Tag Archives: Jesus

Of Course, the Ministry of Jesus Continues

6.3-jesus_sends_12

by Scott

It’s a loaded statement to claim apostles still exist today. That’s what I claimed in my most recent post. But the very unique thing is that my first argument is not simply quoting 2 or 3 verses as proof, and dealing with a few verses from those who believe such a ministry would not exist today. In all, the claim that apostolic ministry continues today, I believe, should be based in Jesus – who he is, what his ministry was about.

And that’s where I ground it. It’s founded in the centre of the Christian faith – Christ himself. Think of it this way: Continue reading

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The Full Christ Needed Today

christ & church

by Scott

One of my favourite passages in all of Scripture is found in Ephesians. Actually, Ephesians, though smaller as compared to other portions of Scripture, carries a very significant role in explaining some of the greater and more ‘cosmic’ concepts of the work of God. This small letter packs in much wisdom and revelation.

And one passage I really enjoy pondering is found in 4:7-16. It, too, is filled with rich aspects in regards to the purpose of God in Christ for the new covenant age that dawned so long ago. Though a bit of a lengthier passage, here are the words from the NIV: Continue reading

The Holy Spirit Continues the Work

by Scott

In my articles on the Ephesians 4 ministries (part 1, part 2, part 3), also known as the five-fold ministries, I emphasised one very important characteristic to remember about Christ. In Ephesians 4:8-16, we read that, upon his ascension, Jesus gifted people as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (or pastors) and teachers. But, even more importantly, I highlighted the fact that Jesus is the greatest apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher that has ever lived.

It still might be weird for us to think of Christ in all five of these ministry roles. We usually note him as prophet, priest and king, which he was. But to think of Jesus as apostle or as evangelist, well, that’s maybe not as kosher. And even to consider Christ as a prophet or teacher can seem quite derogatory, since Jews and Muslims are willing to recognise that about him, but nothing more.

But do take courage. When referring to Christ as apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher, I am not denigrating him. I’m simply recognising that he walked in all five of these ministries. He is still the divine Lord of heaven and earth. But he was the faithful apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. Continue reading

Jesus As Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd & Teacher

by Scott

I’m in the early days of a series on the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4. In my own studies of Scripture, I am convinced of the necessity of all five of these giftings to help equip the body of Christ to accomplish all that God desires. Yes, that means I believe both the ministries of apostle and prophet still exist today, actually are needed today.

Now, I do realise such is a loaded proposition (I am already beginning to dodge the stones left and right). But I am slowly working my way forward as I share why I believe Jesus still desires to gift people in these ministries. In simple form, I listed these 4 points:

  • Jesus, Himself, functioned in all five of these ministries.
  • The Holy Spirit also functions in all five of these ministries
  • The body of Christ, empowered by the Spirit of Christ, is now called to be all of Christ in all of the earth.
  • Therefore, Christ’s desire is to continue to gift people in such ministry roles. Continue reading

Jesus the Apostle

by Scott

So I have set out to spend quite a good while looking at the equipping ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11, which fall in the larger context of vs7-16. Specifically, vs11-13 say:

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

As I noted in my first article, Paul makes it quite clear as to the purpose of these five (or four) ministry gifts:

  • To prepare and equip God’s people for works of service, or ministry, since the Greek word could be translated either way (vs12).
  • So that the body of Christ might be built up (vs12).
  • To help Christ’s body reach unity in the faith and knowledge of Christ, becoming mature and grown up into the fullness of Christ (vs13).

Yet, I also noted some practical reasons as to why these giftings are needed in the church today, though these are not specifically found in the Ephesians text:

  • Jesus, Himself, functioned in all five of these ministries.
  • The Holy Spirit also functions in all five of these ministries
  • The body of Christ, empowered by the Spirit of Christ, is now called to be all of Christ in all of the earth.
  • Therefore, Christ’s desire is to continue to gift people in such ministry roles.

I know that is a loaded statement, of which many will want me to give more explanation. But suffice to say now, those three points above are my conclusion from reading the New Testament text. But the next weeks (and maybe a little longer) will be spent laying out a further understanding of how I have come to such a conclusion.

But moving on…Here is one of the most important things to remember before jumping into Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:11-13 – Jesus was the greatest apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher that has ever existed. That is where we have to start. When considering anything in Scripture, our starting points as new covenant believers is how did Christ fulfil such.

And, though, I plan to look at how Jesus functioned in all five of these ministries, in this post I particularly want to consider how Jesus was the great apostle. Again, one might have never thought of Jesus as an apostle. Most think of Paul in regards to an apostolic ministry. But Jesus was truly an apostle and, again, He was the greatest apostle that ever walked the earth.

Consider these words from the writer to the Hebrews:

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. (Hebrews 3:1)

Here we see the writer to the Hebrews identifying Jesus as an apostle. But, for many, this passage will not necessarily mean much. It might simply point out that Jesus had some ‘office’ or ‘position’ as apostle.

But what we really want to know is what practically made Jesus an apostle? He did not just walk around with a business card with the title, ‘apostle’, written on it. So what is an apostle?

The word apostle (Greek apostolos) simply means ‘sent one’. Though so many people have so many conceptions of what an apostle is (of which I hope to address at least most ideas), in its essence, the word simply means ‘sent one’. And the verb for sent, in the Greek, is apostello.

Yet, what is also interesting to note is that the Greek word, apostolos, and the Latin word, missum (where we get our word missionary), mean exactly the same thing. They both mean ‘sent one’. In a most simple understanding, apostle = missionary and missionary = apostle. That doesn’t mean every missionary functions in an apostolic ministry. Of course not. Still, in their essence, they are synonyms. But I am probably getting a little ahead of myself.

Therefore, knowing what the word apostle means (sent one), we can definitely concur that Jesus was an apostle. Remember? He was sent by the Father with a specific mission to accomplish. I mean, I really don’t need to quote Scripture to show this, but let’s consider a few passages.

In Nazareth, Jesus announced He had be sent with this mission:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent [apostello] me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)

We see other Scriptures pointing to the fact that Christ had been sent by the Father:

Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent [apostello] me. (Mark 9:37)

But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent [apostello] for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

For he whom God has sent [apostello] utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34)

Again, I cannot emphasise enough that Paul or Peter were not the greatest apostles to ever live. That’s one mistake we regularly make. Jesus and Jesus alone stands as the great apostle, for He completely fulfilled the mission for which He was sent by the Father.

Therefore, it must be duly noted that an apostle, any apostle, is only able to function as an apostle because Jesus was the first and greatest apostle. This will have important ramifications later on as we consider the ministry of an apostle.

Still, I must say that I am truly glad that Christ is the great and faithful apostle of our confession (Hebrews 3:1). I think you would all agree as well.