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Unfolding the Fivefold Ministry
by Segun Olumide
10/26/2014 / Leadership
For Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors & Teachers
Ministry Gifts Series
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in this book are from the King James Version of the Bible.
KEYS TO OTHER BIBLE VERSIONS USED:
AMP-The Amplified Bible
NIV-New International Version
TLB-The Living Bible
Gideons-The Gideons International
RSV-Revised Standard Version
NCV-New Century Version
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation;
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.;
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.;
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version. Copyright 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
2010 The New Apostolic Movement
The New Apostolic Movement,
E-mail: [email protected]
+234 8161297781; +234 - 8053053578; + 234 7085951514.
Towards the latter end of December 2009, during a 3-day period of seeking the Lord with prayer and fasting, He put it in the heart of Segun, my darling husband, to write this wonderful book.
God has been putting together the message contained in this book in his heart for many years.
Getting this book into print has been a warfare but Godly wisdom, faith and patience saw us through.
At a point, when this book looked impossible, the devil convinced Segun that the Lord had not asked him to write such a book.
At first, he wrote about five or six chapters. Later, he ended it all in seven chapters.
Eventually, three more chapters were added to make it ten in all.
Very importantly, God has impressed him to bring forth this teaching in order to bring checks and balances to the ongoing apostolic move of God in the earth.
I recommend this book to old and young people alike who want to discover their callings and walk in them. Bible schools and ministers who want to manifest the power of God and walk in all he has made available to them need to read this book. We give God all the glory!
Finally, owing to inadequate space, many of the Scripture references are not written out. But I want to encourage you to look them up in your Bible and study them diligently to get the best out of this book.
SPECIAL! SPECIAL! SPECIAL!
A MUST READING/VIEW
(Google the following free of charge on the Internet and God will change your life forever.)
1. Holiness Required For Heaven by Carillo from Bolivia
2. Eternal Destinations: Godly Attire and Adornment
3. Another Warning by Kingsley Ubani
4. Time Is Over: Run For Your Life by Kingsley Ubani
5. 9 Testimonies on Tithing from Heaven and Hell Visions
6. The Dangers of Eating Gods Tithes and Offerings
7. The Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega
(Crosscheck these testimonies with the Scriptures and if you have questions you may send us an email.)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. CHRIST JESUS, THE GIVER OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
2. PURPOSE OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
3. DURATION OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
4. UNDERSTANDING OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
5. IDENTIFICATION OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
6. ANOINTING OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
7. COUNTERFEITING OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
8. RESTORATION OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
9. FULFILMENT OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
10. REWARDING OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
CHRIST JESUS, THE GIVER OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
But to each of us grace has been given as CHRIST APPORTIONED IT. This is why it says;
'When he (Christ) ascended on high, he led captives in his train and GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.'
What does 'he ascended' mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.
It was HE WHO GAVE SOME TO BE APOSTLES, SOME TO BE PROPHETS, SOME TO BE EVANGELISTS, AND SOME TO BE PASTORS AND TEACHERS (Eph 4:7-11, NIV).
The word 'grace' in verse 7 above is the Greek word 'charis' which speaks of 'undeserved or unmerited favour.'
In essence, that verse says, But to each one of us undeserved or unmerited favour has been given as Christ determined and shared it.
Now notice what the tail end of verse 8 says, ..(Christ) gave gifts to men. In the original Greek, I learnt that verse 8 literally says, .(Christ ) gave men as gifts.
That's why I love verse 11 in the NIV which has already been quoted above, It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.
Two things are immediately important in this verse for now to lay a solid foundation for subsequent teachings.
First, Christ is the giver. It was Christ who gave. It wasn't an angel, an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor, a teacher, a bishop, a deacon, a pope or so who gave.
I can boldly tell you that all those 'men and women of God' who are laying hands on you to give ministry gifts to you, as it were, are just fooling you!
Someone might say, After all hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas to give them the gift of an apostle. That couldn't be true.
In fact, the Scripture says, As they ministered to the Lord and fasted the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I HAVE CALLED THEM. And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them they sent them away (Acts 13:2-3).
Here, the Lord, through His Spirit, wanted them separated, not unto the work that a man had called them, but unto the work He had already called them.
The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I HAVE CALLED THEM.
Interestingly, years later, Paul wrote the believers in Rome, Paul a servant of Jesus Christ CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE SEPARATED UNTO THE GOSPEL OF GOD . By whom (Christ) we have received grace and apostleship. (Rom 1:1, 5).
Putting these two scriptures together, we can clearly see that they were called to be apostles, but the Lord used men to confirm their calling and to separate them unto the Gospel.
He also wrote the saints in Galatia, Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Gal 1:1).
Second, Christ gave some people to be apostles, or as apostles; he gave some people to be prophets or as prophets; he gave some people to be evangelists, or as evangelists; and he gave some people to be pastors and teachers, or as pastors and teachers.
Just as God gave Jesus as a gift to the world so Christ Jesus gave men and women as gifts to humanity (John 3:16, Isaiah 9:6a, Hebrews 6:4). You cant pray to God for one of these five ministry gifts (Heb. 5:4-6).
As a New Testament believer, you must know who you are and what you are. These two are not the same.
I'm sure if you had asked Paul, Who are you? He would have replied, I am a new creation in Christ. I am a son of God. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; John 1:12).
Moreover, if you had asked him, Brother Paul, 'What are you?' Certainly, he would have responded, I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am WHAT I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me (1 Corinthians 15:9-10, NIV).
THE PURPOSE OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
God is a God of purpose. He does all things on purpose. The scripture says, he works out everything in conformity with the PURPOSE of his will (Ephesians 1:11, NIV).
He is a purpose-driven God who wants his people to be purpose-driven, too. Paul wrote, For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his GOOD PURPOSE (Philippians 2:13, NIV).
We are here to fulfil God's purpose. The fulfilment of God's purpose is what gives us good success (Joshua 1:8).
Jeremiah 46:10-11 (NIV) reads:
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My PURPOSE will stand, and I will do all that I please.
From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my PURPOSE
That is why we need to fully understand God's purpose for giving us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
Purpose is defined as original intention. So what's God's original intention of the five-fold ministry?
Somebody rightly said, When purpose is unknown, then abuse is inevitable (unavoidable).
A while ago, the Lord gave me this word, If you will align the Church with God's purpose ..
I believe this book is written for that purpose: to align the Church with God's purpose!
Before we look at the purpose of the five-fold ministry, let's look at some wrong purposes of it.
Proverbs 19:21(NIV) says, Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD'S PURPOSE that prevails.
WRONG PURPOSES OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
1. TO LORD IT OVER GOD'S HERITAGE
In writing to some Church leaders, Peter warned, Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).
The NIV says, Not lording it over those entrusted to you To really grasp what he was saying here, let's see Jesus' teaching along this line.
'Jesus called them together and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles LORD IT OVER THEM, and their high officials EXERCISE AUTHORITY over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many ' (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV).
The expression 'to lord it over' means 'to control, subjugate or exercise dominion over in an unfair oppressing manner.'
In essence, Jesus was saying, Those unbelieving leaders control, subjugate or exercise dominion in an unfair oppressing manner over others. Also their chief officers exercise authority over them
In the original Greek text, the expression 'exercise authority' literally means 'to have (wield) full privilege over.'
If you look at verse 25 in the KJV, it reads, exercise DOMINION over them exercise AUTHORITY upon them.
The words dominion and authority are not of the same Greek origin. You see, to exercise dominion over is to lord it over, which I have explained. And to exercise authority is to have full privilege over!
So God did not give apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to control, subjugate or exercise dominion over others in an unfair oppressing way.
Neither did he give them to mankind to have full privilege over others - to take advantage of them!
In verse 26, Jesus forbids this among his people. Rather he said, But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your MINISTER;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your SERVANT (vs. 26-27, KJV).
The Greek word translated 'minister' here is the word 'diakonos,' which means 'an attendant; a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); an errand boy.'
Similarly, the word 'servant' in the Scripture above comes from the Greek word 'doulos,' which means 'a slave; a bond man; one who gives himself up to the will of another.'
2. TO RAISE PEOPLE WHO ARE EARTHLY HOPEFUL YET HEAVENLY HOPELESS, OR VICE VERSA.
On the one hand, the Bible says, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Corinthians 15: 19).
This is God's warning for people who are earthly hopeful but heavenly hopeless!
On the other hand, the Scripture says, Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest PROSPER and be in HEALTH, even as thy SOUL PROSPERETH (3 John 2).
This verse will help people who are heavenly hopeful but earthly hopeless to live a heavenly bound and earthly useful life.
God never gave us the five-fold ministers to raise one-sided believers.
His intention is to build up balanced saints who will be both heavenly and earthly hopeful in Christ.
It is rather pathetic to hear the wrong emphases among some churches today. Some ministers have over-fed people with financial and material prosperity messages that some saints could hardly remember they are going to heaven.
We should constantly remind the people these words of Jesus:
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24).
John exhorted us, .. But we know that when he appears (at the Rapture), we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure (1 John 3:2-3, NIV).
Paul wrote, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless(Ephesians 5:25-27, NIV).
Just as we are preparing the saints for heaven, so must we also prepare them for success on earth!
God did not put the five-fold ministers in the church to raise a bunch of failures who are poor, sick, wretched, defeated, dejected and despaired in this world.
God told Joshua, Do not let this Book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it . Then you will be PROSPEROUS AND SUCCESSFUL(Joshua 1:8, NIV).
David said, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the PROSPERITY of his servant (Psalm 35:27).
We must always remember to strike a balance here because God's original intention of giving us the five-fold ministry is neither to raise people who are heavenly hopeful yet earthly hopeless nor to produce those who are earthly hopeful yet heavenly hopeless.
Dear minister, God did not call you to raise people who will gain the whole world but lose their souls to the lake of fire. Tell me, what would they or even you give in exchange for their soul (Mark 8:36-37)?
On the other hand, dear friend, God never called you to raise beggars, confirmed bachelors and spinsters, barren women, impotent men, tenants-will-always-be, lifelong applicants, ever-failing candidates, poverty-stricken ministers and congregants, and so on.
The Bible teaches that all things are yours (1Cor 3:22). Even Christ who was rich became poor for our sake so that we, through his poverty, might become rich (2Cor 8:9).
God wants his people to be rich but he doesn't want them to be covetous or greedy. I didn't say he wants his people to be millionaires or billionaires for we can't all become such.
You see, one of the meanings of 'rich' is 'to have your needs fully met.' There are needs and there are wants.
If you teach or preach on holiness and heaven, your listeners will tend to be heavenly hopeful, and if you teach on destiny, success, prosperity, health and deliverance, your listeners will tend to be earthly hopeful.
God's priority is that we raise people who are first and foremost heavenly hopeful. Being earthly hopeful is to be a second thing.
That was why Jesus said, But seek ye first (not second, nor last) the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
Also Luke 12:31, Living Bible says, He will always give you all you need from day to day if you will make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
3. TO RAISE BABES IN CHRIST WHO, BECAUSE OF THEIR LITTLE FAITH, WILL ALWAYS DEPEND ON SOMEBODY ELSE.
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because YOU ARE SLOW TO LEARN. In fact, though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:11- 14, NIV).
Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so (Hebrews 6:1-3, NIV).
One of the saddest phenomena I have observed in the church world is that some ministers seem to concentrate on raising never-will-grow babes in Christ who, because of their little faith, always depend on somebody else.
Dear apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the Lord Jesus didn't put you in the church to raise saints who can't wrestle against the devil unless they see you.
Such saints can't pray successfully against common headaches. They can't handle the bad dreams they dream by the authority of the name of Jesus. They always run to their prophets, pastors, and so on.
There is nothing wrong in babes seeking help from those who are mature. But there also comes a time when the babe is expected to be mature so that he can help other babes grow up.
The problem Paul was addressing in the scripture above was that of prolonged babyhood. Those folks were ever learning but never maturing!
I wonder if some of our dearly beloved apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers have read Ephesians 4:12 to understand the purpose of God for putting them in the Church.
We have too many purposeless ministers around the whole world today. Some of them are sharp arrows in God quiver (Isaiah 49:2). Sadly enough, by the time God puts them in his bow and shoots, they go forth aimlessly missing God's predestined target because they don't understand Ephesians 4:12.
How many of these ministers can say with respect to God's purpose for their ministries, Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly. I do not fight like a man beating the air (1Corintian 9:26,NIV)?
The Living Bible puts it as, So I run straight to the goal WITH PURPOSE IN EVERY STEP. I fight to win. I'm not just shadow-boxing or playing around.
So in the earliest Scripture, Paul was telling the Hebrew believers that by the time they should be carrying others on their faith they needed people to carry them on their own faith instead.
When they were supposed to be giants in the message of righteousness by lifestyle and speech they remained dwarfs waiting to be served all over again with milk, not bony meat.
O man of God, in all sincerity, what is the primary purpose of each of the meetings you have within and outside the church building? To raise people or to raise money? To help them grow in grace or groan in disgrace? To imitate what other Churches are doing or to follow what the Spirit is saying to the Church?
4. TO DIVIDE OR TEAR DOWN THE BODY OF CHRIST
Roman 16:17-18(NIV), I urge you brothers to WATCH OUT FOR THOSE WHO CAUSE DIVISIONS AND PUT OBSTACLES IN YOUR WAY THAT ARE CONTRARY TO THE TEACHING YOU HAVE LEARNED. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of nave people.
2 Corinthians 10:8-9(NIV), For even if I boast somewhat freely about THE AUTHORITY THE LORD GAVE US FOR BUILDING YOU UP RATHER THAN PULLING YOU DOWN, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters.
2 Corinthian 13:10(NIV), This is why I write these things when I am absent that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority - THE AUTHORITY THE LORD GAVE ME FOR BUILDING YOU UP, NOT FOR TEARING YOU DOWN.
Paul urged the believers in Rome to stay away from people who caused divisions through their teachings for such were not serving Christ, but their own appetites.
The Lord Jesus did not give the five-fold ministry to divide or tear down His Church.
There are ministers who claim they have seen some great truths generally over-looked by the Church. Then they begin to proclaim that anyone who is not in their group is not part of what God is doing in the now!
In no time, they begin to condemn or criticize other Churches publicly. They lift themselves up but pull other ministers down! They call them all kinds of evil names.
You know, that's not walking in God's love for the Scripture says, Love does no harm to its neighbor (Romans 13:10, NIV).
Paul, similarly, wrote: Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person (Romans 13:7, AMP).
It's interesting to note that Paul affirmed in two of our opening Scriptures in this section that this God-given authority was to build others up - to edify them and not to pull them down - not to tear them down.
Do you know that whatever you do to the members of the Body of Christ (fellow believers), you do it to Christ, the Head of the Body?
That was why he said, If you have done good or evil to any of these people who believe in me, then you've done it to me (see Matthew 25:34-45).
After the Lord Jesus had knocked Saul down on the way to Damascus, he said to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?
Who are you Lord? Saul asked. I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, he replied (Acts 9:4-5, NIV).
Really, Jesus and Saul (Paul) never met each other in flesh and blood yet Jesus asked him, Why do you persecute me? He didn't ask, Why do you persecute my people?
The reason has been given: whatever you do to the Church of Christ (the Body of Christ), you do to Christ - the Head of the Body - the Head of the Church!
Later, he said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! He didn't say, I am Jesus whose people you are persecuting.
It seems to me that if Jesus were to appear even to some of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers of today, he might ask, Victor! Victor! Why are you dividing me? (See 1Cor 1:3) or Ruth! Ruth! Why are you tearing me down?
5. FOR FILTHY LUCRE
Peter wrote, Feed the flock of God which is among you not for FILTY LUCRE, but of a ready mind (1Peter 5:2).
Another version says, NOT GREEDY FOR MONEY, but eager to serve(NIV).
Similarly, Paul wrote, Unlike so many, WE DO NOT PEDDLE THE WORD OF GOD FOR PROFIT. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God (2 Corinthians 2:17, NIV).
God is instructing us through these verses not to do the work of God to make money.
My heart sinks or bleeds at the wrong attitudes of ministers towards money in these last days.
They have devised all kinds of gimmick just to raise money. A visitor in some churches will immediately get the impression that many a church exists, not because of what they can give to the people but because of what they can get from them.
We should give people the word of life and teach them to give scripturally. It is out of place and shameful to trick people to give even when their spirits disagree and God is not leading the minister to tell them to give.
Friend, Jesus did not set apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the church for filthy lucre's sake.
Dr. W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary puts for filthy lucre as for base gain. The word 'base' means 'not having good moral principles' according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. So, filthy lucre means gain made without good moral principles.
You see, filthy lucre means dirty or questionable money. It is money made by wrong means, ways, designs or methods.
The Bible says, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).
It also says, Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7-8).
Unfortunately, when it comes to giving and receiving, some ministers do not listen to the Spirit of God though they claim to.
But Paul warned the Galatians that those who sowed to the flesh will reap corruption as we have seen in the Scripture above.
Dr. W.E. Vine in his Greek Dictionary of the New Testament identifies the Greek word for 'corruption' in Galatians 6:8 as 'phthora' which means 'decay or ruin.' According to him it signifies 'a bringing or being brought into an inferior or worse condition, a destruction or corruption. He continued, 'It is used of the physical effect of merely gratifying the natural desire and ministering to one's own needs or lusts.'
So when ministers raise money in the flesh because of what they will eat, they will eventually bring themselves into an inferior or worse condition. It is in the end of the game!
Proverb 15:27(NIV) reads, A greedy man brings trouble to his family but he who hates bribe (gifts) will live.
Jeremiah 17:11 (NIV) reads, Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means when his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool' (see also Proverbs 1: 19, Ezekiel 22: 13-16, Isaiah 56: 10-11, 1Timothy 3: 1- 3,8).
Mark a greedy minister who is asking people to give even when God is not asking them to do so. Such a person can't go far with God and he will create enough problems for himself, his wife, his children and probably his children's children.
To be greedy for money is to love money, to be controlled by money and always desire to have more of it by all means.
Study the life of any minister or leader who has turned the Church into a business venture or who has turned evangelistic crusades into a money grabbing enterprise. You will know that something is wrong with him. No true enjoyment of his wealth. No lasting riches and honour.
Some have received their rewards on earth. Therefore there is little or nothing for them in heaven!
In fact, it's difficult for those who love and idolize and worship money and what money can buy to enter the Kingdom of God - to enter God's sphere of Rule (see Mark 10:24,1Tim :17-19).
It's also wrong and unscriptural to encourage or allow people to drop offerings at the altar or so during the sermon. It causes distraction and disorder.
Paul warned, For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
But everything should be done in a fitting and ORDERLY WAY (1 Corinthians 14: 33, 36-38, 40, NIV).
Kenneth Hagin shared the sad story of how a healing evangelist was busy collecting offerings in the flesh (carnally) when suddenly God's Spirit was grieved and His divine presence lifted off the meeting. Hagin noticed that but 'the man of God' (fund - raiser) did not.
Let's not forget this: And do not grieve the Holy spirit, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption(Eph 4:30, Gideons).
God is saying to his ministers today, I didn't raise you to raise money but to raise people. Unless I lead you by my Spirit to raise fund for my work, of course, in a scriptural way, then you have no business doing it. A lot of money is needed for the work of the kingdom.
But since it is my work and you are co-workers with me, I will make adequate provision and cause people to give to my work. Don't try to help me to accomplish my work with the arm of the flesh. I will do my work. Just follow me and it will amaze you how I will sustain my work through those who yield to me. You have need of faith and patience to follow me faithfully.
Martin Luther noted, God's man doing God's work in God's place will never lack God's support.
6. TO BE RECOGNIZED AS THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN BECAUSE OF THEIR APOSTOLIC, PROPHETIC, EVANGELISTIC, PASTORAL OR TEACHING ANOINTING.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven? He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-4 NIV).
When Jesus was asked, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He did not answer the way many of us would have probably answered if asked the same today.
If asked that, some would say, The greatest man in the Kingdom of heaven is the man who has the largest congregation or who has built the biggest church auditorium or cathedral.
Some other might say, It is the man who has won the highest number of people into God's kingdom or the man who has performed the greatest of miracles and healings.
Jesus' answer to that question can be summarized as, The most humble person on earth is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
He actually said, Therefore, whoever HUMBLES himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (verse 4).
The word 'humble' used here means 'to make low or bring low' according to W.E. Vine's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament.
That means what makes an apostle great in the kingdom of heaven, for example, is not his apostolic anointing resulting in church planting, providing good leadership for churches, performing miracles, signs and wonders; and so on.
Rather an apostle can only become great in the kingdom of heaven if he makes himself low or brings himself low as a child brings himself low.
Do you know that God did not give us the five- fold ministers so that they may be recognized as the greatest in the kingdom of heaven because of their ministry anointing?
The purpose of God for the five-fold ministry is not to make the minister better or greater than someone else in anointing. Lack of this basic understanding has produced copycats among ministers, who, out of ambition, are competing hard just to outshine others. The truth is: your ministry anointing does not make you great in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus was trying to say that a new believer who is humble is greater in the kingdom of heaven that a long- time apostle or prophet who has known the Lord for 80 years but is proud!
To be proud is to exalt yourself above others, to be full of yourself and to believe that only what you're doing is important but what others are doing is unimportant (Philippians 2: 3- 9)!
John the Baptist was the greatest man born of a woman but because of his pride, the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he (Matthew 11: 3-15). There are surprises waiting for us in heaven! Some of the great apostles, prophets and so on we look forward to seeing as some of the greatest, perhaps seated close to the throne would be discovered as some of the least possibly standing close to the gate!
John's pride lay in the fact that despite his declaring Jesus openly as the saviour of the world (John 1 : 29-34), in his hour of desperation, he thought Jesus should leave whatever he was doing and release him from the prison.
In pride, he thought what he (John) was doing was more important than what Jesus was doing right then.
7. TO FULFIL THEIR MINISTRY BY USING FELLOW BELIEVERS TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF EACH BELIEVER'S DIVINE GIFT AND CALLING.
Paul wrote, Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK (Ephesians 4:15-16,NIV).
Song of Songs (Solomon) [1:6, NIV] reads: . My mother's sons were angry with me and MADE ME TAKE CARE OF THE VINEYARDS; MY OWN VINEYARDS I HAVE NEGLECTED.
I know a minister who struggles to fulfil his ministry by using fellow believers to the disadvantage of each believer's divine gift and calling.
I used to know him at a close range but when I understood that if I would fulfil God's purpose for my life I had to distance myself from him, I tried to keep him at a distance.
One night, I dreamt that he and his wife came to our living room. My wife and I sat watching television. The pastor's wife lay on the carpet. But, strangely enough, this minister was standing up and facing the television set. He obstructed our view, using his body and probably arms to cover the television set. He was so close to it that his body must have touched it.
We sat there helpless. When I woke up, I realized that God had shown me this man's thoughts towards my wife and me. He didn't have our interest at heart.
Such a man is very dangerous because while he goes against our God- given vision (television), he imposes the vision he believed God gave him upon us and others.
You are his friend as long as you drop your calling and support his. You, however, become his sworn enemy if you stand your ground and embrace your calling.
Jesus did not put the five- fold ministers in the church so that they can suppress and oppress the saints by manipulating or silencing each believer's gift and calling.
They are not put here to use the believers to fulfill their selfish interests.
I pray every minister will understand that Ephesians 4: 16 (NIV) reveals that the Body of Christ is built up as each member (each believer) does its work!
Dear minister, it is your responsibility to help each saint under your authority in discovering, doing and finishing their work on earth. That should be your joy, unless you are a carnal leader.
If that is not your joy, then you are a stumbling block in the Body of Christ and the Lord will remove you (not necessarily from the Body, but from the scene, from the ministry) sooner or later unless you repent.
In the second scripture, we saw how Solomon lamented that his brothers, out of anger, made him take care of the vineyards, even to the neglect of his own vineyard (see SOS 1: 6).
A similar thing occurs when ministers become angry and envious to the extent that they make saints abandon their work of ministry but assign them tasks that have little or nothing to do with God's purpose for their lives.
Our God is a God of vengeance, and he will judge his people. He will judge between the wicked leaders and their helpless followers, between the fat shepherds and the lean sheep, and so on (see Heb.10:30-31)
THE THREE-FOLD PURPOSE OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
The Scripture says, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST (Ephesians 4: 11- 12).
The NIV renders verse 12 like this: TO PREPARE GOD'S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP.
We see clearly here the three- fold purpose of the five-fold ministry. This is in sharp contrast to the seven wrong purposes we have just explained.
This three- fold purpose includes:
1. FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS
Ephesians 4: 11-12 reads, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS.
The Greek word translated 'perfecting' means 'complete furnishing; a fitting or preparing fully.'
So the Lord gave us these ministers so that they can completely furnish the saints, prepare them fully or mature them totally.
This is great responsibility which requires giving milk to the babes in Christ but meat to those becoming of age.
I think it will help if every minister will ask himself or herself from time to time, Will what I am doing help the saints become mature or remain immature? Are my sermons making them fully prepared, half- prepared or unprepared for God's purpose for their respective lives? Am I completely furnishing them for their divine destiny or I am just punishing them in the house of bondage called sanctuary or auditorium?
I remember a particular minister whose sister had cancer. So he fought a good fight of faith on her behalf. And the Lord told him that she would survive it. She was totally healed.
Five years later, cancer attacked another part of her body without a link to the previous one. Then the Lord told this minister that his sister would die because she had refused to develop her own faith in God's Word.
You see, others could carry you on their faith when you are a new or growing babe in Christ, but a time comes when God expects you to live by your own faith (Hab 2:4).
So remaining a perpetual or prolonged baby will open up one's life to God's displeasure and Satans destruction (John 15:1-8, John 10:10).
Paul's desire was to present every saint in his sphere of influence perfect or mature in Christ (Col.1:28-29).
To come to full maturity, the saints must be fed with proper diet, pure diet, and balanced diet.
This involves giving a baby's food to a baby, and an adults food to an adult, and so on. Food needed at one particular stage of growth should be taken.
So, a baby's diet given to an adult or an adult's diet given to a baby is an improper diet (Heb.5:12-14, 1Cor.3:1-2, John 16:12).
This is God's truth undiluted or unmixed with human philosophy, tradition, religion, legalism, liberalism, and so on (see Col.2:6-8, 16-23, Mt.15:1-9, 1Tim.4:1-3).
This does not focus on some aspects of the truth while ignoring some other ones. Rather a balanced diet has the right teachings in the right proportion without neglecting any portion of truth (see Heb.6:1-2, Mt.23:23).
2. FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY
The opening Scripture say, And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastor and teachers; FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY
You see, the Lord gave the five-fold ministry to prepare or mature the saints fully for the work of the ministry. That means that the Lord expects each saint to do some work of the ministry.
This work of ministry is of four-fold, namely:
(i) Ministering to God
(ii) Ministering to oneself
(iii) Ministering to other saints
(iv) Ministering to sinners (unbelievers)
MINISTERING TO GOD
Acts 13:2 says about certain prophets and teachers, As they ministered to the Lord. The NIV renders it as, While they were worshipping the Lord.'
Ministering to God is not asking him to give you or someone else something. Rather it is expressing your heart-felt love through prayer of thanksgiving, song of praise, music and so on (see Ephesians 5:19-20, Colossians 3:16).
You can also worship God with your money, material possessions, and so. The first commandment is a call to worship.
Matthew 22:37-38(NIV) says, Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.
MINISTERING TO ONESELF
Paul wrote, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songsHe who speaks in a tongue edifies himself (Eph. 5:19 KJV, 1 Cor. 14:4, NIV).
So there is a place of your ministering to yourself, and my ministering to myself! You speak God's word to yourself. You sing songs of joy, victory, deliverance, and so on. You tell yourself who you are in Christ and what you are in the Body of Christ. Also you pray adequately in known and unknown tongues (see also 1 Sam. 30:6, Jude 20).
A believer should feed himself with the Word daily by studying, confessing, praying, singing, listening to and practising the Word! Study it, confess it, pray it, sing it, listen to it and practice it (Pro 4:20-23, Jam 1:21-25).
You see, praying in an unknown tongue edifies or charges your spirit as if you are charging the battery of your handset or cell phone according to a Greek scholar.
Do you have a flat or low battery spiritually? Then charge your spirit until you have a full battery! How? Pray in an unknown tongue until you are filled with the Spirit on a daily basis. Don't be half-filled!
MINISTERING TO OTHER SAINTS
The Scripture says, He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church (the saints).. How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying (1 Cor 14: 26, NIV ).
Believers should sharpen one another by fellowshipping with one another! This is how iron sharpens iron (Pro 27: 17, see also Heb 10:24 -25).
Believers' meeting or fellowship is one of the avenues God intends for this. But, unfortunately, it's not common in our day. We hear of prayer meeting, healing meeting, prophetic meeting, evangelistic meeting, teaching meeting (or Bible study) and such like. We hardly hear of or have believers' meeting or fellowship.
Sad to say, we have largely mistaken prayer meeting or teaching meeting for fellowship, that is, believers meeting.
Yet the scripture says of the Early Church, They devoted themselves to the apostle's TEACHING and to the FELLOWSHIP, and to the BREAKING OF BREAD, and to PRAYER (Acts2:42, NIV).
Interestingly, this scripture in the Book of Acts identifies four distinct kinds of meetings the Early Church was engaged in. I believe that as the church grew back then, they had other kinds of meetings as well!
That scripture identifies: 1. Teaching meeting
3. Breaking-of-bread meeting (communion service)
4. Prayer meeting
We have had believers meeting (fellowship) in our church service and in our School Of Ministry as well as School Of Life (pre-Bible School).
MINISTERING TO UNBELIEVERS
Every believer has the ministry of reconciliation to bring sinners to Christ. He saved us so that we can help others get saved. Woe unto us if we refuse to preach Christ to the lost he sends to us or sent us to (see 2 Cor 5:18-19; 1Cor 9:16).
3. FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
Our opening text reads, And he gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastor and teachers; FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.
The word 'edifying' here means 'building up as if laying one block upon another.'
Dr W.E. Vine wrote concerning it the idea conveyed is progress resulting from patient effort.
So, lastly the lord Jesus gave us these ministers so that they can build up the body of Christ which is the collective saints as if laying one block upon another.
Each block must first be made thoroughly on its own before it is then incorporated into the house. How weak or strong each separate block is determines how weak or strong some parts of the house will be, which in turn affects the entire house.
While perfecting or maturing the saints focuses on individual saints (one saints separate from another) edifying the Body of Christ centers on the collective saints (one saint joined to another).
That is why Ephesians 4:16 (NIV) says, From him the WHOLE BODY, JOINED AND HELD TOGETHER by every supporting ligaments grow and BUILDS ITSELF UP in love, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK.
Can you see that? It says that the Body of Christ is built up or edified as each part or saint does his work. It's a collective responsibility. Each block is useful. Every believer must function rightly. All hands must be on deck!
So if the Body of Christ is not being edified or built up as the lord intends, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers could be held responsible!
THE DURATION OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers UNTIL we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Eph 4:11, 13-14, NIV).
From this scripture, it is abundantly clear that God gave the fivefold ministry for a duration of time. Are they then for a few decades or centuries? Were they meant to function only in the Early Church?
Some may claim, 'There are no apostles today. Yes, there were great apostles in the Bible says. But unfortunately, when the last of them died, the era of apostles ended forever.'
Some others may argue, 'There are no true prophets today. Neither are there genuine evangelists. Oh, we have so many preachers, but true prophets and evangelists were meant to operate in the Bible days. Their ministries expired close to 2,000 years ago.'
What does the word of God say about these false claims? The above Scripture explains that they were given until (see verse 13).
The word 'until' here is basically a preposition of time which means ' till a particular time'.
In other words, Paul was saying that God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers till the particular time when 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 (see verse 13).
But have we all reached unity in the faith of the son of God? Have we all reached unity in the knowledge of the Son of God? Have we all become mature? Have we all attained to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?
The answer to each of these questions is a big NO! And that means until or till the particular time when we all reach that level, it is a divine necessity that the five-fold ministry will continue to function in the earth.
When we reach this mature state or level, 'then we will no longer be infants (children or babes), tossed (driven) back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming' (verse 14).
Somebody may ask Don't we have mature saints in the church world today? Yes, we have some.
He may add, If we have some mature saints in the church world, then cant we conclude that we have attained to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?
No, a billion times no! I believe it will help us immeasurably to understand how God sees each believer as an individual member of the Body of Christ, and how He sees the Body of Christ as a whole - even as one entity (See Romans 12:12-27, Ephesians4:4).
We need to understand that the Body of Christ − the living Church of the Living God was born as a baby on the day of Pentecost.
You see, the New Testament Church, that now is under the New Covenant (Testament) began only after Jesus had risen and ascended into heaven because the Bible says a testament or covenant is not functional until the death of its testator (Hebrew 9:16-17).
So the Holy Spirit came down from heaven on the day of Pentecost to birth the church. The new- born baby church then grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
During the Dark Ages which lasted over 1,000 years, I believe the Body of Christ - the Church - was a sick dying adolescent or teenager. She was eventually revived for she can't die.
That was why Jesus boldly declared, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
Many years have come and gone, we are now approaching the end of the age, (I don't mean the rapture. I believe in the rapture, but that comes after the rapture.) yet the Body of Christ has not become a full- grown adult.
Sometimes, the Church had grown rapidly (usually in hard times). Some other times, she had grown slowly. Talking about the Church growing here, I don't mean increased membership in our local assemblies or denominations, though, that is an aspect of 'Church Growth.'
Rather I am talking about the edification or building up of the Body of Christ - the Church of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-12(KJV) reads:
And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets, and some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, FOR THE EDIFICATION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.
So, until and unless the Body of Christ, the Church, is edified or built up, she will never become a full-grown adult.
Friend, the five-fold ministry will continue to function on earth until the Lord achieves his ultimate aim of giving them, which includes: that we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13,NIV).
UNDERSTANDING THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 reads,
Now there are DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS, But the same Spirit. And there are DIFFERENCES OF ADMINISTRATIONS, But the same Lord.
And there are DIVERSITIES OF OPERATIONS, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
1 Corinthians 12:28-30 reads,
And God hath set some in the church first apostles secondarily prophets thirdly teachers after that miracles, them gifts of healings helps governments diversities of tongues.
Are all apostle are all prophet? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
Romans 12:6-8 reads,
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith, or ministry, let us wait on our ministering or he that teacheth on teaching or he that exorteth; on exhortation he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth, mercy with cheerfulness.
1. YOUR MINISTRY IS IN YOUR HEART AND IT MAKES YOU WHAT YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE MAKES YOU DO WHAT YOU DO
Paul wrote, FOR I AM THE LEAST OF THE APOSTLES AND DO NOT EVEN DESERVE TO BE CALLED AN APOSTLE because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I AM WHAT I AM.. (1 Corinthian 15:9-10, NIV).
Many people have a wrong definition of the word 'ministry.' If you mention the word some immediately think of building a cathedral, sanctuary or tabernacle. Some others think of one becoming a pastor or evangelist. Still others think of a perfect man or woman living in an imperfect world.
In the Scripture above, however, Paul first identified himself as an apostle then he concluded, But by the grace of God I am what I am. In other words, he was saying, But by the grace of God I am an apostle.
Ministry is an outflow or expression of what God had deposited in or programmed into you before birth. Your coming into this world and subsequently accepting Christ as your Lord and Saviour is not to decide your ministry. No, you don't decide your ministry rather you are to discover, develop and discharge it fully.
God told Jeremiah, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born I set you apart I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah1:5, NIV).
This verse points out clearly that our ministries are predestined, predetermined, preordained and predecided by God
For instance, before a prophet is born, God would have put a prophetic deposit in him or her. He or she only comes out of the womb already programmed, configured, wired up, designed or fashioned to be a prophet (Psalm 139:13-16).
As he or she grows up, the prophetic calling and gifting will unfold gradually. So he or she has to discover, develop and discharge his or her prophetic ministry which is the expression or outflow of the prophetic calling and gifts the Lord had put in his or her spirit before birth.
WHO YOU ARE VS WHAT YOU ARE
Who you are speaks of your spiritual personality in Christ. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21). You are a brand new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). You are a love child or son of a love-God ( 1 Jn 5:4, 1 Jn 4:7-8). You are a born master oven demons, diseases and death (Luk 10:19 Mk 16:17-18). You are more than a conqueror
On the other hand, what you are speaks of both your general and specific functions in the Body of Christ. Generally as a member of Christ's Body, you are a king (a lion) and a priest (a sheep) (Rev 1:6, Rev 5:10).
Then specifically, you may be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher or something else.
Talking about what he was, he wrote, For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called AN APOSTLE, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I AM WHAT I AM: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain (1 Cor 15:9-10).
Paul was simply saying, What I am is an apostle, and it is by the grace of God because I don't deserve to be one.
WHAT YOU ARE MAKES YOU DO WHAT YOU DO
Amos 3:8 (NIV) reads, The lion has roared
You see, what makes a lion roar is in a lion. Therefore, a dog trying to roar like a lion will end up in frustration because a dog doesn't have what makes a lion roar. A dog barks.
Friend, your ministry is in you. Ministry is not an office building with a staff. What is in a pastor makes him shepherd God's flock. What is in an evangelist makes him win the lost at any cost. What is in a teacher makes him instruct the flock with the Word of God.
So an evangelist trying to be an apostle; a pastor trying to be a prophet or a teacher trying to be an evangelist is likened to:
i. A dog trying to mew like a cat.
ii. A snake trying to laugh like a hyena.
iii. A cow trying to bark like a dog.
iv. A chicken trying to swim like a duck.
v. An ostrich (whose wings are never adapted to flying) trying to fly like an eagle.
vi. A fish trying to craw (on a mountain) like a snake
You see, we need to understand that just as each animal has its peculiar and distinctive movement and sound so does each five-fold minister has a peculiar ability and a specific anointing which make them do certain things spontaneously without struggling unnecessarily, though, there might be initial struggles (at the early stage of ministry).
So, you need not compare yourself with others. Our make-up differs one from another. We do certain things with 'ease' in ministry because it is in our make-up. Carnal comparison is the mother of frustration. Just express the ministry in you because what you are is responsible for what you do in the kingdom.
SEVEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT COMPARE YOURSELF AND MEASURE YOURSELF BY OTHERS
i. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT CALLINGS
Paul pointed out, Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function (Ro 12:4, NIV).
No two ministers can function exactly the same way because no two ministers have the same calling. Someone has said that if two people claim that God has called them to do (exactly) the same thing, then one of them is a fake (or counterfeit).
For example, no two apostles are the same. Peter's calling was to the Jews while Paul's was to the Gentiles. Also no two prophets are the same. Moses' calling was to bring the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land while John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord!
ii. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT GIFTS
Paul noted, We have different gifts, according to the grace given us (Ro 12:6a, NIV).
God gifts his ministers differently according to his grace. I am yet to find two ministers with exactly the same gifts. In the parable of the talents, the master gave one servant 5 talents, another 2 talents and the last fellow 1 talent (see Matthew 25). Why didn't he give them the same measure of talents?
It would have been foolish for the fellow with 5 talents to measure himself by the guy who had two talents. The master would have dealt with him if he had said, Though you gave me 5 talents but I managed to make 2 more talents because my friend whom you gave 2 talents made just 2 more! More gifting is more responsibility.
God loves us all equally but he graces us unequally (or differently). The same love but different measures of grace. God has no favorites in love.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Eph 4:7).
iii. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES
The Body of Christ is one body with many different members and no two members are the same, though, they could be similar.
For instance my two hands are not the same. Although they are similar yet they are different. In the same way, no two ministers are the same. Each minister is fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14).
1 Corinthians 15:41b (AMP) says, The stars are glorious in their own [distinctive] way; for one star DIFFERS FROM and surpasses another in its beauty and brilliance.
In the early days of his ministry, Yonggi Cho (currently the pastor of the world's largest single congregation) wanted to be like Billy Graham. He memorized some of Billy's sermons and tried to preach like him but halfway into his sermon he would be frustrated and exhausted, gasping for breath.
Next, he resolved to be like Oral Roberts. So he copied his unique style of preaching and expected similar results to follow his own sermons. When nothing happened, out of discouragement, he pleaded with God to make him like Billy Graham or Oral Roberts.
Then the Holy Spirit dropped a bombshell that He needed only one Billy Graham and one Oral Roberts in this world, and that He wanted him to be the one and only Paul (now David) Yonggi Cho!
You see, every minister is unique in his own divine peculiar calling. You just need to bring out your own uniqueness with time. Someone said, God made you an original; don't die a photocopy (paraphrased).
Of course, we can imitate others' good examples of faith, patience, love, purity, conduct, integrity, hope and the right way of Christian speaking (Heb 6:12, 1 Tim 4:12), but we must develop each a unique style of presenting the Gospel in a way that will glorify God.
Since God has made us a peculiar people (1 Pet 2:9), each one of us is distinct, unique, different or special. We don't need to live as copycats or caricatures. I used to live like that years ago.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased SPECIAL PEOPLE (1 Pet 2:9, AMP).
Iv. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT TRAININGS
Moses spent nearly all the first 40 years of his life in Pharaoh's palace (Ex 2:9-10). His formative years were rooted in Egyptian education and culture because God was preparing him for a future assignment in Egypt.
Acts 7:22 (AMP) reads, So Moses was educated in all the wisdom and culture of the Egyptians, and he was mighty (powerful) in his speech and deeds.
Even when he fled to Midian, Jethro's daughters mistook him for an Egyptian at first because he looked, dressed, talked, walked and perhaps acted like an Egyptian (Ex 2:17-19).
Then the next 40 years of his life was a period of severe training in the wilderness, which brought him solitude, discomfort, humiliation, hard work, shepherding skills, endurance, servant's attitude and above all his loving heart of a shepherd.
I believe that it was the severity of his training in this wilderness of Midian that made the Scripture to say, (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble that anyone else on the face of the earth.) Numb 12:3 (NIV).
Certainly, James 1:4 was fulfilled in him. It says, But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing (AMP).
On the other hand, Aaron (the High Priest) and Miriam (the prophetess) were Moses' siblings but with different trainings. They were not trained in the palace. Neither were they trained in a literal wilderness, I suppose (Gen 47:27, Ex 2:11, Ex 4:27).
Since every servant or minister of God will be trained in a spiritual or figurative wilderness, we can conclude that Moses, Aaron and Miriam all had their 'wilderness experiences' but Moses had the harshest, toughest, and most difficult wilderness experience because of his higher calling and harder assignment!
One of the things that the Lord had used to encourage me personally over the years was what I read in Rick Joyner's wonderful book: The Call.
The revelation is: If your path is more difficult, it is because of your high calling.
Juanita Bynum-Weeks, a prophetess to the nations had a tough wilderness experience. The Lord healed her of nervous breakdown (insanity), anorexia nervosa, broken marriage and so on.
Due to her harsh wilderness training, she wrote in her powerful book, No More Sheets, When there's a mandate on your life for the nations, God doesn't have time to spoon feed you He has to do a quick work in you. A quick work will always be a harsh work. Due to the lateness of the hour, and the shortness of time, we must redeem time. Everybody that's going to take death walk of flesh, is going to be cleansed harshly. Therefore you better get ready for it (see Rom 9:28, Exo 13:17-18).
v. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT TIMINGS
Solomon wrote, The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, nor food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but TIME and CHANCE happen to them all (Eccl 9:11, NIV) .
My timing is not your timing, and your timing is not my timing. So if you follow mine and I follow yours, we will both miss God.
Every star has its appointed season to shine (Job 38:32). Many ministers are confused today because they don't understand their respective timings: some are running ahead of God, some others are lagging behind God but the rest are moving in God's timing for them.
Bob Gass noted, All the apples on a tree don't ripen at the same time.
Vi. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT OPPORTUNITIES
The word chance in Ecclesiastes 9:11 above could also mean opportunity. God will open certain doors of opportunity for certain ministers but at the proper timing. Divine timing and divine chance (opportunity) must go hand-in-hand (read Eccl. 9:11 again).
If God has not called you to foreign missions, and you desire doors of opportunity to open to you there because some of your friends have been going, then you are looking for doors of trouble! I tell you Satan may open one for you to derail you.
You must be faithful and sensitive to God so that you don't miss your opportunities. Some opportunities may always be there at a particular season, some come only a few times in a lifetime while some others come perhaps once or twice in a lifetime!
vii. DIFFERENT MINISTERS, DIFFERENT REWARDS
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe-AS THE LORD HAS ASSIGNED TO EACH HIS TASK. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it growThe man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and EACH WILL BE REWARDED ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOUR (1 Cor. 3:5-6,8, NIV).
We see from this Scripture that the Lord will first assign a task to a person, then will reward him according to how
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