Before we begin our study on Apostleship it is essential that we establish the existence of Apostles other than "the twelve". This is because many would deny the truth of Apostleship in our time. Paul and Barnabas are referred to as Apostles (Acts 14:14), Andronicus and Junia are referred to as being "of note among the Apostles" (Rom 16:7). James the Lord's brother is numbered among the Apostles in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:19). Suffice to say, Apostleship was not reserved for only the original twelve whom Jesus called during His earthly ministry.
"Jesus is the same yesterday today and for ever" and He is still calling Apostles to make His glory and purpose known to His people.
The Word Apostle means "messenger" or "sent one". For there to be a "messenger" there must be a "message" of Divine importance to be sent. It would also seem that different Apostles may have different messages which, when combined establish an even greater whole. Consider:
The Apostle is an "Ambassador for Christ", called, instructed, commissioned and sent by the Lord to make His will known to His Saints. Although we think of an Apostle in terms of a dynamic supernatural ministry, the essential aspect of Apostleship is that it is "A steward of the Mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1). Not all Apostles are like Paul and Peter, there is also James and Thomas. Not as "dynamic" but Apostles just the same.
Because the Church has allowed the Apostolic ministry to disappear it has lost sight of the Eternal Purpose of God. This is because the Spirit reveals "The Mystery of Christ" to His Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 3:4-5).
Apostleship is given to reveal the full richness of the Holy Spirit and His work in us to the Church. Apostleship will display aspects of all the other ministries in one. It will express the aspect of Prophecy understanding the "Divine word". It will Teach having "Divine wisdom". It will Shepherd the Saints into the Divine purpose. It will display the nature of the Evangelist moving in "Power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit" in the war against Sin.
Apostles are specially chosen by the Lord and greatly laboured over. Much refining is needed until the chosen vessel can hold the precious message of the Divine Purpose. An Apostle then becomes a source of revelation to the Body, making known to the Saints the glorious mysteries of Christ (Ephesians 3:5).
The signs of Apostleship are Divine power, Divine holiness, Divine wisdom and Divine love. Apostleship is given to "demonstrate the Spirit and power so that (our) faith should be based on God's power and not on man's wisdom" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). It exhibits all aspects of Jesus' own ministry (John 14:12).
Because understanding of the Divine Purpose is given to them, Apostles are well suited to discipling Christians to maturity. They tend to pioneer the way for others to follow, forging ahead into the glorious possibilities that the Purpose of God opens for His people (1 Corinthians 11:1) and creating an opening for others to work in.
Apostleship is given by the Lord to fit all the "parts of the Body" together into a unified "whole". By revelation Jesus shows the Apostle the "big picture" of the Church and His purpose for it. The Apostle then builds the Church (Ephesians 2:20), according to the revelation given by the Lord, just as Moses built the tabernacle according to the pattern that was revealed to him (Exodus Chapter 24-31).
The Apostolic "vision" is that in Christ we are the Children of God and "Joint Heirs with Jesus" (John 1:12, Romans 8:16-17, Romans 8:28-30). Apostolic ministry is to prepare the Saints for their full inheritance as the Sons of God (Ephesians 4:11-16) in the Eternal Kingdom.
Apostleship is humble, knowing well that it has no glory in itself. Just as a diamond can only reflect the light that falls on it, Apostleship can only reveal the glory of the Holy Spirit. Just like a diamond the Apostle must be "cut" and "polished" by the Holy Spirit before he can be used by the Lord. He will be a man who knows the "fellowship of Christ's sufferings" in his own life. There is no room for pride because "God resists the proud" (James 4:6).
Apostleship is obedient, because it has the mind of Christ, who was obedient even to death (Philippians 2:5-8). Apostleship always seeks the Lord's will and never its own.
The seal of Apostleship is mature Christians soundly established in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:2; Ephesians 4:12-13), fulfilling the ministry to which the Lord called them. Apostleship is given to release all the saints into their full potential as God's children.
Apostleship is never independent. Apostles should first show the unity of the Spirit and the bond of love (Ephesians 4:3). Safe revelation comes from the mouths of two or more witnesses. For this reason church government is expressed in all five ministries. The Apostle is not the sole expression of Divine authority.
The key to Apostleship is this: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do ... the Son does likewise" (John 5:19-20). Just as Jesus followed the lead of the Father and made him known to the disciples, so Apostleship must follow the lead of the Spirit and makes him known to the Body.
Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.