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ChristŐs Ascension Gifts to His Church

Ephesians 4:11-16


Our ascended Savior gives to and sustains in his church on earth the blessed ministry of the gospel by pastors according to GodŐs own heart, who feed his Church with knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 4:11-12; Jeremiah 3:15).



He gave us the apostles. Though they were chosen before his ascension, he gave them special power and authority afterwards. These apostles were given to teach us the doctrine of the gospel with infallibility. They were called and appointed by Christ himself, had their doctrine directly from him, and had God given gifts demonstrating the fact that Jesus of Nazareth, our crucified Savior, is indeed the Christ of God (Hebrews 2:3-4). The apostolic office and those gifts ceased with the apostles. Those who pretend to have apostolic gifts today prove themselves the servants of anti-christ by their pretended gifts (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10).



The risen Lord has given his church prophets, too. The men Paul speaks of here are not the prophets of the Old Testament, but men like Agabus, who are Divinely gifted to understand the hand of God in providence, making proper and powerful application of the Scriptures. They are gospel preachers who, like the sons of Issachar, are men who have understanding of the times and know what Israel ought to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).



Our ascended Savior gives his church evangelists. These are itinerate preachers, missionaries, who go from one place to the other establishing gospel churches assisting churches in need by the preaching of the gospel. Every pastor is commanded of God to Ňdo the work of an evangelist,Ó thereby making fully proof of his calling and service in the cause of Christ (2 Timothy 4:5).



And the risen Son of God gives his church pastors who teach us the GOSPEL (Jeremiah 3:15). God promised in the days of the Messiah that he would give pastors after his heart, who would feed the people with knowledge and understanding. The work of GodŐs servants is here described in three ways (v. 12). (1.) He is to labor at perfecting, or unifying the saints. (2.) He is to labor in the ministry, dispensing the truths of the gospel. And (3.) he is to labor for the edification of the church. The pastor must labor for the salvation of GodŐs elect and labor for the growth GodŐs saints in the faith and knowledge of Christ.

      The ascension of Christ and his rule in heaven is for the purpose of completing his purpose and will for his church (vv. 13-16). Het will continue to work through the ministry of the gospel, until his church is brought to perfection. For that purpose, he intercedes for us in heaven. Let every pastor take great care to guard the walls of Zion from those deceitful, crafty heretics who would destroy GodŐs church (v. 14). Let every Gospel preacher faithfully speak the truth in love (v. 15). It is Christ alone who can unite us in the Spirit, give us the blessed bond of peace, fitly join us together by the effectual working of his power in us (v. 16). The great purpose for which God has established a standing ministry in his church is the perfecting of the saints, establishing the whole mystical body of Christ, in Christ, our glorious Head.







Don Fortner








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