In a recent blog (Gospel – 1), I mentioned about creating a framework to apply the principles found in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. This can be found in Ephesians 4:11 onwards. Let us first look at verse 11.
Most translations use the following NT Greek version, ‘And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers..’. Notice the word ‘some’. The NT Greek word for it is ‘tous’, which can also mean ‘all’. To me we should use ‘all’ instead of ‘some’, for it better fits the context of what Paul is saying.
Let us now look at the NT Greek of the five ‘functions’ mentioned:
Apostles = apostolos (an ambassador for Jesus, a sent one);
Prophets = prophetes (an interpreter of hidden things or situations, speaking out about injustices as seen by God);
Evangelists = euaggelistes (proclaimer of the Gospel, of Jesus);
Shepherds = poimen (pastorally caring for each other);
Teacher = didaskalos (instructor, mentor).
So, let us take in turn each of the five ‘functions’ of a Christian:
First, there is the apostolic ‘function’. Here we are representing Jesus. So this means living an authentic life based on biblical principles; being able to give reasons to others, why you are a Christian (apologetics); and ‘reporting back’ to God on progress in these areas and receiving fresh instructions (ie worship and prayer).
Then, our prophetic ‘function’ is to be ‘salt and light’ to the world, demonstrating and calling the ‘world’ to live according to biblical principles – this includes campaigning for justice, mercy and peace, in an attitude of love, especially speaking out on behalf of your fellow brothers and sisters.
The evangelist ‘function’ is not only to proclaim the Gospel, but to also encourage others to join the family of God (the Church). Therefore, you have a ‘rescuing’ mission, saving others from the clutches of satan and his cronies, who are destroying the Earth and its people.
Our actions above will come from being part of a loving and caring community of ‘brothers and sisters’ who are believers in Jesus, acting as a model to the ‘world’ from whom we invite to join us (ie the Shepherding ‘function’).
Our final ‘function’ (Teaching) is to empower and lead others through mentoring them in their faith in Jesus, helping them become effective in living out the biblical lifestyle of worship, love, community, simplicity, and justice, and enabling them to develop their ‘calling’ in life to serve others.
As Christians we have responsibilities to each other, through the above ‘functions’, to see each other become mature in the faith, ready to enter the Kingdom of God and have eternal life!
Working that out in practice will be the subject of my next blog.