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1 Corinthians 12:28-31


Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Sunday Evening Service, March 10, 2013, the year of our Lord.


1 Cor. 12:28:  God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles? Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues?  Do all interpret? Covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet I show to you a more excellent way.”


Firstly Apostles:


The Greek word “Apostolos” means one who is sent forth as a messenger and is fully authorized to represent the name he bears.  The apostle is commonly referred to as “God’s Authority.”  There are three categories:


  1. The Chief Apostle (“first”), the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1).
  2. The Twelve Apostles of the Lamb (Matt. 10: 2-6; Rev. 21:14).
  3. The Many Apostles of the Spirit (Nowhere is it taught that the apostolic ministry would cease; rather, it is needed until the Church is perfected and presented to Jesus her Husband.  We need every gift to the church given by Jesus.)


The following is a list of those named as Apostles in the New Testament:


  1. Barnabas and Paul (Acts 14:4; 14; Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 9: 5-6).
  2. Andronicus and Junus (Romans 16:7).
  3. Titus (11 Cor. 8:23); “messenger” = “Apostolos”).  Whether any enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you; or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers (“Apostolos”) of the churches, and the glory of Christ.  Wherefore show you to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.”
  4. Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25; “messengers” = “Apostolos”)  I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger (“Apostolos), and he that ministered to my wants.”
  5. Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy (1 Thess. 1:1 with 2:6).
  6. James and possibly all four of the brothers of the Lord (1 Cor. 9:5; 15: 5-8; Gal. 1:19).
  7. “All the apostles” (1 Cor. 15: 5-7; 9:5; Rev. 18:20).


The characteristics of the apostolic ministry:


  1. He/she (with the Prophet ministry) is a foundational ministry to the Church (Eph. 2:20).  He/she lays foundational truths (Acts 2:42; Eph. 3: 1-12; Heb. 6: 1-3).  He establishes new works and new assemblies (Acts. 13-20).
  2. He/she has raised up some Timothy’s.
  3. He/she has a specific commission from the Lord Jesus with a specific authority and spiritual endowments to accomplish that ministry.  There are definite “areas” of responsibility to the church at large.  (Rom 11; 13; Gal. 2: 7-10; 11 Cor. 12: 11-12; 1 Cor. 9: 1-2).
  4. He/she has the signs of an apostle; all patience, signs, wonders, mighty deeds.  The ministry and the works that follow are the proof of an apostle.
  5. An Apostle will be a teacher although a teacher may or may not stand in the Office of an Apostle.
  6. There are some false apostles and their end shall be according to their works.


In these verses, the Pastor is not mentioned as in Ephesians 4:11 where the five ministry gifts are known as ascension-gift ministries.  When Jesus ascended, He gave gifts unto men.  He gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.


The five ministries of Eph. 4:11 and the ministries of 1 Cor. 12:28 have been chosen and sent to the Church by the Lord Jesus with His own authority to rule the Church.  To accept or reject the delegate is to accept or reject the One who sent him.  All valid ministries come to the people of God under authority (a local church) and not with the carnal attitude that they are the authority.  Authority is based upon one’s ability to feed and serve the Body of Christ.  It is not a projection of fear or intimidation.  Authority is never enforced, but is recognized.  It is not making people obey, but rather being a true example of submission to divine order that will make them to want to obey.


Secondarily Prophets:


The Hebrew word “REAH’ means “a SEER” (1 Sam. 9:9).  This speaks of seeing a message in the form of a vision or dream.  Another Hebrew word is “Nabhi” and means “one to whom God’s message is secretly revealed and springs forth.”  The Greek word “Prophets” means “one who speaks forth; one who speaks for another; the open proclamation of a divine message.”  A prophet is God’s mouthpiece.  Some other words that relate to the prophet’s function as one of the ministries of Eph. 4:11 are:


Moved  --II Pet. 1:21:  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God speak as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.


Revelation –Rev. 1:1: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, to show to His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”’


If the Lord refers to the Apostle John as “His Servant”, that title is good enough for me. 


To Show or Signify, and Inspiration ---II Tim. 3:16:  “”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”


The Eyes of the Church and God’s point of contact with man.


The Lord spoke to me that the Prophet is the church’s “modem”.


There are many prophets mentioned by name in the New Testament:


  1. The prophets in Antioch (Acts 13:1).
  2. The prophets from Jerusalem (including Agabus) (Acts 11:27).
  3. Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32).
  4. Agabus (Acts 21:10).


The prophet is a continuing ministry in the Church until the fulfillment of the scripture in Eph. 4:13.


“Till we come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a “perfect man” unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”


This scripture is my ministry assignment.



Characteristics of the Ministry of a New Testament Prophet:


  1. A prophet is a foundational ministry with the apostle.
  2. A prophet often works in teams with apostles, evangelists, teachers, and/or other prophets.
  3. A prophet functions in the laying on of hands and prophecy.
  4. A prophet may give a message that is:

(a)   Predictive ---speaking of events in the future.

(b)   Directive ---giving specific directions to specific people.

(c)    Correcting---speaking against sin, rebellion, heresy.

  1. A prophet is a pioneer in some cases to establish churches.
  2. A prophet helps to perfect the Church.
  3. A prophet is one of the most hated and despised ministries because of the word of truth that is in his/her mouth.
  4. A prophet gives divine revelation, exhorts, confirms and counsels.
  5. A prophet could move in various dimensions of geographical scope:

(a)   The scope of a local assembly (local prophet).

(b)   The scope of a local area (area prophet).

(c)    The scope of a nation (prophet to the nation).

(d)   The scope of the nations or the earth (prophet to the nations).


Predictive prophecy is above the level of 1 Cor. 14:3 “He that prophesies speaks to men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”  Anyone who is Spirit-filled can prophesy on that level.  However, prophecy that brings a specific prediction to specific people under a particular circumstance is only spoken by the seasoned ministries, in particular a prophet or an apostle.  Also, it is always to be spoken publicly and by two or three for the confirmation and protection of the one who speaks it and the one who hears it.


Old testament Prophet:


Some have said that the ministry of O.T. prophet was 90% foretelling and 10% forth-telling, while the N.T. prophet is 90% forth-telling and 10% foretelling.  The O. T. prophet often ministered alone whereas the N.T. prophets’ minister as a company or function in two or threes.


The O.T. prophet was used a great deal in guidance (through the Spirit, vision, voice, visitation, word, dreams) because the Holy Spirit was not yet poured out on all flesh.  The N. T. prophet flows in the areas of direction and guidance, but more so as a confirmation of the already known and revealed will of God.


However the Holy Spirit continues to direct prophets by vision, voice visitation, Word, and dreams.  Any prophet who has a vision or dream having to do with the church body will be able to confirm that vision or dream by the foundational truth of the  Word of God.


The O. T. prophets, as well as the Apostles of the Lamb, were used to utter and to write infallible scripture.  The N. T. prophet does not canonize his prophecies.  He builds on the foundational revelation of the written Word of God.


Thirdly teachers:


The Greek word “Didaskalos” means “teacher, master, Rabbi.”  This is the same word used for Jesus in John 3:2  The same came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher (Didaskalos) come from God; for no man can do these miracles that You do except God be with Him.”


This ministry gift is more than just explaining the scripture in a bible class.  The teacher builds upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets in order to establish the saints and give them roots in God.  This ministry is not just one full of information; rather, he teaches with a strong anointing and with authority (like Jesus).  The Holy Spirit demonstrates what he teaches.


1 Ti. 2:7:  Whereto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not ;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”


22 Ti. 2:11:  Whereto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”


Those who are named as teachers:


  1. Jesus – John 3:2
  2. “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene and Manaen, which had been brought up with  Herod and Saul.  They ministered to the Lord and fasted.  The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereto I have called them.
  3. Paul – Acts 11:26; 18; 11; 20:20, etc.
  4. Paul and Barnabas – Acts 15:35; 18:11;


Jesus’ commission to the Disciples:


Mt. 28: 18-20:  and Jesus came and spoke to them saying, all power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.  Go you therefore, and teach (disciple) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching (Didasko) them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.  Amen.


We covered “Workers of Miracles” and Gifts of Healings last week with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.


 Ministry of Helps:


This means “a laying hold of so as to support; an exchange a help or support.”  It is here mentioned as one of the ministries of the local church, especially help minister to the weak and needy. (1 Th. 5:14; Acts 20:35).  Ministry of Helps can refer to the ministry of Deacons while the germ “governments” can refer to the ministry of Elders.




The Greek word in 1 Cor. 12:28 is “Kubernesis” and means “to guide’ to govern, steer, or pilot; those who act as guides in a local church.”  We could compare the word “Kubernetes” rendered as “master” in Acts 17:11; and as “shipmaster” in Rev. 18:17.


The Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher minister the rule of God in the Church.  The gifts of Jesus to perfect, equip, and mature the Church unto full stature.  Each of these is a function of the ministry of Jesus.


Jesus the Apostle – Governs (Heb. 3:1)

Jesus the Prophet – Guides (John 4:19)

Jesus the Evangelist – Gathers (Luke 4:18)

Jesus the Pastor – Guards (John 10:11)

Jesus the Teacher – Grounds (John 3:2)


Next week – Tongues


Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

Scripture from K.J.V.; I entered into the labors of Kelly Varner and J. L. Dutton, the Tongue of the Learned.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Kelly Varner or J. L. Dutton.

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