An Apostolic Understanding – Part Thirty-five

Looking at the work and nature of the apostle we say yesterday that…
1> Apostles have an immediately recognizable intimate relationship with Jesus
2> Apostles operate continually in a supernatural realm
3> Apostles are able to interpret what God is doing

Let’s continue this topic today…

4> Apostles have authority to discipline and pronounce judgment

The first place we see this is with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5

They had lied to the Holy Spirit regarding their offering to the church

Peter had a responsibility to establish a standard in the church that lying to the Holy Spirit would not be tolerated. And that God was not in the habit of blessing those who broke the unity that He desires to see in the local church. Peter than pronounces the judgment of God on them. If he had not done this than the church would have become defiled, and the power of God would have been diminished.

1 Timothy 1:19-20 we see Paul turning Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan, so that they will learn not to blaspheme

1 Corinthians 5:5 a young man is turned over the Satan because of immorality in the hope that he would repent

2 Corinthians 2 Paul instructs the church to restore a repentant sinner to fellowship (may be same young man we saw in 1 Corinthians 5)

This authority to discipline and pronounce judgment is not control or legalism or abuse. This encourages a spiritual atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can work freely and unhindered. This task is given to the apostle.

5> Apostles are “fathers and mothers” in the Church

Apostleship is a relational ministry motivated by love. They are fathers and not rulers – they lead from the front and not rule from the top down

1 Corinthians 4:14-15 “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

In 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8 Paul tells the Thessalonians that his goal was not to assert apostolic authority over them

But rather to tenderly care for them as a nursing mother cares for her child. Apostles want to see each person fulfill the call of God that is on their life. They pray, guide, instruct, correct, and open doors of ministry for them. Apostles disciple and mentor believers – – especially those with a calling to be an apostle or a prophet.

6> Apostles dedicate their lives to seeing the Church established and flourishing regardless of the cost

One of the reasons God allows apostles to exercise disciple and correction is because they lay down their own lives for the Church

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 Paul describes the lifestyle that validates his apostolic ministry

He tells us that he lives his life, “…in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distress, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in hunger…”

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 he speaks again of what he has gone through for the sake of the Church and the Kingdom

“…with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”

If you know a true apostle – you will see this in their lives. They will take the risks necessary to move the Church forward. It costs them emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually to fulfill the work that God has called them to. They don’t count their own lives or desires as important. True apostles will have some battle scars.

7> Apostles are anointed and called to set the Church in order

They set the direction and bring order to the life and ministry of the Church. When Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus) he instructed them to set the churches under their care in order. Taking the local church to the next level. Moving the church into it’s future. Bring adjustments to the foundational issues being seen in the life of the church.

When a church is set in order – it works
It moves forward in unity
It’s members experience life
The members are equipped for their specific ministries
The lost are being saved
The power of God is experienced
The gifts flow and minister to believers and non-believers

In review regarding the role and work of the apostle in the Bible and today:

1> Apostles have an immediately recognizable intimate relationship with Jesus
2> Apostles operate continually in a supernatural realm
3> Apostles are able to interpret what God is doing
4> Apostles have authority to discipline and pronounce judgment
5> Apostles are “fathers and mothers” in the Church
6> Apostles dedicate their lives to seeing the Church established and flourishing regardless of the cost
7> Apostles are anointed and called to set the Church in order

So, today in the Kingdom God is reestablishing the ministry of the apostle. As a result the true apostolic Church is arising in many places around the world. God is calling many young people into the ministry role of apostle. There is a need for much training and mentoring of these young people. Thus a need for more apostles to step up and become involved in coaching and mentoring.

God is calling His Church to become more apostolic and less pastoral. God is speaking strongly to churches built by man and functioning in non-biblical ways to heed what the Holy Spirit is saying too the Church today – and embrace the needed adjustments and changes. And, as we come more in line with His original plans for His Church we too will see the Holy Spirit move in power and lives changed.