Sermon No. 11: He gave for the perfecting of the Saints

By Douglas E. Amobi

Jesus Christ gave all to make sinners saints.He limited himself by coming down to earth and confining himself in the womb of Mary but still in control of his entire creation. He was in the human womb on earth but also in heaven as God Almighty. He is omnipresent because He is God. Study St. John 3:13, it will open your eyes, and Jesus Christ himself made the statement;

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AND NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN, BUT HE THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, EVEN THE SON OF MAN WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.

This verse tells clearly that Jesus though on earth is in heaven as He said. This is first hand information. The word "IS," means present. Jesus was on earth talking to Nicodemus and also saying He is in heaven at the same time. He must be correct or else an assumption. Remember his testimony is always TRUE. There is nothing new to him and there is nothing he does not know both in heaven, earth, beneath the earth and any place you can imagine except another god. He does not know about another god because there is no other.

When he ascended up on high, he lead captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. He gave diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. God is a Spirit, Jesus Christ is God, He was the Son of God on the earth, He is the Father, God Almighty, I AM, the First and the Last. He is all in all.
1st Corinthians 12:13, "FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, WHETHER WE BE JEWS OR GENTILES, WHETHER WE BE BOND OR FREE; AND HAVE ALL BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT. "

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There are differences of administration, but the same Lord; and the Lord is that Spirit. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the same Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. The same Spirit gave other gifts, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits; divers kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

As you read 1st Corinthians 12:28, you will agree that God put the church in order, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. The Spirit of the Lord gives each believer a gift or gifts for the purpose of helping the body of Christ and not for personal gain.

Every Christian is a part of the body of Christ and Jesus Christ himself is the head of this BODY. The body has parts and these various parts play vital roles for the body to function as a whole unit. The parts are dependent on one another and all in obedience to the head. So many things are confusing in the Christian faith because many have left the doctrine of the Bible for the tradition of men. Whatever you have is from the Lord the position you have in the body is given by the Lord, not an inheritance or by vote. Is it possible to imagine any of the apostles or early disciples, transferring their calling to their children, not likely. The issue is preachers trying to do God a service without it being God's will. Very often pastors tend to rear up their sons to take over their ministries.

Ephesians 4:11

On the surface it looks good for a son to serve the Lord as his father or grandfather, by taking over the others ministries. It has become the tradition of men, but is this the pattern of the Lord? Only the kings were seen to be replaced by their sons and in some cases the Levites. All these were in the Old Testament under the law. In the New Testament the case is different because the Spirit gives these positions.

EPHESIANS 4:11 states, "AND HE GAVE SOME, APOSTLES; AND SOME PROPHETS; AND SOME EVANGELISTS; AND SOME, PASTORS AND TEACHERS; FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRIES, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST."

The age is coming to an end, and the Translation is coming close but some people think we still have time. They are organizing empires, kingdoms and futures for their children and grand children, some are amassing wealth and forget that time is short and prophecies that confirm the soon return of JESUS CHRIST is upon us. The TRANSLATION could be now are we really ready watching the way we live our lives.

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It is both surprising and revealing that there are many Christian organizations, Bible schools and affiliations that cater to young Christian converts who are either called of God to preach the gospel or who feel in their heart like they would like to work for the Lord. God sees and loves our efforts but we need to separate tradition from the leading of God and what part each plays in this Christian journey. If you keep in mind Ephesians 4:11, you would wonder why many Christian groups do what they do in their religious education. Ephesians 4 say the Lord ascended up far above all heaven, and he gave some,--. This is important to keep in mind as you examine the situation affecting Christendom. Imagine a Bible school with 100 graduating students and all of them are pastors. Another school graduates 100 students and they are all teachers, another kind of school graduates another 100 and they all turn out to be evangelists. This looks and sounds good but the truth is that something is wrong. I have also seen a church group where everyone in authority is either a prophet or a prophetess. Something is definitely wrong and requires every Christian to think about the tradition of men that cloud the real leading of God in one desire to serve or be used of God.

In all these examples, is it not possible to have one graduating student from the school of the pastors; who is an evangelist or a teacher or a prophet or an apostle? Something is wrong with all these well meaning programs of man. God gives these offices severally as he pleases for the work of the church. Each Christian should seek the leading of the Lord to fulfill his good pleasure. Do not find yourself ordained a pastor when in fact you are an evangelist in God's calling. Beware of the tradition of men. These days religion has become a business enterprise. Men are involved in all schemes to build financial empires, including starting Bible schools and churches. Pastors have become the center of financial control in the church, and may be why you have more pastors than any other office in the body of Christ.

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It is difficult today to know when God gave a man an office in the body of Christ and when men ordain a person into an office in the church which is supposed to be the body of Christ. This is the case because men have held to the tradition of men more than the word of God. All the offices that God gives are for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we come to the unity of the faith.

Acts 1:8

If we are all pastors, where are the evangelists, if all were apostles where are the prophets, if all were teachers where are the other offices. All Christian churches must recognize these God given positions in the church to allow the Spirit of God to work out God's purposes in the church. This is one big reason every Christian should think about these things. It is like eating a bowl of food that contains only one nutrient (pastors) or (prophets) or (teachers) or (apostles) or (evangelists). When you eat this kind of food, instead of a combination of the different ones, two things often happen; first you may over time think you are having the best food life can offer, or secondarily you may develop a nutritional deficiency (spiritual deficiency). Make sure you watch the kind of food you eat.

When you study the part each of these offices play for the total health of the church you will be amazed at what you are missing. The apostles are pillars in the church and that is why the bible said, God set them first in the church 1st Corinthians 12:28. Next the prophets, these are wonderful people occupying an important office that generally come with word from God to the church and the world. Remember that prophecy edifies the church. The apostle and the prophet are visionary arm of the body to put it lightly, because their office involves getting information directly from God by virtue of their office, when given by God and not of men. I do not intend to examine each office, I just wish to point out clearly that these last days is not the time to be led or guided by the tradition of men.

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Can you imagine the evil that the tradition of men has unleashed on the body of Christ; such as the turning of the offices in the body of Christ to titles. Imagine this parade, introducing Paul, as this is attorney, apostle, Paul. Next is this is doctor, pastor engineer, Mark; and finally this is evangelist, bishop, accountant, Matthew. This sounds like what you see in different Christian circles of today. This is purely the tradition of men and according to the scripture. Do not be caught in this web of tradition. Be careful of a school or organization or church or agency that ordains all their graduates the same office in the body of the Lord. Also bear in mind that God is the one who gives these offices as gift for the perfecting of the saints and not hold on to the tradition of men.

Every Christian should know that the responsibility is their own to find out what place God has for them in the body of Christ. You cannot leave such an important spiritual matter to tradition of men. You may be ordained a pastor but you may really be an evangelist or a prophet. Find out what God has for you, pray, search, fast and hear from God yourself, and not lean to the tradition of men. God will not leave you without an evidence or confirmation, if you seriously want to know from the Lord.

Read 2nd Timothy 4:5, "BUT WATCH THOU IN ALL THINGS, ENDURE AFFLICTIONS, DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST, MAKE FULL PROOF OF THY MINISTRY."

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These days you hardly hear of deacons in the churches. 1stTimothy 3:13 says, "for they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. The Bible defines some important parameters that the body of Christ must bear in mind. These include requirements for the bishops and deacons; a) they must be husbands of one wife, not wives of one husband or single individuals. Read the whole of the chapter to see the comprehensive qualities of the office of the bishop and deacon. The bible talks of deacons and not deaconesses.