The Bible uses the metaphor of building a temple for His habitation made up of His people as stones.
1 Pet. 2:4-5 (NIV) 4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 3:16 (NIV) 16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
Jesus gave 5 Gifts (often called offices) to the Church that He uses to place the stones into a temple for His habitation. You could call them masons. The Father provides the blueprint that the stones are being built into.
Eph. 4:11-13 (NIV) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The purpose of the 5 offices according to this passage is to bring about 5 goals. They are: Prepare God’s people for service (Train), Build up (Encourage), Unity in the faith (Unity), Knowledge of Jesus (Revelation), and become mature (Maturity).
The purpose of the 5 gifts is to accomplish these 5 goals! Each of the 5 gifts is to lead in one of the 5 goals!
The key is the word lead. Every gift will help out in all areas. But the gifts are to work together as a team deferring to one another in the area of anointing that Jesus as the head has given them. Listed below is a builder’s analogy for each gift.
Apostle – Hammer – Lead in Maturity
“Chips away at each stone’s rough and hard places. Rough Shaping.”
Prophet – Plumb – Lead in Revelation
“Measures the straightness and uprightness of the stones vertical placement.”
Evangelist – Trowel – Lead in Unity
“Spreads message of love between all stones cementing them together.”
Pastor – Level – Lead in Encourage
“Ensures stones are horizontally level with each other and rightly related.”
Teacher – Chisel – Lead in Train
“Perfects the details of each stone.”
When the building has little righteousness there is need of a prophet, when it has little truth there is need of the teacher, when there is little compassion there is need of a pastor, when there is little new children there is need of an evangelist, and when there is little maturity there is need of an apostle.