What are the five gifts of ministry and how do they relate to Jesus and to us as believers?
Paul says in Ephesians that ?He (Jesus) gave some to be apostles, prophets evangelists, pastors and teachers? (4:11, MEV).
Their job is to equip the believers for the work of the ministry and build up the church (Ephesians 4:12).
From what I have seen in Scripture I have realized that Jesus functioned as all of these roles through the Holy Spirit. By experience I have seen believers (although without the title), tend to be drawn to (naturally passionate) and manifest some of these gifts. Lets take a look.
Jesus the Apostle- ?Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ? (Hebrews 3:1, MEV). Jesus was sent to earth to introduce the Gospel and die for our sins. He was a messenger that was sent which is the characteristic of an apostle. Furthermore, the apostle Paul, introduced the gospel into foreign territory, places where the gospel had not been preached at all. Although apostles don?t exist today with the same authority, they still have an active role in being cross-cultural, thus a modern apostle is simply a missionary, who plants churches, evangelizes to the lost and shepherds in places where the gospel has never been preached. We still need people like that today, people who are called to the nations, who are willing to give up a lavish lifestyle and go, despite possible persecution! There are people out in the world that have never heard the name of Jesus. Many groups of people still don?t have a Bible in their own language, which has yet to be studied and translated.
Jesus the Prophet- ? I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him? (Deuteronomy 18:18, NLT). Jesus was the long waited Prophet that Israel had waited for and people knew it by his miracles. However, although miracles and visions (as seen in Old Testament prophets) are good, they are not the primary function of a prophet. His job was to forthtell (as in to make public)the message that God has given him! The message usually emphasizes repentance and holiness,(as seen by Jesus himslf, John the Baptist and Old Testament Prophets). Their audience is usually God?s people. Why? Because believers and the church always have a habit of mixing their faith with worldliness, thus losing its authenticity and becoming religion. The church still needs these kind of preachers who will tell the truth in love to a lukewarm and dying church in order to see hearts of the people turn to a Holy God and to reform on building the church on the whole word of God, not just on half of it, or by business and marketing skills alone. Deception is rampant in modern church, fake pastors who are after money and don?t care about the sheep, the water-downed messages so that people don?t leave the church, etc. Where are those preachers that will call sin out in the body of Christ!?
Jesus the Evangelist- Jesus said to them, ?It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners? (Mark 2:17, NIV).
The word evangelize simply means ?to bring good news.? Jesus brought good news to a lost and hurting world. He preached that people could be healed of their sicknesses (physical, mental, spiritual) and of course, of their broken hearts. We mainly see this when he ministers to people who are gentiles or to Jews, who were rejected for having leprosy, being demon possessed, being unclean, etc. Many times he ministered to people that religious people would not be around. This is the heart of an evangelist, to minister primarily to the unbelievers, those who know nothing of Jesus, those who know they are in sin and are hurting and see them come to Christ. They usually emphasize the love of God as their core message and like to see people get physically healed on the spot. They desire to love the unloved, those rejected by society as whole, even the church. The church stills needs people like this who will accept people as they are, be non-judgemental, and reach out to them.
Jesus the Pastor- ?I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays His life down for the sheep? (John 10:11, MEV).
?When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd? (Matthew 9:36, NLT).
The job of a shepherd is to feed and take care of the sheep. The people of Israel had felt abandoned and neglected of their spiritual needs by the religious leaders of that day. Jesus had to deal with ?needy,? and immature people, yet he graciously chose to be around them and take care of them. It?s in the heart of the Pastor to guide the sheep in the right direction and defend his flock from evil predators. The Pastor lays down his life, which means he is willing to stand in the gap for his flock and stand in the face of trouble or consequences. Many times this trouble is a result of believers own pride or stubbornness, and unwillingness to be accountable or teachable. There are times where the trouble comes from sources such as false apostles, prophets, teachers, brothers, heresy, doctrine, etc. A Pastoral heart is willing to go through thick and thin over years to see his infant sheep grow up and mature. The Pastor loves to be around the sheep (believers), that?s his main focus, the rigorous work of discipleship.
Jesus the Teacher- ?Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God? (John 3:2, NIV).
?He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes? (Matthew 8:29, MEV)
Many times in the gospels, Jesus was called ?Teacher? by his followers, the crowds marveled at his wisdom because the way he taught was different compared to the educated religious leaders of that day. His teaching was food that fed and touched the hearts of the people, it was not dry religious lecture that bored the crowds. We see that in his sermon on the Mount (Matthew Ch.5?7), He explains and details (some more than others) topics such as anger, adultery, loving enemies (ch.5), giving, praying, fasting, money, concern and worrying (ch.6), judging others, seek and knocking, good fruit apart from bad (Ch.7). The thing about this is that he informed people on topics that people today in church don?t even hear simply because of the fear that it might draw people away! He didn?t preach the same thing over and over again like what some modern believers would do, but he taught them, those who wanted to go deeper into the Word of God and mature. By nature, a teacher loves to study, not just for themselves, but for others so that they can inform and explain things to people. In other words they like to give details and enjoy pouring out their knowledge on other believers. With the teacher, milk is not enough, there needs to be a craving for the meat of the Word!
Out of all these functions, one or more of the gifts might be easier and more pleasurable for others. For others it won?t. Think about which one you most connect with. If none of these don?t, don?t worry, there are many other gifts the Bible talks about and they are still important to the Kingdom. All are used to build up the body of believers, so it?s important that we don?t reject or despise a certain gift.
With all this being said, just because sometimes it?s not our ?gift? (something we?re good at or passionate about), does not mean we aren?t responsible. God calls every Christian to evangelize, make disciples, and teach, whether we have that specific calling on our lives or not, whether it be public (platform)or private (everyday life). After all, it is a part of the Great Commission to go. Jesus was the first to ?go,? and if Jesus did it, then we should strive to do it too.