Friday, December 25, 2015


By Pastor Ivan Burgener

"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, 'When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.' (Now He that ascended, what is it but that He also descended first unto the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also That ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints..." (Eph. 4:7-12).

While this wording might seem strange to the modem reader, the point is simple and must not be missed! The Lord Jesus Christ is the One Who came into this world [the lower parts] in humiliation and was "found in fashion as a man..." He was obedient unto death out of which He was raised, ascended, and seated on high, "far above all principality and power" in order that He might "fill all things."

>From that exalted position and place, He received gifts of ministry from God and in turn gave them to "the church which is His body." His "giving" is an expression of His grace with the stated purpose, "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." And all this is to continue until "we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13). Unity of the Spirit leads to unity of the Faith.

Rather than spiritual gifts given to individual men, these gifts are stated to be men with spiritual enablement being given to the church, the body of Christ. They must be seen as the means used by the risen Lord to continue to bless and guide this church in His absence. The apostles and prophets were men whose works were inspired and who laid the foundation by writing the scriptures. The works of evangelists and teaching pastors were not inspired but were of a continuing and subsequent nature ministering the scriptures. The latter were to continue until the stated goals are reached, evidently until this church is complete and rapture to heaven!

These apostles were not the twelve, chosen by the Lord on earth, but called from heaven and associated with Paul in His ministry. And while these have disappeared, evangelists, pastors and teachers continue "until we all come to...unto a perfect man, ...the fulness of Christ," the rapture!

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