x452.....The WhoWhatWhy --of Ministry and church government
Everyone of us.
The word of God tells us plainly that the gifts of ministry are "unto everyone of us". The church by tradition has definitely not operated by this clear Bible teaching. Ministry has become a ruling office--something which it specifcally is NOT.
The bible says that we all have this gift--"even the rebellious" --the gifts of ministry are the categories of function within the church--and every Christian possesses them. The church--at every level--will not be all that God intends--until and unless every gift in every person is utilized.
apostles prophets evangelists pastors and teachers.
These are the names of the gifts--they are not titles of rulership for only "some" people. These are descriptions of the functions of the body of Christ. Jesus brought apostolic release to everyone that He met. To be "set at liberty" is one of the gifts which Jesus gave in His ministry--right along with salvation and healing and deliverance. The right of apostleship is a gift from Christ, by faith, to everyone who believes.
The church itself is meant to operate by the apostolic plan. Groups of people, working together, as the Lord directs--doing the ministry of Christ--praying for the sick--bringing His deliverance to those who are bound--feeding the poor--and preaching His glorious Gospel to the lost in the world. Apostleship comes first, it is the most important gift and to be sought after. It is vital to recognize the apostolic release that Jesus gives to everyone who accepts Him by faith--it is the God-given right to minister--to serve God freely. Groups of people working together, out to the world, is the highest and first calling for the church. Are all apostles?--no--but all have apostolic release--the right from God to serve His will with their gifts.
An evangelist is simply an apostle who is working alone. We have the same authority from God to operate in Christs' ministry as individuals. However this ministry is much more effective when operated in groups.
The prophetic ministry is Gods voice to the church. It is the way that God will give His instructions and teachings to the body. Sons and daughter are meant to prophecy--prophetic ministry is to be strived for by all--and allowed in all. It may come as tongues--or interpretation of tongues--it way come in psalms or songs--it may come as a teaching word from the Lord--but God wants to speak through all of His body. All at once? of course not--one at time when we gather together--but "ye may all prophecy" (1Corinthians 14:26). The prophetic way is the way that God will give specific instruction to the body Whenever we are together, the prophetic is what we must function in. But we must be in a format by which we can readily act upon the instructions form God. WE must be ready to carry out the word from God into ministry--into apostolic operation.
Pastoral ministry is simply the act of leading people to their ministry. It is the anointing and gift to help and council people to operate within their gift and anointing within the church. It is no more nor less than this. It is very much needed within the church--many many people ought to operate in the pastoral anointing. It ought to be common--The simple act of leading people to serve God--to set people free to release people to their ministry.
Teaching ought to be in every member of the body. It is the simplest gift. Effective teaching ought to be organized in the church--not with the goal of entertaining people--or leading people into endless teachings that require no action. Teaching within the church ought to be personal and direct--a place where questions can be asked and answered. It ought to be the free sharing of the knowledge that God has put in each of us. It ought to be organized within the church to lead individuals quickly into their ministry--quickly out of their problems, and into a functioning relationship with God. Teaching ought to have a begining and middle and an end--it needs to have a goal--and the goal that God has set is to produce ministry in the people being taught. Jesus taught with this specific aim. Most of His longer teachings in the Bible end with an apostolic release. This ought to be the aim and function of all our teaching within the church, and teaching ought to be organized to the need of the student.
The gifts of ministry are said by the Bible to be the plan--the only plan--that God has set forth for the growth (edification) of the body of Christ. In Ephesians 4:12 the bible makes a unique statement.
"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
It states that these gifts are given by God to build up the body of Christ--to edify--to add members by getting the lost saved, and building up the existing members to serve God. Do you need a plan for your church? The ministry gifts are God's plan for your church--locally and world -wide. They are the gifts which get people saved, healed, delivered, fed and released. Jesus describes these actions as the action of His ministry--and He lived up to what He said! He makes the statement in Luke 4:18 that the power of the Holy spirit has anointed Him--has empowered His gift--and the gift operates in these ways.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because
he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to
heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering
of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised," (Luke
Ministry is how Jesus operated,,and how the church in the Bible operated. We can follow after plans of man--plans which on the outside may seem to build up church attendance--but they are not God's plan for the building of His church. (Most plans of man actually are for stealing Christians from other churches!). Why ministry in all the body? Why not just in some? God saves a remnant to save the rest. We are all saved with purpose--and that ultimate purpose is to save the lost. We as a church are the seed to be planted to bring in the harvest of the lost--We are the laborers to bring in the harvest of the lost. The church is meant to have total compassion for the world--not be a place of separation from the world. Ministry in all the body is God's plan to save the world--if anyone is rely willing to operate it like Jesus demonstrated and the church in the Bible lived out. It is not glamorous "show busness" performance--it is humble and effective and powerful service to God and to others. The system of the church is meant to be a group of servants--not a place of rulership in any way.
"For where two or three are gathered together
in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20,
Everywhere---anywhere the Lord directs--but largely in the existing homes of Christians.
The people in the Bible clearly understood what it meant to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. They understood that Jesus had demonstrated a ministry with no earthly bounds--no physical temple--no temple made with hands. They clearly understood that it only took 2 or 3 in agreement to bring the presence of God--and so the full ministry of Christ within them. They were ready and willing to act upon the instructions which God gave in their constant ongoing (7-day-a-week) meetings. The church in the Bible met in their homes--in the streets--in the Jewish temple (what faith! to meet in the place where Jesus had been persecuted!). They knew that God followed them to wherever they were--they did not have to have a temple--a special structure which brought down God or contained God's presence. They fully understood what it meant to be Spirit-filled--to be the sanctuaries of the Holy Ghost. They fully understood the meaning of the veil torn at Christ's crucifixion. They understood and operated in the New Covenant--where it was said that the "laws would be written in the heart". They understood that the laws of Moses had been written in an ark, which was contained in the most holy place in the Jewish temple. They knew that the writing of the law in their hearts as individuals, meant that they were fully the temple of God--wherever they went wherever they were. The Bible relates to us the quick move of God which spread throughout the apostolic operation of the church. And God instructed them everywhere--God no longer dwelled only in Jerusalem--only in the temple which had been built by His instructions--now every born-again--Spirit-filled believer was a mobile temple.
Where to be the church? Where to operate the ministry? Where to meet? Everywhere, anywhere--as often as possible.
The Old Covenant house of God was the temple in Jerusalem.The New Covenant house of God was the home of every Christian. They met in their homes, simply because it was easy, and cost effective--and a way that Jesus had demonstrated (Jesus met many times in common homes of people and did many miracles in homes. NO need to have a building fund--and take up so much time and effort and money building a building--and then calling it "the sanctuary"--the temple of God--and thus disallowing the place of new covenant ministry--the home of every Christian. In the bible they understood that every member of the body was vital--and had the right to operate a church within their homes.
As often as possible! The church in the Bible met 7 days a week--perhaps 24 hours a day! Jesus clearly operated without a specific day of operation. If God wanted healing done on the Sabbath--Jesus did it--and so did the church of the Bible. They as a group met every day--NOT everyone, every day--NOT by a rule--Not by one person designating a given day of meeting--but as the Spirit of God lead them. What a simple yet effective system! Even with a few Christians, they could operate every day----all it would take was a few people opening up their homes for Godly operation--and then acting upon what God spoke through them.
What a simple method! Recognizing the ministry in every Christian--recognizing the house of God which every Christian posseses--and from which we ought to operate the church. Recognizing the temple of God which every Spirit-filled Christian is--and the Christ within every one of us--the Christ within which would like to operate out to others. Christ would like to do His ministry though every Christian --He would like to heal the sick--bring deliverance to the captives--feed the poor--preach the Gospel to every living creature--and freely release those who believe by faith. He would like to do this 7 days a week--if we would be obedient to allow church operation in every house--in every Christian group--wherever they are.
How simple it would be! Even with only a small group of Christians, if every house is open to serve God--the chruch will grow readily. How hard is it? Why it is as simple as people getting together and praying in the Spirit--getting the instructions and acting upon those instructions. Going to the places God directs and witnessing the Gospel--cooking some meals and feeding the poor--going to the sick and praying for their needs and healing and deliverance. If there were thousands in a church (the church directly after the day of Pentecost had 3,000 members and was growing daily--yet they continued in simple home meetings--and direct witnessing and ministry)--its' battle plan stays the same--home meetings--quick effective prayer--and operation--going on daily. Does everyone have to do something every day? Of course not! As long as only 2 or 3 are operating it is the church--and God will use you for His purposes!
"And he said unto them, The kings of the
Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority
upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is
greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as
he that doth serve." (Luke 22:25-26, KJV).
This is the New Covenant command of church operation. Ministry without authority one over another.
The free release to ministry by faith is one of the gifts which Jesus gave us. The Bible tells us that ministry is in the entire body of Christ. But within the church--amongst ourselves--authority is not meant to be exercised one over another.
How will we operate The church without a leader? who will lead us?
Christ is the Head of the church. But He will only be the Head of the church when we operate a church which is without man's authority. We cannot have 2 heads--Christ is the Head of The church and the Head of every man. This precludes any other leadership within the church. If we would be faithful to operate the church with the understanding that ministry is a gift within every Christian--if we will operate together by the command given in 1Cor 14:26--The command which say that we may all prophecy--that God will speak through every one of us--and then we will see all of God--then we will hear and understand all that He has to say--and if we are ready and willing to act upon what he speaks to us--if we are meeting together in a format that can easily act when God commands--apostolic groups--then He will be Head of the church again. The church would be the glorious church of the Bible.
How do we operate the church? The simple direct apostolic plan which Jesus brought into the earth.
What is this plan?--How does it work?
Christians gather together in the name of Jesus. Any amount --any place. (where 2 or 3 are gathered--there I AM in the midst)
They pray in the Spirit. Any man can speak--all have the right to prophecy--to speak what God is saying to them. (1Cor 14:26)
When God speaks through the prophetic utterance, the group acts upon what is said immediately. If The Lord says to send certain members out to a specific place and they are to witness the Gospel--it is done right away. If the Lord tells the group to go and feed the poor--or pray for the sick--or bring deliverance to those in need--go right away and do it. This is how apostleship works. Allow God to speak--allow Christ to truly be the Head--and go and act upon what He commands. Do this type of operation as often as possible---wherever the Lord leads--in your homes--in the streets--with any number of members present. There is no rule that ALL the church needs to be in one place on any given day--but the opportunity for this type of of operation needs to be done as often as possible--hopefully daily. This is the true Biblical funtion of the church--no more--no less.
You will get people saved. When someone is newly saved--the Lord will lead certain members to teach them--to answer their questions. Teaching should be direct to the person's needs and answer their questions quickly. All the teaching is not in one man's hands--but the homes within the church are all "schools"--places where people can learn quickly, places where people can gather together and study the Bible freely. Newly saved people should be quickly given Godly work to do, and allowed to pray and function right along with everyone else.
The apostolic plan grows the church quickly and efficiently. It meets the needs of the people quickly and efficiently. It adds to the church daily--it spreads the Gospel that our Lord gave us--the healing that our Lord gave us--the deliverance that our Lord gave us--and the freedom to serve Him--which he also gave to us--quickly and without hindrance.