Wednesday, 25 September 2019

The Ministry of an Apostle

Scripture: Ephesians 4 v 11 - 15: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  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: 
14  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;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"

The original 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ included Judas Iscariot, and after his suicide, the remaining 11 drew straws to appoint Matthias to fill his place.  Acts 1 v 25 -26: "That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

The interesting thing about Matthias is that he is never heard from again!  But it underlines a point that the Lord Jesus is making.....He alone appoints Apostles, it is never an office that can be decided by men or oneself.

An Apostle is a "sent one" i.e. one who is sent by God and chosen before the foundation of the world.  Ephesians 1 v 1 and 4: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:  4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"

In fact we are all chosen to serve God in whatever capacity He chooses for us, but we need to discover our spiritual talent and use it for His Kingdom.  We must grow past the place where only ordained ministers are spiritually endowed.

An Apostle is one who knows Jesus Christ and has unshakable faith in Him.  Jesus was the Great Apostle and those He appoints will be just like Him, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, bringing revelations to the Church.  They must be able to fulfil all the callings of God - evangelist, prophet, pastor, teacher whenever needed.

They must live a life above reproach and be ready to deal with error in the churches they visit.  They are church planters and have oversight of all the churches they have started.  They are responsible for the spiritual health of the members.

In Paul's letters he is seen correcting the mistakes churches get themselves into.  He told the Corinthians that it was good they had the gift of tongues but that the whole meeting should not exclusively be in tongues because new members would think they are mad.  The meeting should have proper structure and tongues should be allowed three times as long as there was one present who had the gift of interpreting tongues so that all would be edified.  

He told the Galatians that they were accursed because they had left their spiritual life in Christ to return to the Jewish law by keeping Sabbaths and Feasts, circumcision, and other traditions.  He explained fully that they had departed from truth back into error.  Galatians 2 v 14 - 16: "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
15  We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

There are many thousands of Christians who need this rebuke today who have departed from the true gospel back to following the Jewish law.  

An Apostle has thorough knowledge of the whole Bible. He or she is able to strengthen the Church through ministry of the Word and should also be flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Paul had extraordinary abilities to be able to discern and judge improper conduct in far off places.  1 Corinthians 5 v 3: "For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed."

God knew His people, both Jews and Christians would need helpers with supernatural powers to guide them through the minefield of sin on this planet.  He sent people like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, the Apostles, and Jesus Himself to deliver us and lead us back to safety.  These were hand-picked and anointed with godly power to achieve what they were sent to do.

As the end of this world system under Antichrist draws to a close the Lord will raise up many in the full power of the Holy Spirit to fuel the last world revival in which half the people alive today will be saved.  God will pour out the Holy Spirit on all flesh and we will see mighty miracles of healing, deliverance and conversion.  There will be Apostles working among us, but beware of false apostles who the enemy will send in to bring disruption and confusion.  He knows he has just a short time before he is cast into the abyss and he will work at furious speed to deceive whoever he can.

There are false prophets and false apostles, wolves in sheep's clothing, already sowing false teachings in the churches.  Most people cannot believe that these famous, wealthy, leaders are not what they seem.  Check everything with Jesus and ask Him to show you who are His and who are not.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus and all those who have been a great blessing to the Church since the beginning.  Pour out the Holy Spirit upon us and upon those appointed to be Apostles, and let the wolves in sheep's clothing be revealed.  We are longing for the sound of the trumpet to start the revival, the heavenly rain filled with spiritual blessings, which will be the final great harvest.  In Jesus' name. Amen.