By Velma J. Sanders
Each of the twelve tribes of Israel were uniquely endowed and entrusted with vital roles. However, the tribe of Levi was divinely set apart by God for special service. The Levites were not set apart based on any personal commendable acts of their own. Their uniqueness was solely an operation of God’s sovereign grace and wisdom. The tribe of Levi was given to assist Aaron and his sons in their priestly duties. The Levites, although unique in their position were ordained to first “stand with,” and then “to join together” in worship with all of Israel to God.
Likewise, during this current church age, God has graced each of His children with wonderful gifts. However, as in the Old Testament offices of prophet, priest and king, He has positioned within the New Testament church viable persons as gifts themselves to the entire body of Christ. Their role, as was Israel’s tribe of Levi, is to “stand with” and then “to join together” in the building up and fitting together of the entire church body. These gifted men of God are called apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
It was upon Simon Peter’s confession, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God,” that Jesus responded, “Upon this rock I will build My church.” Through the continual work of gifted men and women within the body of Christ, this earthly and yet spiritual task is upheld and carried forth by Him who is now seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father As in former times, when “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” so today each of these gifted people in these ordained positions “speak;” whether it is by proclamation, exhortation, edification or information. Although the individual spiritual call of God, as well as the personalities, backgrounds, preparation and methods of operation vary, their common message of repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which the Master Builder continues His work of building the church.
These positioned persons are assigned the umbrella task of perfecting the saints and edifying the body of Christ. As important as these five offices are, they are only spiritually successful and eternally effective as they bring into existence, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” It is their common task to fix and to form; to fill and to fashion individual Believers into their completeness in Christ.
Jesus Christ, anointed by the Holy Spirit for public ministry, at the Jordan River, fulfilled perfectly the ministry and offices of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher during His earthly ministry. May He, as well, grant us grace to fulfill our calling and exercise our gifts, whatever they may be.