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Ephesians 4:11: Apostles and Prophets


Ephesians 4:11
[11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (ESV)

Let's look a little more carefully at these gifts that God has given the church.  Apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. I wonder, have you previously viewed these roles in the church as gifts?  Christ does. These gifts are leadership gifts.  And as we will see, some of those leadership gifts are foundational, and some are continuing gifts.  Let's take a look.

The first leaders he mentions as being given to the church are foundational leaders. They are the leaders who were given at the founding of the church. Their role is important. Apostles and prophets. What is foundational about the leadership of apostles and prophets? The apostles and prophets gave us doctrine. You might remember these words from Ephesians a few chapters ago:

Ephesians 2:19-20
[19] So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

The apostles and prophets are foundational. Now, it is important to note that when you are building a house, you build a foundation on the bottom. As the building continues to be built, you are no longer building the foundation, you are building ON it. As the church continues to grow up until the return of Christ we no longer need apostles and prophets. Their leadership role was given to the church as its foundation.

Acts 2:42
[42] And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (ESV)

Even in the very beginning of the church people devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching.  It was foundational to their understanding of what it meant to be a part of the church.  The teaching of the Apostles and Prophets continues to be our foundation.  But we no longer build the foundation.  It is settled.  I am leery of those who claim to be modern day Apostles and Prophets.  Those gifts to the church were to be its foundation.  Once a foundation is built in a building, it is settled. 

Are you devoted to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets?  They are a great gift given to the church.  If you want your spiritual life to have a strong foundation, build it on the settled foundation of the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets.

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