Summary: Just as the human body has five senses for its protection and care, God has provided five ministry gifts for the protection and care of the body of Christ. The five-fold ministry resulted from Christ’s ascension to heaven. These gifts were released by
The Ministry Gifts
Ephesians 4:7-8 - 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.”
Ephesians 4:11-16 - 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, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Just as the human body has five senses for its protection and care, God has provided five ministry gifts for the protection and care of the body of Christ.
The five-fold ministry resulted from Christ’s ascension to heaven. These gifts were released by Christ during His ascension and are therefore also known as the ascension gifts. The full expression of the ministry of Jesus requires the full 5-fold ministry to be in operation.
Each office of the five-fold ministry carries its own distinct anointing and has its own individual work.
These ministries are given to the body of Christ as a gift.
No one can appoint another person into these offices. The ministry gifts are appointed by God and not by the choice of men.
Christ is the head of His church and it is He alone who determines who is called into any of the five-fold gifts.
All five ministry gifts are needed in equipping the saints, for the perfecting of the saints and for the edifying of the body of Christ.
It is the combined task and function of all five of these ministry gifts to bring the body of Christ into unity by working together. The five-fold ministry gifts were given to equip the saints for service and are to be active until that job is complete and the body of Christ comes to maturity.
When Jesus was on earth He expressed all five of these ministry gifts.
Hebrews 3:1 - Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.
Jesus was the Sent One, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. He is the One whom we confess.
Matthew 21:11 - So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."
Jesus functioned fully in the five-fold office of a prophet. Since it is Jesus who has given this gift to the body of Christ, the prophet should manifest the same qualities that Jesus displayed.
John 10:11 - I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
Jesus was the good Shepherd which is the same word for pastor in the Greek translation.
Luke 4:18 - The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor.
Jesus was an evangelist and preached the gospel of the Kingdom.
Matthew 9:35 - Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues.
Jesus spent a large portion of His ministry teaching and explaining Scripture from the age of twelve.
The hand of God
The five-fold ministry represents the hand of God working in the church today. The fingers of the hand symbolically represent the five-fold ministry that God sets up within the church.
1. The thumb represents the apostle
The apostle is the thumb because it is the only finger that can touch all the others and enables us to grip. It therefore establishes and brings order to the other ministries.
2. The forefinger represents the prophet
The forefinger or index finger is the one that points, shows the way and directs. The index finger represents the prophet who points the way and warns.
3. The middle finger represents the evangelist
The middle finger stands out from among the rest and reaches out to save the lost. It is the longest and besides the thumb the strongest finger and is supported on all sides by the other fingers.
It has the longest reach of all the fingers and can reach out the furthest to hook in and draw in others into the palm of the hand, where the whole hand clasps them and ministers to them.