THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFTS
Unity in the church (Eph 4:3) is sustained by the exercise of the gifts of those appointed to particular offices (Eph 4:11). In Ephesians 4:12, the Apostle listed three purposes: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
God communicated His words to men through people whom He had chosen beginning with Abraham and down to the Apostles. This communication is summed up in Hebrews 1:1-2: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son …” God spoke through people whom He had especially chosen and equipped with spiritual gifts.
First, Paul mentioned Apostles and prophets (Eph 4:11a). Their main task was to convey God’s words to the world. Christ had delegated to the Apostles the responsibility of preaching the gospel. They did not only preach but also committed the words of Christ into writing. These became a permanent record and a standard guide for the church. In their lifetime, the Apostles went far and wide to announce the good news of salvation. The prophets had the same duty in the Old Testament. Moses was commissioned to write the words of God. His writings are the backbone of the Old Testament. Many other prophets were sent and they exercised their spiritual gifts.
Then Paul mentioned evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph 4:11b). Philip was an evangelist and worked hand in hand with the Apostles. Others like Timothy also belonged to this group; and they all fulfilled their duty.
THOUGHT: Faithful men sustain the chain of the gospel in all ages.
PRAYER: Lord, may I do my best as Thy witness in my generation.