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What are the Ascension Gifts? How will they perfect the saints? How will the ministry work through them and how will they edify the Body of Christ?
Ephesians 4:8 & 11 “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men…And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”
When our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, He gave five kinds of gifts to the five-fold ministers for a three-fold purpose: “(1) for the perfecting of the saints, (2) for the work of the ministry, (3) for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). And what is the ultimate goal for giving them? It’s to “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. 4:13).
These gifts are also known as the Ascension Gifts. So what are these gifts? What are their manifestations and how will they perfect the saints? How will the ministry work through them and how will they edify the Body of Christ?
To better understand these gifts, we will again use first the typology approach – studying first the natural for they are the type and shadow of the Spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46).
By definition, Gifts are something that are given willingly to someone without payment. To further elaborate, they are something which belongs to someone (either originally or was bought) and are given freely to whom the owner wanted it to give. This is the reason why Romans 11:29 says “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Once God had given you a gift, it is already yours, He won’t take it back and it’s free! You did not pay for it.
Being Gifted comes naturally. You are born with it and it’s innate in you. It is the Lord Who gave it to you. He ordained it for you even before the foundation of the world. He prepares everything for it, even before you are born for that gift/s to come out and so that He can nourish it. He will put you in every circumstance in life where He can manifest and enhance those gifts that He may use you effectively for the very purpose He prepared for you. If you are predestined for it, surely it will manifest and be seen in you even if others will not recognize you having those gifts.
1 Cor. 12:4&11 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
If you will read the whole Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, you will know that there are diversities of Spiritual gifts coming from the Spirit of God that are divided to “every man severally as he will” (1 Cor. 12:11). On verses 12 to 31 of 1 Corinthians 12, noticed how the Apostle Paul likened these diverse gifts to the diverse parts of our physical body. Just like that our body is not all composed of the head only, so the gifts also are not all gifts of healing, speaking in tongues or interpretation alone (1 Cor. 12:30).
Paul wanted us to know that Spiritual gifts are like the different parts of our physical body which have different functions to edify the whole body. So to be better understand what the Ascension Gifts are, let’s do also what the Apostle Paul has done – likened it to the different parts of our body.
God’s Hand – the Five-Fold Ministry
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6)
Although there are many different spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, there are also Ascension Gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 which are given to the five-fold ministry (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers). They are called “Ascension” Gifts because they are given when our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven.
Now, if we likened these gifts into the different parts of our body just like what the Apostle Paul did, then what parts of our body would these five ascension gifts be? We must remember that the Church is the Body of Christ, and these Ascension Gifts will function to (1) the perfecting of the saints, (2) for the work of the ministry, and (3) for the edifying of the body of Christ. So the next question is: what exactly is that part of our body where we can see five distinct parts that functions to (1) perfect (nourish) the body, (2) work for the body so that it has something to eat and (3) edify (grow) the body? Well obviously, that body part is no other than our Hand.
Our Hand meets all the qualifications. It has five distinct parts which are the fingers and they all function to nourish the body by grabbing foods, they are the parts which also work for food so that the whole body has something to eat and they are the main contributor for the growth of the body because it is through them that we eat. So this five-fold ministry and the ascension gifts are seen in our very own hands.
Next question would be: What hand? The Left or the Right? To answer this, we must know that the Five-Fold Ministry is the Hand of God ministering to us (1 Peter 5:2-6). The term “the right hand of God” expresses God’s Glory and Power (Acts 7:55-56). It also denotes mercy, grace, and authority. Whereas “His left hand” denotes judgment. Please read Exodus 15:6 and Matthew 25:31-46 for a better understanding.
So the hand that best represents the five-fold ministry is no other than the right hand of God. Five denotes Grace, and the Five-Fold are given during this Grace Period (the Kingdom of Heaven). And just like it is written in Isaiah 41:10
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
The Ascension Gifts likened unto the Functions of the Fingers of our Hand
1 Peter 5:2-6 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
In order to further know what really are the ascension gifts given to the five-fold ministry, we must look at the functions of our five fingers and compared them to those gifts just like what the Apostle Paul did.
1. Thumb – The Apostles
The thumb is very clearly the most muscular and the strongest finger of all the five fingers. This is the reason why when we push something, we usually used our thumb. It has also a greater range of movement compared to others. The primary function of the thumb is to be the foundational finger in grasping things. It is able to work with other fingers and hold things together. Without the thumb, the hand will not be able to effectively grasp or hold things.
The Apostles in the Body of Christ are best represented by the Thumb. They are the ones who laid down foundational faith and doctrines so that the body (Church) can grasp the Food (Word) that It needs in order to grow (1 Cor. 3:10). Hence we have the Apostolic Faith of which where we should go back to – the faith laid down by our Apostolic Fathers (Eph. 2:20).
Another best analogy is the workers in building a Temple (1Cor. 3:16). The Apostles are the workers who laid down the foundation of the church building, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Chief Apostle and the Corner Stone (Eph. 2:20). These workers who work for the foundations should be strong enough because the foundations of every building are heavy. They should be able to lift them and lay them down effectively. Without them, church construction cannot start. Foundations need to lay first before anything else (1 Cor. 3:11). They are the Heavy Lifters in a construction. They work with materials such as concrete blocks and other heavy objects.
It is therefore the Gifts of every true Apostle of God to be Spiritually Strong. They are able to effectively lift and grasp every Fundamental Truths and doctrine and lay them down for the Church. And most of all, they are so strong that they are able to lift the Rock of Revelation for the Church to be built upon and to be our foundation. Which means, it is there gift that they can present to us many revelations because they can handle that Rock. They are the ones who ground us on fundamental truths (1 Cor. 3:10-11).
The thumb also has a greater range of movement compared to other fingers. It is able to work with other fingers and hold things together which means that the Apostles have greater influence on the rest of the Five-Fold compared to any of them. He can work with Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers.
Being spiritually strong cannot be imitated. One can always act strong but when it comes to heavy lifting, only the truly strong can lift the heavy foundation. Many are claiming to be the apostles of God, but when the winds of doctrines and dogmas of men came upon them, you will see who they really are. They are easily swayed by those, that their so-called revelations are easily changed and they easily change their beliefs also. The church that is being built to the foundations that they have laid will easily crumble because their foundation is not heavy. Why? Because they are not truly strong ministers that they can’t lift a heavy foundation. All they can lift are those light materials that are easily burned and not the heavy Rock. This is the reason why Paul warned us about them in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
But to the true Apostles of God, they are not swayed by those winds of doctrines and dogmas of men for they are Strong Men (Spiritually) and this is the Gift given to them. They are able to lift the heavy foundation (Rock of Revelation) so that their foundation cannot be burned. So if you believe someone to be a true apostle of God, make sure that that someone had already lifted a foundational Rock (Revelation).
2. Forefinger – The Prophets
Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
Next to the thumb is the Forefinger or the Index Finger. Fore means “before” or “in front of”. Although it is the second finger (after the thumb), it is recognized as the first finger before, which explains why the word “forefinger” is used. The word “index” comes from the Latin “indicō” which means “to point out,” which is also where the term “pointer” comes into play. It is also known as the Pointing Finger for we used it in pointing. Among the other four fingers, it is generally the most well-developed in a neuromuscular perspective. It’s very good at fine movements. That’s why you use it and your thumb to hold your pencil while writing or drawing.
The Prophets are best represented by Forefingers. This is the reason why Elijah who forerun the coming of a King, John the Baptist who has the Spirit of Elijah and forerun the first coming of our Lord (the King of all kings) and brother William W. Branham who has also the Spirit of Elijah who forerun the second coming of our Lord, are all Prophets (Mal. 4:5-6). Just like the Forefinger, they are the Forerunners. They are before and in front of the King. This is the reason why the Forerunners must be Prophets.
Why are Prophets being always in the front? Because it is their Gift to point and lead us in the right way. They are called “Seers”. They have the eye to know what’s in front. That’s why they are put in front to lead the parade just like Moses who led Israel out of Egypt (Exo. 14). They will always point us in the right way which is the Promised Land – the Word of God. When someone is falling out of the line, they are the one who will remind us to stay on the line just like Nathan who rebuke David when he committed a grievous sin (1 Sam. 12). This is also the reason why we used our Forefinger to point the right way to someone who is lost and doesn’t know the way.
The English word prophet comes from the Greek word “Prophetes” which means “one who speaks forth” or “advocate”, in simple term a Spokesman. This is because it is not enough just to know the right way, you must relay to others what is the right way so that the whole body can know and follow. This is the reason why not everyone who prophesied or have the gift of prophecies are prophets (Matt. 7:22). False prophets can prophesy too (read John 11:51 where Caiaphas prophesy the death of the Lord Jesus). False prophets can also see the future just like fortune tellers. That’s why the gift of prophecy is not the ultimate gift of the true prophet of God. Their Ultimate gift is the gift to point and lead us in the right way. A true prophet will not only point you the Promise Land but will also lead you to the Promise Land!
When someone is lost and is asking for the right way, a false prophet may know and may tell you the right way but a true prophet of God will point you to it, will lead you to it and will see to it that you have reached it! The problem with false prophets is sometimes their prophecy is true but most of the time they’re false (Ezek. 13:2). And it will be already too late for you when you knew that what they are pointing you is actually a great danger because they did not accompany you in going there. They will just laugh at you when you fall in their pit. That’s why if you are asking for direction, make sure that the one telling you the way is accompanying you also in going there. True prophets, however, are just like the Prophet Jonah who have seen and knew beforehand that God will forgive Nineveh, but being a true prophet of God, he still needs to go to that city and warn the people of the upcoming wrath of God if they will not repent (Jonah 3:3-6). He pointed them the way, lead them the way and accompanies them along the way!
Just like the Forefinger, among the Five-Fold ministry, it is also the Prophets who are the most well-developed in a neuromuscular perspective which is very good at fine movements. They need this kind of gift to finely move and lead the Church along the way. In building a temple, they are the Foreman, the seers of the construction. They are those who see to it that the blueprint is being followed. They are in the frontline of the construction building to whom every worker should follow! The reason why they are Seers of the construction is that the Master Builder revealed to them His Great plan for His Temple (Amos 3:7). Without them, the building will be in such a mess!
If you think someone is a true prophet of God, make sure that he is not only pointing you to the Promised Land, but that he had led you and have come with you to it!
3. Middle Finger – The Evangelists
The middle finger extends the furthest on the hand. It is the tallest among the five. When you want to reach out something, being the longest, it will be the first one to reach it. It’s also in the center of the hand, so it acts as a kind of axis during rotation. You can feel this by setting your hand on a desk. If you press into the desk with your pinky finger or the thumb, there’s a rotational aspect to the movement (the other side of the hand usually rises). If you press with your middle finger, this rotational aspect isn’t there.
The Evangelists just like the middle finger, are the first ones to touch the saints. Evangelists stand out among the five for they stand tall. Why? Because they have this gift – the gift to touch someone spiritually. And what aspects of our spirituality do they first touch in particular? It is no other than our Heart – our Spiritual Heart!
If you have read the previous message entitled “A Pure Heart – How can we have it?”, you must have known that in order for our Lord to touch us, He must go through our heart to reach the Seed that’s in us. And that is exactly the gift given to the Evangelists. They touch our hearts the first time we heard them preach. When we listen to them, there is something pricking our hearts and telling us that what they are preaching is indeed true! The way they preach is straight to the heart that even the unrepentant sinner humbled himself and kneels before the Lord to ask for forgiveness (Mark 1:4-5). And that’s the wonderful gift of an Evangelist! (Read Matt. 3:1-6)
Evangelists have the gift to know the hearts of men, that’s the reason why they are able to say the exact Word that will prick the heart of sinners to be humbled before the Lord (Luke 3:15-16). Just like John the Baptist and Brother William Branham, they are most likely to be found in the center of the crowd who gathers around them to hear their preaching. They have the ability to discern the hearts of people that came to hear them. It is them among the five who mostly draws a lot of crowds and converts a lot also. That’s why they are also called The Converter. (Read Matt. 3:7-10 and Luke 3:7-15).
There’s no heart of stone that cannot be drilled by the drilling Word of God (Heb. 4:12). And the Evangelists are specially chosen to handle this drill. Just like the middle finger which is the axis point of the hand for rotation, so are the Evangelists. They drilled into our hearts of stones to break them (Mark 1:4-5). In construction a church building, they are the drillers who breaks through solid stones to break them and converts (shape) them into something useful to be a part of the building of Christ.
This gift of the Evangelists to draw crowds using the Word of God are often imitated by the Charismatic people (who also called themselves evangelist) who are used by the enemy to draw people into them for the growth of membership of their churches. But unlike the true Evangelists of God, these people are not drilling the hearts of men and they don’t use the Word to drill. What they do is the opposite, they don’t drill, they feed the emotions and sensations of men, not the hearts, in order for them to feel the sensation of “being filled with the spirit” which in fact, thickens and hardens their hearts. They did this through their so-called “Christian” songs which makes them cry also and not by the Word. This kind of “evangelization” is even copied and done by some Endtime Message churches today especially here in the Philippines. Most of the Evangelization they did are more of a “concert” than the preaching of the Word. This makes their audiences cry also because of the emotions and sensations brought by the songs. But did it ever make their audience to repent? The answer is No! There is nothing that can break the man’s heart of stone other than the sharp Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).
So if you know someone whom you think an evangelist, ask yourself if that person had already touched a heart, break it, and then coverts it.
4. Ring Finger – The Pastors
1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
The origin of the term “Ring finger” dates back to 2nd century Egypt and has to do with the heart. Egyptians believed that there was a vein in the fourth finger, known as the lover’s vein, that was connected to the heart, a theory that Romans also came to believe many years later. The truth is, all of the fingers have veins that actually connects them to the heart! According to a neuromuscular perspective, the reason why it is ideal for rings to be put on it is that, it is the finger that is the “least used” compared to others and putting a ring on it will not be as damage than on other fingers.
It takes considerable work to develop the ring finger. You won’t find many people aside from musicians and typist who use it independently from the other fingers. The reason for this is the ring finger is attached to the same tendon as the middle finger. To illustrate this, stand your hand on its fingers on a desk, then bend your middle finger so it is curled towards the palm of your hand (it will rest on the desk somewhere in the vicinity of the fingernail). Then try to lift only your ring finger. You won’t be able to, and it feels very hard in the process.
These qualities of the ring finger are also the gift of the Pastors in the Five-Fold ministry. The ring fingers on where we put our rings signify relationship which also symbolized the love of our Lord to His flock. The Pastors are best suited for this description. They are the symbol of God’s love for His Church. Just like King David who is a true Pastor to Israel and a “man before God’s own heart”, true Pastors of God have also a heart for His flock. He loved the flock of God so much that just like King David, he will defend the flock from wolves, bears and other predators. He loved them so much that he serves them and watch over them. And if one is missing, he will look for it and will not give up easily until he finds and returns that sheep in the flock.
Because of this love, Pastors became servant leaders. They have the quality of our Lord Jesus Christ which is to serve. They are in great burden when they see a need in the Church of God. The word “Pastor” is derived from the Latin word, “Pascere”, meaning “to fed or grazed”. When the flock is spiritually hungry, they will feed them by His Word. When the people are hungry physically, because of that burden put in their heart for the flock, true pastors will also find a way to feed the Church physically. Just like when our Lord and His apostles feed the 5,000, true Pastors will also serve them first and will make sure that the people are already satisfied before they serve themselves. Just like King David, He will make sure first that the flock is full before he can eat. He used his staff to chase the wolves away, not to beat the sheep.
Pastors also often used preaching as their mode to deliver the Word of God just like the Evangelists. This is because just like the ring finger which is attached to the same tendon as the middle finger, so are the pastors who have the same mode of delivering the Word of God as the Evangelists.
True pastors who have a gift of love are not just ministers. This gift of the pastors to have a heart that loves the flock so much cannot be imitated. The enemy may try but no one can imitate true love. They are sometimes advisors, councilors, mediators, drivers, carpenters, lawyers, doctors, teachers, a father and many more when the circumstances need them. Again, this is because they have a zeal of love to the members of the Church that they can’t take it when a member suffers. So in truth, they are not the least used among the five-fold ministry. It is actually the opposite. Pastors are often doing the “all-around” works for the ministry. And the ring finger is not actually the “least used finger”, they are actually always present when all the members of the fingers are needed. So the pastors are like the skilled Laborers who help the other four workers in building a church (1 Cor. 3:9).
But false ministers today who claimed to be “pastors” also are very different from our Lord who is the Pastor of the pastors (1 Pet. 5:4). Instead of serving the flock, they want the flock to serve them! Whenever there is a joint fellowship, were a large group of believers gathered together, you can easily know who is a true pastor and who is not just by observing them during mealtime. False pastors wanted to be served than to serve. They will dine in the separate table who have special menus prepared before them while their flock are lining up and are patiently waiting for their turn to get their foods. True pastors will do the opposite. They will serve their flock first and will see to it that their flock (especially the elders) have their foods first before they will have theirs even with their protesting stomach! These are the true pastors. They are like our Lord and the Apostles during the feeding of 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). But most of the pastors today have the quality of the false ones. Their belly should be the first to be served. I have observed this in many camp meetings here in the Philippines and even in joint fellowships. These so-called “pastors” should be ashamed of their selves!
They are too far from these descriptions of our Lord about the true ministers in Matthew 20:26-28:
“But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Also, false pastors tend to concentrate their eyes on the rings which are put upon them. These are the fame and the benefits put on them being the ring finger. They forgot that the rings are just symbols of the relationship, and what matters most is the relationship itself. I remember one pastor told me that every pastor tending a flock should have every right to get the milk, the wool and the meat of the sheep he is tending as his reward for his labor. He is referring to its member’s capability physically or financially. This is only the thinking of a pastor without the gift of love in his heart but who is only after the things he can get. Every pastor should remember that the flock is not theirs in the first place! They are only hired to tend it! Just like David who is only commanded by his father to tend the flock, pastors should not be after on the things that they can get to the flock. All of the flock belongs to the Lord. The flock’s milk, wool and meat all belong to our Lord. You must present the flock whole for their Owner. Do diligently the work that the Lord entrusted you to do and it is Him (the Owner) Who will reward your labor, not the flock! In the first place, it is never your business to get your reward from the flock of the Lord.
Today, because of the ring that is being put upon the pastors, many are wanting to be pastors also. They don’t want to be an apostle, prophet, evangelist or a teacher because there’s no ring in them. In many churches today, whenever there’s a need for a pastor, many would want to volunteer especially when the former pastor of that church had died. They wanted to be the next pastor not because of their love for the flock or because they have a gift, but because of the tithes and offerings that they will get from the flock. Some are even fighting for the position. But of course, in this game of who will sit on the throne, the one that will win is no other than the son of the former pastor or his nearest relative. Even if that son or that relative has no gift of being a pastor, what they will do is they will just have an “Elder” Pastor to lay his hands on the son or on the relative of the late pastor “ordaining” him to be the next pastor! And just like that, they have their new pastor! Even without the seal and love.
These appointed-by-men-false-pastors will also enforce his flock to always address him “Pastor” making it his title already. These people have no shame to the Lord! They are very far from the true pastors of God who would always give way and would always prioritize what’s most beneficial for the flock.
It is not easy to be a true pastor because one needs to be a true servant and to serve the others just like the example that was shown to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. Only those who have the heart to serve are the true ones. That’s why the first evidence of someone having the zeal of a pastor is that they would (usually but not all the time) decline if they are offered to be a pastor for they know that they will sacrifice almost everything if they have the zeal to serve. But take heed to those who would do anything to have the position, they are often (but not all the time) the false one. The reason why most pastors today are false pastors is because of this: they are appointed by men and would always do everything to have the position.
Saints of God, are your pastors have the gift of true love to the Church of our Lord or are they the kind that will only preach but has no concern to the flock after? Are they full of love and compassion to the sinners and the lost or are they the kind who are quick to disfellowship? Remember to make sure that the fellowship that you are joining now has a pastor who has a zeal of love in him, for it is the gift given to the true pastors of God.
5. Pinky – the Teachers
The last but not the least is the Pinky. The pinky finger is the smallest finger. The term Pinky comes from the Dutch word “pink” meaning “small”. Though it is the smallest among the five, it is arguably not the smallest in terms of functions. Among the five, it is the most abled finger to go through small openings of the body and reach the parts that can’t be reached by other fingers like the inner parts of the ears and the nose to clean them. A function that no other finger can do except the smallest finger which is the Pinky. It is also positioned as the last finger which allows it to have more range of motion to the side of the hand that acts as the final stopper so that nothing could slip out a grip of our hand.
Teachers are best described by our Pinky. They are the members of the five-fold ministry who works as teachers for the Word of God. When we say teachers, just like our pinky finger, they are the Ministers who could comprehend truth and understand the Word of God with much accuracy and depth that no other five-fold members can reach. They are the best persons to ask if you have questions regarding the Word of God. They can answer and explain even the finest details and those uncommon questions about the Word of God that the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastors cannot answer. He is the only member that can reach those intricate truths that are somehow unreachable to other members of the five-fold. Nothing could slip out on them. If you have a question that need finest-detailed answers and explanation, asked the Teachers!
If the Evangelists have the gift to touch our hearts, Teachers on the other hand have the gift to touch our minds. When they teach the Word, they have the gift to make you question your traditional beliefs and so, therefore, you will going to be curious to search the Word of God if what they are teaching is Scripturally the truth. This is what happened to the church in Berea when Apostle Paul teach them the Word of God (Acts 17:11-21). So if you have a curios and hungry mind that wants to know more about the Word of God, go to Teachers.
The gift of Teachers is not just having the correct understanding of the Word and accurately handling them, true Teachers of God are also able to effectively communicate these revelations in a manner that will promote spiritual growth and will cause learning to the members of the Body of Christ which others can see in their lives. Yes, a gifted teacher does not only teach but that those who hear his teaching apply those teaching in their lives. Because a teacher is useless unless someone practices what they learned from him.
Teachers love the Scriptures for they love the truth. I must warn you, however, that because of their gift to accurately handle the Word of God and nothing slips on their grip, teachers can sometime expound a single verse of the Bible into a long, big and wonderful picture! Because of this, it will take them a long time to expound a single verse and if you are not paying attention or prone to get tired easily while listening, you might fall asleep! Which is what happened to Eutychus who fell unto a deep sleep and fell down from the third story building while listening to the long preaching of Paul (Acts 20:9).
Teachers when compared to construction workers working for the building of God, they are the Polishers who do the finishing and the polishing of the building. They have the eye to intricately see even the finest details of the design and they will apply it to the construction.
You can actually easily recognize a false teacher from a true one. False one doesn’t have these gifts and cannot rightly divide the Word of Truth. They love more the opinions of men than the truth of the Bible which resulted in confusions in the church. Are the teachers in your Church the gifted ones?
To summarize, these Ascension gifts given to the five-fold ministry are not just the same spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Instead, these Ascension Gifts are actually the very qualities of our Lord Jesus Christ divided unto the five-fold! If you have noticed, all of these qualities are the qualities of our Lord! So here is the summary table for these gifts with each member of the five-fold and their respective works in constructing the Temple of God:
Is it possible for one minister to have more than one gifts?
The answer is a big YES. Just like there are people who have multiple natural gifts, there are also ministers who have multiple spiritual gifts. Actually, most of the true members of the five-fold ministry are having more than just one gifts. The Lord gave them those to perfect the Bride.
Here are examples of those people with multiple spiritual gifts:
1. John the Baptist – A Prophet Evangelist (Luke 1:76-79, Luke 7:24-25, Matt. 3:1-2)
2. Paul – An Apostle Teacher (1 Cor. 9:1, 2 Tim. 1:11)
3. Bro. William W. Branham – A Prophet Evangelist (some may argue that he is also a Teacher, but I tell you, brother Branham do not have the gift of a teacher much more the gift of an apostle)
4. Bro. Richard L.S. Gan – An Apostle Teacher
As of now, these are the people whom I know who have multiple gifts. I may have forgotten the others or may have not still known them but as far as my memory can tell, these are the people who based on the description of the Gifts, possess multiple Spiritual gifts.
If you have also noticed, it is common to know someone who is a Prophet Evangelist, Apostle Teacher, Pastor Evangelist or Pastor Teacher. But it is uncommon to have someone who is a Teacher Evangelist or a Prophet Pastor. Why is this? Simple. Try to grab something using only your Pinky and your Forefinger or using only your Forefinger and your Ring finger. It’s difficult right? It’s hard to combine those fingers to grab something. Same also with the Five-Fold ministry and the Ascension gifts. Those gifts will not be effective when combined together. Let’s take for example Teaching and Preaching at the same time. You are touching the heart and you are also touching the mind as well. Although it can be done, it will be so difficult. It’s just like using only your Forefinger and your Pinky to grab things. It’ll be so difficult. However, you can actually train your hand in grabbing things using those fingers alone. Only that, our hands are not designed for those fingers to be combined alone in grabbing things.
But this situation will not be applicable to the Thumb. The Thumb is the most agile and has a greater range of movement compared to other fingers. That’s why when you combine it with any of your fingers, you can easily grab things with ease. That’s the reason why Apostles can easily work with other gifts. So it’s no wonder when we know an apostle who is also a teacher, or an Apostle Prophet, an Apostle Evangelist or even an Apostle Pastor.
Who is Best among the Five?
All five are all special in their own role to the Body of Christ. You can’t compare them with each other because each one has their own special and unique functions for the perfecting of the saints. The thumb cannot say to the pinky that he is much better because he is bigger. The same thing that the pinky cannot say to the thumb that he is much better because he is the only finger who can reach those parts in the narrow holes of the body.
The Five-Fold are Ministers for the Whole Church
These ministers are also not just a minister of one local church but they are the ministers of the whole body of Christ. Take for example a pastor. He is not only a pastor of one local flock but a pastor of the whole flock of Christ all over the World. His gift of having the zeal of Love to the member of the body of Christ is applicable to all. That’s why when a sheep outside from his local church is needing his help, he will not hesitate to help her/him.
Remember that no pastor is owning the flock, they are owned by the Lord. There are cases that some pastors are accusing another pastor of “stealing his sheep” whenever a believer from his local church will go to another local church and will start attending the fellowship. This is also the reason why believers especially here in the Philippines, are not free to attend to other local fellowships because of this kind of attitude from the pastors. This kind of attitude will only come from a “pastor” who thinks that he owns the flock. They are actually forming fences for their own flock. But a true pastor will think that the flock is never his and is wholly and solely owned by the Lord. And that’s why he will never make a fence. And if only all pastors will think like this, there will be better fellowships among believers.
The Five-Fold Ministers represents the Hand of God working to His Body. They have been given the Ascension gifts for the purpose of serving the body of Christ and not to be served and to own them.
What vindicates a true minister of God gifted for the ministry is not the signs, prophecies, healing, miracles, etc., these are not their true gifts. The true Five-Fold ministers are those whose life and ministry are the manifestation of the Scriptures itself. Signs and miracles do not vindicate a man’s calling. The devils can impersonate these very things. False anointed ones have them too, but they don’t take you to the Word. John the Baptist did not perform any signs and wonders, but he did certainly point the elect to the Word of God — our Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:41).
Beloved Bride of the Word, I pray that we may be able to discern true ministers from false one; and a humble and sincere man from ambitious and hypocritical one. What we need now are true ministers who are willing to lead, to stand and to suffer for the Absolute Word — The Absolute Christ — for a complete and constant infilling of the Holy Spirit to the Bride.
May the Lord guide us into all Truth is my prayer.
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