Body Ministry – BT2
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Grace-gifts are functions, not people, positions, offices, or titles
Countering this fleshly tendency, Paul explains that the Spirit’s grace-gifts are simply “functions, sustained activities, deeds, and/or responsibilities” (a) – not “special” people, positions, offices, or titles. In Ephesians 4:4-16 Paul says that “Christ gave grace-gifts to men . . . He gave these [grace-gifts] apostles, these [grace-gifts] prophets (b), these [grace-gifts] evangelists (c), these [grace-gifts] shepherds (d) and teachers (e).” These are all verbal-nouns describing functioning [grace-gifts], thus given by Christ based on unconditional-favor-of-grace. They aren’t simply nouns identifying people, positions, offices, or titles. <Notes> a) praxis: Romans 12:4, b) see the Prophetic page, c) euaggelistes, d) poimen, e) didaskalos – see the Coaches and Facilitators and Teach One Another pages.
Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “There are varieties of grace-gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services/ministries, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of energized, working resultant-effects (a), but it is the same God who Spirit-empowers them ALL in every one. TO EACH is given the manifestation/demonstration of the Spirit for the common good.” The grace-gift a person functions with is a manifestation of the Spirit. <Notes> a) “activities or operations” are poor translations.
The fact that they are functions is clear from a parallel passage in Romans 12:3-5, “I say to EVERYONE among you that you are not in possibility to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, but instead to think with a temperate/sound mind (a), each down-from/according-to the measuring-cup (b) of/belonging to trusting-relying-faith (c) that God has already measured out into portions (d). For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function (e) so we, though many, are one Body in Christ, and individually members [of] one of another. Having grace-gifts that differ [only] down-from/according-to the unconditional-favor-of-grace given to us, I strongly urge: let US use them.” Paul lists prophecy, serving, teaching, alongside counseling-advising-encouraging-comforting (f), giving, “in-front” managed care-giving (g), and mercy. We know from Paul’s lists in other places, this wasn’t meant to be a complete list, only to illustrate his main point of everyone using their grace-gifts for the betterment of the whole Church. It’s not supposed to be a one-man show or even that of a so-called “ministry staff!” They don’t “differ” in the quantity of trusting-relying-faith or unconditional-favor-of-grace or skill or anything else, by definition of metron (b) and merizo (d), but “differ” in “varieties” as “manifestation of the Spirit” simply because of their praxis function (e) in Body-of-Christ ministry! <Notes> a) sophroneo, b) metron: measures out a set, equal amount of a substance to insure fair trade, c) pistis: relational conviction of trusting reliance, d) merizo: from metron and the non-partial character of God, these would be equal, fair, just portions, e) praxis: sustained activities, deeds, and/or responsibilities, f) parakaleo, g) proistemi – see Coaches and Facilitators.