“Abba Father” Not ‘Daddy God’

Believers today are frequently referring to God as “Papa” and “daddy” or “daddy God.” Every time I hear someone do that or read something they wrote on Facebook or in a blog that includes a reference to “daddy God” my spirit cringes. There is just something wrong with this “familiar” reference to God, our Heavenly Father.

Yes, I know that Jesus refers to His Heavenly Father as “Abba.” We see this in Mark 14:36 “And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

And, I understand that if we translate this Aramaic word it is essentially equivalent to the English word “Daddy.” But, in the context of Jesus’ Words there is a respect and reverence for His Heavenly Father in the situation that is simply not conveyed by the English word ‘daddy’ and its regular use today. A literal translation of a word does not always correctly represent the full meaning and intention in a different time and a different culture.

We see the same reference to “Abba” in Paul’s writings

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Here Paul has chosen the word “Abba” which is an informal Aramaic term for Father that conveys a sense of intimacy. But, does the English terms “Daddy” or “Papa” convey the same sense of intimacy today? In this verse the context of the word ‘Abba’ conveys the sense of tenderness, dependence, and a relationship free of fear or anxiety.

Galatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Here it is a term of endearment, used by young children to speak to their earthly fathers. The word ‘Abba’ in Hebrew society contained a deep sense of respect and a recognition of family authority that the word “daddy” no longer conveys today. We live in a different time and a different culture than the one represented in the pages of the New Testament.

So, the word ‘Abba’ is a term that doesn’t actually mean “Daddy,” the way a lot of people will tell you and the way it is used today by many. You simply can’t take a Bible word out of its cultural and societal context and translate it into a current word and still manage to translate the full meaning behind the word in its original context.

Bible words are found in a social context. And, they were used in a cultural context. In the case of “Abba,” Jewish people living in that historical time and place would never have dreamed of using such a casual English term like ‘daddy’ as a means of parental address. This would be the case in both the relationship with their natural father as well as their Heavenly Father. It would have been the height of disrespect. ‘Abba’ represented so much more than the word ‘daddy’ does today.

Our term “daddy” in our cultural context lacks the sense of respect and reverence that a person in Biblical days using the word “Abba” would be sensing and feeling. Our English word ‘daddy’ is too informal and does not represent the biblical understanding of ‘Abba’ properly.

Biblically, while ‘Abba’ does connote a level of family intimacy, it sends up more of the idea that “my dad can beat up your dad,” and that our Heavenly Father is not caught off guard or pushed around by anything that seems too big or oversized for us, no matter what it is we are facing in life. Again, ‘Abba’ is a term representing His power, His position, His ability, His authority, and our respect for His constant and wonderful care. And in our culture today, generally the word ‘daddy’ does not bring to mind the respect, reverence and authority that the original word ‘Abba’ did for the early believers. “Daddy’ is simply too familiar and somewhat disrespectful when referring to our Heavenly Father.

So, my point, is that ‘Abba’ is a term that does not actually mean “Daddy,” the way a lot of people will tell you. “Daddy” is simply too casual a word to use in the context of referring to “Abba” as understood biblically. Word for word replacement – Aramaic to English – simply does not do justice to the meaning and context of the original word.

So, as you may have figured out by now, you will not hear me refer to my Heavenly Father as “Daddy.” With deep respect and awe I call Him “Abba Father.”

The Church As It Will Be – Wow!

When we look at when the Church was first introduced to the world we see the following…

Acts 2:42-47 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

If the world is looking for a solid description of the Church, here it is. But instead of just listening to the description, let’s imagine what it was really like there in those first days. Let’s imagine that you are on assignment as a beat writer for the Jerusalem Times with the task of observing and reporting about this new community of people who are beginning to create significant buzz around the city. 

Three thousand people have come to faith in one day, (Acts 2:41) and more are being added daily (Acts 2:47). People are meeting every single day – not just one day a week – in the temple and in their homes. They are selling their stuff and sharing the profits.

These people are shaking things up and rocking the status quo.

Now imagine you have a friend who is a part of this new community. You ask him to meet you in the local cafe just to get the scoop. After catching up on small talk and niceties, you get right at it.

“What in the world has happened to you?”

“Well, I am hanging out with a new group of friends.”

“Where?”

“Anywhere really. It is not really a place but a group of people.”

“What is not a place?”

“The Church. Isn’t that what you are asking me about?”

“Church? What’s church? I have never heard of that before.”

“Well, it’s a community of people who, by God’s kindness, have seen Jesus and gather together to love one another and follow in His steps.”

“Jesus? Isn’t that the guy whom everyone loved but the religious establishment hated? And isn’t He dead? Look, I got sent over here to interview you because word on the street is that something very different – very alive – is happening with you people. And again, what is a church?”

At this point, your friend’s explanation will not include any mention of a denomination, since those do not even exist yet.

“Well, I guess you could say it’s called the First Church of …Ever!” 

It is also doubtful he will offer up a specific address or location. After all, everyone knows where the southern steps of the temple are and beyond that, the Church is meeting all over the community. “Walk down any street in Jerusalem, take a left, and then turn…well, anywhere.”

And though Peter did stand up and do the talking on the Day of Pentecost, your friend will not mention a specific individual as the leader. There is a broad leadership in the movement led by eleven men, original followers of this said-to-be-dead Jesus guy. That’s a whole mess of chiefs, except that they are all letting the personality fall on one Chief – Christ Himself. 

Their church then would not be described using the same adjectives as most people who attend churches today. You ask your friend to describe what is going on, and based on what we know was happening from the passage we just read, we can imagine he would say something like this:

“We are alive.” Makes sense – their whole way of living had changed.

“There are awe-inspiring things happening in our midst.” Since signs and wonders were being done through the apostles, that seems like a fair description.

“We are attractive.” God was drawing many new people to their community – and they were actually coming.

“We are aligned.” They were stedfast under leadership and in service, gathered with one mind in the temple and in homes.

“We are acts-oriented.” It’s hard to accuse them of being lazy or passive.

“Okay, that’s pretty impressive,” you say, feeling confident that you have more than enough to submit your article by the deadline. But before you can express your gratitude for his help, he interrupts and keeps going – and in rapid-fire succession this time.

“And we are biblical, blessed, bonded, caring, Christ-exalting, committed, compassionate, connected, consistent, and creative, dedicated, devoted, discerning, disciplined, driven, effective, encouraging, energized, evangelistic, exciting, engaging, faithful, focused, friendly, fun, fired up, generous, godly, growing…

“Uh, I think that’s plenty. And, besides, I’m kind of running out of papyrus sheets, so…”

But he doesn’t catch your drift or miss a beat.

“We are humble, hungry, hospitable, intentional. Inspiring, intimate, intense, joyful, like-minded, loving, magnetic, miraculous, motivated, neighbourly, obedient, ordained, others-minded, passionate, powerful, praising, prayerful, proactive, productive, progressive, pure, purposeful, redeeming, radical, real, relational minded, relevant, respected, sacrificial, safe, scary, selfless, Scripture-loving, servant-hearted, single-minded, sold out, Spirit-filled, sincere, submissive, tenacious, teachable, transformed, trustworthy, thankful, unified, unselfish, unspoiled, unwavering, wholehearted, and wise. We are a people full of wonder who worship God – you should come and join us!”

By this point the coffee is long gone – and you know you’ve obliterated your editor’s word count. But be honest: If the Church were really all these things – as Scripture says it is – you would definitely be checking it out, wouldn’t you?

How could you not?”

So what happened? Something has gone terribly wrong; that’s what happened. The description of the first church is suppose to be the description of all churches today because the Leader of the first church is suppose to be the Leader of them all. 

The problem isn’t that God has stopped being in the business of changing the world by changing lives. The problem is that we have gotten into the business of doing His business our way, not being “people of His way” (Acts 9:2).

If church, as you think of it today, was truly a reflection of the adjectives we just used to describe it in Acts 2:42-47, my bet is that you would feel differently about it. A lot differently. You wouldn’t be alone.

You might be thinking, That is the exact kind of community of people I have been looking for. That is the purposeful life I really want to live, but I didn’t know it actually existed. What you are describing is what I have been searching for my whole life. In relationships. Clubs. Teams. Work. You name it. So don’t mess with me – just tell me: Where does something like this exist? Even though I am not sure I can believe, just out of curiosity, I’m going to come and check it out.

That is exactly what God had in mind – that in this lost, dark, broken world where there are only shadows of hope, a light would enter in. That people would begin to live in real relationships with a real God. That they would be that alive, awe-inspiring, authentic … a worshipful kingdom-of-God-on-earth community.

The Church is supposed to provide others a picture of God’s kingdom – a glimpse of heaven on earth. It is not a place you are suppose to go; it is a people who are suppose to be … and you can still experience what God intends for His Church to be. 

When you see life change, grace, compassion, mercy, sharing, provision, warmth, and hope – with a diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) – aren’t these at least small descriptions of heaven? Yes, they are. And instead of growing dimmer over the years, the Church is supposed to be growing brighter day by day as we yield more and more to the Spirit’s grace, power, and direction. Less of us: more of Him.

From the very beginning, this is what God intended church to be. God wants you to experience a community that is alive, awe-inspiring, attractive, aligned … well, you can go back and reread the rest. God created you for this. Your heart longs for it – even if you have only seen a glimpse of it from a distance. But, once you experience this true Church you will want to do more than attend at a church building – you will want to find others who are committed to joining you in being the Church that Jesus has always wanted to build. 

Do any exist? Is that possible? Yes, they do, and yes, it is!

THE RESTORATION OF TRUE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY – Part Fourteen

As we close this short series on the apostle and apostolic ministry we need to look at “The Apostolic Measure” which includes their purpose and vision.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7 

These are great days to be alive as a builder (apostle) in the kingdom of God! If, indeed, the first is the last restored, we are not far away from the days of the glorious church, having “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27). 

Coming forth is “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” (I Peter 2:9) 

The kingdom of “the world (will) become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”   (Revelation 11:15)

The apostle is at the forefront, the visionary, the messenger. He lays down his life, that Jesus Christ may be the foundation upon which others build. He labours until “Christ is formed in His people” (Galatians 4:19), and “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:13)

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”     (I Corinthians 13:12-13). 

Young, emerging apostle: value the time you get with the fathers. Honour the fathers.
Ho farther than they have gone. You will walk over their bones into the kingdom. But, you must travel their path before you find your own. Value most the time you take with your Father who is in heaven. For, “He is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”   (Philippians 2:13)

Senior apostle: Multiply yourself! That is, impart what you have freely received into the sons whom God gives you. Your ultimate success is in your successor. Don’t ever be too busy for your sons. Instruct your sons, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  (2 Timothy 2:2). Be trans-generational, and train your sons to be trans-generational, until “the kingdom has fully come on earth as it is in heaven.”    (Matthew 6:10)

Apostles: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” (Colossians 3:15-16) Jesus Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1), the builder of all things (verse 4) is in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He is the radiance of His (Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3), and He is in You that, through Him, you may glorify the Father by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. 

“We are at best vessels of clay. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body,”    (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). 

There is no more noble cause than to fulfill the purpose of God in our generation!  

The Great Challenge

Setting the stage:

Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, was buried, rose from the dead, and appeared to His disciples a number of times over a period of 40 days…
Jesus, on one occasion, told them to head to Galilee because this is where most of His followers lived…
He was planning to meet them there…
We are talking here of more than the twelve He chose to be leaders in this movement … now eleven because Judas betrayed Him and then took his own life
We are talking here of a good number of followers…

Read more

THE RESTORATION OF TRUE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY – Part Thirteen

We are looking at “The Apostolic Manifestation” within the apostolic church. Last time we saw that the Church will be manifested as:

1> A governing people                                                                                                                                                                   2> A warring people                                                                                                                                                                        3> A trans-generational people 

4. A COMPLETING, FINISHING PEOPLE 

All believers are committed to glorifying God by accomplishing (completing; finishing) the work which God foreordained for them to walk in (John 17:4; Ephesians 2:10). They have counted the cost before beginning to build to be sure that they can finish what they begin (Luke 14:28-30). They know and are disciplined to focus upon their individual measures of rule (2 Corinthians 10:13), trusting their leaders and their brothers to be faithful to their spheres. They are committed to the kingdom of heaven on the earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10), and deny themselves daily (Luke 9:23) to follow Jesus, for the glory of God and His purpose. 

5. A BUILDING PEOPLE 

They know where they fit in the spiritual house built with living stones (I Peter 2:5), each one knowing who is above, beneath, and on either side of him. They build on the foundation of Jesus Christ with gold, silver and precious stones – all which will be proven and purified by the fires which try their lives so that they may receive the reward (I Corinthians 3:11-15). 

They do all by faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). They faithfully, obediently do what they see the Father doing (John 5:19), co- labouring with God (I Corinthians 3:9), realizing that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1). They are given to building up one another in love (Ephesians 4:16), encouraging and cooperating with one another as each one carries out his role.  

6. A GIVING, GOING AND SENDING PEOPLE 

God so loved the world, that he sent Jesus into the world that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17). 

Jesus sends His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation…”   (Mark 16:15). 

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is to the church of all ages. The church is to be apostolic. We are “sent ones.” The apostolic church has been prepared to respond to the Great Commission. The apostolic church has a biblical world view. Some are literally sent; others give that they may go. Each local expression of the apostolic church has a priority of sending labourers into the harvest field and providing the substance for their missions.

7. A LOVING PEOPLE
God is love; we are to love one another (I John 4:7-21). The fruit of the Spirit is love. The apostolic church, which is His body, is to carry His love to the world. We are to love God, love one another, love our neighbour, love our enemies, love ourselves. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) will be fulfilled by a prototype people who fulfill the Great Commandment: 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . You shall love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). 

People Are Watching

A defence attorney was arguing a case for his client, who was charged with murder. Despite the fact that the victim’s body was never discovered, the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming, and everyone in the courtroom, including the jurors, knew that the defendant was guilty. The clever lawyer decided to go for broke. As he addressed the jury in his closing argument, he pointed toward the courtroom doors and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, in exactly 60 seconds, the so-called corpse, the man you believe is dead, is going to come walking into this courtroom – right through those very doors. We can begin counting.”

Immediately, the eyes of all the jurors went to the door.

The time ticked by: 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 45 seconds, 55 seconds, 56, 57, 58, 59 seconds – finally, one minute. And at exactly the one-minute mark, wouldn’t you know it, but who should come striding in through those doors?

Absolutely no one. Certainly not the victim.

The lawyer now faced the jury once again and spoke in a conciliatory, reasoning, almost patronizing tone: “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I must apologize. I told you something that clearly did not come true. However, you will have to admit that the mere fact that each and every one of you looked towards those doors as you did, showed me and showed you snd showed everyone in this courtroom that you had some doubt. And, as the judge will instruct you, if there is any doubt in your minds, any doubt at all, you must – you must – return a verdict of not guilty and set my client free.”

The jury went into the jury room to deliberate and came back out five minutes later to render the verdict. The foreman stood up, faced the defendant, and when asked by the judge what their verdict was, said that they declared the defendant – GUILTY!

The defence attorney was enraged. “How could you?!” He stammered. “I saw you all watching those doors.”

The foreman glanced at the defence attorney and replied, “Yes, sir, you did. But we were also watching you and your client – and you did not watch the door; your client did not watch the door. And that’s because neither of you believed for even a moment that anyone was actually going to be walking in through there.”

The moral of the story?

Don’t expect anyone to believe in something you don’t believe in yourself.

The Christian takeaway: If you are not living out what you believe for all to see then they will not believe your words when you share the Gospel of the Kingdom

The underlying though: You only believe what you apply and what others can see in your lifestyle.

THE RESTORATION OF TRUE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY – Part Twelve

Let’s look today at the first part of “The Apostolic Manifestation”…

THE APOSTOLIC MANIFESTATION  – An Apostolic Church 

Prophets can lead churches to be prophetic. Evangelists can equip the church to be evangelistic. Pastors can prepare the church to be pastoral, and teachers can train the church to be teaching others also. The church will never be without spot or wrinkle, she will never be holy and blameless, without the apostolic impartation and ministry. 

The apostle is not limited to tunnel vision. He sees the plan of God. He is the master builder, and his sphere includes the releasing of all five equipping ministries. The apostolic church is prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching. The apostolic church also has revelation of the mission and motivation to go forth extending the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

Jesus is the Pattern Son, a prototype for many sons. The apostolic church is a prototype for the restoration of God’s kingdom dominion in every phase of life, in every place in the earth. Here are seven marks of a prototype people: 

1. A GOVERNING PEOPLE 

Governing people rule within their God-given sphere of authority and responsibility. Beginning with their own personal lives and extending to their families, their lifestyle is to become overcoming and victorious. They are to know their measure of rule and, under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, walk in the steps ordered for them by God. They glorify the Father within their earth realm by accomplishing the work He ordained before hand, that they should walk in (Ephesians 2:10). Some have been called to priestly roles, others to kingly roles within the kingdom of priests and kings. Whatever our role, whatever our sphere, we are to develop our dominion in faith, and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 

2. A WARRING PEOPLE 

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”    (Ephesians 6:12)

Ruling spirits over principalities will be unseated as ruling elders are established in in each apostolic sphere. People will be set free from the powers of darkness, and the world system will be delivered from the spiritual forces of wickedness, as the sons of God extend their measures of rule. God’s kingdom is coming on the earth as it is in heaven through the intercessions and faithful obedience of the body of Christ. Equipped with authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19) and with the anointing to preach, the people of God will go forth saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”     (Matthew 4:17)

3. A TRANS-GENERATIONAL PEOPLE 

Children, young men and fathers (I John 2:12-14) are all parts of today’s church. Older women are exhorted to encourage the younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Paul, spiritual father to Timothy, reminds him, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness.” (I Timothy 4:12). 

We are to: 

Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). 

Trained in the way of faith, there is no departing. You must be a part of something before you can depart. Children are part of the church of tomorrow, but foremost are parts of the church today. A widow indeed, who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God, is cared for by the church (I Timothy 5:3-16). 

All members of all ages are being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies (Ephesians 4:16). 

The apostolic church is a trans-generational people, a chosen generation (I Peter 2:9), in service to this generation, and preparing for the next. 

THE RESTORATION OF TRUE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY – Part Eleven

THE APOSTOLIC MENTOR  – Part One

Discipling The Next Generation

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”    Matthew 28:19-20 

Multiplication is essential if we hope to extend the kingdom to the ends of the earth. Jesus set the pattern. He was the Perfect Pattern Son, the Perfect Pattern Apostle. The apostle will do well to carefully examine the methodology for multiplication which was evident in the life and ministry of Jesus. 

His command is backed by His example. A high, high priority in the earthly life of Messiah was discipling and mentoring. While he discipled more than twelve, He gave special attention and effort to reproducing apostles. He mentored them. They were sent to the then known world, the uttermost parts. Their commission: disciple the nations, every ethnic people group on the face of the earth. 

Today’s apostle bears in his soul the burden of Jesus for the discipling of the nations. Regardless of his chronological age, he will disciple sons as a father, labouring in childbearing until Christ be formed in them. It is essential to be trans-generational in ministry, always preparing the next generation to carry on until Jesus comes. 

Let’s examine the way in which Jesus made disciples. We will consider five major steps. 

1. THE CALL 

There can be no successful ministry without a calling from God. Jesus prayed all night before extending the call. He went through the names, over the list, perhaps several times until He was certain that He had the mind of His Father (Luke 6:12-13). Jesus did nothing of His own initiative, but only what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19,30). The success of Jesus’ mentoring efforts rested largely on selecting and calling the right men. Only the Father looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7). 

The apostle/mentor must pray and receive guidance from God before calling people into a discipleship and mentoring relationship. He must know what he is to do with them before he calls them. Jesus gives us an important overview: 

He appointed the twelve, (1) so that they would be with Him and (2) that He could send them out (a) to preach, and (b) to have authority to cast out the demons (Mark 3:14-15). 

It takes a commitment of life, time and effort to properly mentor tomorrow’s servant-leaders. Before they can be sent out to preach and restore kingdom dominion in people’s lives, they first must be equipped. Jesus’ first priority and primary ministry on the earth was to be with His disciples, imparting to them all that they would need in order to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) which He would leave with them. 

In addition to understanding the required investment of time, the apostle must have an understanding of the purpose and content of his responsibilities to those whom the Father gives him. He is to prepare the next generation of labourers for the white harvest fields. He is to establish them upon the foundation of Jesus Christ so that they will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). 

This requires a sensitivity to and cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Considering the illustration of the potter and the clay (see Jeremiah 18:1-6), we realize that both hands need to be used to mold the clay into a vessel. There is the hand on the inside of the vessel, and also the hand on the outside of the vessel. As the wheel turns, the two hands must work in a coordinated manner to perfect the vessel. 

In our analogy, the hand on the inside of the individual is the Holy Spirit, and the hand on the outside is the mentor. When we are considering the church as the vessel, the “hand” on the outside is the fivefold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12). Here again, the work on the outside of the vessel must be coordinated with and by the Holy Spirit. The workers must be directed by the Holy Spirit for Christ to be formed in the individual and in the church. 

2. OBEDIENCE OF FAITH
“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all nations, leading to obedience of faith;to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever. Amen.”      (Romans 16:25-27)

The apostle’s objective is obedient disciples. However, he is not labouring for an obedience which is in response to mere gentile authority. Neither is he satisfied with humanistic behaviour modification. Paul’s objective is the obedience that is by faith, a way of life referred to as “The Way.” This kind of obedience comes as a result of conversion following the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ, according to revelation knowledge, and under the anointing. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, the Anointed One.”    (Romans 10:17)

Once the call had been extended and the disciples had responded, Jesus began to train them in the way of the Kingdom. He gave them clear instructions. It is good that disciples understand the objectives and are given measurable, achievable goals. This is necessary for their obedience and their progress to be measured. 

THE RESTORATION OF TRUE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY – Part Ten

We are looking at the restoration of the ministry of the apostle. So far we have seen:

The apostolic ministry                                                                                                                                                                 The apostolic mantle and authority                                                                                                                                          The apostolic mandate – Kingdom expansion                                                                                                                        The apostolic mission – Laying the foundation                                                                                                                      The apostolic message – sonship                                                                                                                                              The apostolic motivation – Filling the earth with God’s glory

Let’s look at our next concern – “The Apostolic Method” …

THE APOSTOLIC METHOD – Fivefold Impartation 

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”   (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We can teach what we know, but we impart what and who we are. We can inform people on a variety of topics. However, we can only form people according to what we are. Everything reproduces after its own kind (Genesis 1). The apostle labours in childbirth until Christ is formed in people. The need is for formation, not mere information. 

Jesus said, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me”     (Matthew 10:40). 

This is more than a promise of information! Jesus is declaring that when someone receives the one who is sent, he or she actually receives Jesus. Because, Jesus is abiding in the sent one, He may be imparted by the sent one, and formed in the one who receives. Furthermore, because the Father abides in Jesus even as Jesus abides in the sent one, the recipient receives not only the sent one, but also Jesus and the Father! 

Jesus continues, “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.” (John 10:41)

A prophetic impartation is received when we receive a prophet. The prophets, as well as the other fivefold ministries, are themselves gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:10-11) They have freely received their anointing from the Holy One, and freely give as they are received. The prophetic gifts of God are imparted through the prophets of God. 

In the same manner, the apostles are God’s gifts to the church for the purpose of imparting of the apostolic anointing. Paul, a master builder, was constantly motivated to intentionally strengthen and establish the church through impartation: 

“For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.” (Romans 1:11)

FULL, BALANCED, FIVEFOLD IMPARTATION 

The apostle is a vessel of clay through whom Jesus, THE Apostle, chooses to reveal Himself. The prophet is a human being through whom Jesus, THE Prophet, manifests Himself. In like manner, the evangelist, pastor and teacher are mere men and women through whom THE Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher glorifies Himself. 

God’s grace, not our choice, determines our giftings. Paul testifies, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I laboured even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
  (I Corinthians 15:9-10)

Each one is what he is by the choice and grace of God. 

It is the will of God that the church, “Grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”      (Ephesians 4:15-16) 

As His body, we are to manifest all aspects of Christ. He is Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. Therefore, His body is to be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching. Jesus imparts these aspects of Himself through His gift  – fivefold men and women, His gifts to the church. 

Apostles reproduce after kind; prophets reproduce after kind; evangelists reproduce after kind; pastors reproduce after kind; teachers reproduce after kind. Apostles impart the apostolic gift. Prophets impart the prophetic gift. Evangelists impart the evangelistic gift. Pastors impart the pastoral gift. Teachers impart the teaching gift. The church grows up in all aspects into Him as these aspects of Him are imparted through the fivefold ministry gifts. 

Apostles are task focused. As master builders, they see and understand the blueprint for building. They will normally view everything from the point of view of fulfilling the task of building up the church and extending the kingdom of God throughout the earth. 

Prophets are word focused. They speak to man on behalf of God. As spokesmen for God, they are constantly comparing what they are seeing in the natural realm with what they are seeing in the spiritual realm. They are weighing everything according to the word which is revealed to them. 

These two gifts are foundational to the church. 

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”     (Ephesians 2:19-22)

The evangelist is soul focused. He equips the church for evangelism, the saving of souls. 

The pastor is people focused. He tends and feeds the flock, caring for them and bringing healing to them. 

The teacher is detail and doctrine focused. He builds the truth into the understanding and lives of people, precept upon precept, line upon line. 

The church which is growing in all aspects of Christ, through fivefold impartation, will be apostolic – envisioned for worldwide kingdom expansion; prophetic – sensitive to the voice of God; evangelistic – concerned that everyone should hear the gospel; pastoral – given to caring for one another; and teaching – sharing what each one has learned with others. 

Fivefold Ministers – Apostles govern, prophets guide, evangelists gather, pastors guard and teachers ground the church in the truth. 

The church which is growing in all aspects of Christ, through fivefold impartation, will enjoy divinely ordered government, divinely inspired guidance, fruitful gathering of new believers, the environment of a safe sheepfold, and will prosper in the word of God. 

Such a local expression of the Church of Jesus Christ will be a manifestation of Christ Himself, a mature man (Ephesians 4:13), a body with many members which builds itself up in love (verse 16). Authentic fivefold ministry will bring the impartation of the many aspects of Jesus Christ so that He may be revealed in His body. 

The apostle must understand his sphere, both with respect to his measure of rule and also his areas of anointing. He must operate within his geographical and ecclesiastical boundaries. As a master builder, he must coordinate and cooperate with the other gifts in the body to assure the fully orbed equipping of the church for the work of service.