Moving on from the grace of God given to each believer (vv.7-10) Paul now talks of people that are given as gifts to the church:
“And he himself gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body builds itself up in love.”
(Ephesians 4.11-16, NET)
Having given grace to all who believe (v.7) we now read of some of the people given to the church to equip the saints for the work of ministry…to build up the body of Christ, the church.
There are apostles, those personally commissioned by the risen Lord Jesus,
prophets, those who speak to others for their encouraging, exhortation, and equipping (1 Corinthians 14.3),
evangelists, those who proclaim the Good News of Jesus (Acts 8.9-13, for example),
and pastors and teachers (grammatically one group i.e. someone who is a pastor also teaches, someone who teaches is also pastoring).
These are certainly not the only people given in grace to the church to build up the body and we should not seek to replicate these exact roles in today’s church down to the last iota (read the description of apostles again) but I would confidently say that you will be able to pick out people in your church family who generally fulfil these roles.
The goal of why we are built up is given in vv.14-16 but can be summarised in just two words: love and growth. We are built up in the church in order to grow…in love (v.16).
So much of our discipleship, our sanctification, and our Christian lives are all about love and growth. God has graciously given your church family people who help this process along.
Today, pray for them, love them, honour them, and in turn help them to love and grow too.