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Devotional - week of May 25, 2003


A CHURCH EQUIPPED FOR MINISTRY

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ … Ephesians 4:11-12

Ephesians 4:7-10 concerns believers’ gifts for ministry. Verse 11 concerns God’s gifts of church leaders who will prepare the members for the use of those gifts.

Present-day church life emphasizes almost entirely the last two leaders mentioned—“pastors and teachers.” Respected Bible scholars believe that the two words refer to one church leader with two functions. In that sense the terms should be seen to mean “pastors who are teachers” or “pastor-teachers.”

The pastor-teacher is God’s gift to the church to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.”

The pastor-teacher obviously prepares his members for ministry by teaching them the word of God.

Paul, though, must have had in mind an equipping truth that stood out above all others. In Galatians 1:15-16a he writes of how God prepared him to fulfill his calling of taking the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. He writes:

But when it pleased God … to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles …

God equipped Paul for taking the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles by revealing to him that Christ lived in him. Paul’s writings indicate that the revelation included the truth that he was in Christ—and as a result he was also crucified, buried, and resurrected.

The revelation included the truth that Christ would live through him as he experienced his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

Paul knew that the pastor-teacher must center his equipping ministry on teaching the believers to understand and experience their crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

If the equipping ministry of the pastor-teacher is to be effective, the believers must respond to his teaching.