And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
1 Corinthians 12:28-30
As I said in my last post, even though some of these may sound similar to the manifestations of the Spirit, it’s not the same list.
Apostle. Over the years, we’ve Christianized this word to the point where the meaning is almost lost to us. We get the idea that it’s a “holy man” so high in the ranks that it’s all but unreachable. Some teach that after the first 12 apostles, there were never any more.
We need to understand that Paul is talking about ministry in the local church here. That means this apostolic ministry should be found within each local congregation.
This word means to be set apart as a messenger or delegate. It’s someone who is under orders to go to a certain place and represent the one who sent them. I believe this is talking about the pastoral ministry in the local church. It’s the person or people who oversee all the other ministries of the church.
Prophet. These are people who hear God’s voice and speak what He wants to be said. We need to be aware of what God is saying to the church.
I think that sometimes we get the idea that prophecy is always about the future. That’s not the case. A prophet will reveal truth that we need to hear.
There are times when a prophet will bring hidden sins to the surface so they can be dealt with. Sometimes it’s a word of encouragement or insight into a challenge we’re going through. And, yes, there are times when they will reveal something that’s about to happen in the future.
Teacher. This is the one that we’re the most familiar with. It’s the person who helps others by explaining truth that has already been revealed in Scripture.
However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. In the church, we’re not just dealing with facts and figures. We’re to train people in how to apply the truth of Scripture to their daily walk.
This requires us to spend time in the presence of the Great Teacher – the Holy Spirit. He alone will give us the insight we need to speak life to those who will listen. A godly teacher will make deep truths accessible to those who want to learn.
Workers of Miracles. Now we’re getting into an area we don’t see very often. Maybe it’s because nobody thinks of this as a ministry of the church. In most churches, miracles aren’t common anymore.
Simply put, the word miracle in this verse is actually the Greek word for power. It’s talking about people who consistently walk in the power of God. They’re the ones you go to when you have a pressing need.
These people should definitely be a part of the church prayer team. They spend time in the Lord’s presence developing their faith and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
Like I said, this isn’t seen very much in the church of our generation. My hope is that as I teach it, many will feel the call to walk in this great ministry. Then, they’ll spend the time needed to develop intimacy with God.
In my next post, I’ll continue explaining these important local church ministries. If you don’t already know your calling in the body of Christ, read them prayerfully. Be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do through you.
Question: Why does the church of our generation seem to downplay the more powerful ministries?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi