Equipping vs. Edifying vs. Intimacy?
Wednesday Afternoon, April 17, 2002
Can you help me out here? Someone said to me: The “five-fold” is sent to “equip” the saints so that they can do the “work” and this work IS the “edification” of the body of Christ. Ok, so, now we are left with another puzzle. What is the essential difference between edification and equipping? Isn’t all edification some sort of equipping? Isn’t all equipping some form of edification? What would the distinction in function here really be? Also, what is the work that the saints do after they have been equipped that is so different from the work that the five-fold do in equipping them?
And regarding intimacy, do the five-fold have some sort of level of intimacy with the Lord, like being one of the “three” that get to go up on the mountain with Jesus, or revelation or anointing that allows them to do some function that is denied to the rest of us? Are the five-fold those closest to Jesus’ heart or something, that they know what and how He wants to build better than we can?
Hi. “Works of service”… that is what the five-“fold” (or four-“fold”—if “kai” is translated as shepherd/teacher, rather than shepherd, teacher) is supposed to “equip” the Saints to do. The word is a medical term that describes the setting of a broken bone or the placing of a dislocated part in the right place. This includes teaching saints to “build one another up” (“edify”), but certainly isn’t limited to this. The “five” or “four” Gifts in Ephesians 4 are supernaturally Enabled with Insights that they did not “study” or “aspire” to, but were Given to them. Why? According to Ephesians 4, to help everyone else to function in the other 4000 (or so) Gifts that Jesus has, Jesus is, and Jesus has bestowed upon Himself (His Body). The Ephesians 4 Gifts IMPART—so that others are “no longer infants tossed to and fro” and eight or so other essential things in that passage. These Gifts enable the other 4000 Gifts, as in “fitting together into the proper place for strength and functionality”—“equip”—“katartidzo.” These, Biblically, train the Saints to express the other 4000 Gifts of Jesus, and learn how to FIT together with the other Saints while expressing those Gifts. Thus, the “parachurch” (“I have a gift, I have a gift!”) organizations will no longer be necessary—when the Ephesians 4 Gifts are doing what they are supposed to be doing. ALL the GIFTS will “fit” and build up (rather than tear down and divide) in the local corporate daily life (the “Church”)—rather than co-exist in some loosey-goosey, unBiblical fashion that is so common (and divided and unaccountable and ambitious) today.
Any legitimate Gifts of Ephesians 4 will know things others cannot know naturally, SEE things others cannot usually see (without being “equipped” into this Seeing), and DO things others cannot do without this “Equipping.” Yet, these are not “earned” by “intimacy” or “maturity.” These are Grace Gifts—“unmerited favor” by definition, given when “He ascended on High and gave Gifts” to men. And such a person is allowed the Privilege of Seeing—so they can spend their lives helping others to see, and to “fit” into the place of making a difference in the Church and the world, “no longer infants” who only make demands, and take, take, take. IF they’ll respond and grow. See it yet?
Much as you may never play the piano and SEE the notes as a Chopin might—virtually from birth—you can still learn to play piano, right? There is, of course, “overlap” between Gift and having been “equipped” or “trained” or having received impartation from those with Ephesians 4 Gifts, whether by the laying on of hands, or by “the things you’ve seen and heard in me.” As an example from Ephesians 4 itself: You may not have a “Gift” of “Good News Telling”—but may, of course, “do the work of a Good News Teller” and “always be ready to give a reason for the Hope that lies within you.” You may not be SUPERNaturally enabled (as Ephesians 4) in shepherding and teaching, but “You ALL ought to be teachers by now!” and must “Bear one another’s burdens, and SO fulfill the Law of the Anointing and the Anointed One, the Christ.” Many will DO what they are Equipped to do, rather than supernaturally Gifted to do. And the results will often be “similar” in some ways. I can learn a “cross-over dribble” in basketball, but Michael Jordan didn’t have to “learn” it. It was the “air” he breathed. : ) The same is true for Gifts that matter, the parts of Jesus “given to men” in His Body. The Ephesians 4 guys did not learn stuff—it is as natural to them as the air they breathe. But that doesn’t mean a lick about how intimate they are with Jesus, or how pleased He is with them.
Will someone with an Ephesians 4 Gift automatically have more intimacy with Jesus than someone with some of the other 4000 Gifts of Jesus? NO WAY. That is about relationship, not function, and is available to ALL.
Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, admiring, listening, learning, and loving may not have had near the “Gifts” that Martha had (who knows?), but we know what Jesus thought about that. And for forty years, there were a bunch of guys in the wilderness who saw miracles every day (quail and bread from heaven, clothing never wearing out, water from rocks, a pillar of fire in the sky to lead them, etc.)—who God was angry with! (1Cor. 10, etc.). Did they have a great relationship with God, just because they saw miracles constantly? NO WAY!
Gifts, or even miracles from God are no proof of God being pleased with a man or a woman, or a people. GOD just had bigger Plans, and they were part of them, even though He was displeased with them. Intimacy is very different than Gift. Think about it. If you had three children, and one was very, very talented in science or sports, but they were selfish and snotty, or arrogant or distant to you, their mother, or to their brother and sister, would you feel “intimate” with that child just because they had some “talent” that the others didn’t have? Of course not. “GIFTS” are very external compared to Intimacy with Father. ANYONE can have Father’s ear and heart, regardless of what their Gift or assigned role may be. And which is better or more important??! I submit that Intimacy is FAR superior to what “Gift” a person has, Ephesians 4, or any of the other 4000 parts of Jesus.
For His Glory, Alone,