Jesus Christ has once and for all, for eternity, leveled the playing field. Believers are ALL called to be kings and priests of the Most High God-walk in Whose you are and who you are. (See Galatians 3:28 and Revelation 5:10)
It is interesting to me how humanity, I am currently a History teacher for sophomores in high school, has throughout history needed to set up a social hierarchy. My students could readily list the structure in the Old Testament after the law was given within the Jewish religion. They could even see it in the New Testament as Jesus ministered. What is so interesting is how we see it today in His church, a hierarchy that man has set up. I have done this myself. This is nothing new as the mother of James and John had asked for her sons to sit at either side of Jesus (Matthew 20:20-28). Jesus makes a statement to her that is important. He says:
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NKJV)
We, as humans, have a tendency to create a hierarchy and Jesus is telling us our hierarchy doesn’t fit in His kingdom. I think everyone may have heard and may understand that to be a leader one must be a servant-otherwise known as a servant leader.
Yet, what I have seen happen in the Body of Christ is a lifting up of the five fold ministers to a position, at times, that is above or better than the rest of the body of Christ. This is unhealthy and is not what God has called the five fold ministry to. In Ephesians 5, God outlines the true function He gave the five fold ministers:
Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND 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, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:8, 11-16 NASB)
As you can see from the above scripture, Jesus gave gifts to His church. These gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They are to:
Equip the saints for the work of service
To build up the body of Christ
These two things need to be done until we all attain:
Unity of the faith
Knowledge of the Son of God
Which will then show:
Measure of stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ
This results in:
Not being tossed to and fro, withstanding trickery
The ability to speak truth in love, the growing up in Christ so that the body is whole and has the ability to walk in love-agape love
Nowhere in the above scripture does it state that the five fold ministers are at higher level than the rest of the body, in fact in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul states that the unseen parts of the body hold more honor and yes the five fold ministers are a part of the body of Christ. Paul has, throughout his writing (because he penned most of the New Testament through the Holy Spirit), effectively obliterated the idea that one member of the body is better than the other. There is just no place for hierarchy in the body of Christ. Christ effectively leveled the playing field at the Cross.
I sense the Lord wanting to pull out this core value, this idea, that has placed a human hierarchy on the Body of Christ that Jesus never intended. The five fold ministers are gifts to His church. This does not make them the only kings and priests to God. It is important for the body of Christ to become fully mature by understanding the grace gift Jesus died to give, which in turn causes you to be able to eat the meat of the Word. God desires to mature His body and I desire that for myself and others. Maturity in the book of Hebrews states we will no longer drink milk but eat solid food. And in Ephesians above we are to mature or grow up in all aspects of Christ. We come to a point of maturity when we realize and understand that Christ did it all, everything. We then can see everything rests on the fact that we can do nothing outside of Him because that would be considered a dead work (Hebrews 5-6). We are mature when we believe in our hearts and minds that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and because of that we are able to fully acknowledge through this grace gift flows the agape love that we are called to walk in. This means as believers in Jesus Christ:
We can never attain a greater level in and of ourselves, in our own acts of obedience.
We are already called kings and priests by God.
We in no way need to attain a certain level because Christ already seated us there in Heavenly places.
Where we are seated was nor ever will be contingent upon what we do or don’t do but in His righteousness and grace.
(See Galatians 3:2-4:7; Ephesians 2; 1 John 4:17; Revelation 5:10)
This understanding, this change of thinking (repentance) brings the Fathers love to Christ’s body and to the world that is desperately waiting for that true unconditional love from heaven, the Father’s love that will bring true repentance and salvation to this world.