In our ongoing examination of the mission of the church, it is now time for us to consider how God will accomplish this work. In Ephesians 4:11, Paul wrote, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers …” These individuals perform the following tasks:
- Apostles and prophets — Their work was of divine revelation or making known the will of God (Acts 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Ephesians 3:3-5). We have their work preserved in the providence of God in the New Testament and it is accessible in its completeness.
- Evangelists — Their work was propagating or proclaiming the gospel (Romans 10:14; 2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5).
- Pastors and teachers — Their work was within the congregation. Pastors, bishops, and elders were all the same. Each local church is to have a plurality of pastors (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Acts 13:1). The New Testament authorizes no organization smaller than or larger than the local church for the functioning of the saints in the work of the church.
Divine wisdom has given this arrangement through which the church is to accomplish its divine mission. Each of these gifts have in common the function of teaching. From this one should be able to draw the conclusion about the main purpose of the church, which we will start examining in the next post.