Monday, November 14, 2011
God’s idea for His church can be seen in Ephesians 4:11-12, where we discover He gives leadership gifts to His people. Since God is the one “in charge”, He informs leaders what they are to do to benefit His church. This is different than the biblical truth that every Christian is a gifted member of the body of Christ. Here Jesus has gifted or given a divine donation to His church by calling and releasing gifted men to lead the church into maturity and effective ministry.
What are church leaders (apostles, prophets, evangelist and pastors/teachers) supposed to do? Christ has given the job description: they are to “equip the saints” - that is, believers. (All believers are “saints” in the New Testament; they are set apart for God.) The word “equipping” means fixing something that’s broken or supplying something that is lacking. Paul mentions this when he tells the church in Thessalonica that he and his leaders “desire to supply, or equip, what is lacking in your faith” (1 Thess. 3:10).
Jesus gives varied grace gifts to each believer in the church so they can minister. He also gives leaders to the church whose job is to repair what’s broken and supply what’s lacking in believers. Jesus descended from heaven to become flesh, die for our sin on the cross and rise from the grave for the forgiveness of our sin (Eph. 4:10). He then ascended to God’s right hand where He gives gifts of leadership to you.
Apply this to your situation. Jesus looked at your city, saw you and determined that you were in desperate need of His grace. He loved you and determined to reveal Himself to you and He radically changed your life. Now realize that we may be personally saved but we are never individually saved. He saves us into community. So the Lord determined to have a church in your city and He sent leaders to your church who are called to equip, fix what was broken, and supply what is needed in you.
Your church leaders are Jesus’ “divine donation” to you. Jesus gifts each Christian and yet we are not so perfect that we are not in need of fixing and being supplied by God’s donated leadership gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors/teachers. No one can say “I am gifted and don’t need these leadership gifts of apostolic authority, prophetic encouragement, evangelistic training or pastoral care and teaching.” All of us are indeed gifted with a measure of grace but all of us are in some measure lacking. We need fixing and supplying. Jesus has donated leadership to supply you in your growth and maturity as you follow Jesus. This is the ingenious design of God! Ephesians 4 reveals that the church needs you (verse 7) but the leadership gifts also prove that you vitally need the church (verse 10).