Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers … what’s the purpose of these ministries?
Some weeks back, was traveling, and felt the Lord drop a very simple definition of each of these ministry gifts, … a simple layman definition – explaining their difference and identifying them.
A Prophet informs or directs fellow believers (or a group of believers) to the Will of God, faithfully following the Way of God, Jesus, and helps others discover the Gifts and Ministry of God upon their lives which will bless many others. The prophet inspires fellow believers to walk in the will of God for their lives by faith following God’s way, in spite of the challenges or temptations, … to be more like Jesus. A prophet is like a shepherd’s rod and staff (sometimes words of comfort, encouragement, sometimes a correction is required, sometimes providing insightful solutions to problems).
An Evangelist leads pre-believers to encounter the Salvation of God, Jesus. An Evangelist inspires fellow believers to love, intercede & share with others who have yet to know Jesus personally, to encounter the Salvation of God, Jesus.
A Pastor shepherds fellow believers into the practical, tangible, faithful Love of God, Jesus in all His fullness. Through a pastor’s ministry to the flock, the sheep experience the true Shepherd, Jesus. They are comforted, restored and inspired to bless and love others as Christ has loved us. The greek word for ‘pastor‘ in the New Testament means ‘shepherd‘.
A Teacher brings alive the wondrous insightful Truth in the Word of God, Jesus, in a simple, memorable, and life-changing way to fellow believers. A teacher stirs up a love and hunger for God’s Word in fellow believers to desire to encounter God’s word and the word of God, Jesus, for themselves daily
Hence, the focus of ministry is Jesus,
to fulfill the law of Christ — loving God and loving others, like Jesus,
bringing fellow believers closer to Jesus, His plans and purposes, walking in His word.
A disciple is not above his teacher,
but everyone when he is fully trained
will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40 (ESV)
as we abide in Him, and His word.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
John 1:4 (NASB)
Without Him, Jesus, … there’s no life, no light.
John experienced in Revelation 19:9,10 (NIV)
9 Then the angel said to me,
“Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him (the angel).
But he said to me, “Don’t do that!
I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters
who hold to the testimony of Jesus.
For it is the Spirit of prophecy
who bears testimony to Jesus.”
Worship God only!
fellow servants, brothers and sisters who hold & bear
the testimony of Jesus in word & deed
In Him, Jesus, … there’s life, … there;s light
the true words of God … the testimony of Jesus
26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,
that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
He will testify about Me
John 15:26 (NASB)
6 Jesus *said to him,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
John 14:6 (NASB)
17 Sanctify them in the truth;
Your word is truth.
John 17:17 (NASB)
sanctify – to make something or someone holy (source: Cambridge Dictionary)
24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:24 (NASB)
15 but speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in all aspects
into Him who is the head, even Christ
Ephesians 4:15 (NASB)
Thus, ministers of truth, … speaking the truth in love,
and living out God’s truth, His word, in holiness,
worshiping the Father in spirit and truth,
testifying about Jesus, the truth,
by the Spirit of truth
(even more so in an environment of post-truth, alternative facts, fake news, truthiness, etc)
The ministry impact is life-changing
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
establishing the kingdom of God in hearts and lives;
transforming lives, … supernatural.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk
but of power.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NIV)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Its about ministering with love and care to individuals, believers, and others who have yet to know Him, with the agape and compassion of Jesus.
7 …. the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
John 21:15- 17 (NASB)
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon,son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.
Shepherd, tend, and feed His sheep and His lambs following the example of our Good Shepherd.
The goal is not to make you a smarter sinner
but to make you like the Savior.”
— Howard Hendricks
By the Holy Spirit, through word, deed, and life,
these ministry gifts communicate to the hearts of others the Word of God.
This results not just in information … but in transformation in others — fruit.
32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us
while He was speaking to us on the road,
while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32 (NASB)
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts,
and they said to him and to the other apostles,
“Brothers, what should we do?”
Acts 2:37 (NLT)
(see also Haggai 1:12-15 for another example)
Paul shared how he communicated Jesus to others (on & off stage):
5 For our gospel did not come to you
in word only, (Word of God, testimonies, etc)
but also in power,
and in the Holy Spirit
and in much assurance,
deep conviction. (NIV)
complete faith in what we were preaching (NIRV) (from the heart)
as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
You know how we lived among you for your sake. (NIV) (consistent living example, 24/7)
and the fruit, outcome?
6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, (i.e. disciples of Jesus)
having received the word in much affliction,
with joy of the Holy Spirit,
7 so that you became examples
to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. (i.e. multiplying, fruit-bearing disciples)
1 Thessalonians 1:5,-7 (NIV)
Through the lives of these ministries, through their sharing and prayers,
their core message is crystal clear… like a fire in their bones.
For example, … let’s take a moment to listen to the heart, prayers and word of the prophet Jeremiah as he carries the anointing of a prophet unto the nations,
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.
49 My eyes will flow unceasingly,
50 until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
51 What I see brings grief to my soul
because of all the women of my city.
Lamentations 3:48-51 (NIV)
Like Jesus, a ministry of love and compassion,
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:34 (NIV)
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:14 (NIV)
Note: some may have combinations of these ministry gifts, eg. teacher-pastor, teacher-prophet.
Also, these are not titles or positions, but roles with distinct manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and tangible evidence of fruit.
Here’s an example of the blessings of each of these ministries:
Did further reading in God’s word,
here’s a little sharing on the purpose, goal and result of these ministries.
Also, have. met sincere new and seasoned believers who have expressed doubts over some ministries, … after observing their attitude and character.
Will attempt to share some thoughts on this from the Word.
Purpose, Goal, Result
This list of ministry gifts, are enumerated in the book of Ephesians, which explains their purpose,
Ephesians 4:7-16 (NIV)
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift
through the generosity of Christ. (NLT)
God has given each one of his children gifts (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 1 Peter 4:10,11),
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received
to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
When Jesus ascended on high, He gave gifts to men.
Thus, to each one of us grace was given of Christ’s gift
for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
No one is left out, everyone of us has received gifts and ministries from the Lord.
The gifts and ministries were given after Jesus ascended on high, so they have not disappeared or ceased. As these are gifts from Jesus, … they cannot be earned, or studied to obtain them.
However, like natural gifts, good mentoring and proper instruction helps a prodigy blossom.
Earlier on in the book of Ephesians, Paul wrote about the good works God has prepared beforehand for us to walk into,
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them
In another translation (NLT), we are God’s masterpiece.
Hence, we need His gifts and be equipped to walk into these good works.
A ministry gift is similar to.
.. birds fly and fishes swim ….
a chili is hot & spicy …
a jasmine tree naturally exudes its distinct scent,
no marketing required.
By observation, one can tell,
It is … what it is.
i.e. spontaneously, instinctively without much effort,
naturally, a bird, a fish, a chili, a jasmine tree
manifests its distinct characteristic
… glorifying its creator, God.
16 You will know them by their fruits. …
17 … every good tree bears good fruit ..
Matthew 7:16,17 (NKJV)
Luke 7:20-23 (NKJV)
20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying,
‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’”
21 And that very hour
He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John
the things you have seen and heard:
that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Jesus did not directly answer the question with a’yes’ or ‘no’.
Instead, that very hour, he convincingly demonstrated the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him,
and let the tangible evidence speak,
through the testimonies of changed lives and healed physical bodies
blessed by His ministry; … i.e. 100% real pure fruit 🙂 .
Similarly, in Paul and Barnabas ministry,
9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.
Galatians 2:9 (NIV)
The other apostles saw the fruit, and recognized the grace upon Paul & Barnabas to the Gentiles.
The distinct life-changing fruit by the Holy Spirit
confirms the ministry.
Back to Ephesians,
verses 11-13, gives the purpose of the ministry gifts of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers,
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for
** the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
** for the edifying of the body of Christ,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge
of the Son of God,
to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
In the ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers,
the focus is Jesus, the Son of God, … the fullness of Christ
faith … (not fear or unbelief),
be like Jesus,
Equipping and edifying fellow believers,
so that believers can effectively minister/serve/bless (work of ministry)
and edify fellow believers in the body of Christ,
and to others who have yet to know Him.
Equip – complete furnishing, equipping (Strongs),
supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose
Edify – building up, the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness (Strongs)
Equipping and edifying others is the work of apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors.
Not for creating dependency on a ‘select special few‘… but empowerment, fulfillment, maturity, … replicating, multiplying fruitfulness in the work of ministry
through many others in the body.
For example, from the original Apostles
to Stephen and Philip who began their ministry waiting on tables,
… to Stephen’s signs and wonders ministry, and martyrdom,
… to Philip leading successful city-wide evangelistic meetings.
Acts 6:2,5,6,8; Acts 8:5-8 (NIV)
6:2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
6:5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power,
performed great wonders and signs among the people.
8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry
for the edifying of the body of Christ,
the focus is to build/edify people (saints), … and the people will build/edify others
… and thus strengthen the body of Christ
Therefore, Paul wrote
16 from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its share,
causes growth of the body
for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)
In the Gospels, we see Jesus ministered to crowds, … and one-on-one with his disciples and individuals He met along the way. Its interesting that John’s gospel seems to highlight Jesus’ one-on-one ministry.
(eg. Nicodemus, woman at the well, blind man, paralysed man, Mary & Martha, restoring Peter)
People are individuals with a name, coming from various backgrounds,
… personalised, customised, individualised ministry is the most effective way.
(like visiting a doctor or a dentist)
Please note that Paul indicated the body of Christ, …. rather than the word ‘church‘
Christians will meet other Christians in their office, school, neighborhood, extended family, business/study trips, on holiday, etc
… edifying other believers in the body of Christ, and also many others who have yet to know Jesus.
In Bible school, the focus is to prepare/equip people for full-time ministry — full-timers in church life.
However, in the church, … the vast majority people who come are not full-timers.
Thus, the focus is to prepare/equip people for the world of work, school, family, … where the rubber hits the road.
Walking with God in the world
(like Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther, David the king/soldier/shepherd, Paul the tentmaker, etc)
Most of the people mentioned in the Bible have day jobs
10 The crowds asked, “What should we do?”
12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.
Luke 3:10, 12, 14 (NLT)
The ‘how to’ of following Jesus,
walking with Jesus in everyday life, … everyday situations,
in the midst of the challenges of family, work, school, etc,
living in a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-values world,
being salt and light to the world.
As the title of one marketplace book says — “Jesus works here“
15 And He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world (rather than, ‘Go into the church’)
and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 (NASB)
As one pastor said,
“on Sunday I minister to the ministers
who will minister to the world
for the rest of the week”.
Continuing in Ephesians 4:7-16,
through proper equipping and edifying,
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
Rooted and grounded in the foundation of Christ
and His truth, God’s word
1 Corinthians 3:11 (NIV)
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid,
which is Jesus Christ.
Focus on Christ,
not on men and men’s words or thoughts.
Personally, know and love Jesus more,
by putting his word into practice (Matt 7:24,25)
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Speaking the Truth, … from God’s Word or consistent with His Word,
in love, … in God’s character
grow up in all things into Him … living out His Word and Character,
like Jesus, living out His truth and life; Christlikeness.
15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love,
growing in every way more and more like Christ, … (NLT)
Personally, be more and more like Jesus.
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
joined and knit together
every joint supplies
every part does its share
causes growth of the body
Every equipped believer ministering and helping other believers,
the body of Christ edifing itself in love,
causing growth of the body
Unity in love, joined and knit together.
Personally, become a blessing to others;
good works, which God prepared for us to walk in
The opposite result of verses 13-16 is
deception, disunity, division, instability,
non-functioning parts and joints of the body.
Results in weakened body,
thereby impairing growth, ministry, edification, love in the body.
Hence, true and effective Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles
anointed by the Holy Spirit
play an important role
to the health and growth of the body of Christ
locally and globally.
Finally, let’s end with a quick glimpse of the heart of a minister (i.e. apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor, evangelist). Here’s an excerpt of Paul’s farewell address to the elders of Ephesus,
20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.
27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years
I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
Acts 20:20, 27-31 (NIV)
Faithfulness in building up & equipping the believers in in Ephesus.
In Ephesians, Paul records 2 of his prayers & desire for the believers at Ephesus,
here’s one of them,
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
For a glimpse of the pulse of anyone or ministry,
hear the heartfelt passion in their prayers,
see the fruit of their prayers.
“The spiritual leader should outpace the rest of the church,
above all, in prayer.”
– Oswald Sanders
In Acts, we see that these ministries do not work in isolation.
There is a high degree of partnerships, collaboration and accountability to one another. They complemented one another’s gifts and ministries.
For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together];
you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard],
1 Corinthains 3:9 (AMP)
In Samaria (Acts 8), it started with evangelist Philip leading many Samaritans into the kingdom. Later, apostles Peter and John came and prayed for the believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
The church in Antioch (Acts 11:19-30, 15:30-35), was started by some unknown men from Cyprus and Cyrene who led a great number of people to the Lord.
Barnabas was sent to teach the newly established church.
Barnabas brought Paul to edify and equip the church.
Later prophets came to strengthen the church.
In Corinth, Paul wrote:
I planted the seed,
Apollos watered it,
but God has been making it grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)
Paul’s ministry was not and will never be exactly the same as Apollos.
Complementary, collaborative, inter-dependent ministries for a time and season.
A balanced diet – prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, apostles.
When problems or challenges arose, the leaders convened to solve matters through evidence, prayer, agreement, and the scriptures (Acts 15:1-35, council at Jerusalem).
Besides these ministries, there are also other ministries who support the health of the body, for example,
1 Corinthians 12:27,28 (NASB)
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
Romans 12:5-8 (NASB)
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy,according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
An Old Testament example is the collaboration between Ezra, the priest teacher, and Nehemiah, with the gift of administration, in restoring faith in God and rebuilding the walls & temple for the returning exiles of Israel.
Just before Romans 12:5,
Paul shares about having a humble attitude,
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you
not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;
but to think so as to have sound judgment,
as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 (NASB)
… in humility,
value others above yourselves
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,
because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
and in Ephesians, a submissive attitude,
a willingness to be accountable to others in the ministry,
with Christ as the head (Ephesians 4:15,16),
so that ministry, conduct/character, finances are transparent, accountable and responsibly lived out.
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ
Ephesians 5:21 (ESV)
and in Philippians, a ‘serving others‘ attitude,
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3,4 (NIV)
Here’s Peter’s advice on having a ministering attitude,
2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—
not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;
not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;
3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:2,3 (NIV)
willing … eager to serve,
Paul elaborates on being an example to the flock to Timothy,
… Be an example to all believers
in what you say,
in the way you live,
in your love,
and your purity.
16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.
Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation
and the salvation of those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:12, 16 (NLT)
Ministry is a sacred trust,
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust
must prove faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
As its been said, “God did not call us to be famous, but to be faithful.”
Paul, sums it up well in a concise manner
2 Corinthians 1:24 (NASB, MSG)
Not that we lord it over your faith,
but are workers with you for your joy;
for in your faith you are standing firm.
We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.
Attitude – Not that we lord it over your faith
Relationship – We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant
Goal – you stand by your own faith, not by ours.
Furthermore, having these gifts from the Lord, does not make a person more perfect than others or extra ‘special’ or a revered saint or a ‘know-it-all’.
As Paul shared,
But we have this treasure in jars of clay,
to show that the surpassing power
belongs to God
and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
i.e. gifts and ministries in unworthy clay vessels of human frailty (AMP).
In God’s wisdom and grace, He empowers and uses imperfect vessels for His glory.
Vessels that sometimes leak … or sometimes crack, in the heat.
Hence, anointing and character are not synonymous.
(eg. Samson, Saul)
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
As we yield to His hand,
He moulds us,
He develops enduring character in us,
for the full marathon in ministry, anointing …. rather than just a quick sprint,
so that one can be an example to the flock.
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 TImothy 2:20,21 (NIV)
Let’s humbly remember, … the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
There was once the Lord used a donkey to speak! (Numbers 22)
And, the Lord sent a big fish to teach a prophet (Jonah); even Jesus mentioned the great fish ministry 🙂 .
The Lord honors His word, His presence, His power.
We bow in awe in His presence.
As apostle Paul humbly shared the undeserved grace given to Him,
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints,
this grace was given, that I should preach
among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ
Ephesians 3:8 (NKJV)
A quick note about the folks the Lord appoints.
“Isn’t this the carpenter? …”
Mark 6:3 (NIV)
Consider the books in the New Testament — mainly written by a physician (Luke), a tentmaker (Paul), 2 fishermen (Peter & John), a tax collector (Matthew), and probably a carpenter (James).
One was a ‘Hebrews of Hebrews’, a Pharisee, a persecutor of the church,
… while the others were considered ‘unschooled, ordinary‘ by the religious establishment. (Philippians 3:4-7, 1 Timothy 1:13, Acts 4:13).
1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him
2:3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29, 2:3-5 (NIV)
Ultimately, these ministries should direct our faith solely to God and His power.
Sometimes the ministries God sends us, come in unexpected, unconventional (controversial?!) packages, … for example,
Matthew 11:18,19; 13:55-57 (NIV)
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
57 And they took offense at him.
Luke 5:33 (NIV)
33 They said to Jesus, “John’s disciples often fast and pray,
and so do the disciples of the Pharisees,
but yours go on eating and drinking.”
Hence, its wise to adopt an attitude of,
1 John 4:1 (NIV)
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Matthew 10:41 (NIV)
Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.
On a final note, the words and actions of these ministries (apostle, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers) must still be consistent with the authority of the scriptures, God’s Word. Their words should not add or replace the Truth revealed in the scriptures … they should direct us to the Truth, Jesus.
... Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
… Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.
Revelations 19:10 (NKJV, NLT)
Sometimes, though, some correction is required,
eg in Galatians, Paul mentioned a time when he corrected Peter; Peter actions also impacted Barnabas and other believers.
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
Galatians 2:11-14 (NLT)
In some quarters, the term ‘spiritual fathers’ or ‘fathers in the faith’ is used. Here’s Paul’s definition of a father:
3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
4:15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
11:1 Follow my example,
as I follow the example of Christ
1 Corinthians 3:6, 4:15,16, 17, 11:1 (NIV)
Paul pioneered or literally ‘fathered‘ the Corinthian church from it conception and infancy,
and he set an example of Christ for them as a father through his way of life and teaching.
Did further reading of the Bible, here’s a summary.
For Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Teachers,
our greatest example is Jesus and His ministry.
These ministry gifts are empowered and enabled by the anointing of the Holy Spirit,
i.e. ministry of the Holy Spirit;
(not obtained through training, qualifications or natural ability or family line)
In the New Testament church, there were examples of Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers
The New Testament also teaches believing disciples to manifest varying degrees of these ministry gifts, empowered by the Holy Spirit to minister and bless others.
Table 1: Examples in Jesus ministry, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit
||11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples,“Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
John 6:11-14 (NKJV)
Jesus said to Peter, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.
Mathew 26:34 (NKJV)
(prophetic foretelling word to Peter)
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, >“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.
Matthew 21:10-14 (NKJV)
(Prophetic forthtelling, eg. correction)
|12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
John 16:12-14 (NKJV)
||5 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 9:33 (NKJV)
|8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
John 16:8-11 (NKJV)
||11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep,and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
John 10:11-15 (NKJV)
|15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
||28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 7:28,29 (NKJV)
2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!3 Is this not the carpenter…
Mark 6:2,3 (NKJV)
|25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:25-26 (NKJV)
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come
14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
John 16:12-14 (NKJV)
Table 2 : Examples in the New Testament church, and in believing disciples’ ministry
||Some New Testament examples
27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Acts 11:28 (NKJV)
32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.Acts 15:32 (NKJV)Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. Acts 13:1(NKJV)
| 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservantsI will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
Acts 2:17, 18 (NKJV)
8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Acts 21:8,9 (NKJV)
12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.
Acts 22:12-15 (NKJV)
||On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Acts 21:8 (NKJV)
4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
Acts 8:4-8 (NKJV)
| 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature
Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
Acts 8:4 (NKJV)
||He said to him again a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
John 21:16 (NASB)
1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
Philemon 1:1 (NKJV)
there were some shepherds staying out in the fields
and keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:8 (NKJV)
|34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34,35 (NKJV)By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:16 (NKJV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)
||24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord … Acts 18:24,25 (NKJV)
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
1 Corinthians 3:8 (NKJV)
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. Acts 13:1(NKJV)
|18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also
2 Timothy 2:2 (NKJV)
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
September 28, 2015
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
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