WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 15, 2022
TOPIC: EQUIPPING THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF MINISTRY
BY T. O. BANSO
“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, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13 New King James Version).
Believers are saved to serve, not saved to be idle in church! They’re not saved just to attend church services, go home, and return for another service. God’s plan is that every Christian will become a minister, not necessarily become a pastor or hold an ecclesiastical title.
Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “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, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (New King James Version). The word saints, in this passage, refers to Christians, those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers to the body of Christ when He ascended to heaven. No man takes this honour to himself. He has to be called by God for the work (Hebrews 5:4).
Jesus gave to the church a variety of ministry gifts. This is because the work of the ministry requires these gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 says, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (New King James Version).
The human body consists of different parts performing different functions, not one part. The same is true of the body of Christ – the church. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12 New King James Version).
Why did Jesus give the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers to the church? He gave them “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13 New King James Version). Their responsibility is not to make Christians perpetual consumers but responsible contributors. All believers should grow to become ministers. This does not mean that all must hold ecclesiastical titles. They must become workers, not spectators! They must become labourers, not viewers!
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers shouldn’t be content that they’re being celebrated as great servants of God! Their goal should be to equip believers to do God’s work thereby increasing the Kingdom workforce. They should build up the church and make members functional members, not people who only turn up for service every Sunday well dressed and disappear after the service only to return for service the following week. These are the same people God depends on to evangelize the world. Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest”(Matthew 9:37-38 New King James Version).
Jesus said a similar thing to the seventy disciples He appointed and sent out two by two to all the towns and villages He planned to visit. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2 New King James Version). Believers are the people God depends on to win souls into the kingdom of God. Angels cannot preach the Gospel.
All believers should be equipped to become Kingdom workers, using the spiritual gifts God has given them. This is in addition to obeying the great commission to all believers to win souls and disciple, baptize, and teach them (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16 ).
Some Christians will serve in the pulpit ministry and others in the helps ministry. We see this practice in the early church with the appointment of the seven deacons to complement the work of the apostles. Peter said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2-4 New King James Version). The apostles and the deacons worked together and the result is seen in verse 7 where the Bible says, “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (New King James Version).
The church today requires all hands on deck. Ministry is not only for the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers. All believers are ministers. Ministry means service and minister means servant. We need everybody’s participation and contribution. Everybody is important and can play a role in the church. Workers are needed in different areas of the church. Are you equipping believers to become Kingdom workers? Are you a Christian worker or spectator? Are you a contributor or only a consumer?
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be a diligent and faithful worker in the Kingdom of God. I shall be a contributor, not only a consumer. Father, help Your servants to effectively equip all believers to become Kingdom workers. Holy Spirit, stir up the believers who are not yet working in the Kingdom of God to be willing and obedient to serve. O Lord of the harvest, send out more labourers into Your harvest that more souls may be won into the Kingdom of God.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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