The Offices of the Church by Pastor Don
This Wednesday Pastor Don talked about the various offices of the church. He pointed out that the prophet is gifted to minister to other prophets, believers and non-believers. As we grow closer to the end times the gifts of the prophets will operate more in the world than in the past.
Pastor Don told us an Apostle operates in all the gifts, he is the sent one, and an Apostle operates also as a prophet, a teacher, a pastor and an evangelist. While an apostle may stay in one home church the apostle travels around and has many churches established under him. Remember he is a SENT one, which is what Apostle means (sent one). All the churches under his apostleship draw upon him. To maintain the role of apostle all the spiritual gifts are needed.
Pastor Don remarked that there are many people who call themselves apostles who are not really in the office of apostle. One came through town who had one church of 40 people but called himself an apostle. In reality, if someone is calling themselves an apostle they probably are not, for an apostle is humble and does not need to cling to a title.
Pastor Don asked us what are the offices: 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
(Heather’s note, the more excellent way 1 Cor 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. All of the offices that GOD appoints function through love – without love we are out of God’s will.)
Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
He Himself is Jesus, SOME is the saints he gave them to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for what purpose?
Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. For how long? Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. To the fullness of Christ, to a perfect man, then what will happen? Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head –Christ–SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE and to GROW UP THE SAINTS into what? ALL (not some) things. Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joining supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
The purpose of the equipping of the saints is to establish the church, and the gifts edify.
Many churches today are in serious trouble and out of order because they do not operate in all the giftings. If they do not operate in all the giftings, it is up to the pastor to make sure to invite people into the church who are gifted in areas that the church is lacking so that the saints have access to all the spiritual gifts.
The PROPHET may also operate in all the gifts, but primarily he operates in the vocal gifts. His task is to speak the Word of the Lord, thus says the Lord. He may operate in the gifts of the spirit and his words can be on two levels 1) FORTH TELL – telling the Word of the Lord, preaching and spreading the word, and 2) FORE TELL – the Word, giving glimpses of the future, what is going to come to pass, what has happened and is going to happen.
EVANGELIST – is in the realm of FORTH TELLING, preaching the Word, but with DEMONSTRATIONS OF SIGNS AND WONDERS. The main function of an evangelist is to grow the church. An evangelist eats, drinks, and lives salvation and expansion of the gospel. This is done through signs and wonders and the Word of God. Casting out demons, tongues, healings and other signs. Sometimes people call themselves evangelists when they go around teaching the Word of God, but without signs and wonders they are not evangelists, they are teachers. The evangelist gets the person saved and plugged into a church. Without being plugged into a church, a saved person can open themselves back to the old ways.
PASTORS. It is here that the church has really messed up. A pastor is a shepherd of the sheep, and his only gift is to exemplify the LOVE of God. The church has tried to establish itself on the back of the pastors, expecting them to not only pastor the flock, but be a financial wizard, run the social program, be a carpenter, and clean the church, and keep peace among the fighting members of the flock. Pastor Don told us that studies have shown that 70% of pastors give it up after four years, for they are burnt out. A pastor should have wisdom, but he doesn’t have to have it, and administration gifts help pastors, but his main function is to LOVE THE SHEEP, to lead and protect the sheep. A pastor is not always also a teacher.
TEACHER, Biblical teachers bring revelation and understanding to the Word, to the written Word and to the prophetic Word. A prophet blows into town, drops Words from God and blows out of town. The teacher helps the person to understand what the prophet has said and how to apply it in their lives. A teacher gives wisdom, revelation of God, and understanding. A teacher also teaches by demonstrating the living out of the Word. Their lives have to demonstrate the Word of God in action. Because so many teachers cannot totally live out the Word, they limit what they teach to a few select areas that they can live out in life, and leave the rest untaught. But a true teacher teaches the whole Word of God, not just certain parts.
Pastor Don said teachers that do not live out the Word in their lives are like a person who is shown a car: “This is a car, this is a car key, this is an engine, these are the tires, etc.” But the teacher never teaches the person how to drive the car, they just name the component parts of the car.
A teacher’s life has to be an example of what he is teaching. A drug smoking, alcoholic teacher can’t mentor the Word. And a good teacher has walked in the Word, struggled with the Word, and is capable of helping a person to walk through the Word. The person recognizes that the teacher has been there, done that and really does understand, and really has succeeded. His life has to reflect success with the Word. He doesn’t just tell the Word, but also teaches the impact, possibilities, revelations and without the experience of the Word in his life, he can’t tell a person what to expect. No one can learn that stuff in seminary.
Pastor Don had us give examples of mentors and mentees.
Mentor: Elijah Mentee: Elisha
The mentee knows that the mentor is their teacher. In order to learn what the teacher has to share they have to get into the teacher’s hip pocket and grow. They go with the attitude that I am not leaving you, that they want the person to teach them the life. The Christian life can’t be learned from any book, you need to be around a person who is living it out.
LABELS are necessary for people who don’t have one. Pastor Don does not like to be called “reverend” because the only one who is to be revered is God. He is a Pastor, but even in public at times he would rather be called “Don” because when people who are not saved hear “pastor” they tend to back off.
Today there are a lot of people calling themselves “Bishop.” Bishop means “overseer.” And the word “bishop” doesn’t mean anything else but overseer. If you are a deacon in good standing you are an overseer, if you are in charge of cleaning the bathroom you are an overseer. You could call yourself Bishop of what you oversee. The church has mixed up overseer with apostle and have given the name “Bishop” to that role. A bishop may never become an apostle. It is an example of EGO RUN AMUK.
Is every pastor a teacher? No
Kenneth Hagin began as a teacher and ended up a prophet.
TIMINGS IN MINISTRY
Pastor Don says to do what God tells you to do when He tells you to do it. Don’t presume to know what God is going with what He is telling you to do.
Pastor Don also pointed out that a prophet cannot be expected to pastor a person. If a prophet blows into your life and drops a bombshell prophecy, they may move on and you are stuck with the prophecy. Your teacher and pastor will be the ones to help you learn to live out the prophesy.
ALL OF US at different times have operated in all of these gifts. God will use us when He needs to to reach a person. Because we operate once in a gift does not mean that it is our gifting for life. We are to be open to where God wants us to go and do. But some of the giftings are consistently in our lives and we begin to realize it is what I want to do. It is also important to remember that we are not the one to do the gifts that it is GOD WORKING THROUGH US. We do nothing in our own power.
Pastor Don named a few of the people who have taught at our church and we began to name the gifts that the person operates with. Pastor Don then pointed out that it helps to know who to go to when you have a spiritual need. You don’t go to a prophet when you need a teacher, etc.
Pastor Don then reminded us of Elisha and Naaman (2 Kings 5). Elisha was a prophet, and he was not a pastor. Naaman wanted Elisha to come out and minister to him personally – Elisha sent out a servant with a message – “Thus says the Lord.” Naaman almost did not get his healing because Elisha did not care if Naaman followed God’s direction or not – it was not Elisha’s problem. Elisha just had to deliver the Word of God and it was up to Naaman to obey or not to obey the Word of God.
Pastor Don then talked about the ministries on TV and pointed out that we are not to tithe to them. We can give an offering, but we have to tithe where we are being fed consistently (our church).
I asked what happens if a person messes up their lives, does God take away the gifts and callings? Pastor Don mentioned some famous pastors who messed up such as Jimmy Swaggert, WV Grant at one point messed up, Jim Bakker, etc. He said Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.God does not give a gift and take it away. If you mess up, if you walk away from your calling you may not operate in it due to your actions and life. Once you repent, you may end up returning to your calling. Pastor Don pointed out that Jimmy Swaggert still has a ministry, but because of his messing up in the past, his ministry is not as large as it once was. The gift never leaves us, but for us to flow in the Spirit, we do need to repent.
So the callings are Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher.
Then Pastor Don had us look at 1 Corinthian 12:28 again And God has appointed these in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
He pointed out that not all the callings are listed by the same names, yet all the callings are covered in 1 Corinthians 12:28 Pastors have the gifts of helps, evangelists work in signs and wonders, healings, tongues.
Then he spent some time answering questions and here are the bits of answers:
Pastor Don said that you can never establish a church only on the basis of tongues. Tongues are for the edification of the saint, and we are not to forbid the speaking of tongues (so some churches are out of order in that way). At the same time there are times when tongues are not appropriate (when visitors are present and would be confused by that kind of behavior). Pastor Don once walked into a church with his wife, before his wife was saved, and the entire church was praying in tongues. No explanation was given, they were not noticed and they got up and left-still not being noticed. That is out of order. And it is also important to note that whether or not a person speaks in tongues is not as important as their relationship with God.
In a church service there are times for speaking in tongues, praise, praying, giving the Word. Paul wrote about the church in Corinth who spoke in tongues all the time, prayed and sang in tongues, and he cautioned them that they were out of order. When alone it is perfectly fine, but a church is also to reach out to others who are not the brethren, and when those are present then when a tongue is given, an interpretation must follow, so that all present can understand.
Pastor Don reminded us that we need to be aware of who is in church, are there unbelievers present who might be confused, is it all believers? Does he have to explain what is going on so that all are on the same page? Yet, he has also noticed that as people grow closer to God, they are less bothered by what manifestation in the flesh that the Holy Spirit operates in. In the early phases of a person’s walk they are distracted by the fleshly manifestations, when their walk with God is closer then it becomes more a matter of what God is dealing with in them.
I hope this teaching blesses you. Our Bible studies are so much fun. This time we spent about 45 minutes in prayer, then had the Bible study. Other times the prayer time is shorter and the study longer. We do what the Spirit leads. What is great about our studies is that we are free to ask questions and share concerns. We would love to stay longer at Bible study, but often it is very late when we leave.
Have a blessed night!
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