Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 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 fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
We began to look at verse 11 yesterday. There is so much confusion regarding this verse, especially the first two offices. So many religious groups are teaching that there are still apostles and prophets at this time. God chose every one of the legitimate prophets that were used in the Old Testament era. There were many false prophets during that era. In the New Testament the need for prophets came to an end when the Scriptures were complete. Jesus Christ chose every one of the apostles. They were hand picked by Him. There were twelve true apostles and they have all died off. Jesus Christ is not choosing any apostles today. Those who claim to be prophets or apostles today are deceived and deceiving. If they were saved people, they would read the Bible and they would know those two offices are finished. As we noted yesterday, those two offices are mentioned because God used true prophets in the Old Testament to write the Old Testament. God chose apostles to write the New Testament. The Scriptures are finished. God has decided that He will not give any further revelation to man. That is God’s choice, not man’s. Some people claim that we are putting God in a box when we say He is not giving new revelation today. God declared that Himself. God warns in Deuteronomy 4, Proverbs 30 and Revelation 22, that those who choose to add to, take away from, or alter God’s Word bring God’s judgement upon themselves. God is warning every generation of the danger of tampering with His Word. He wants all to know the truth. He chose holy men to write His Word down for every generation.
Back in verse 11 of our text, the third office is that of an evangelist. An evangelist was also someone who was called of God for that purpose, but not directly chosen by Jesus Christ. Acts 21:8 speaks of Philip the evangelist. Philip did not have the office of an apostle. He was not appointed to a particular church as a pastor. He was chosen to travel from place to place to preach the Gospel. We see that in Acts 8 where God directed him to go to different places to preach. Often, a local church will call an evangelist to come for some special meetings to assist in the work of the local church. We read in verse 11 that Jesus Christ gave some evangelists. It is important to understand that any of the five offices mentioned in verse 11 were under the authority of Jesus Christ. As we noted already, the true prophets were directly chosen by God and the true apostles were directly chosen by Jesus Christ. Evangelists, pastors and teachers are also chosen by Jesus Christ, but not directly. No evangelist, or pastor, or teacher can claim that God directly spoke to them about their calling. The Bible teaches that evangelists, pastors and teachers are chosen by God through the approval of other godly men.
No evangelist will add anything to the Word of God. An evangelist will preach the written Word of God. The Bible is their authority and anyone can check the Word of God to be sure that the evangelist is teaching the Word of God.
The fourth office given is that of pastor. A pastor is a “shepherd”.
I Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
In the above verse, Peter was directed to state that the chief Shepherd, who is Jesus Christ, shall appear. A pastor is an “under shepherd”. A pastor does not write Scripture. A pastor preaches the established Word of God. This is important to understand. A pastor’s authority is God’s Word. A pastor needs sense the call of God upon his life and if that is true, God will also direct other godly men to see that call upon that man.
I Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
We noted when we looked at the apostles, none of them was chosen by men. They were all directly chosen by Jesus Christ. Evangelists, pastors and teachers are chosen by godly men to preach and teach the Word of God. Being an Evangelist, pastor and teacher is not a status symbol. It is a position of service. These offices are all under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Evangelists, pastors and teachers are not employees of a local church. They are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You will notice as well that pastors and teachers are connected. A godly pastor needs to be a capable Bible teacher. The teacher needs to be able to instruct the listener about the Word of God. I Corinthians 2:14 tells us that lost people will not be able to understand God’s Word because they are lost and do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them to give them the ability to understand God’s Word. By God’s grace they can understand their need to be saved. The teacher needs to teach God’s Word, but he is not responsible to make sure the person understands what is being taught. Jesus was the the greatest teacher that ever walked on this earth and many of those who listened to Him did not understand what He was teaching. No one can find fault with any of Jesus’ teaching. The local pastor needs to be a man of God who has been trained by other godly men in order to be able to shepherd the flock that God would give him to pastor. There are many who are assuming they are pastors and teachers, but they have self-appointed themselves. They have not been called of God for that position. They may get a following, but that still does not make them legitimate. As we will see in the following verses, those offices listed in verse 11 are essential because it is through their faithful ministry that true believers will be built up in the faith.