The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised," (Luke 4:18, KJV).
This is Jesus! description of His ministry. The Holy Spirit within Jesus, empowered His anointing--His ministry (see eph 4). The church which followed after Him in the book of Acts, filled with the Spirit--empowered in their anointing--their ministry--in the very same way...
1. To bring the Gospel to the poor
2. To heal (all manner of sickness and disease)
3. To bring deliverance (power to cast out the devil and every demonic stronghold)
4. To set at liberty (the Greek: apostello"--to freely release people to serve God)
5. Jesus' ministry was directed to: the poor--the brokenhearted--the captives--
Ministry is: The Christ within a Christian, reaching out and serving others--in the same way that Jesus demonstrated to us in His life in the earth. Preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, casting out the devil, releasing others to serve God--all in the name of Jesus the Christ. The purest definition of the "church" is a group of people who work together to carry on Jesus' ministry.
" 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 ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:11-12, KJV).
The five gifts of ministry. The gifts of Christ, the gifts of the anointed One and His anointing. Gifts which are given unto every one of us--(even the rebellious!--see psalm 68:18). Gifts to serve the will of God in the earth. Gifts of authority to be used as God commands and as Jesus demonstrated--and specifically NOT as titles of authority over one another.
"for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry to edify the body"
These gifts are the operational plan of the church. These gifts within all of the body of Christ--worked together in unity--on a common level. These gifts are the equipment by which we are to "edify the body"--to build the body of Christ--to teach and instruct those already within the body, and bring in those that are lost (the poor--the captive--the sick--the blind---the unsaved)
1. Apostles: The first and foremost gift--the first concern of Jesus in His ministry. Apostles are equipped to do all of Christ's ministry--out to the world--in a group--working together. The church, working together, is apostolic ministry. We are all made apostles at the moment of conversion. (see John 17). None can be saved "unless they be sent" (apostelo) (Romans 10:13-15) Apostolic ministry is Jesus description of His mission in the earth (John 3:17)--and part and parcel to receiving the free gift of salvation (John 17). The church itself is meant to be a working together of apostleship.
2. Prophets: A gift for "sons and daughters" (Acts 2:17--Joel 2:28). Prophecy is the method by which Christ, the "Head of the church" communicates and directs His body in the earth. The prophetic gift is the operational basis for those who are saved. It is the basis of function in the meeting together of the church. (1Cor. 14)
3. Evangelists: Simply an apostle, one who operates in all the gifts of Christ, when he or she operates in the world alone.
4. Pastors: the ministry of leading people to be ministers. The guiding of people to realize their apostleship. No more than this---no less!!
5. Teachers: anyone who instructs in God. Teaching can be by the word of God, or by testimony. A system of teachers needs to exist within every church. Teaching is a simpel open gift--we all "ought to be teachers" (Hebrews 5:12 )
These gifts of ministry within the body of Christ are the operational plan of the church. These gifts in Christians are the authority of God--the "power to rule over". They are the authority of God, specifically commanded to be used to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and cast out the devil. They are the authority to rule over sin--sickness--and Satan. They are functional authority, not titles of human power.
The authority of Christ's ministry is NOT authority to rule one over another amongst ourselves.
"But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45, KJV).