“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1Co 3:21-23 KJ2000)
As we read chapter three and four of Ephesians we see a reoccurring theme: “each, every, all, etc.” and they all refer to the functioning of Christ in His body. But when we get to vs. 4:11 we read “some.” This is a tip-off… somebody cooked the Book! The word in the Greek for “some” here is “ho.” It is the definite article. Now try reading that verse this way, “And he gave THE, apostles; and THE, prophets; and THE, evangelists; and THE, pastors and teachers;”
Here is another place the definite article “ho” is found, “In the beginning was THE Word, and THE Word was with God and THE Word was THE God.” You see, it is THE WORD who is THE Apostle, THE prophet, THE Evangelist, THE Pastor and THE Teacher. It is not about us, but rather it is ALL about Him. These enablings or graces are all HIM and as we “live and move and have our beings IN Him” and not in ourselves and we will find them working BY Him in each (ALL) of us. God is NOT a respecter of persons. It is time we start living IN Him outside of the box (read “steeple house”) mentality and find Christ as our total sufficiency and KNOW that we should seek to live in the fullness of Christ. The verse before Ephesians 4:11 says, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Eph 4:10 KJ2000 – emphasis added), not just “some.”
Notice this Eph 4:11 in the English Standard version. They seem to have got it, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” (Eph 4:11 ESV). These five nouns can be translated either singular or plural and more often than not most of them were used in the singular. So, with this in mind it could and should read, “And He gave the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and Teacher…” Jesus is THE Apostle (See Heb. 3:1). He is THAT Prophet (See Acts 3:22-23). He is THE Evangelist (euaggelistēs), the one who brought good news (euaggelizō) from the Father to us all. He is THE Teacher (See Matt. 23:10). and He is THE Pastor, The Shepherd of our souls (See 1 Pet. 2:24-25). In short HE is our All in all. Christ is our sufficiency in all things (2 Cor. 3:5). We in our old adamic natures are quick to put a man where only Jesus belongs and would do well to read 1 Cor. ch. 3 again with this in mind.
Once He showed me the definite article in this Ephesians chapter four passage it all became so clear. Christ is ALL in ALL, not just in some. He manifests different parts of that ALL that is Him at different times in each of us. Paul was not a lone spiritual freak who could say, “I can do all things through Christ who is my strength.” or “For me to live IS Christ and to die is gain.” This is our inheritance as we live IN Christ!
I just got back from a trip to Phoenix, AZ with George Davis. It was evident that God was sending us down there by the way the saints were moved on by Him to finance the whole trip, our lodging, food and everything and it all happened without us ever even suggesting it or asking for a dime from anyone. George Muler once said that when God conceives a work He also is its source of supply. Now that we are back and have seen the spiritual fruit of that “sending out,” “apostolos” (envoy or sent one) event, we know that it is Christ who was the Apostle in us for that brief season. Tomorrow, He might be another part of His ALL in us or He might have us do nothing but rest in Him and wait before Him.
Are we privileged? Are we entitled, now to call ourselves “apostles”? Are we to start beating the drum and enticing others to “invite us into their areas” and then obligate them to “give to the work”? NOT hardly. This is a false paradigm and NOT His kingdom in action. Claiming a particular ministry or title is limiting God in us at best and can quickly become idolatry in the worst form as we seek to take on a larger than life form before the saints of God. George is nothing, Michael is nothing… just mere men like you who yielded to His will for a moment in time. This walk is all about HIM, dear saints. “In Him we live and move and have our beings.”
Dead Kings or the Living Christ?
And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, nor by the dead bodies of their kings on their high places. In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: therefore I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their harlotry, and the dead bodies of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever. You son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house… This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole area round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. (Eze 43:7-12 KJ2000)
Israel had built tombs for each of its dead kings around the temple of God. Their thresholds were over against the threshold of the house of God. They had put a wall between Him and them by these abominations. Today it is not all that difference. A great man of faith will rise up and what do we do? We set out to build an institution or a denomination around them. Today we have followers of “dead kings” in the church. They became followers of Luther, Calvin, John Wesley, Meno Simons, Alexander Dowie, William Branham, Kennith Hagan, Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsey and many others who were larger than life who’s light shown for a season and now they are dead. Most of these men did not set out in the beginning to have men follow them, but carnal followers always desire a king to rule over them (see 1 Samuel ch. 8) and thus another Christian sect is born.
Let not we who serve in the body of Christ build our temples over against the House of God and our door posts over against His door posts as we attempt to draw men into our soulish spheres of influence while we seduce them away from HIS house which you all are (See Hebrews 3:6). George and I are through with the houses of dead kings and committing spiritual necrophilia with their carcasses. We would see Jesus in ALL His saints not just some! Isn’t Ephesians 4:11 followed by, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13 KJV2000)? As long as we are followers of men this will never come to pass.
There was a time when God’s men detested the thought of taking what belongs to God alone unto themselves (see Acts 3:1-12, 14:11-15 and 20:29-31). Today we need more ministers who will rend their garment, expose their flesh and point all men away from themselves to Jesus and no other. Remember, for many of us the last god to die is called, “MY MINISTRY.” “To HIM be the glory for ever and ever, Amen.”