He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
A winning church is characterized by worship, instruction, and nourishment. That is the kind of church God uses to pour His power into our lives. And a final ingredient of a church that generates God’s power is sharing the gospel. Acts 2:47 says the early church was “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” These first-century Christians were not content just to sit, soak, and sour on the Word of God. No, they realized the reason they were worshiping, receiving instruction from God’s Word, and being nourished was so they could take the gospel to unbelievers.
God’s plan is for the church is to be an equipping station. Remember Ephesians 4:12: “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
The word translated as “building up” refers to the physical construction of a building. The church, 1 Peter 2:5 says, is a spiritual temple composed of living stones. God is building His church not brick by brick but life by life. Every time somebody becomes part of the kingdom of God, they are added to the church. That is God’s plan. He is trying to save as many people as possible, and He uses you and me to do that. We are the workers who go out and gather the bricks. And the church equips us to go out and share the gospel.
What happens to a church that fails to go out and share the message with unbelievers? Max Lucado wrote about a fishing trip he took with his dad and his friend. Unfortunately, bad weather forced them to stay inside instead of going fishing. They spent a few miserable days cooped up in a camper, getting more and more irritated with each other. Lucado wrote, “I learned a hard lesson that week. Not about fishing, but about people. When those who are called to fish don’t fish, they fight. When energy intended to be used outside is used inside, the result is explosive. Instead of casting nets, we cast stones.”
What a contrast to the early church! They expended their energy casting nets for converts rather than fighting with other congregants–and as a result, people were added to the church every day.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Winning Church” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Max Lucado, “In the Eye of the Storm” (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 32-33.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.