Those who are in touch with what the Lord is doing in His Church – the fivefold ministers, especially the apostles and prophets – have been predicting a change in the Church for three decades. We have been hearing words like “new wineskin,” “apostolic,” and “fivefold ministry” and these are words that indicate a church quake of undue proportions is underway. There are major changes happening in the Church and the Church needs to recognize these prophetic warnings and embrace the changes that are already beginning to happen.
In the last 15 years things have really begun to stir. In many places and in many nations we have seen people receiving what has been spoken of and revealed. And, as a result a grassroots movement has begun to take shape and gain speed and momentum. It is a spiritual awakening like no other as the Church rediscovers its roots and returns to the model that we see functioning in the New Testament. This movement promises to profoundly change our whole concept of Church.
Many titles have been given to this movement including ‘the second reformation,’ ‘a leadership revolution,’ and ‘a second apostolic age.’ I prefer to describe it as a return to normalcy. The Church has begun to make a shift, a momentous shift. And, we will see many things that are religious and/or traditional being removed from the life of the church and the daily life of the Christian as they respond to this powerful move of the Holy Spirit. Of course, some will refuse to move away from their self-deception and the belief that they are safe, secure, and comfortable right where they are.
The Early Church as seen in the Book of Acts and a number of the epistles (letters to early churches and early believers) was filled with life. But, in the year 325 and the reign of Constantine, the Roman emperor, we see the Church entering a stage of death by degrees. Slowly, gradually pagan and cultural influences were added to the first Church. As well, the involvement of the believers gradually disappeared and the rise of a professional clergy class of believers began to take place. During this time there was a gradual decline and eventually disappearance of many of the life-giving functions and aspects of the life of the early Church.
This went on for well over 1,000 years during the Medieval Church. Then, with the ministry of Martin Luther and other reformers (1560) God began to restore to His Church those things that the devil and man -the powers of darkness, religion, and tradition – stole from God’s people. This restoration will continue until all things have been restored (see Acts 3:21). For the last 500 years and more the Lord has restored many of the things that were lost and restored them in the reverse order of how they were lost. That which was lost last was first to be added back – the truth of salvation by grace through faith. So, we have reached a point where there are only a few things left to restore in their fullness…
1> The ministry of the apostle
2> Apostles and prophets working together
3> The Church becoming apostolic and prophetic – supernatural and sent out
4> The Gospel of the Kingdom being heard in every nation (people group)
5> The great harvest of souls in the end times
6> The return of Jesus
So, we are near the end of the restoration process as the Lord continues to move mightily in His Church to bring it back to a place where it is moving in supernatural power and lives are being changed and transformed daily in each and every location where there is a gathering of believers. Then, and only then, can He return.