Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts – the leaders, part 3.

Class Outline:

Tuesday October 19,2021


EPH 4:11-16

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.


John Walvoord in his Doctrine of the Holy Spirit states: “While God may choose men of natural ability, it is clear that spiritual gifts pertain to the spiritual birth of Christians rather than their natural birth. The qualities of the spiritual gifts are not evident in the individual before his salvation. The spiritual gifts pertain to his new nature rather than his old. Spiritual gifts must not be regarded, then, as an enlargement of natural powers, but a supernatural gift bestowed in keeping with the purpose of God in placing that individual in the body of Christ.”


He goes on to list the permanent spiritual gifts: teaching, helping or ministering, administration or ruling, evangelism, pastor, exhortation, giving, and showing mercy.


He groups helping and ministering while I separated them, and likewise for administration and ruling.


There is no evidence of some of the gifts continuing to function after early church. And along with that fact, the denominations that claim to possess them neglect the spiritual instructions for their use. These are apostleship, prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues, interpreting tongues, and discerning spirits.


Maturity and consistent use of the spiritual gifts are the key to their power.


The Holy Spirit within us is given to propel our spiritual lives daily. We must focus, be alert, be diligent, and follow the mandates and ways of the Christian life. In other words, we must pursue the life of Christ and the Holy Spirit will propel us on its way. Grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit is choosing to go another way. The believer’s sanctification, spiritual understanding, assurance, service, prayer, and worship all spring from the work of the Holy Spirit within them.


The church has been plagued with two opposing extremes. The epistle to the Corinthians shows us that spiritual gifts were abused, and in church history we have witnessed abuses of the wildest kind. On the other hand, there has been the appalling failure to appreciate the importance of spiritual gifts.


Paul emphasizes the Giver, Christ.


He gave:

apostolous = apostles or messengers

prophetas = prophets

euangelistas = carriers of the gospel

poimenas = shepherds (Latin: pastores)

didaskalous = teachers


These are positions of authority in the church, of which we others in other parts of the scripture: overseers, elders, and deacons.


God demands leadership and He has given gifts for its proper function. The local church has to have a leader or leaders to teach, guide policy, discipline, and overall shepherd God’s flock.


When we go over the various passages, we can see what the leaders are called to do. We will see overlap between all the titles. The coupling of pastor and teacher is only found in this passage. The call to shepherd, the verb, is applied to the elders and the overseers, as is to call to teach.


Apostle, prophet, evangelist are gifts to the church as a whole, while pastor and teacher, as well as elder, overseer, and deacon are gifts to the local church - all have a leading capacity.


Last time we looked at the reason the church needs authority to maintain the function of the church by spiritually gifted and mature men of character.


Authority, mature in spirit and desiring to serve, is needed because people can and will be fickle, contentious, deceived, fleshly, etc. We note how Paul dealt with the Corinthian and Galatian churches. Specifically, how the apostle dealt with the matter of church discipline concerning the man having an affair with his father’s wife.


Now we get into some nuts and bolts of the authority titles.


Three of the gifts in Eph 4 are listed by Paul in:

1CO 12:28

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.


Pastor is not here, nor is carrier of good news (evangelist). We might expect to find episkopos (overseer, which evolved into the English word “bishop”).