Vs. 10 "he that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.
The same Jesus which ascended from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9), is one with him who descended into Hades to lead captivity, captive. He ascended up above all the starry and visible heavens, so as He might fill all things, or give to His church all things Necessary for its edification.
Our Lord said, "He that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matt. 23:12), and so it was with the Son of God; He became the Son of man. He first descended that He might ascend, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, that he might be exalted, and sit at the right hand of God (Phil. 2:8, Acts 2:23). Thus it is the route to exaltation is through the valley of Humiliation. As the paradoxical as it may sound, yet it is fact, the further we descend the greater will be our ascension.
Vs. 11 "and He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."
We learned in Vs. 7 that "unto everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" the gift of grace referred to in this text is the granting of ability to the various members of the church. As all members of a human body are interdependent, so it is with the body of Christ, i.e. the church, every member is given ability to serve, and a place in the body to serve.
Read: Rom. 12:3 - 8
"And he gave some, apostles..." Some of the first century Churches were blessed with apostles. Apostle, in the broadest Sense of the word as used in the New Testament means, one sent of God. In the strict sense of the word, it means, one who is especially commissioned of God, such as the original twelve at Jerusalem, And later, Paul on the Damascus road. While Barnabas, and some other men who were immediately associated with some of the especially commissioned apostles, are called "apostles" Acts 14:14, 1st Thess. 2:6, they were not apostles in the same sense as those whom Christ ordained, and peculiarly called unto the office, Those who were immediately called to the office of apostle by Christ, was granted extraordinary power and gifts these special gifts and power was manifested by the many miracles wrought by Them.
"And He gave some prophets" In the infant church the office of apostle was the chief office, and it appears from the order given in Vs, 11, and in 1st Cor. 12:28 where we read, "and God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets…" that the office of Prophet was second only to that of apostles the office of prophet entailed the study of and expounding of Old Testament, scriptures (Acts 15:32), and while the predictive aspect of the prophets office is not as pronounced in the New Testament as in the old Testament; yet, they were used of the Lord to foretell things to come (Acts 11:27 - 29).
"And He gave....some evangelists." Philip, one of the seven Deacons (Acts 6:1 - 6) is called an evangelist (Acts 21:8). Timothy is exhorted by Paul with the words, "...do the work an evangelist" (2nd Tim. 4:5). In each of the three instances where the word is used in the New Testament it has to do with the direct proclamation of the gospel. The office of evangelist in the New Testament times had to do more with preaching to the unconverted, than to established churches. The office is yet in the church, and filled by those commonly known as missionaries. More often than not the missionaries’ work of witnessing is carried on in a one to one manner, as was the case with Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch the Billy Graham type of evangelism is alien to the New Testament, and who work independent of the local church cannot in the New Testament sense be called an evangelist.
"And he gave some... pastors and teachers." Most scholars are agreed that the wording, "pastors and teachers," refer to one person in whom the two functions (pastoring and teaching) are combined. Note the wording, it is not "some pastors and some teachers," but "pastors and teachers," many interpret it to mean, "He gave some teaching pastors." Paul says, a man that bishop should be able to teach 1st Tim. 3:2).
While the God called pastor will be given grace to both shepherd and feed the flock by teaching, it does not mean that all ability to teach in the church is shut up in the pastor. There is a very real sense in which all are teachers, and then there are some whom God gives the ability to teach in greater measure. Thus it is, a man may be a teacher, and not be a pastor, but a man cannot be a pastor without being a teacher.
The pastor’s office has to do more with a particular flock, and calls for settlement with that flock. Thus we see the difference between the office of evangelist and that of pastor, the evangelist work is of such nature that it keeps him on the move, while the pastor’s work demands that he be more stationary.
With the completion of the New Testament cannon, the offices of apostle and prophet were no longer needed, and ceased to exist. The executive power which was vested in the apostolic office is now found in the Lord’s churches, and predictive prophecy came to a close with the writing of the book of revelations. All that we shall ever know about the future is to be found in the New Testament and if any man adds to or deletes from the prophecy of this book, that man God shall add the plagues which are written in this book.
Vs. 12 "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
"For the perfecting of the saints..," The aforementioned Offices were given so as the church would be fully equipped, and qualified to carry out the commission given it by the Head of the church, we are not to conclude that the offices, Or officers mentioned in verse eleven (11) are the only ones which contribute to the "edifying of the body of Christ," The work of building up the church belongs to the entire membership.
It is to be understood, while it is the responsibility of each member in the body to contribute to the effectiveness of the church, the offices mentioned in Vs.11 were given to enhance and further perfect that effectiveness. Each member has been given grace wherein is bestowed a gift for the rendering of service, yet, the public gifts which places one in a leadership position are given so as the membership in general may be better provided for the Rendering of that service.
"For the edifying of the body of Christ," all work and Service rendered should have this end in view, all effort Put forth to build up, or promote the individual is spent in Vain, the fabric of the church is so interwoven that when one member is weakened, the whole fabric diminishes in strength. Thus when we pray for an ailing member, we pray for him as an Individual, and for his improvement, but we should ever have in view as we pray for the individual the over all welfare of the church, knowing that the individual being helped, helps all The members of the body.
"for the edifying of the body of Christ," this is the Obligation of the membership collectively, and there is not a member which does not have something to contribute toward the up building of the church, your contribution may go unnoticed by the great majority of members, even as the widows mite was overlooked by the prominent members of the synagogue, but Christ took special note of the gift, and there is no gift in the church which gets more attention from Christ that any other gift, Christ says, "he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much… (Luke 16:10).