I. "AND HE GAVE SOME APOSTLES."
A. In 1 Cor. 12
as Paul is speaking of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he said, And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
B. He is making reference to men that God has set in the church with ministry gifts.
C. The gift of apostleship.
1. There were many disciples of Jesus, they numbered into the hundreds.
2. From the many disciples He chose twelve to be called Apostles.
3. The word apostle literally means one sent forth.
a. Thus Jesus is called in Hebrews the Apostle of our faith.
b. Paul said that he was called to be an apostle.
c. In Philippians 2:25
Paul speaks of Epaphroditas as being an apostle, translated messenger in K.J.
d. In Romans Paul salutes Andronicus and Junia who he declares are of note among the apostles.
4. If we stuck to the strict meaning of the word, I guess it would apply most closely to a missionary today.
5. In the early church the requirements for apostleship seemed to be one who had been with Christ from His baptism, who was an eyewitness to His resurrection from the dead. It would also appear that he should also exercise the gift of miracles. "Are not the works of an apostle wrought by me?" (Paul.)
6. Are there apostles today? In a true Biblical sense probably no. There are those who have taken the title of apostle, the Mormon church in one of their claims to be the true church boasts that they are the only church who have 12 apostles with the authority to ordain men to administer the rituals of the church. Thus they boast of apostolic authority.
D. Some prophets.
1. It would seem that in the New Testament the office of prophet differed somewhat from that of the office of the prophet in the Old Testament.
2. Agabas was referred to as a prophet.
a. He predicted a drought.
b. He predicted Paul's imprisonment in Jerusalem.
c. In Acts 13
it speaks of certain prophets in the church at Antioch, such as Barnabas, Simeon, and Lucius and Saul.
d. The daughters of Phillip were gifted with the gift of prophecy.
e. Paul speaks of the women praying and prophesying in the church at Corinth.
f. The promise of the Holy Spirit in Joel declared that your sons and daughters would prophesy.
3. In the Old Testament it seemed that the prophet had the ear of the nation, and he called on them to turn to God and warned of the great dangers that they would face if they refused to do so.
4. Today Billy Graham, though an evangelist, seems to also exercise the gift of a prophet much like those of the Old Testament era. I see him as a Isaiah, or Jeremiah.
5. I believe that Dave Hunt in a way could be considered as a prophet
E. Pastor teacher.
1. I believe that this goes together, that the pastor should be a teacher.
2. In Pauls listing in I Cor. he only mentions teacher but makes no mention of that of pastor.
3. The word pastor is shepherd the one who tends the flock. It is more than just feeding them, it is overseeing them watching over their welfare.
4. I believe that this is my gift and calling in the church. I have been called to be a pastor teacher.
II. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THESE GIFTS?
A. The perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry.
1. The New Testament word perfecting is that of bringing to maturity or full age.
2. In Hebrews 6
the exhortation is to leave the first principles of the doctrines of Christ and go on into perfection or maturity. We need to hear more than just repentance from dead works and the need for baptism.
3. The saints are the ones that are to be involved in the works of the ministry.
4. To bring the saints to the place of spiritual maturity that they are able to minister to others.
B. The edifying of the body of Christ. The word edify is to build up.
1. This is where the Lord revolutionized my whole philosophy of the church and thus my ministry.
2. I had been taught and had accepted without challenge that the primary purpose of the church was the evangelization of the world.
a. The church existed to win the world to Christ.
b. Thus every sermon that I preached was an evangelistic sermon followed by an altar call.
c. I was continually stressing the message of salvation.
d. The people I was preaching to were all saved.
C. I now see a threefold purpose for the church.
1. I now believe that the primary purpose of the church is to glorify God. We exist for His good pleasure, and when we bring Him praise and glory we are fulfilling His primary purpose for our existence.
2. I believe that the church exists for the purpose of perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ.
a. I used to be so concerned about winning the world to Christ, that I was not tending those who had come to Christ.
b. By not bringing them into maturity, I was keeping them in a state of spiritual infancy.
3. I believe that the Church cannot fulfill the great commission to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the world until we have come to a level of spiritual maturity and have been built up in Christ.
a. I believe that witnessing is the most natural thing in the world to the mature saint.
b. That your life becomes a witness to the world.
c. I love the scripture that declares, "They took stock of them that they had been with Jesus."
d. We have thought too long that witnessing for Christ is something that you say to others about Him.
e. That can be a vital part of witnessing, but the true witness is living the life of Christ before them.
f. They will learn and believe much more by what they see in you, than what they hear from you.