UNDERSTANDING MINISTRY GIFTS 2
Firstly, we will like to wish all of you a very wonderful Christmas as you remember the coming into the world of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessing and impact His coming has had on the world in general and your personal life in particular.
In our article this week, we will continue looking at the ministry gifts. In our last article we saw that the anointing on the ministry offices of apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor and evangelist are not the same in capacity: the anointing on the higher offices have the capacity to do the work of the offices under them.
Description of the Ministry Gifts
All the five-fold ministry offices have three things in common; they all preach, teach and heal as a means of proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom. The differences are in the emphasis of what is being preached and taught, and the degree to which each ministry office preaches or teaches. For example, the evangelist preaches more than he teaches whilst the teacher does more of teaching and less preaching than the office of the evangelist.
All the ministry offices can heal, either by faith, or by the gifts of the Spirit releasing a specific unction to heal, which comes spontaneously as the word is being preached. When healing is done by faith through the laying on of hands, the healing usually manifests gradually as the person begins to amend (Jn.4: 52). However, when a specific unction to heal a specific ailment is in operation, the healing is usually instantaneous and spectacular.
We will now look briefly at each of the ministry gifts.
The evangelist preaches, teaches and demonstrates the WHAT OF THE GOSPEL of the kingdom, thus convincing people TO COME INTO THE KINGDOM. Embellishing the ministry office of the evangelist are the power gifts of special faith, workings of miracles and gifts of healing. The gifts of special faith and workings of miracles work together because it takes special faith to work a miracle. Gifts of healing on the other hand are very specific, once the anointing is present for a specific healing, say, for cancers or, say for blindness, usually, everyone who is cancerous or blind will get healed instantaneously when that specific unction is present.
The anointing on the office of the pastor is higher in terms of spiritual capacity than that on the evangelist. A pastor has the spiritual capacity to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim.4: 5). The pastor preaches, teachers and demonstrates the WHY OF THE GOSPEL, causing those that hear TO CONTINUE IN THE KINGDOM. The vocal gifts of the Holy Spirit of prophecy, diversities of tongues and interpretation of tongues typically complement the ministry office of the pastor, with the combination of diversities of tongues and interpretations of tongues equaling prophecy. A pastor must be experienced in operating these vocal gifts because the young Christian will typically operate these vocal gifts and it is necessary for the pastor to be able to judge the veracity of such utterances in his flock. In addition, the Pastor will have the gifts of healing and the word of knowledge (for supernatural revelation of the needs of his flock), complementing his ministry to some appreciable degree.
The ministry office of the teacher is third in order of spiritual capacity and power, and the anointing of a teacher has the spiritual capacity to do the work of the pastor and the evangelist. The teacher preaches, teaches and demonstrates the HOW OF THE GOSPEL instructing the saints in the way of the kingdom TO BE FRUITFUL IN THE KINGDOM. An interpreter of the word, a teacher will have operating consistently in his ministry the spiritual gifts of the word of wisdom and word of knowledge concerning the word of God.
The office of the teacher and the pastor are closely related. A good pastor should have the ability to teach (1 Tim. 3:2) whilst the teacher can do the work of a pastor.
The teacher will bring forth the hidden meanings of the Word in clarity and simplicity, giving instruction, which when acted upon by the flock will bring tangibly manifest results and fruit. A well-developed teacher has the spiritual gifts of the word of wisdom and word of knowledge concerning the written Word complementing his teaching of the Word these gifts come in a spontaneous and spectacular fashion even as the Word of God is being taught.
For example, in our ministry, the word of wisdom came spontaneously and spectacularly to reveal that the five stones of David (1 Sam. 17:10) are, prayer in the Spirit with all types of prayer, binding the devil, confessing the Word, meditating the Word and doing the Word. Furthermore, these five stones, done with a background of honesty and humility of heart, to attract the grace and mercy of God and then capped with a life of regular (weekly) fasting and prayer and leading a fasted life, form seven steps of a cycle (because fasting and prayer makes you more humble to receive the mercy and grace of God), to become the seven pillars of wisdom of Proverbs chapter 9:1. This is an example of how the word of wisdom comes concerning the revelation of the scripture in the office of the teacher. In addition, the teacher will have the gifts of healing embellishing his ministry to some degree.
The prophet preaches, teaches, prophesies (i.e. speaks by inspired, supernatural utterance) and so demonstrates the WHEN OF THE GOSPEL as it confirms, amplifies and clarifies the present mind of God for the church, both individually and corporately. Those who hear the word of the prophet and act upon it prosper in the Kingdom breaking forth into higher realms of spiritual knowledge and experience. In this way the prophet causes the saints TO PROSPER AND INCREASE IN THE KINGDOM.
2 Chronicles 20:20 (KJV): And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
A well-developed prophet has the spiritual capacity to do the work of the teacher, the pastor, and the evangelist. The revelation gifts of the word of wisdom, word of knowledge and sometimes discernings of spirits complement the prophetic office.
However, the operation of the gifts of word of wisdom and word of knowledge in the case of the prophet have more to do with confirming, clarifying and amplifying specificity’s concerning the present and the future. This is in contrast to the operation of the same gifts in the office of the teacher, which are directed primarily towards bringing out the wisdom in the word of God. Thus the prophet gives foresight from the Word, while the teacher gives more of insight into the Word.
The prophetic ministry can also have the gift of discernings of spirits, which is the ability to see and hear into the spirit realm. Discernings of spirits always reveals a word of wisdom or knowledge, and of course is spectacular in operation.
However, it is possible to have a word of wisdom or knowledge without discernings of spirits in operation.
For example, in our ministry, God revealed by word of wisdom through the Word that in 1998, there would be a change in the spiritual and political leadership in Nigeria (using the removal of Belshazzar in Daniel chapter 5 as a type) and God would cause three shepherds (leaders) to be cut off in one month using Zech.11: 8 as a type. All these came to pass in the month of March, and between June 8th. and July 8th,1998.
In addition, the gifts of healings will complement the ministry of the Prophet to some degree.
The ministry office of the apostle is first in order of spiritual power and capacity. The apostle preaches, teaches and activates the power of the kingdom, demonstrating it, to cause others to become established. The apostolic office, preaches and teaches, and demonstrates THE WHAT, WHY, HOW and WHEN OF THE GOSPEL, SIMULTANEOUSLY complemented by consistent miracles, signs and wonders. This simultaneous impartation of revelation and experiential knowledge CAUSES THE SAINTS TO BE ESTABLISHED IN THE KINGDOM.
Romans 1:11 (KJV): For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
The well-developed apostle has the spiritual capacity and power to do the work of all the other ministry offices, the prophet, the teacher, the pastor, and the evangelist.
The apostle is referred to as the “wise master builder ” (1 Cor. 3:10) because he has the spiritual capacity and power to start a church from scratch and to cause it to become an established, viable entity. Other characteristic hallmarks of the well-developed apostolic office are wisdom, maturity, great patience and stamina, as well as consistent manifestations of miracles signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12). All the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit embellish the apostolic office when it is operating in full capacity.
Establishing churches by the Apostolic and Prophetic Ministries
The fullness of each of the ministry offices is being restored back to the church at this time, and it is essential for the body of Christ to have a clear revelation knowledge and understanding of these offices and their functioning in the Body.
Ephesians 2:20 (NIV): built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Hebrews 6:1-3 (KJV): Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.
The implication of these scriptures is that God will not permit us to go on to perfection and maturity if we are not established on a good foundation through apostolic and prophetic ministry.
To be established, a saint needs to have personal revelation knowledge of the fundamental truths of the faith and, what I call, the ‘blade’ of experiential knowledge. The blade of experiential knowledge is having, in a small measure, the actual manifestation of a particular truth in your life.
For instance, to be established in the truth of the resurrection you need to have a personal revelation of the resurrection and the ‘blade’ of experiential knowledge of the resurrection in which you experience the resurrection power of Christ in your mortal body.
Galatians 5:24 (KJV): And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
2 Corinthians 4:10-11 (KJV): Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Practically, this means you experience the power of God in your body that causes you to be dead or unresponsive to the lusts of the flesh as well as experiencing God’s healing power in your body.
There is a difference between starting a church and establishing one. It takes the spiritual strength, capacity and covering of an apostle to establish a church (Rom.1: 11).
Many churches today are not established because the lives of the saints are not built on the solid foundation (Heb.6:1) of revelation and experiential knowledge of the Word on which they can grow into maturity and perfection (Heb.6:1).
Such churches are started but the saints never grow into perfection and maturity, so the church is not established. This is so because the pastor and leaders of such churches lack a good foundation (1 Cor.3: 11), not being submitted to and receiving input from apostolic and prophetic ministries. Therefore, the church is just an emotional, charismatic, “bless-me” social club that meets every week to pander to the emotions, physical desires and ambitions of the people, but never gets them established.
The fact that a church has been in existence for many years, with a large number of people and large offerings does not mean that the church is established.
Individual spiritual capacities and ministry offices
The order of spiritual capacity and power of the anointing of each ministry office is: first, the apostle, second, the prophet, third, teacher, fourth, pastor and fifth, the evangelist. This however refers to the spiritual power and capacity of the anointing on the offices in their fullness and not necessarily to the spiritual capacity of the individuals operating in these offices.
This is so because most people operating in these offices are operating in a partial measure of these anointings at this time, rather than in the fullness of them. Therefore it is possible that a person may have the spiritual power and capacity to function in the office of a prophet, but may remain in the office of a teacher until called by God to operate in the prophetic office. Since it is not possible to judge a person’s spiritual capacity by outward appearance alone, it would be erroneous to look at such a person and conclude that he is less spiritually developed than another minister who may already be standing in the prophetic office. The only way to compare the five-fold ministry offices is at the level of full development of each. We should never compare the individuals who function in these offices (2 Cor. 10:14), because some ministers like Paul can be operating in more than one office: Paul was a Prophet, Teacher and Apostle.