“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.”
Verses 11-13 of Ephesians 4 serve as a blueprint by providing the Church the Master’s plan for how to achieve its ultimate goal of attaining the fullness of Christ. These scriptures reveal a specific strategy in a particular order to fulfill the vision in the mind of the Architect. Some would read this passage of scripture and attribute the sole responsibility of building up the body of Christ to the five named gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. However, when we follow the sequence of Apostle Paul’s wording in this passage of scripture, we read about two separate and distinct groups of people—both of which make up the many-member body of Christ. Despite having very distinct and individual roles, both groups play integral parts in the building up of His body (Romans 12:4-6).
The first group is considered the governmental ministries: apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to prepare or equip God’s people for works of service. The second group is composed of “God’s people” whose responsibility is to carry out the works of service. One group is to equip, the other group is to minister, through the spiritual gifts and the anointing that they have been graced with.
Directly after Apostle Paul revealed the roles of both groups, the words so that follow, a subordinating conjunction which links an action with its intended result. In their respective roles, the intended outcome for these two groups is: “so that the body of Christ may be built up.” The five gifts equipping God’s people and the people performing the works of service, so that the Church may be edified.
Following the roles of these two groups is the word until, another subordinating conjunction. The word links the prior event with a subsequent event. The building up of the body of Christ is to continue up to the time when: 1) the Church reaches unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and 2) the Church matures. It is evident when we look at the state of the Church that these two events, which are to occur prior to Jesus’ Second Coming, have gone unfulfilled or hampered.
What follows this duration of time is the word attain, which means to progressively achieve something with effort. What have these two groups of born-again Believers been preordained to accomplish? The whole measure of the fullness of Christ, which is Jesus as an apostle (Hebrews 3:9); a prophet (Luke 24:17-20); an evangelist (Luke 4:18-19); a pastor (John 10:11); and a teacher (John 1:38). Notice that while all of God’s people have been commissioned in the building of the body of Christ, attaining the fullness takes place only after the five gifts have imparted their individual anointings into all born-again Christians.
If the ultimate goal for the Church is to manifest the works of Jesus in His fullness, but the effects of the intended purpose for these two groups has yet to be fully realized as intended by the Architect, it’s safe to conclude that there’s been a deviation from the Master’s plan. It is quite evident that unity has eluded the Church, and that becoming spiritually mature has been hindered for some within the body of Christ. Both of these outcomes are effectuated because passed down from generation to generation, the traditions of man have violated Ephesians 4:11-13. Those who have been oppressed, which includes those graced in the gifts of apostles and prophets, have been left out of the building process in the way the Lord intended. As a result of this omission, the roles that they have been ordained to play and the anointing that the Lord have intended for them to impart into the Church have been minimized and devalued.
The Lord is now saying: It’s time to bring the building up to code.
Whether in the world’s system or God’s system, what will always be consistent is the effectiveness of the inner workings of a process that leads to a predetermined end. The processes that lead to a preordained outcome can only be successful when those processes function as intended and the desired result is fulfilled.
This logic also holds true for the building of structures. When what’s presented to the structure’s architect is something other than what was envisioned, chances are there’s been a deviation from the blueprint.
For any building project, there is a builder, who is considered the head or main contractor. The builder is responsible for adhering to the architect’s blueprint. As main contractor, the builder hires subcontractors to carry out the specialist areas of work, such as the foundation, roofing, plumbing, electrical, plastering, painting and brickwork. The subcontractors will in turn have workers who are accountable. Unless you have a labor-only contract and hire them yourself, the subcontractors will be answerable to the main contractor. Hence, all instructions must go through the main contractor, who is ultimately responsible for the quality of each subcontractor’s work.1
Inefficiencies in the building process occur when fundamental steps are misinterpreted, missing or misused. And the roles of the people who are responsible for carrying out specialty areas of work become interchangeable, undervalued, or underutilized. When the painter is used to lay the foundation or the electrician installs the plumbing, the roles of the foundation subcontractor and the plumber are executed at a substandard quality. When any one of the subcontractors’ respective specialties are undermined in relation to the integrity, strength, and aesthetics of the structure, the architect’s intended outcome is compromised.
In this analogy, the Architect is the Father: “. . . for He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10), and the main contractor is Jesus: “. . . and He is the head of the body, the Church . . .” (Colossians 1:18). The subcontractors are both the gifts given by Jesus Christ in Ephesians 4:11: apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastor and teacher; and God’s people in verse 12. Each “subcontractor” has their own distinct role, gifts, and anointing which pertains to the preparing of God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . .” And each one has their own sphere of influence and is ultimately held accountable to the Father for executing their respective assignments according to His standards.
Nevertheless, when integral pieces are left out of the process and those assigned to carry out the work in their respective roles are misrepresented, deficiencies become apparent; roles are obscured; surrogates are employed; and only a semblance of what was intended is erected.
“For some 1900 years, the pastoral shield has been over the Church, but it is prophesied in Amos 3 (and in many other passages) that this pastoral shield will be broken by God, and even though pastors may try to pry the sheep from the mouth of a judging God, they will only rescue 2 legs and a piece of an ear, according to Amos 3:12. The “2 legs” refer to the apostolic anointing and the prophetic anointing, which have been plucked out of the Church by the pastoral shield (Luke 11:49).” . . .
“As we can see here, the apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic ministries have been affected by the pastoral shield . . .”
(Excerpt is taken from Part 3 of Beyond Babylon, Chapter 1.)
2. Noah Leon, Pastoral Shield. http://shamah-elim.info/sickothr.htm#The_pastoral_shield
In those areas in the body of Christ where the ministries of authentic apostles and prophets are being used by God, there’s an awaken occurring in the people of God. However, with restoration movements, counterfeits will come alongside with the intention to hinder the purposes and plans of God. Have you had experiences under authentic ministries of the apostolic and prophetic, where your spiritual eyes were opened and you discovered your calling?
Let’s have a dialogue.
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