THE APOSTOLIC MANTLE
Last time introduced the idea of “The Apostolic Mantle” and looked, as well, at “Apostolic Authority.” Let’s continue today and look at “The Anointing and Sphere of the Apostle.”
The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus as He came forth out of the waters of baptism (Mark 1:9-10). Our Father affirmed Him in an audible voice. Then, the Holy Spirit came upon Him and Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit … empowered and enabled for ministry. The Spirit then led Him around in the wilderness for forty days of temptation. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14), and began His public ministry. He came to Nazareth, entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and read from Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach
the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favourable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19).
He concluded His reading with these words … “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21).
The apostle must know to whom he has been sent, the purpose for which he has been sent, and that God has anointed him, empowered him from on high, for the task. The apostle’s confidence is not in himself, it is in the enablement of God which comes by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
This divine enablement gives him words to speak in the moment of need (Mark 13:11), the grace to remain silent (Isaiah 53:7), the ability to discern spirits (Acts 16:16-18), supernatural knowledge and the wisdom to know what to do with it (Acts 14:8-10), healing virtue (Acts 3:1-10), power over all the power of the devil (Luke 10:17-19), and much more. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
This Holy Spirit anointing (empowering) enables the preaching of the gospel to the poor, the release of the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, the freeing of the oppressed, and the proclamation of the favourable year of the Lord, as He leads. As His architect, master builder in His house, the apostle is enabled to properly lay the foundation of the house.
The anointing is not a feeling or emotion, although many times there are feelings and emotions which accompany the working of the Holy Spirit in and through His people. The anointing is not a loud voice. The Holy Spirit can lead one to shout or to whisper.
The anointing does not come and go, now and then. The anointing abides in you: The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you (I John 2:27).
The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ (along with all of His divine enablement for each believer’s particular appointment and sphere of authority) always abides within. The apostle needs only to walk in the Spirit and, in faith, to fulfill his ministry. The Holy Spirit responds to faith, not feelings, and provides the power to fulfill the will of God in any given situation. Whatever the need, it is provided to the faithful servant who walks in faith and anointing.
We all have boundaries. Much trouble and contention can arise from involving ourselves beyond our boundaries. Our judgments are without proper inspiration and anointing. This was the pharisees’ main problem. They would use the Word of God in an attempt to conform people to their own ideas of righteousness. However, since we all know in part and prophesy in part, righteous judgment requires inspiration and anointing. It requires both the Word and the Spirit.
Operating beyond our boundaries does not produce life, because the source of our conclusions is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not the tree of life. We build with wood, hay and straw, and suffer the loss of much wasted time and effort. We waste our seed. It is important to know and operate within our God- given boundaries, our sphere.
For example, I have no authority to correct another’s child, unless the parent(s) give me temporary authority. I have no authority over another farmer’s field. I have no authority in another’s home, business or local church.
I have no authority to correct those who are over me. Direction and correction flow through proper order. Timothy and Titus did not send letters of instruction to Paul. He was not within their sphere. They were within his sphere. Yet, Paul did instruct Timothy to appeal to an older man as a father (I Timothy 5:1). Leaders must remain approachable.
The apostle must understand and operate within his boundaries, the measure of his sphere, lest he labor in vain in another man’s vineyard.
We will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labours, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another. (2 Corinthians 10:13-16)
The twelve apostles of the Lamb were given boundaries by Jesus: Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). These boundaries were in force until the Holy Spirit sovereignly enlarged the sphere of Peter by giving him a vision and instructing him to accompany three men to the household of an Italian centurion. Acts 10 records the account of the Gentiles hearing and responding to the gospel for the first time.
Generally speaking, Peter’s measure was the Jewish people, and Paul was sent to the Gentiles: “I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:15-16)
The apostle is given grace to minister within his measure of rule, his sphere. Some are apostles over local churches which are also apostolic work centers. Others are apostles over cities and regions. Still others have national and international influence. Each one must be faithful within his sphere. The faithful apostle is clothed in the mantle of God’s authority and anointing for fulfilling his ministry within his sphere.