FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY AND PAUL'S EXAMPLE
There are four basic standards that should accompany and validate any individual claiming a five-fold call on their life. First, God has called them to that office. Second, other leaders see and confirm the calling on their life. Third, the community they are a part of recognizes and confirms their calling. Fourth, apostolic leaders verify and validate their ministry and calling. Let's look at Paul's life and see how this played out for him.
HAS GOD CALLED YOU?
Ephesians 4:11, 'And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,'
Acts 9:3-6, 'Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.'
Here, we see clearly that it is the Lord (He) who gives these offices to the Church (His bride) to help edify, mature, and prepare her for His return. Furthermore, that Paul has an individual experience with God, and that is then confirmed by Ananias coming and telling him of the call on his life.
DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE IT?
Acts 9:26-27, 'And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.'
Acts 11:25-26, 'So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.'
An established leader (Barnabas) sees what is on Paul's life and brings him before leadership, and then goes and brings him into healthy community in Antioch. He is confirming the call that Paul knew he received on the Damascus Road.
DOES YOUR COMMUNITY EMBRACE IT?
Acts 13:1-3, 'Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.'
Here Paul and Barnabas, are recognized by the leaders in their local community and sent out as apostles to the body of Christ.
DO APOSTOLIC LEADERS ENDORSE IT?
Galatians 2:9-10, 'and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.'
While Paul learned for many years alone, he was not going to preach a gospel that wasn't verified by those who had proven themselves trustworthy in the Gospel. He presents his ministry and calling before the pillars of Jerusalem and is received and blessed.
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