Spiritual Growth Lesson # 21 >>>

Spiritual Growth Lessons
LESSON 21 of 32


"And His gifts were varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us, some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), that they should do the work of ministering toward building up Christ's body (the church)" (Ephesians 4:11-12, Amplified Bible).

In the New Testament, the words that have been translated "ministry," "minister," "ministered," and such like words, come from several Greek words:
1. diakoneo: to be an attendant, or as a host, friend, teacher, deacon, to minister unto others, serve.
2. diakonia: attendance as a servant, ministering, serving.
3. diakonos: to run on errands, an attendant, a waiter at a table or other menial duties, a Christian teacher and pastor, deacon, minister, servant.
4. leitourgeo: to perform religious functions, to worship. The five-fold ministry as mentioned in the above verses of Scripture is:
1. apostles
2. prophets
3. evangelists
4. pastors
5. teachers

Some people also put the pastors and teachers into one classification and refer to the four-fold ministry. Notice that the purpose of the ministry is to train all of the saints, perfecting them and equipping them to do the work of ministering toward the building up of Christ's body, the church. Everybody has a ministry. Each member of the body of Christ has a particular place in the church that only he can fill. He is unique. There is no one in the church that can do the job just like he can!

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Romans 12:4-5).

"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He pleased" (I Corinthians 12:7, 18). The child of God must seek God to find out what is his particular calling or place in the body of Christ. His ministry may be of a spiritual nature, or it may be otherwise, but it is important!

"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" (I Corinthians l2:28). In the Church of Jesus Christ, there are many kinds of ministeries. Some of the most important can be classified as follows:
1. The Ministry of the Word: The five-fold ministry, which is directed to both believers and unbelievers (Acts 6:4; Ephesians 4:11-12).
2. The Ministry of Worship: A ministry directed unto God, but which also blesses the individual and the church (Acts 13:2).
3. The Ministry of Prayer: Prayer is a ministry unto God and unto men, since it involves both worship and intercession. Read Luke 2:36-37.
4. The Ministry of Reconciliation: This is a combination of several ministeries to bring the sinner to God.The ministry of prayer, the ministry of the Word, and the ministry of the saints--all help to bring the sinner to God. Read II Corinthians 5:18.
5. The Ministry of the Saints: This ministry involves both the spiritual realm (the heavenly), and the carnal (the supplying of earthly things).
a. Spiritual:
1) Seeking to reconcile people to Jesus Christ, thus fulfilling His commission to the church (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8).
2) Building up one another (I Corinthians 14:26; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 2:19- 22).
b. Carnal (Material):
"But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are in Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things" (Romans 15:25-27).

Thus, the supplying of material or carnal needs can be thought of as a ministry--the ministry of giving. ds