But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ. (Eph 4:7-13)
I mentioned on a previous post, that we have an inbuilt need for each other. God has placed us in a body for a reason, because no one individual has it all. If they did they would be Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher all rolled into one. Why do I say this? Because the ascension gifts are all just aspects of Christ himself. Thus, all these ministries find their archetype in Christ alone.
He is our Apostle. (Heb 3:1)
He is the Prophet. (Ac 3:22)
He was the original Evangelist (Mk 1:14)
He is the good Pastor [Shepherd] (Jn 10:11)
He is the Teacher like no other (Mk 1:22)
This is why we need all the ascension ministries. Because we do not have a full representation of Christ in the church without them. They are to equip God's people to become Christ-like and to do the works in same area that they are gifted in. An apostle imparts the big picture and gives rule, order and direction in the house; he also equips others, especially elders to do the same. A prophet not only prophesies, but provokes God's people to be prophetic. An evangelist not only wins souls but equips and provokes others to do the same (Just like Jesus who not only preached the good news, but sent out the 12 and the 72 to do the same) The pastor will not only look after God's people but impart a love and care for God's people. And the teacher will not just be a bookworm with a head full of knowledge, but will disseminate the word under the anointing and authority of the Spirit, in a way that will be infectious and enable those who hear to sow the message themselves.
Without any one of these gifts of Christ the picture is incomplete and so is the formation of Christ in the church. We are not told that we should attain a partial measure of Christ but a full measure!
Just imagine the combined anointing of Keri Jones, Tony Ling, Dave Roberts, Graham Deakin and Roger Aubrey, and you have the beginnings of the picture of the manner if not the measure of the anointing that was on Christ. [If you do not relate to these men, insert names of the equivalent ministries you do. If you do not relate to any such ministries, stop and ask yourself "Why not?"] Just the beginning because 1) we are not there yet, and 2) all the ascension gifts are given in plurality. Even in the limited aspects of Christ's anointing, no one man has it all. There is a built in accountability and recognition to protect all from the corruption of pride and the flesh.
Recognition, because, no where do we see any instruction in the word on how to appoint an Apostle or any of the other ascension ministries. They are given by Christ. You cannot become an Apostle, you either are one or you are not. If a man is an Apostle then he will be one whether the body of Christ gives him that label or not. Yet because they are needed it is best for all concerned, that we are not coy with God's giftings and recognise them for what they are.
"Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward" (Mk 10:41)
When we co-operate with these ministries, we are taken onto a wonderful journey to see the full measure of Christ manifest for all the world to see in the Church. When that day comes, then the reality himself will return to the earth in glory. Oh what a day!
On that day, and not a day before, will there be a cessation of gift and ministy. For who needs the reflection of Christ on the glorious day when we will all see him face to face. How can we live for anything less?