Summary: 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
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. For these offices to work together and accomplish the building up of the body of Christ, they must recognize their differences and be yielded and submitted to one another. Each of these offices is directly responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ and is directed by the Holy Spirit, to the work of service.
It is important that we recognize that these are the ministry gifts given by Jesus and are not the same as the manifestations gifts of the Spirit because the gifts of the Spirit are given to every Spirit-filled believer as the Spirit wills. Jesus selects certain people to hold office in His church to carry the responsibilities of leadership. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. They are Christ's gifts of leaders to His church. Their responsibility is to lead the church and to train the members for ministry. Most of these will probably be engaged in full time ministry.
These ministries are given to the body of Christ as a gift. It must be clearly understood that a gift is not earned. For this reason, these five-fold offices cannot be earned. No one can appoint another person into these offices. The Holy Spirit may use the church leadership to confirm the call of God on an individual but they cannot decide to appoint a person into any one of the five-fold ministries.
The ministry gifts are appointed by God and not by the choice of men. Unlike the Old Testament, this gift is not inherited from one generation of a particular family to the next. The genealogy regarding spiritual inheritance finished with Christ. For this reason there are no recorded inheritances of the anointing from any of the apostles to their children.
Christ is the head of His church and it is He alone who determines who is called into any of the five-fold gifts. Each person is divinely endowed with the spiritual gifts necessary to carry out that calling. All the offices of the five-fold ministry are different functions and for different purposes and are to be performed by people who are chosen and anointed by God.
The five-fold ministry gifts of Jesus to His church are not founded upon the Law. Jesus gave new gifts under grace instead of under the Law and now includes the Gentiles also.
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.