Body of Christ
Christ has once then given these five-fold offices to the Body of Christ, to fulfill the eternal plan of the Father. There is a divine purpose of the Father for each and every one of these office ministries. Some have lumped the last two (2) offices together to make them one office, such as pastor-teacher or shepherd-teacher. There is truly an "and" in the original Greek text, not a hyphen (Eph. 4:11b). We must always be faithful to rightly divide the Word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). To get God's divine purpose for these offices, we must carefully rightly-divide this passage. Christ has come to live in His many-membered body to fulfill these in His body. For aside from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Second, Our Father has Appointed these Offices in the Church in His Order
Paul tells us that we "are the body of Christ and members individually" (I Cor. 12:27). Paul declares that, "God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers. . ." (I Cor. 12:28a). Paul lets us know that the Father is setting up His church in His own divine order for His own eternal purpose. God has appointed these offices. These offices are truly determined by the choice of God and not by the will or choice of man. Paul in 1 Cor. 12:28-30 indicates that these five-fold offices (Eph. 4:11) are the highest level and are followed at the next level by the Spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:4-10). Christ's ministry gifts of Romans 12:6-8 would then follow at the next level. "The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable" (Rom. 11:29). This means that all gifts are given to the Body of Christ for its edification and the Father sets the gifted members in the body just how it pleases Him (I Cor. 12:18).
Third, The Five Offices are Purposely Given for the Equipping of the Saints
The five offices are given to the Body of Christ for the divine purpose of "the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:12a). The five-fold ministry is NOT to be somebody in the Body of Christ. The five-fold ministry offices ARE the servants of all in the Body of Christ. The shepherds or pastors are primarily called and gifted to equip the saint for the work of the ministry, not to be the primary ministers themselves. This is done by edifying and building up of the entire Body of Christ. Apostles and prophets are given to the Body to lay the foundation of the church clearly upon Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11). Apostles and prophets also ensure that all things are aligned with Jesus Christ and Him crucified, as the whole church is being built together in the Lord (Eph. 2:20-22). Teachers, Shepherds, and Evangelists complete the edification building process.
Fourth, These Five Office Gifts are Given until We All Come to the Unity
Paul says that these office gifts are given "until we all once then arrive into the unity of the faith" (Eph. 4:11a, 13a). Do you think the Body of Christ has yet arrived at the unity of the faith? If we were honest, we would have to say, "No." Paul also says these office gifts are given "until we all come. . . to the knowledge of the Son of God, to a complete man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11a, 13). This means that the entire international body of Christ, consisting of all local bodies, come to an understanding that Christ is their life and fully allow him to be expressed in every gift and ministry to the glory of the Father. Do not misunderstand me. This is NOT a call for us to be a member of the National Council of Churches, or for all to think alike. Paul's call is that we all come to see in unity that Christ is our life to live in us as us for others, with every gift and ministry expression that He wants for others. Do you think we have yet arrived? No, I don't think so. Then, if I rightly divide the text, Christ gave every one of these offices to His Body, until the point that we have arrived. We either have arrived and we need NONE of the offices, or we haven't arrived and we need ALL of the offices. You can't rightly divide the Word of truth and find even one verse that indicates ANY of these offices are passed away. There is only one church age dispensation. We still need ALL offices in the Church.
Fifth, The Church Still Needs Revelation Inspired by this Apostolic Office
Paul said that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; II Tim. 1:1). The apostle is a definite calling by Jesus Christ. Jesus called Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4-6). John wrote the Book of Revelation about 95 A.D. and was the last of the original apostles still alive. John quotes the word of Jesus who said, "you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Rev. 2:2). If there was teaching in the church that there were no longer apostles past John, this issue would have never arisen. This was NOT the teaching of the early church. Jesus didn't say that there was no longer apostles being called by Him. Jesus just let us know there are false apostles. No doubt, there are others as the apostle Paul, called out to be apostles to the church, who will have his same gospel and message. The church still needs revelation inspired by this apostolic office.
Sixth, The Church Needs Prophetic Correction & Focus on the True Jesus
Paul asked the questions, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?" (I Cor. 12:29). This indicates that Paul also believed and accepted that these offices were still being called in other members of the Body of Christ. Paul was making it clear, that God would not call every member to the same offices and gifts. Peter also lets us know there can be "false prophets" or "false teachers" who deny the Lord and blaspheme the truth (II Pet. 2:1-2). John declares this, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10b). The church still needs prophetic correction with clear focus on the true Jesus!!
Seventh, Christ Lives in Us to Fill and Flow Through Us in Every Calling
We certainly need God-called teachers, shepherds, and evangelists in the church today. Some shepherds have dual callings, as teachers or as evangelists. Christ lives in us to fill and flow through us in every gift, office, or calling given us.