“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
God has given every believer certain gifts and functions to contribute to the health of the church and enable it to communicate the gospel to the world.
God fervently desires to reach the whole world with the gospel’s truth (Acts 1:8). Therefore, the Holy Spirit has specially energized members of Christ’s Body, the church, to fulfill God’s great desire for the world. In Old Testament times, Israel was God’s agency to reach other peoples. During New Testament history, Christ and the apostles were the outreach vehicles God used. Today the church is the channel God uses to tell the world about His nature and His truth.
The Lord wants this collection of believers to be strong and functioning well. Besides providing the gifted church leaders mentioned in today’s verses, it is God’s plan to equip every member with a specific gift that will help the church grow and be a healthy witness to its community. Just as a human body has a variety of organs that must function and interact properly for the vitality of the entire body, any believer’s consistent use of his gift helps to build up the church.
Spiritual gifts are not showered randomly, but God gives believers differing gifts so the church might display a composite reflection of Christ’s character. Therefore, believers will never begin to reach their full spiritual maturity unless all the gifts are being ministered among members of the church.
For instance, if a pastor ministers by preaching, his people should communicate more effectively. If someone ministers the gift of mercy, another believer receives the direct benefit but also learns how to show mercy. As spiritual gifts are used, everyone is built up to be more like Christ and manifest His character traits. By this process, the Holy Spirit helps the church to reflect the total Person of Christ. How are you doing in contributing your gift to God’s plan?
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that the leaders and all the members of your church would consistently display a unified, solidly biblical testimony to the community.
For Further Study
Read Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4, 37-47.
- How did the early believers demonstrate their unity?
- What were the primary results of the Spirit’s ministry on the Day of Pentecost?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.