The Abrahamic Covenant: Part 6

John Plunkett
 February 28, 2015

Last time in Part 5, we read and talked about the Abrahamic Covenant blessings beginning to be poured out on God’s people.

We talked about God fulfilling His side in the "Race and Grace" parts of the Abrahamic Covenant, and we asked the question:  Are we doing our part on our side of the Covenant – both in the Race (physical) part and the Grace (spiritual) part?

And we asked the age-old question that was asked of Jesus, His disciples and John the Baptist: "What must we do?"  We went through some of the scriptures where they were asked, “What must we do?” 
And we saw that it is good for us to ask the same thing. 

In partial answer to this question from God’s Word, we went through some of the scriptures that show us what His very basic requirements are for what we should be doing –  for what He commands us to be doing – what His written word tells us we must be doing.

Towards the send of that sermon, we learned that we must go on from the basics.  We can’t just stick to the basics; but we must build on them and go on from them.  Let’s read about this again:

Hebrews 6:1:
Therefore leaving the
{elementary} principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection {spiritual maturity}; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

This does not, of course, mean that we are not to continue to repent on a daily basis of things that we have done wrong.  What the author is talking about here is that our initial repentance, back when God first called us, was foundational, basic and, for most of us here, it was way back in the past.  We must go on from – and we must build upon – those foundational basics.

We also asked the question last month, and we can ask the same question again today: "Is it acceptable for us to merely warm seats at Sabbath services each week?"  Or is there more for us to do in order to fulfil our human responsibilities on our side of the Covenant – especially the spiritual, Grace part?  Obviously, there is lots more for us to do.  That is what I would like to talk about today.

I have some more questions to ask and, hopefully, to answer from God’s Word.  Let's begin with this one:  

What else does God want us to do?  How does He want us to build on the basic foundational requirements that we discussed last time?

Again, there is lots for us to do.  There are many work items, not just for ordained ministers; but for every single one of us.

Today we are going to go through some of God’s job functions that He has laid out for us.  There are probably many more; but I would just like to home in on and go through eleven of them today

Let’s begin with Paul’s letter to the Church of God in Rome:

Romans 12:
1:  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service…
4:  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6:  Having then gifts
(Paul was not writing about ministerial ranks here) differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith…

Prophecy is not just looking into the future; it can also mean preaching. 

7:  Or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

We are starting to see the first of Paul’s "job lists" coming together here.

8:  He who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9:  Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good.
10:  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another;

These are all things that we can all be doing.

11:  Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

So, as we serve God’s people, we are serving Jesus Christ as well.

12:  Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

There’s another job function, right there.  Here comes another two:

13:  Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

That’s quite a list of work items.  And there’s something in there for everyone.  There is something there that fits every church member’s abilities.  And God has given us all different gifts.

As Paul wrote here, because God has given us all different gifts, (other than a few common requirements), we don’t have to do exactly what every other member is doing. 

Yes, there’s lots for us all to do – under all the banners listed here by Paul.  Plus others too, as we shall see.  The apostle Paul goes into this in even more detail here in:

I Corinthians 12: 
1:  Now concerning spiritual gifts
(again, not ministerial ranks), brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
4:  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5:  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6:  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all.

We will come back to examine verses 5 and 6 in a little more detail later.

7:  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit thereby:

Every man!  And every woman too!  Not just the ordained ministers.  All of us who have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us have the responsibility to use that Spirit – to put it to work – to earn and to give profit – to the church brethren, yes –  but to all – ultimately to the whole world!

12:  For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

As we go through this, we see that we all have different jobs, and yet there is – or should be – true unity through Christ.

13:  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14:  For the body is not one member, but many.
15:  If the foot shall say, "Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
16:  And if the ear shall say, "Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
17:  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
18:  But now hath God set the members, every one of them, in the body as it hath pleased Him.

To a certain extent, He made you the way that you are.  He gave you the talents, the strengths and yes, even the weaknesses that you have.

19:  And if they were all one member, where would be the body?
20:  But now there are many members, yet but one body.
21:  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, "I have no need of thee"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22:  Nay, much more those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary.
23:  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24:  For our comely parts have no need, but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked,
25:  that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26:  And whenever one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27:  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

I know that I am harping on this; but once again, this is not just applicable to the ordained ministers. We are all members of the Body and we all have a function.  There is nothing wrong with one member having a different job than another member. 

So we have read Paul’s list of job functions for the Roman brethren, and now here is the list for the Corinthian brethren:

28:  And God hath set some in the church: first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracle workers, then those with gifts of healing, helpers, administrators, and those with diversity of tongues.
29:  Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  Are all workers of miracles?
30:  Have all the gifts of healing?  Do all speak with tongues?  Do all interpret?
31:  But covet earnestly the best gifts, and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.

These are ministerial ranks, aren’t they?  Yes, that is what we have always been led to believe; but no, they are not. These are spiritual gifts.  Paul tells us this over and over again.  We will be going through some of them in a minute.

I just want to make sure that you don’t think that we are straying off our subject.  What we’re talking about here is our human responsibilities on our side of the Abrahamic Covenant, and especially the spiritual, Grace part.

We have yet another list.  Lets’ go over to the book of Ephesians, as its brief list includes some of the same job functions as we just read in the Corinthians one: 

Ephesians 4:
11:  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12:  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

These do apply to the ministers.  There is no doubt about it.  But there is more to it than that.  Some of these job functions can also be done by the non-ministerial brethren.  I am not trying to make any kind of separation here in the wrong way.  But we have to be careful of thinking that all of the important jobs are for the ministry and that there is really nothing important for the non-ministerial members to do.  Because there is!  Very much so!

I have eleven here.  So let’s go through them and look at them in a bit more detail.  Some in more detail than others:

Let’s start off with Apostles.  The word comes from the Greek word apostolos (Strong’s 652).  In the King James Version, it is translated apostle, messenger, or he that is sent.  Its extended meanings in the Greek are: delegate or one sent forth with orders.

The noun apostolos stems from the verb apostello (Strong’s 649) which means to send, to send forth, send away or to send out.  Its extended meanings are to order a person to go to a place appointed; to order one to depart or to send off.

Did you see anything in there about an apostle being the highest ministerial rank?  It certainly does not say that.  We would have to read that meaning into it.  I am not saying that an apostle is not an important job.  It is.  But a church member  does not have to be a minister to do the things that the word means.  If a church member has the wherewithal to be able travel around, to visit brethren and to encourage them, then he or she is doing an apostle's job.

The second one is Prophets, specifically those in God's New Testament church.  Before the New Testament church was organized as such, John the Baptist was a prophet.  Jesus said that he was the greatest of all the prophets.  We tend to think of him as a New Testament personality; but technically, he was not.

The word prophet comes from the Greek word prophetes (Strong’s 4396),  It is only ever translated as the word prophet; but its primary extended Greek meaning is:  Those who were moved by and received information by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit – specifically concerning future events; but not always.  Prophets could be inspired to speak on other subjects, as well, relating to the Christian cause, to the Kingdom of God, and to salvation.  A prophet, then, is considered to be a spokesman for God, speaks by God’s authority and command, and is moved by God’s Holy Spirit to speak, to instruct, to comfort, to encourage and to stimulate his (or her) hearers. 

Yes, it is an important job, but there is nothing here about a prophet being a high ministerial rank.  Nothing at all.  Yes, as Aaronic Levites, some of the Old Testament prophets were of the priestly line; but some of them were from other tribes.  Also, some of them were women.  We read in some scriptures about prophetesses, who had a specific job. Again, a person doesn’t have to be a minister to be a prophet.

Our third Christian job function is that of Teachers.  This is a really interesting one, so we are going to branch out a little bit more on it.  It is translated from the Greek word didaskalos (Strong's 1320).  In the King James Version, its most frequent translation is into the English word "teacher."  But also "doctor" and a couple of times "master" – usually, though not always, referring to Jesus.  We'll come back to this.

The extended Greek meanings are:  One who teaches concerning the things of God and the duties of man, or who shows men the way of salvation, or who undertakes the work of teaching, with the special assistance of God’s Holy Spirit

Again, didaskalos is occasionally translated into the English word “master” which appears to be a high ranking position; and it definitely is when it is referring to Jesus Christ.  But we must be careful not apply it across the board to the ministry.  Here's an interesting instruction in this regard:

James 3:1: 
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

It appears from the wording here that the apostle James is applying a high position in God’s Church to himself; but also with the realization that by having it, there is a potential danger.  

He tells us to be careful not to be – more likely not to become an organization having many masters.  We can ask the question in the 21st Century today, Is this command being obeyed in the greater Church of God?  Or, are there many claiming to be master – in some cases, the only master – the only one who has the authority to preach the truth?  You and I know that that certainly is the case; that there are church leaders who believe themselves to be the only master – the only representative of God's true church on earth today.  Here's another verse that alludes indirectly to this:

I Corinthians 9:25: 
And every man that strives for the mastery 
{Greek: agonizomai} is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

This reminds me of another scripture (I Timothy 3:1) in which Paul quotes a true saying to young Timothy, that if a man desires the office of a bishop (the Greek word merely means a visitor, not some old guy who wears a funny hat), he desires a good work.  It is a good desire – obviously, if he is cut out for that job.  

If you've worked out there in the corporate world, you have probably seen people who are "ladder-climbers" – men and women who will do almost anything to get to the top.  I saw it during my working career and I am sure that others of you have also witnessed similar things.  

Sadly, in some of the Church of God groups, we see people seemingly emulating what is going on in the corporate world.  This might be likened to a wrong kind of "striving for mastery."  Are these people doing it to obtain corruptible crowns?  Or for incorruptible ones?  These folks who are doing this must answer to God, of course.  I am not their judge.  However, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Translated as "Master," Paul's word didaskolos refers primarily to Jesus, who, of course is our number one Master.  It can also refer to some Church of God leaders; but as James warns, only a few.  It can also refer to our physical work supervisors at our day jobs.  During our working hours, our boss is a kind of master to us.  

However, this word didaskolos most often refers to teaching – not mastery.

Most Greek nouns appear to stem from source verbs.  Didaskolos stems from didasko, which simply means to teach or to be taught.  Its extended Greek meanings are:
- To hold discourse with others in order to instruct, 
- To deliver educational discourses,
- To impart instruction,
- To instill doctrine,
- To explain or expound.

Yes, teaching is one of a minister's jobs.  However, you and I know ministers who are not necessarily very good teachers; but who might have strengths in other ways. 

Teaching is not the sole domain of the ordained ministry.  Over my years in God's church, I have heard many non-ordained men who give excellent sermonettes, split sermons, and sermons – in some cases better messages than their local minister!  You have probably seen that too. 

Although women are not permitted to teach publicly during church services (I Corinthians 14:34-35; I Timothy 2:11-12), I would like us to read what the apostle Paul wrote to Titus about the teaching responsibilities of senior women in the God’s Church:

Titus 2:
3:  The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — 
4:  That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5:  To be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Right there we see that teaching is not just for the ministry; but is for virtually everybody who has a talent for it and who has good information to pass on.

Our fourth Christian job function is that of Miracles.  When we think of this one, we might think of a charismatic, miracle-working pastor; but the Greek word translated as "miracles" is dunamis (Strong’s 1411), which might remind us of the English words dynamo, dynamic or dynamite.

It is interesting that, in the KJV, dunamis is translated 77 times as the English word power, 11 times as mighty work, also as might, mighty and strength; but only 7 times as miracle.  Also interestingly, it is translated three times as the word virtue – a wonderful translation of it.

The extended Greek meanings of dunamis are ability, inherent power by virtue of one’s nature or which a person exerts and puts forth.  Yes, we must put our own strength and our own effort into what God gives us naturally and through His Holy Spirit.

It can also mean moral power and excellence and lastly, the God-given power for performing miracles.  In our time in the church, we have seen real miracles being performed in our lives and in the lives of our family – events that I am absolutely sure could not have happened if God was not involved.  We have heard other people tell us about true miracles in their lives as well. It is good to tell each other about these wonderful things when they happen.
But again, the idea of the word dunamis is much more than just that of a high-profile, charismatic, miracle-working minister.  We all – and again including non-ministerial members – must combine the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us with our own efforts and our inherent, God-given abilities, strengths, and talents. 

Our fifth Christian job-function is the Gift of Healings.  This English phrase comes from two Greek words that are both very significant.  The word “gifts” comes from the word charisma (Strong’s 5486),; and the word “healings” comes from the word iama (Strong’s 2386).

Let’s look at charisma first.  It is translated into the King James Version as gift, or free gift.  It stems from the verb charizomai (Strong’s 5483) which means to give, to freely give, to deliver and to grant ; but it also means to forgive.

It is true that God is the main giver – yes, of healing power as well as all other good things; but He is also the main forgiver.  But, if His Holy Spirit is dwelling within us, He expects both His giving and His forgiving nature to rub off on us.  We are children of the living God, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.  Their giving and forgiving nature must rub off on us so that we will be giving and forgiving towards one another.

The other word, iama, is simply rendered in the King James Version as just healing.  Its extended Greek meanings are - a means of healing, a remedy, or a medicine.

It stems from the Greek verb iaomai (Strong's 2390) translated in the KJV as heal and make whole.  It's extended Greek meanings are to free from errors and sins, and to bring about salvation.

So, yes, there definitely is an aspect of physical healing here through the anointing and laying on of hands by an ordained minister; but there is also a strong aspect of spiritual healing and forgiveness. From God to us; but also from us to one another.  We don’t need to be ordained ministers to have the authority to do our part in these things!

Also, we don’t all need to be ordained ministers to participate the healing of our brethren and loved ones – according to God’s will, of course.  Look what God tells us through James:

James 5:
14:  Is any sick among you?  Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

We always think of this, quite correctly, as "the anointing scripture" because it gives us the instructions of what we need to do when we're sick or injured.  We tend to concentrate on phoning the minister to ask him to come over and anoint us, or to send us an "anointed cloth" (Acts 19:11-12).  And that is absolutely right; but let’s look into it a bit more deeply.

It is not just the prayers of the ordained ministers that makes the difference.  Look what James tells us in the very next verse:

16:  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (and a righteous woman, too, of course) availeth much. 

I find it interesting, the way this worded: "Pray for one another that you may be healed."  The idea I get from this is that, if you are concerned and praying for te healing of your ill or injured brothers and sisters (both in the church and out), when your time comes to need God’s healing, God will be there for you because He will remember the concern that you had for those others.

The sixth Christian job function is Helps which is translated from the Greek word antilepsis (Strong’s 484).  It only appears this once in the scriptures (I Corinthians 12:28).  Its extended Greek meanings are aid, laying hold of, apprehension and perception.  This laying hold of and apprehension are almost like a policeman laying his hand on the collar of a criminal during an arrest.

Thee noun comes from the Greek verb antilambanomai (Strong’s 482) which means to help, to support and to be a partaker.  It's extended meanings include to take to, to embrace, to be partaker of and to hold fast.

Both of these Greek words give the idea of God’s people zealously taking authority over a problem where assistance is required. They are seizing the initiative, almost aggressively grabbing every opportunity to help those who are in need.  This is the right kind of aggression, of course.  It is not being a nosey busy-body.  It reminds me of these intriguing words of Jesus:

Matthew 11:12:
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Jesus was not, of course, telling His listeners that they were to go and beat the minister around the head, yelling, "You'd better baptize me!"

We need to be, to a certain extent, aggressive about certain important  things, including the opportunities to serve and to help our brethren and others.

We would normally help our brethren and family members first, of course, because “charity begins at home” as the old saying goes.  But we must not forget others, as opportunities arise and as we are able. 

I am aware that some Church of God ministers and brethren have made excuses for failing to help the poor by using Matthew’s and John’s renditions of these well-known words of Jesus:

Matthew 26:11: 
For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

John 12:8:
For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

If we try to quote and use either off these as an excuse not to help the poor, then we need to go over to Mark’s rendition of this very same statement, in which Jesus adds a very important admonition that is missing from the other two:

Mark 14: 
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

Jesus was not saying that, just because we will always have the poor with us, we don’t have to help them.  He is saying that we are to take every opportunity to do them good, whenever we can.  There are many other scriptures that back up this charitable concept.  If we did a Bible study of its own, looking up the word "poor," we would quickly see that God’s people definitely need to be doing all  that we can in this area.

I have also heard in the past, the idea that, if we try to alleviate the problems of this world, that is almost like attempting to slow down or defer the coming of God’s Kingdom and the return of Jesus Christ.  That is not possible!  The timing off the end of this age is firmly in the control of God the father; but He also wants to see our love, our involvement and our attempts to help wherever and whenever we can.  Jesus did so; and His apostles did too.

We are still under the heading of helping here. Helping the poor is important, and there are lots of other kinds of help that we can render, not just monetary help to the poor, even though that is definitely a possibility. 

There are all kinds of opportunities for help that we can render.  I don’t have time to go through them all today; but there is one that came to my mind when I was preparing this sermon.  That one takes us back to the book of James.  Let’s take a quick look at it because I believe that it is an important one:

James 1:27:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Obviously then, this visiting of the fatherless and widows is something that we all need to be thinking about. 

In my own personal memory, although there very well may be an increase in fatherless children, I would think it probable that widows (including what we call "spiritual widows") are in the majority these two groups.  In other words, although I have no numbers to back this up, there are probably more widows than fatherless.

We might look at our own physical limitations, including our age, and we might say, “I'm too old to be a helper.”  

I was talking to Trish about this just last week.  We were talking about a good friend of ours. Some of you might know her; but I won’t mention her by name, otherwise she might hit with me her umbrella!  Although we're not absolutely sure how old she is, we do know that .she is over ninety years old; but she spends virtually every work day in her local Senior Centre, serving and helping there.

Trish knows another elderly lady – 86 years old – who regularly serves in our local Salvation Army soup kitchen.  She goes in for the early shift and helps cook the meal. 

And, just one more example, Trish has just made contact with another Vancouver Island lady whose story she found on the Internet.  Although well into her eighties, this lady makes ceramic bowls (700 this year already!) which are sold – filled with tasty chili – at certain public events.

My intent in mentioning these three wonderful examples is that we are never too old to help.  And you are never too young either!  I don’t want to embarrass anybody; but we really do have some fine young people in God's church who really are helping out and are giving in many ways. 

And again, of course, helping is not restricted to the ordained ministry.  Let’s all of us be zealously seeking and seizing every opportunity to help, as God provides them.

The seventh of our Christian job-functions is that of Pastors.

We look at this one and we might say, "Ah!  For sure, now we are getting now into a ministerial function."

The Greek word is poimen (Strong’s 4166); but it is actually only once rendered in the King James Version as "pastor." The other seventeen times, it appears as the word "shepherd."

Its extended Greek meanings are: A herdsman and an overseer of a Christian assembly.  This would a minister looking after one or more local congregations.  If we look into Strong’s Concordance or a good Lexicon, we find details of some of the tasks of what a good shepherd should be doing.  Here are just a few of them:

We know, of course, that Jesus Christ is the Head Shepherd, and that He, and His "under-shepherds" gently lead and steer the sheep and lambs (Isaiah 40:11).  The sheep and lambs willingly follow Jesus and His under-shepherds, because they know their voices and they trust them (John 10:27).

This dovetails nicely with next Christian job function on Paul’s lists – the eighth one:  Governments in the King James Version; Administrations in the New King James Version.

Translated from the Greek noun kubernesis (Strong’s 2941), it stems directly from the Greek verb kubernao meaning "to steer."

This word is only used once in the New Testament.  Some might try to put an accent on it in support of the idea of "church government"; but there is really no strong scriptural accent on that; and certainly not by using this word.  In using this word, I would prefer to use the term “steering” first, “administration” second, and “government” last of all.  Mark 10:42-45.

It is true that there is a certain amount of steering, government and administration that is necessary in God’s Church.  There is an old saying that goes: “It’s a dirty job; but someone has to do it.”  

But in this day and age of the scattered Church of God, who has the true, God-given authority for church government?  Oh! I can think of a bunch of candidates – as I’m sure you can – who will quickly put their hands up and say “It's me!  It's me!”  But did God truly give it to any of them? 

Still, even though this is the situation that we have in the scattered church today, one day God will clarify who His true "governors" are.  However, that day may not come until the "two witnesses" arrive on the world scene (revelation 11:3-12).  In the meantime we must learn not to despise governments, despite their many imperfections:

II Peter 2:
9:  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10:  But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.  Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

As applied to church governments or, as other scriptures tell us, even world governments – federal, provincial, county, state, or municipal, this is a very hard command to obey, there is no doubt about it. 

But please remember, especially any spiritual shepherds or governors – whether self –appointed or otherwise – who might be listening, kubernao means to steer God’s spiritual sheep.  To steer them.  To lead them.  Not to keep hitting them with a big stick until they submit to your will, or your pet interpretations, or your additions to the holy scriptures (Deuteronomy 4:2; 19:9).

Just going back to I Corinthians 12 for a minute, the aspect of unity in God’s Church comes shining all of the way through this discussion of our work functions in God’s scattered Church.  Look what else Paul says here:

I Corinthians 12:
5:  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  
6:  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  

Paul is talking here about true unity through Jesus Christ and His Father.

The way this is worded, though, could this not also be a very strong indication that, even back in Paul’s day, there might possibly have been multiple different groups (what we today would call “church organizations”) – all working in unity under the same Lord; but perhaps with different administration styles or different accents on the preaching of the gospel?  It is the same gospel – the same good news; but perhaps because of geographical, ethnic or other considerations, the different administrations and operations might have been doing it in slightly different ways.

Nevertheless, the bottom line here for us is this:  Let us take care not to despise governments, neither in the world, nor in the church.  Let us be careful not to think or say:  "Yes.  I love the government of my Church of God group; but I reserve the right to despise the governments of all other Church of God groups.  sadly, that idea is so common in the scattered church today. 

Obviously though, we must be careful with this because we might go to a certain church group who may demand our unquestioning adherence to their church government.  There is a big difference between despising them, and respectfully saying, "I don’t think so!"

The ninth Christian job function function is a really interesting one: Evangelist

I don’t know about you; but I always thought, going back in time, that we had Herbert Armstrong, who said that he was an apostle.  (Whether he was or not, I am still not totally sure).  Directly underneath him were a group of men who were called "evangelists."  This was looked upon as the second most highly ranking ministerial position.  But what does God’s Word say?

The Greek noun is euaggelistes (Strong’s 2099).  It is only mentioned three times in the KJV New Testament – always as evangelist.  Its extended meanings are: A bringer of good tidings or a herald of salvation.

The Greek noun stems from two Greek words ‘eu’ and ‘aggelos’ (Strong’s 2095 and 32).  Put together, these two words basically mean a good messenger.

The word ‘Eu’ means well, well done, or good.  It can mean acting well or acting good.  Not really acting; but rather doing good things.   It can also mean to be well off, to fare well or to prosper; but not in sense of being an overpaid, high ranking minister, which is sometimes the case.

The word ‘Aggelos’ usually refers in the scriptures to one of God’s holy angels.  It is translated 179 times as angel and 7 times as messenger – sometimes human, sometimes angelic.

The extended Greek meaning of aggelos is an envoy or one who is sent – especially one who is sent from God to execute His purpose and to make His purpose known to men.  A person who is a messenger from God is, of course, subject to God the Father and Jesus Christ.  he or she is a servant and an attendant to God the Father and Jesus Christ.

An evangelist is not a high ministerial rank!  An evangelist is not an overpaid high ranking minister who lives in an expensive home, drives an expensive car, wears expensive clothes, travels first-class, dines in expensive restaurants, and sits every day in a lavish office – all paid for out of God’s tithe money; but who occasionally graces congregations with his presence and his eloquent speech.  That is the way that we have looked at an evangelist in the past.  This is not the truly scriptural view of a true evangelist.

A true evangelist may almost be compared with a human angel.  But even an angel is a worker, a servant of God and also of His people.  Likewise, a true evangelist is a worker and a servant!  He gets out there and spends his life travelling around, visiting and serving the brethren and prospective members, taking God’s gospel – the good news of the Kingdom of God – to them.

The apostle Paul was a fine example of a true evangelist.  He literally spent his life getting out there, travelling around the Mediterranean area to do those things.  Philip was another one.  When I ask myself, "In recent days, who would be a good example of an evangelist?" I always think of Gerald Waterhouse.  He was dedicated and he was excited about serving God and serving the brethren in these ways.  So was Herbert Armstrong. 

The tenth and the eleventh Christian job functions are what I call Linguists and Interpreters

In I Corinthians 12, what I refer to as a linguist is expressed as church members (not necessarily ministers) who have the God-given ability to speak with tongues, and also that can speak and understand varieties of tongues.  You don’t need to turn back there; but verse 28 uses the phrase "diversities (NKJV: varieties) of tongues" and verse 30 uses the phrase "speak with tongues."

Diversities of tongues in verse 28 is translated from two Greek words: genos (Strong's 1085) and glossa (Strong's 1100).’ 

In verse 30, speak with tongues is translated from two Greek words: ‘me’ (Strong’s 3361) and glossa (Strong's 1100).

Me-glossa gives the idea of  "neither language" with the concept that there is no barrier between languages – no barrier between the speaker and the listener,  whether the speaker is speaking Italian, French or whatever, the listener knows exactly what he is saying in his own language.

Genos-glossa gives the idea of speaking a different language like a native – like one of the family.  That is the genos part of it.

As well as those who speak in foreign languages, there are also the interpreters that they had in those days of the early church.  Because of all of the scattered linguistic groups, the apostle Paul might have gone into an area where the people didn’t speak his language.  There are indications in I Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 where a speaker might give a couple of phrases in his own language; then another member might follow up by repeating what the speaker said – only in the local language and dialect.

In our day, many of us have seen this kind of thing at Feast sites.  If you go to an Italian Feast site, for instance, you would have an interpreter translating the message from the Italian language into English, and you would be able to hear it through earphones so that you would be able to understand what is being said.

The Greek word for interpreters is diermeneuo (Strong’s 1329).  As well as translating into one's native language, it can also mean to unfold the meaning of what has been said, to explain and to expound.

Again, the twin jobs of speaking in foreign languages and the interpretation of foreign languages are usually joined into one job in our day.  We had a good friend, the late Erwin Santaca, who was born in Croatia but lived in Montreal.  He was multi lingual and, for many years, served at the Feast, looking after the French brethren.  Then we had another lady, Anna Boyer, who lives in Normandy, France, and did that same job. 

We should be thankful for those talents and those brethren who have been given it.  It is quite a big job that they do.  Whenever I have spoken at a Feast site where they have an interpreter, I had to have my notes ready a couple of days in advance so that he/she could read through them ahead of time, prepare his/her  translation so that, as I spoke in English, she could give it in French. 

Also, let us not forget those brethren who serve the hearing-impaired brethren through the wonderful gift of sign-language.  What a fantastic gift of God that is!

So that’s it for the eleven areas of Christian service as listed in in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.

I would like to start winding down now with a couple of concluding scriptures:

John 14:2:
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

The Greek word for place is topos which can also mean a room (perhaps in one of those mansions) or an opportunity for service.

3:  And if I go and prepare a place (topos) for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

So Jesus said that in His Father’s house are "many mansions" and "places."  As we understand it, this means many offices, many work opportunities, many job functions for the World Tomorrow.

Jesus promised here that, when He returned to heaven, He would spend part of His time there matching His disciples (and us) with job functions that are going to be most suitable for us individually in the World Tomorrow. 

This strongly indicates that He is planning on keeping us very busy in the World Tomorrow.  But He wants us to keep busy in the world and church today, as well!  

There is an old saying that says "Idle hands are the devil’s tools" or "the devil’s playthings."  There is probably some truth in that saying.  But Jesus wants us to be busy and He wants us to stay busy. 

But He doesn’t want us to be square pegs in round holes.  He doesn’t expect us to serve in ways that are not right for us individually; but rather in ways that are relative to the gifts that He has given us.  Yes, He wants us to be busy, and He wants us to be active.  

If He and His Father did not want every one of us to get active in our job-functions (some of them that we have listed today; but there are probably others that could be added to those lists), why would they devote so much valuable space in their written Word to the topic of these gifts and tasks designed for various members of the Body of Jesus Christ.

Again, God doesn’t expect us to serve in ways that are not right for us; but rather in ways relative to the gifts that He has given us.

Our Elder Brother wants us – yes, us spiritual Israelites – to get stuck in; just like our physical Israelite pioneer forefathers who rolled up their sleeves to participate in the human side of the fulfillment of the physical aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant.

He wants us to seek to find out what our gifts are – what our individual functions are within His church, His Body – and to get busy doing them:

James 1:
22:  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23:  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25:  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

So then, whatever your function is within the Body of Christ, He wants you to seek for it, to find out what it is, to get stuck in, and do it!