Steven Lambert Ministries, Inc

Gifts Vs. Offices©
By Steven Lambert, ThD
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MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE "GIFTS" AND "OFFICES"

The Body of Christ needs to understand the crucial differences between the "gifts" and "offices." If one were to attempt to play the game of baseball by the rules of basketball, he would be in big trouble. That is precisely what the Body of Christ has been doing in regards to the "gifts" and "offices."

THREE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF GIFTS, EACH FROM A DIFFERENT MEMBER OF THE GOD-HEAD

1 Cor. 12:4-6 This verse explicitly reveals that there are three distinct categories of spiritual giftings, each bestowed by and emanating from a different member of the God-Head:

"Now there are varieties of GIFTS, but the same SPIRIT. And there are varieties of MINISTRIES, but the same LORD. And there are varieties of OPERATIONS [KJV], but the same GOD who works all these things...."

The revelation of this passage is that each member of the God-head has a different set of gifts that emanate from Him and which He distributes to believers. The Holy Spirit gives MANIFESTATION GIFTS (Charismatic Gifts) for supernatural enablement to be His witnesses, which are delineated in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. The Lord Jesus Christ as Head of the Church distributes His MINISTRY GIFTS for the spiritual development and for the government of the Church, which are listed in Ephesians 4:7-13. And, God the Father bestows FUNCTION or MOTIVATION gifts to energize every believer with a specific spiritual function, which are delineated in Romans 12:4-8.

ONE PURPOSE OF THE CHARISMATIC MOVE -- REDISCOVERY OF "CHARISMATA"

The powerful Wind of the Spirit that began to blow in the sixties and continued until recently, which became known as the "Charismatic Move," not only brought forth a desperately needed "time of refreshing" (Ac. 3:19) from the presence of the Lord, but it was also a sovereignly produced, foreordained "period of restoration" (Ac. 3:21) by God, in which a "recovery" and a "rediscovery" of the nine "manifestations of the Spirit" (also referred to as "the charismata" or "charismatic gifts") listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 was effected. Thank God for the Charismatic Movement! God’s people learned that the manifestations of the Spirit were not merely relegated to some by-gone era of long ago, but that "Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever" (Heb. 13:8), and that God changes not (Mal. 3:6)! What He was -- He is, and what He is -- He always will be! For He is God the Eternal and Eternally God! The rediscovery of the manifestations of the Spirit demonstrated once again that it was not God who had changed over the centuries of Church history, but the Church, or perhaps more appropriately, the doctrines taught within the Church.

Believers learned in the Charismatic Move that the manifestations of the Spirit, are not just operable through an exclusive group of elite "special people" or just those in Fivefold Ministry, but also through ordinary believers. The Lord demonstrated during that movement that the manifestations of the Spirit are indeed just that -- manifestations of the SPIRIT -- not any man, for it is the Holy Spirit who "distribute(s) to EACH ONE as HE wills," and the Holy Spirit demonstrated that it is His "will" to manifest Himself through any believer who will allow Him to do so.

THE FUNCTION OF THE CHARISMATIC GIFTS

The Charismatic Wind came to activate believers who would believe and receive the Holy Spirit and His manifestation gifts in the operation of His supernatural power. The effect of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father (Ac. 1:4,5), which Jesus bestows upon every believer who will but ask Him (Mat. 3:11, Lk. 11:13), is that "when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive POWER to TESTIFY about me with great effect" (Ac. 1:8, L.B.). It is "POWER" to be "witnesses" of Jesus to a lost and dying world that is bestowed upon us when we receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word translated "power" in this text is "dunamis," which means "supernatural enablement." Thus, the import of Jesus’ statement is that with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit we receive supernatural enablement to be vessels for the manifestations of the Spirit through us in order to give testimony of the viability of the resurrection power of Jesus! Upon being endowed with power from on high, we become witnesses of Jesus primarily to the world.

ANOTHER PURPOSE OF THE CHARISMATIC MOVE -- MOTIVATION GIFTS

Another major emphasis of the Charismatic Movement was the truth that every believer has a vital place of function in the Body of Christ. There was extensive teaching in Charismatic churches concerning the motivation gifts which emphasized the fact that every individual believer has a function in the Body. Every believer has a primary motivation gift which "energizes" him for service unto others. That was a valid and important rediscovery, the full application of which we have yet to see in most churches; albeit, the seed has been planted and we will see the greatest application of this truth toward the end of the present move when the Elisha anointing falls upon the Church.

"CHARISMANIACAL" ERROR

The purposes of God were, of course (because His purposes cannot be denied), fulfilled by the Charismatic Move. At the same time, however, as is often the case in such restorational moves, knowledge came to be exceeded by zeal (Rom. 10:2). As we earnestly attempted to ride the billowing restorational waves of the Charismatic Movement, a kind of "Charismania" or Charismatic error also developed. The spiritual atmosphere of great zeal that happily accompanied the Charismatic Movement also caused an attitude to begin to develop in the minds of some which exceeded what is written (1 Cor. 4:6). As Christians began to understand that they could operate the supernatural "power" of God, some began to mistakenly equate that "power" with AUTHORITY! Potentially deceiving slogans such as "Well, we are ALL ministers" began to emerge. That, of course, is true in the intended sense of the word which is translated alternately in the New Testament as "minister" and "servant." We are indeed all servants of the Lord, whom the Lord desires to use.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POWER AND AUTHORITY

Unfortunately, there is such lack of knowledge among many believers concerning the critical difference between "power" and "authority." It is imperative that believers understand that "power" to be a witness of Christ is an entirely different matter than "governmental authority" within the Church. Many "Charismaniacs" produced in the Charismatic Move did not understand that, and merely because they prayed for someone and God answered by a display of His supernatural power, they began to "think more highly of themselves than they ought" (Rom. 12:3), and some even began to think that they were on par with their appointed spiritual leaders.

Power manifested through operation of the manifestation gifts of the Spirit in no way implies authority to govern within the Church. Power is not the same thing as authority. Power does not supersede or override authority, but rather authority is of a higher level than power. Evidence of this truth is found in Jesus’ statement concerning the believer’s authority over the power of the devil in Luke 10:19: "Behold, I have given you AUTHORITY to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the POWER of the enemy...." Jesus stated explicitly that Satan does have some "power," contrary to the absurd teaching of some preachers who insist that he does not. Satan does indeed have "power" because it was given to him by Adam, but by virtue of Jesus’ triumph over all the powers of hell believers have been given something of a higher level in the spiritual realm than the mere power which Satan possesses -- judicial AUTHORITY! In Jesus’ parting charge to the Church prior to His ascension to occupy His throne, He declared emphatically and categorically that "ALL AUTHORITY" both in Heaven and on Earth had been given unto Him, and it was based on and because of that authority that He then charged all believers to exercise that spiritual judicial authority, to wit:

"Go therefore into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My Name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will cast off serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Composite of portions of Mat. 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18)

It is important to note that while Chapter 12 of First Corinthians expounds upon and encourages the operation of the manifestations of the Spirit, the Fourteenth Chapter of the same book explains the ground rules by which those gifts must be operated, in order that, as the last verse summarizes, "all things be done properly and in ORDER." Everything in the Kingdom of God operates through Divine Order, including the governing of the Church. The Church is governed not by those through whom the manifestation gifts of power operate, but by those through whom the governing gifts of authority operate, which are the Fivefold Ministry Officers. While it is true that we are all ministers of the power of God and the message of Good News, ALL believers are NOT Fivefold Ministers. Ephesians 4:11 explicitly states that only "SOME" -- not "ALL" -- have been bestowed with Fivefold Ministry gifting. 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 also makes it clear that not all are apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles and gifts of healings (evangelists), and so on.

MINISTRY OFFICES

Eph. 4:7-11 "But to each one of us GRACE was given according to the measure of Christ’s GIFT. Therefore it says when He ascended on high...He gave GIFTS to men....And He GAVE some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers."

These verses delineate the Fivefold ministry offices that Jesus Himself as the Head of the Body bestowed as a GIFT to the Body of Christ. The word in the original language translated as "grace" in the above passage is "charis" which refers to those "giftings" which Christ bestowed to each of us by way of undeserved favor. Romans 12:6 and 1 Peter 4:10 both indicate that we all have been given certain spiritual "gifts" which we are encouraged to employ in servitude unto others. However, this text explicitly states that these particular Fivefold Ministry Office giftings which it lists have been given only to "SOME" -- particular, selected individuals -- not ALL believers.

1 Cor. 12:5 Paul informed us in this passage that the gifts the Lord Jesus gives are "ministry gifts." In the above text, those gifts are specifically listed as being: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (v. 11). In other words, Paul is revealing by the Spirit that when Jesus ascended on High He delegated His authority for building, equipping, and governing within the Church unto those whom He would personally choose, call, anoint, and appoint unto these Ministry Offices. Those whom He so appoints become His personal fleshly delegates to fulfill these building and instructive functions within the Church. This is one of the major differences between the gifts and offices. Another involves the matter of governmental authority.

THE GOVERNMENT IS UPON JESUSSHOULDERS (Fivefold MINISTERS)

Is. 9:6 While it is true that every believer is a viable member of and has a vital function in the Body, nevertheless, the Body is still governed through Headship. The "GOVERNMENT shall be upon His (Jesus) SHOULDERS," and the Fivefold Ministry Officers are the New Testament counterpart to the Old Testament Levites upon whose shoulders the Ark of the presence of God (the anointing or authority of God) was to be carried (Deut. 10:8, 1 Chron. 15:2). Fivefold ministry, in addition to having building and instructive responsibility are also the Lord’s chosen governing delegates unto the Church.

Eph. 5:23 Despite the claims to sovereignty made by some bureaucratic potentates in man-made religious organizational hierarchies, Jesus Christ Himself is the functioning Head of the Church. He is the only One who is worthy to be its Head. He bought and paid for the Church with His Own shed blood.

Mk. 16:19 After completing His mission of redemption, Jesus Himself ascended into Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. This phraseology chosen by the Holy Spirit indicates that in ascending into Heaven and sitting down upon His throne, Jesus Himself had accomplished all that He came to accomplish, and that His personal ministry in the flesh had ceased. While He is the Head of the Body, WE are the Body. As Paul said, "Now are YOU Christ’s body, and individually members of it" (1 Cor. 12:27). We are Jesus’ shoulders, arms, hands, feet, eyes, ears, and mouth. The Fivefold ministers (the shoulders) are also a part of the Body of Christ. Jesus, the Head of the Body, employs His governing authority through His governmental ambassadors -- Fivefold Ministers.

SUMMARY

We have seen that some of the major differences between gifts and offices is that every believer has been given a primary motivation gift, which he should employ in serving others, and any willing believer can be a vessel through whom the Holy Spirit operates the manifestation gifts as He wills, but only some are anointed by Jesus with ministry gifts and set into those offices. Additionally, gifts of the Spirit, while they are manifestations of God’s power, they do not entail governmental authority, as do the ministry gift offices.

Thus far, we have discussed some of the differences between the gifts and offices in general. In the next two lessons, we will see the differences between gifts and offices in terms of the prophetic realm in particular, that is to say, the differences between the simple gift of PROPHECY and the ministry gift and office of the PROPHET.


This article was adapted from the manual and course, The Restoration of the Prophetic Gifts and Office, by Dr. Steven Lambert. You can read more about this virtual encyclopedia of the prophetic as well as all the other writings and publications of Dr. Lambert on the SLM Internet Site at: <http://www.slm.org/pubs/index.html>. Publications may also be ordered online, by calling (561) 575-0739, or by writing SLM Publications, P.O. Box 911, Jupiter, FL 33468-0911.


All SLM Publications are copyrighted, all rights reserved and may not be republished in any form, including electronic, without the permission of SLM, Inc. Direct all inquiries to the SLM Publications at: SLM, Inc, P.O. Box 911, Jupiter, FL 33468-0911, or E-mail: <staff@slm.org>. This is one of many articles posted on the SLM Publications Internet site at: <http://www.slm.org>.


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© SLM, Inc. All rights reserved. Posted: 1-2-01.