To discover and to display Christ—this is the purpose of all ministry.
This purpose is especially evident in the apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. Someone has called Ephesians “the Rolls Royce of the epistles” because of the succinct way it sets forth the vision, ministry and mission of the church.
Paul did not intend this letter for the Ephesians only, or even as a circular letter to the other churches of his day. Rather, he addresses it to “the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” That includes you and me.
As a missionary inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul foresaw the day when the gospel would spread from generation to generation, from people to people until every people and language group had received the Good News. At least 80 generations after Paul’s missionary journeys, we have the gospel now because faithful men and women passed Paul’s Ephesian message to us.
After setting forth a breathtaking gospel vision in the first three chapters, Paul tells us in chapter 4 how this vision will go forth among believers and into the world—through those called of God as (1) apostles, (2) prophets, (3) evangelists, (4) preachers and (5) teachers.
These are people whom God has given and prepared for special tasks. Using different spiritual gifts, their purpose is to help (1) perfect the saints, (2) to prepare the saints for their own callings (3) the work of ministry, (4) to bring unity of the faith, (5) to bring about a measure of the fullness of Christ, (6) stability and discernment of truth and (7) growth in Christ.
Paul envisions these five kinds of ministers, not as professional workers, but as men and women who know God and help others to know God.
Learning to know God is a process that never ends. It begins on earth and continues through eternity. It is a process of maturity, and Paul sets forth the evidences of mature faith in the fellowship of believers and especially in families between husbands, wives and children.
Paul anticipates future generations who hunger to know God and will gladly hear and receive the Good News. At the same time, he also anticipates opposition. In the end, he reminds us, all opposition, no matter how visible it may appear, comes from an invisible spiritual enemy, and he shows us a strategy by which to effectively combat it.
Paul’s succinct vision and his strategy for ministry and mission that we find in Ephesians is just as valid today as it was 2,000 years ago. It lies at the heart of our own ministry at India Gospel Outreach, at India Bible College and Seminary and all of IGO’s training institutions throughout India.
It is our goal to remain faithful to the vision, ministry and mission that has been faithfully transmitted to us. Each of you who has joined us in faithful prayer and support has also been true to this great work of God that has come down to us.
Let us continue to pray for the new generation now in training at India Bible College and Seminary and elsewhere, and our recent graduates, that God will multiply the effects of their ministry until the gospel has been preached to all people in India and around the world.