Ephesians 4:11-12 TO EQUIP THE SAINTS

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

11 It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ,

There is so much in Ephesians chapter 4.

There is enough teaching from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter 4 to keep us meditating on the Word for a good long time.

In this post I’m going to focus on verses 11 and 12. The Apostle Paul wrote here the purpose for which Jesus gave some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, THAT IS, to build up the body of Christ.

The way the Apostle Paul uses the phrase “that is” seems to be much as if he is writing, “Let’s be clear about to which ministry I am referring here.”  He does not leave us with just a vague, “equip the saints for the work of ministry”… fill in the blank with whatever ministry you want to feel equipped to do the work of. No! Paul spells it out for us. We as saints are to be equipped by the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the work of ministry to build up the body of Christ.

So often we saints are encouraged to go out to do the work of ministry, and it is implied or explicitly stated, “THAT IS,” to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, etc.  BUT Paul does not write here we the saints are being equipped by the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the work of multiple ministries, like feed the hungry, and the rest. Paul wrote here it is the job of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints for this specific ministry: TO BUILD UP THE BODY OF CHRIST.

I do not often come away from my Sunday experience satisfied I have been equipped for the work of ministry, “that is, to build up the body of Christ.” I usually know I’ve been encouraged to “live a good Christian life” in some way or other, but I don’t know I’ve been equipped for the work of ministry, “that is, to build up the body of Christ.”

In fact, I usually get the impression I am not to get anywhere near doing any ministry which might explicitly be geared toward building up the body of Christ. I usually get the impression the work of ministry, “that is, to build up the body of Christ” is to be left to the professionals, to those who have theology degrees and are “on staff” of the local church or parish.

I don’t have many memories of apostles and prophets directly equipping me, ever.  The only roles mentioned here which ever have been formally presented to me are pastors and teachers. Once in a while there may be a special event where someone is introduced as an evangelist.

Do you come away from your interactions with pastors and teachers knowing you have been equipped to build up the body of Christ?