And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:11-14)
Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin taught us to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be in operation in the church. I was praying along these lines a couple of years back and the Lord spoke to me. He said, “If you are going to have the gifts of the Spirit in operation as you are requesting, you must add something else to your prayer.” I asked, “Lord what do I need to add to my prayer?” He said, “You must pray for the five ministry gifts in Ephesians 4:11, to take their place and be in full manifestation, in the church world. The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are equipped with certain gifts of the Spirit to qualify them to stand in those offices. You will not have the fullness of the gifts of the Spirit until they take their place.”
No Christian, church or ministry will develop fully without the influence of all five ministry gifts. If they can, the Bible isn’t true.
Playing The Title Game
It seems many are taking titles and trying to be something they are not. It is because of this that the church world has failed to call ministry gifts what they really are. I have been guilty of that myself, in times past.
We can call someone a pastor, teacher or maybe an evangelist but we don’t dare recognize an apostle or prophet or call them that. We think fire might fall on us and kill us or something because we would actually be believing the Bible. Somehow that just doesn’t make spiritual sense.
The devil doesn’t want the five ministry offices accepted and recognized because we might grow up and blast him out of the church. The devil has played havoc in the church because of this. Calling yourself a title does not make you that. The title identifies the office so people can receive from that ministry gift.
Dangerous Trends In Ministry Today
There is a trend in the church world today that is dangerous because Satan is behind it. Ministers are trying to move into offices they were never called to and it gets things out of order in the church world. Some attend bible school and decide they are called to the five fold ministry because they went to school. Traveling ministers find out it is not glamorous on the road all the time and want to pastor. I know from experience. Some pastors have had a measure of success speaking outside their church and begin to think they are an apostle to the world and want to leave and go on the road. We must stay in our calling.
Ministry Gifts Think Differently
Apostles sometimes want to take over the whole world and get frustrated at others because they don’t understand the Lord is saying go take it from the devil.
Prophets sometimes get disturbed because everyone else can’t see what is clearly right in front of their face, if they would only look.
Evangelists sometimes think the whole church world is on the way to hell (some in the church are on their way to hell) and get upset about that.
Pastors sometimes get the idea that all people need is the gift of the pastor so they don’t have other ministry gifts in their church.
Teachers sometimes think all the rest of the ministry gifts are wild, goofed up and probably demon possessed because everything they preach doesn’t start with number one and end with number seven or so.
The truth is we all see things a little differently and we need each other to accomplish the plan of God. We must accept this fact, pray for one another and work together.
Don’t Let Satan Use Your Success Against You
If you are anointed and you walk out God’s plan, you will eventually be successful. Success can be a heinous monster to those who are not aware of Satan’s tactics. Satan will tell you that you are the greatest, and try to get you filled with pride. He will then use the pride of your success to destroy you.
Without God and His anointing, you can do nothing and would know nothing at all. You must remain humble in order to move on in God. You are not better than anyone else or greater than anyone else because of your success. Jesus taught that the least is the greatest in the Kingdom of God. We must develop and keep an attitude of humility. That is the key to success in ministry.
The apostle’s office seems to embrace almost every type of ministry. The Greek word “apostolos” translated apostle means one sent forth, a sent one. This person is anointed and sent forth from the Lord to accomplish a specific mission. There are different levels and degrees of anointing in this office, just like the other four ministry offices. They are not called to tell everybody else what to do. They are first and foremost a preacher and a teacher of the Word of God. Signs, wonders and mighty deeds will operate through the apostle and the other ministry gifts.
The apostle is anointed to build and establish churches and ministries as well as help equip Christians spiritually to accomplish the will of God for their lives. I know some who are called pastors that actually stand in the office of apostle, in a measure. I know those who are called missionaries who stand in the office of apostle, in a measure.
Doing Away With Error
When a person is anointed to be an apostle, it does not mean that they are an apostle over the entire church world or over a church or ministry they did not establish. Their degree of influence or anointing only extends over what the Lord has called them to do, specifically.
There was a pastor years ago who got a revelation on prayer. When he would teach or preach on prayer people would be stirred up to pray. I believe he stood in the office of apostle, in a measure.
The problem occurred when he thought he was an apostle (sent one) to the entire church world and left his church to travel and teach on prayer. He fell flat on his face and went from international prominence into obscurity. You don’t hear of him anymore. I believe if he had stayed with his church and continued to teach on prayer you would still hear of him today. He got out beyond what the Lord had called and anointed him to do. We must make sure we stay within our calling. The grass always seems greener on the other side, but isn’t.
A prophet is one who sees and knows things supernaturally by the Spirit of God. They are first and foremost a preacher and teacher of the Word of God. They speak from the impulse of a sudden inspiration, from the light of a sudden revelation at the moment.
To stand in the office of a prophet, one must have a more consistent manifestation of at least two of the revelation gifts (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, or discerning of spirits) plus prophecy. A prophet is one who has visions and revelations.
A prophet is not one who goes around giving everybody a, so called, word from God. The person that does this is wrong and will get you into trouble if you listen to them. You should never seek guidance from a prophet, you are to be led by the Holy Spirit. A prophet may confirm what you have in your spirit but you are still to be led by the Spirit of God.
Prophets Tell What The Lord Is Saying
I know a prophet who was preaching to a group of ministers. While he was preaching, suddenly, the Lord told him to tell a minister not to do what he was planning to do because he was going to miss God. The prophet didn’t want to do it publicly because he knew it would embarrass this minister. The Lord told him he had to do it to keep the minister from dying prematurely. The minister was so caught up in the affairs of life that he could not hear the Spirit of God speaking to him.
The prophet stopped preaching and called the minister’s name and told him what the Lord said. The minister’s face got red and he was very embarrassed. The minister accepted what the Lord said and did not go in the wrong direction, at that time.
This minister headed in the right direction for a period of time and then made a decision to go in another direction. He called the prophet to tell him what he was going to do. When the prophets phone rang the prophet heard these words from the Lord before he answered the phone. “Influenced by money, position and authority.”
The minister told the prophet what he was going to do, and the prophet knew he was going the wrong way and why. The Lord told the prophet not to warn him again, and that his life would end prematurely if he did not repent and change. The minister never got into God’s will.
The prophet’s ministry is used to give direction from the Word of God about the issue at hand. This is much needed because of all the satanic junk that is floating around in the church world today.
Prophets Attack False Doctrine And Error
The office of the prophet is used by the Lord to warn of false doctrine and satanic operations that try to attack the church. Elijah was used by God to expose the prophets of Baal and destroy them, because they were deceiving God’s people and leading them to worship satanic gods and idols. The prophet is used in the same way today, along with the ministry of the apostle. Yes, all ministry gifts deal with these issues, but it seems that the prophet sees and knows these things in a more definite way.
The office of the evangelist has the ability to preach about Jesus Christ with the power of God in demonstration. This office is gifted at getting people delivered, saved, and healed. A true evangelist will be anointed in a special way, with the power of God and gifts of the Holy Spirit, to set the captive free.
The office of the pastor is anointed to be the shepherd of God’s sheep in a local church body. They nurture, protect, and instruct Christians in the way they should believe, act and live their lives. I am convinced the pastor ought to be equipped with the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge , and tongues and interpretation.
The office of the teacher has a divine ability to cause Christians to understand exactly what the Bible is saying about a certain subject or doctrine. They make the Word of God so plain that even the simple minded can comprehend it. Gifts of the Spirit operate through them also.
Anointed To Stand In More Than One Office
A person can stand in more than one office of ministry. A combination of the ministry gifts, operating through one individual, is used by the Lord to accomplish what He desires. Some apostles can stand in any of the five offices as the Lord wills, but just because someone is an apostle does not mean that would be true in their life. The Lord chooses whom He wants to use this way.
Will The Real Ministry Gifts Please Stand Up
There are a lot of people who proclaim that they are apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers but they aren’t. They have brought much confusion and error into the church of Jesus Christ. The reason this has happened is because many of the real ones haven’t stood up.
All five gifts are needed to guide the Christian world, because each one of them has a different anointing to accomplish a certain task in the church of Jesus Christ. Please pray that they will take their place.