The Church – the true apostolic church being built by Jesus – is the Body of Christ, Romans 12:4-5 compares the operation of an apostolic church to a complex physical body. “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Paul points out that a physical body has many organs, many members. They are all different, but they need to work together. Your lungs and your brain are not in competition. Your eyes and your ears do not argue about which is most important. Every part is important, and their common goal is the health of the body.
The Body of Christ has many members also. There are apostles, prophets, teachers, shepherds, healers, encouragers, administrators, and many others. Each member has a different God-given purpose, and when each member fulfills its function, the whole body operates in great power.
That was God’s plan for His Church. And it was revolutionary. God’s plan was to bring together a diverse group of people, place His Spirit in each of them, give them each a unique set of gifts, then knit them together to function as a single living organism.
Their purpose was to be the Body of Christ on earth, doing the same works Jesus did when He was walking around in His physical body. John 14:12 states, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
You and I were created to be part of that Body. When God designed you, He gave you a unique personality and a unique set of abilities. When He saved you and you were baptized in the Holy Spirit, He gave you a unique set of spiritual gifts. No one else can do what you can do in the way that you do it.
Like the organs of the human body, we are all different, but essential. The problem with the traditional church is that only a few parts are allowed to operate. The “pastor” is a mouth that speaks. The members are allowed to be hands that serve. The missionaries (another non-biblical role, position, and word) are feet that go. But most people just attend.
Believers were created and saved (and Baptized in the Holy Spirit) to do more than attend church. But in the pastoral model this is what the majority of the body parts do – they sit and don’t function. Thus we have a really sick and non-functioning body.
But, you were created to do more than attend church. Some are created to heal the sick. But, most have never prayed for a sick person in their life time. They have no idea how to even begin. But it is their call and destiny, and they will never be fulfilled or satisfied until they do it. When they finally go out and lay their hands on the sick and see them healed, it will be the most exciting thing that they have ever done.
Some are created to lead worship. Some are to care for others and even encourage others. Some are gifted to perform miracles. Others will have the ministry of casting out demons, or deliverance. Everyone is called to prophesy but some will see this as a major gift and ministry and their role in the Body of Christ.
It does not matter where you work, how much money you make, or what you can buy. If you are not trained, equipped, and released to do what you were created and called to do, you will never find fulfilment in life.
This is the pastoral church model.
However, in the apostolic model of the church, where Christians are equipped to do the works of Jesus, they experience a level of meaning and purpose they have never known before. The result is that the Church truly begins to function as the Body of Christ. It is no longer a congregation of untrained laymen (another non-biblical term). It becomes the army of God doing the works of King Jesus in the earth…literally the Body of Christ alive, healthy, and functioning well.
The apostle’s call and giftings is to create an atmosphere where all of this can happen. And where apostles are welcomed and their gifting allowed to function in its fulness, the fivefold ministry is established, believers are equipped and the Church moves forward with incredible power to fulfill its destiny.
We are living in exciting time. God is re-formed His Church. He is in the midst of the greatest building project in history, and we are His building material. We are living stones, being joined together in Jesus forming God’s temple in the earth. God is building a sanctuary where His presence will be experienced and a people who will walk in His power will be released as ambassadors and ministers of reconciliation. God is restoring the apostolic church.