TRUTH: The Offices of the Church

In the United States federal government, there three branches to the government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. There are offices in the government with the highest office obviously being the Office of the President. Though that is true, there are many offices/agencies that comprises our government such as Energy, Defense, Transportation. The Legislative and Judicial branches have offices too. All offices/agencies are designed to support the government to ensure its efficient (don’t laugh) and effective functioning for the citizens of the United States of America.

I have long purported that the physical realm mimics the spiritual realm. This can be seen in the structure of the church. There are offices that Jesus established in the church which are designed to build or equip the church so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10) What are those offices that Jesus established for the church.

11 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 fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Guzik writes, “the offices themselves are a Divine institution and not a human invention.” These are offices or structures of the church which are different from the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the church mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.

apostles (apostolos) –  is a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel as in the 12 Apostles; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”) (with miraculous powers):—apostle, messenger, he that is sent. In Jesus’ day, there were many disciples of Jesus who numbered into the hundreds. Of which, Jesus chose twelve to be called Apostles, again one who is sent. In the strictest of sense, there were qualifications for the Apostles:  (1) They had to have seen the Lord. (2) They had to be an eyewitness of His resurrection. (3) They had to be invested with miraculous sign-gifts. (4) They had to have been chosen directly by the Lord or by the Holy Spirit. Are there apostles today? In a true Biblical sense probably no; however, there are those who have taken the title of apostle today in a means to distinguish themselves, but the only distinction in Christ is for Christ.

prophets – (prophētēs) – The Strong’s Concordance presents prophets as

  1. in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things

  2. one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation

    1. the OT prophets, having foretold the kingdom, deeds and death, of Jesus the Messiah.

    2. of John the Baptist, the herald of Jesus the Messiah

    3. of the illustrious prophet, the Jews expected before the advent of the Messiah

    4. the Messiah

    5. of men filled with the Spirit of God, who by God’s authority and command in words of weight pleads the cause of God and urges salvation of men

    6. of prophets that appeared in the apostolic age among Christians

      1. they are associated with the apostles

      2. they discerned and did what is best for the Christian cause, foretelling certain future events. (Acts 11:27)

      3. in the religious assemblies of the Christians, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers

The Old Testament prophet was determined to be true if his prophesies were 100% accurate. In the New Testament, they are always subject to the discernment and judgment of the church leadership (1 Corinthians 14:29). As with the apostles, modern prophets do not speak in the same authority as the first century prophets brought God’s foundational word spoke (Ephesians 2:20). Hebrews 1 conveys how God speaks today to the people. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins,he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” I am not saying that there are not prophets, but I am saying not to the degree they were in the Old Testament. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path.

evangelist (euaggelistēs) – a Biblical and ecclesiastical word, a bringer of good tidings, an evangelist (Vulg.evangelista). This name is given in the N. T. to those heralds of salvation through Christ who are not apostles: Acts 21:8Ephesians 4:112 Timothy 4:5.  In a broad sense, we all are called to be evangelist in that we are called to proclaim the gospel to people – Romans 1:16.

pastor / teacher – many scholars have combined these two into one. I tend to agree with them. In a church, pastor is the presiding officer of any congregation as Christ is the Head of the church. It has been pointed out that Romans 12:7 separates the two. pastor (poimēn) is a shepherd the one who tends the flock. It is more than just feeding them, it is overseeing them watching over their welfare. This is where the teacher office or role is significant. A shepherd who feeds the flock the Word of God through teaching them the Word of God. Teacher (didaskalos) in the New Testament is one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man.

These are the TRUTH: The Offices of the Church

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