We are looking at a number of aspects of the ministry, role, calling, and giftedness of anyone called today to be an apostle in the Kingdom and in the Church that Jesus is building.
Over the last few days we have looked at “The Apostolic Mantle” which included “Authority, Anointing, and Sphere of Authority.” Let’s look today and in the next few days at “The Apostolic Mandate.” This will include a number of things:
A> Kingdom Expansion
B> Being Messengers for the Kingdom
C> Expanding the “peace “ of Christ’s rule
D> Working for the unity of the Spirit
E> Relating to other apostles in the regional church
F> The work in the marketplace
Let’s jump right in…
THE APOSTOLIC MANDATE – Kingdom Expansion
“As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8
I remember discovering the message of the Kingdom. John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:1-2).” Following Jesus’ wilderness temptation, and hearing that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).”
Inquiring of God, I asked, “How will I know the Kingdom when I see it? I pray, ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).’ I preach ‘repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Your name (Luke 24:47),’ and I preach that ‘the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ If the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, what does it look like?”
The Holy Spirit led me to the above Scripture where the answer began to unfold. I saw that there are no sick people, no dead people, no lepers, and certainly no demons in heaven. When someone is healed, raised, cleansed or delivered, surely the Kingdom of heaven has come near to them.
The apostle has freely received the authority and anointing to expand the Kingdom within his sphere. His mandate is to freely give of himself in daily obedience to the Holy Spirit for the purpose of Kingdom expansion. As he freely gives, people will begin to experience the fruit of God’s love, and embrace His Kingdom.
MESSENGERS, NOT MANAGERS
As Jesus dictated to John the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2 and 3), He addressed them to the messengers. It is vital that the apostle remain a messenger, an oracle, and not be reduced to a manager of a local church, apostolic network, missions agency, para-church organization, etc. Leaders need to lead and let the managers manage. The apostle is first and foremost a messenger. Jesus said, “As you go, preach!”
Repentance is the apostle’s message. Repentance (in the context of the gospel) is a change of government, from self-rule to the Kingdom (rule) of God. When men and women cease to rule their own lives and yield to the government of God, everything begins to change. They become new creatures from the inside out. Sin is forgiven, the sick are healed, the dead are raised, the lepers are cleansed, the demons are cast out. Jesus compares the Kingdom to leaven which gradually changes the shape of the loaf. Kingdom influence works like salt and light. Kingdom expansion works like leaven in the loaf.
The administration of an organization will not produce this kind of change. Only the communication of the Kingdom message will bring the order of God to an individual, community and nation.
PEACE THAT SURPASSES UNDERSTANDING
As the apostolic mandate is carried out, there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace (Isaiah 9:7). Peace is a by-product of God’s government. The increase of God’s rule in one’s life proportionately increases the experience of the peace that He gives.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do
I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful…” (John 14:27)
The apostle is to impart this peace wherever he finds a worthy home. The words of Jesus, “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace.” (Matthew 10:13) Apostles are pro-active in doing just this wherever they go.
This heavenly, Kingdom peace affects believers at every level: the individual, the married couple, the family, the local church, the community. Peace increases as people increase in their discovery and submission to Jesus as Lord. Going in the same direction, marching to the same drummer, obeying the same Lord, walking in the same Spirit, produces unity, oneness, eventually manifesting more of God’s Kingdom on the earth even as it is in heaven.