Previously: Ephesians 4:1-3, keep the unity of the Spirit
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Eph 4:4-6
Does that mean that Muslims, Hindus, or animists can’t be counted among those of faith? That is right, they can’t; because there is one faith. There are not two faiths of believers in YHVH – the Christian faith and the Jewish faith. There is one faith. This does not mean that Christians have it right and so Jews should be persecuted because they are outside of the one faith. Or vice versa. Christian practice and Jewish practice differ from each other in the degrees they have each wandered from the Scripture.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “ When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” Eph 4:7-8
In the Greek, “grace” and “gift” are similar in meaning: “grace” is charis, graciousness, gratifying (in that God’s justice was gratified, satisfied in the penalty for sin which Jesus paid on the cross); the divine influence on the heart, and the reflection of that influence in the life, especially in gratitude toward God for all He has done, expressed in thanksgiving and worship.
And “gift” is dorea, a gratuity, or doma, a present. This is why Paul says, Grace (charis) is a free gift (doma), not of ourselves, lest any man should boast.
What is the measure of Christ’s gift? A measure is a portion of the whole, according to the Greek dictionary. So then in the next verses, it 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, Eph 4:11-12
The gift of grace to be an apostle, the gift of grace to be a prophet, the gift of grace to be an evangelist — these are different measures, or portions of the whole, given to each one. The reason the gifts are given to the church is to equip us to do the work of the ministry ourselves. It was never the Lord’s intention that all the work of ministering be done by the pastors and prophets and apostles or paid church staff; they are there to teach us what we need to know in order to do the work ourselves, according to the gifts give to us!
Apostles plant churches and watch over them, teaching and guiding them.
Prophets speak the word of the Lord to men, and incidentally, speak for men to the Lord (intercession). Prophecy and intercession are two sides of the same coin. Prophets tend to be black and white, very clear on the way things are or ought to be. Prophets not only say, “Thus says the Lord” to the ekklesia, but they warn the ekklesia of what is sin and righteousness. Evangelists preach the gospel to unbelievers. Pastors shepherd the local congregations. Teachers teach the word of God to the body!
Continued in: Ephesians 4:13-15, unity of the faith