For The Perfecting
“And He Himself gave some as emissaries, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers FOR THE PERFECTING of the set-apart ones …” (Eph 4:12-13 ISR, emphasis mine)
It is not my purpose, in this essay (and the ones to follow) to examine and define what each one of the five-fold ministries are; there are, literally, volumes written about each one of these ministry gifts, and no, not all of them are accurate. Rather, I wish to examine what is the purpose of these ministry gifts, what is their function, what are they to accomplish – what is their reason for being part of the body of Messiah. And contrary to what many have been taught, they are not for self-exaltation.
Many translations read – in our opening verses – “equipping” instead of “perfecting”, and both words are acceptable. When we have all of the equipment that is needed, we are complete, lacking nothing. The same is true of the state of being perfect: nothing can be done to improve that which is perfect and complete. And I would venture to say that none of us are there yet.
How do we reach this place of being fully equipped and perfect? We can only do so by submitting to those “anointed and appointed” ministers that our Creator has placed in our lives, and by absorbing their teachings and instructions. Have we reached the place of completion as yet? I know that I have not. If that is the case with all of us, then I would suggest that those who minister in these positions still have a very important function within the assembly of Messiah.
Or perhaps we have reached the place where we feel that we no longer need a particular teacher or minister. A phrase that has always been popular is the one where “the Ruach is my teacher; I have no need for any other.” Aaaaah, but one of the lessons to be learned here is how to live in a covenant community, submitting one to another – a lesson that can never be walked out in a “Lone Ranger” setting.
As we approach this time of Passover/Unleavened Bread, it may be an ideal occasion for examining the relationships we have with those in leadership. Are we learning and gleaning all that they have to offer, or are we letting it go in one ear and out the other? Are we truly striving for perfection with what we are learning, or are we so callous as to believe we have already arrived? Are we studying to show ourselves approved (2Tim 2:15), or are we finding fault with everything that is being presented to us?
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Messiah, greets you, always wrestling for you in prayers, so that you stand perfect and complete in all the desire of Elohim.” (Col 4:12 ISR)