Those two verses are part of a sentence, so let’s read the complete sentence to get a sense of the context. Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in 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 fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

The Lord has lovingly equipped the church to function for the benefit of those in it, and to bring honor to Himself. In these verses, we learn of five different ‘gifts’ that were given to the church, and the purpose of those gifts. (There are more gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12.) These gifts are not local in nature, but are given for the “edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST.” So, if one has been given the gift of pastor, he takes that gift with him wherever he goes, and uses it as the Lord gives opportunity. The same is true of all the gifts.

Who has a gift, or gifts, from the Lord? EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE BODY OF CHRIST HAS AT LEAST ONE GIFT. Ephesians 4:7 tells us, “But unto EVERY ONE OF US is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Let’s compare that with Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” This simply means that when the Lord has given us a gift to enable us to edify the body of Christ, He never takes that gift away. Of course, if we live a life of disobedience or shame, the Lord may see fit to stop using us, but once we have repented, the Lord may put us right back into service!

We read in 1 Peter 4:10, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” What a responsibility! What a privilege! Even as every single part of the human body is important and plays a particular role, so every member of the body of Christ (the church) is important and plays a particular role. Ephesians 4:12 tells us that our gift(s) are for the perfecting (maturing) of the saints; the work of the ministry (so that we might serve on another); and the edifying (building up, strengthening) of the body of Christ.

When we are BORN AGAIN, we are given a new life and become “babes in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:1). We read in Hebrews 6:1 that the Lord wants us to “press on to maturity.” (NASB) He wants us to grow up! We read in 1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” A new baby can only drink milk. That is good and right. Milk is pre-digested, easy to swallow, and is nutritious. In fact, most of us will drink milk for the rest of our lives. However, as we grow older, milk is not enough, in itself. We need MEAT. Paul was frustrated with the believers in Corinth. For as long as they had been saved, they should have been eating ‘meat’, but Paul said to them in 1 Corinthians 3:2, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” A newborn in Christ, needs to be gently fed milk. We ‘digest’ it for them by explaining the Word to them in simplistic terms. However, as we grow, we should be able to eat meat, where we are responsible to study and meditate upon God’s Word and digest it ourselves as led of the Spirit. It’s only as we become mature in the Lord, with a proper understanding of His Word and ways, that we are able to discern truth and not be “carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness” (verse 14). The purpose of the gifts of God is to help fellow believers ‘grow up’ in the Lord’s things, to help them become “perfect”, or mature Christians. When the body of Christ ministers to itself by the gifts the Lord has given, we are able to “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (verse 15 NASB) (240.6)