An apostle has a number of very specific assignments according to the Bible…
1> He is sent with a specific purpose
Jesus was sent by the Father to establish His Kingdom and announce the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Luke 4:43 “…but He said to them, ‘I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.‘” Jesus came with a pre-established assignment to accomplish. There are no details in this first one as it simply paints the big picture. However, God is still very specific and precise even when painting in broad strokes. The big picture that needs to be accomplished – the specific purpose of that apostle’s ministry – is to be carried out in a certain way and in a certain place.
So, God has something very specific for each apostle to do and accomplish for Him. Our Heavenly Father expects us to carry out that assignment and complete it.
2> The apostle is sent to carry out a specific task
When Alexander the Great would send an apostle with an apostolic team, he would assign them a specific mission or task along with the authority to execute it. The word “mission” is defined as a commission that is given by a state or a king, in this case, to a diplomat or special agent to accomplish a particular assignment. 1 John 3:8b “…the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” So, in the midst of carry out “a specific purpose” of establishing the Kingdom, Jesus’ more detailed task or mission was to destroy the work of the devil. The specific task of each man called to be an apostle will include a specific task within the bigger picture.
The apostolic mission has to do with accomplishing a task for our King – Jesus; these are specific, exact, and precise; they have one goal: to establish and extend His Kingdom. The ministry of an apostle is characterized by the precision with which the work of the Lord is done. A military mission always has a specific target and goal. For example, mine is to “equip God’s people, mentor God’s leaders, and reach the nations.”
One issue we see today among apostles – Many of them today are unaware of the purpose (#1) or specific mission or task (#2) the King has sent them to do; thus the reason why they often work on different projects but nothing specific. They speak in general about plans and purposes but not something in particular or in detail. They run to each and every opportunity that comes along and, in the long run, accomplish little.
The first assignment is generic and much broader is scope and general in nature. The second focuses in on a specific part of the general mission or calling of an apostle.