Ephesians 2:18-22 – Through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
As we give our attention to the five ministry gifts it is important to keep focused on Jesus. Each of the ministry gifts is a manifestation of the ministry of Jesus and does not stand alone on its own merits. Paul reminds us, “through Him we have both access in one Spirit to the Father” (emphasis mine). The Godhead determined for Jesus to build His church upon the apostolic and prophetic ministries. It is through apostolic teaching and prophetic vision God’s will and purpose is communicated. John the apostle declares in the book of Revelation that he “fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’” (Revelation 19:10).
As with the apostolic gift, the prophetic gift is still needed. Today, the prophetic does not bring new revelation or anything “extra biblical,” but helps to restore the Lord’s church to His original intent. Throughout history, men have distorted the truth of God and have built their own systems. The writers of the New Testament warned God’s people that this would happen. Consider what Peter said in his second letter, READ MORE – CLICK TITLE ABOVE
Ephesians 4:11 – He gave some as apostles.
In our next five devotionals, we will look at the Lord’s purpose in these five ministry gifts for the growth and development of the body of Christ. These ministry gifts and their function are important to the maturation of individual believers. The first of the five is the “apostolic gift.” The original apostles are known as “the apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14). Christ is building His church upon the foundation that the apostles and prophets laid, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).
These men were given to Christ in His earthly ministry by the Father. “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word” (John 17:6). There will never be more apostles known as the “apostles of the Lamb,” since they were given to Jesus in His earthly ministry. It is important to understand that the “apostolic ministry” was meant to continue until the Lord returns. The apostolic ministry today reinforces what the apostles taught. They are used by the Holy Spirit to “equip the saints for the work of service and to build up the body of Christ: until we all attain the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-14). READ MORE – CLICK TITLE ABOVE
Ephesians 4:15 – Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
Paul clearly articulates the will of God in this Scripture. The larger context of Paul’s instruction begins with verse 11. There, Paul outlines five specific graces or gifts the Lord has given to His church for the purpose of producing growth in the saints of God. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are gifts given to accomplish the Lord’s purpose in the earth. In verse 12, Paul states their purpose, which is “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
As an individual waits on God through study of His word and prayer, they receive much in terms of understanding and ability. In God’s eternal purpose, He has established these ministries as a vital part of the “equipping” process. There is an anointing that is imparted through these gifts of God. “Equipping of the saints” has a core purpose of helping God’s people achieve maximum potential in God’s calling and service. Equipping includes many things such as structuring teachings, bringing correction, instilling vision, being an example to the saints, bringing understandings of God’s purposes, and impartation of God’s gifts, to name a few.
Our growth in Christ includes the “work of service.” Jesus told His disciples, “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). READ MORE – CLICK TITLE ABOVE
Matthew 13:23 – The one sown on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
Jesus taught many aspects of the kingdom of God through parables. Matthew 13:23 is an excerpt from the “parable of the sower.” In this verse, Jesus is describing the effect of God’s word on the person who is like good soil where seed has been sown. The soil represents a human soul. As we have seen previously, the soul is made up of our intellect, emotions, and will. Our soul is in a constant state of growth. No one can say they have arrived in terms of their total understanding of God’s word. Our relationship with the Godhead is constantly developing and growing. Only in eternity will we find full development.
We begin our journey with the Lord like a newborn baby. “Be like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). The key to development and growth in the kingdom of God is a constant hungering for the Word of God. This longing should never disappear! The Holy Spirit gives us the desire to read, to study, and to search out the depths of God’s truths. We should be moving from milk to the meaty food of Scriptures. The writer of Hebrews had to stop a theme he was developing in Hebrews 5, because he realized that his readers were not ready to go further. “Concerning Him, we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11). READ MORE – CLICK TITLE ABOVE
John 1:12 – As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.
In John 1:12, Jesus speaks of the most important right an individual can possess, “the right to become a child of God.” The world thinks that we are all God’s children. It is true, in biblical terms, that our genealogy can be traced back to Adam. The Bible speaks of Adam as “the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Adam lost his standing through sin. God established the law of a “blood sacrifice” in the Garden of Eden when He took the skins of an innocent animal and covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness. Through what God did, we have the first prophetic picture of God’s provision for fallen humankind through His Only Begotten Son. Paul calls Jesus the last Adam who has redeemed us back to God making it possible for each descendant of the first Adam to once again have a “right standing” with God the Father. In our spirit, we have a sure standing as sons and daughters of the living God. Jesus’ victory has secured our standing as children of God.
Paul writes of our relationship with God in his letter to the Romans, “All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). The question each believer must ask throughout their life is, “Am I being led by the Spirit of God?” Sons do what the father directs. We live in a society where sons do their own pleasure and this even seems correct. Young people strive for independence. It seems like the goal in child development. Jesus came to do the will of His Father. Even as a child, He understood “being about His Father’s affairs” (Luke 2:49). Later as an adult, Jesus taught, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30). READ MORE – CLICK TITLE ABOVE
Acts 8:12 – When they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.
Acts 8:12 is a powerful Scripture that reports a number of things which are very important. First, “many believed” what Philip was declaring. The good news of the kingdom is that the kingdom of God has come, but not in the way many Jews expected. There are many teachings within modern-day Christianity about future events. Not all of the events will happen the way they are being taught. The Lord has given us what He wants us to know about the future. The kingdom of God did not come as an earthly kingdom, as many Jews expected, but rather in the Spirit. Christ was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit. The promise of God is that we will be raised from the dead by the same Spirit that raised up Christ. (See Romans 8:11). The Spirit brought transformation in human lives, both for Jew and Gentile. The Spirit of God has affected the nations throughout history. It is through the Holy Spirit that God’s rule is known in the earth.
The kingdom that Philip and the apostles preached has a king presently ruling from a heavenly throne. God’s covenant with king David was that his heir would rule on an everlasting throne. Jesus Christ is the son of David that is ruling just like God promised. This is why our message needs to contain both the good news of the kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, “Savior Messiah.” The good news to the world is that this King has overcome the powers of darkness that rule throughout the nations. This King’s inheritance is the nations. “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession” (Psalm 2:8). The good news is that God’s servant is reigning as both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:8). READ MORE – CLICK TOTLE ABOVE