We just finished looking at “The Apostolic Mandate.” Let’s turn our attention to “The Apostolic Mission”…
THE APOSTOLIC MISSION is to lay the foundation for the Church that Jesus is building.
My little children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)
Paul told the Corinthians, “No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” ( I Corinthians 3:11).
When the apostolic mission is to virgin territory, Jesus must be built into the believers’ hearts as the very bedrock of their lives. When the mission is to the existing church world, the objective of the apostle is the same, but the task may be more difficult. There are many false foundations which must be unearthed and removed. Sometimes, a prophetic “Jeremiah ministry” must come first, to pluck up and break down, to destroy and to overthrow. Then the apostle can come, to build and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10).
The traditions of men and the dogmas of denominations head the list of false foundations. Anything other than Jesus Christ in us is a fault in the foundation which will allow devastation in earthquake proportions in our lives. Jesus put it this way:
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of the house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)
A proper foundation is vital to withstanding the storms of life. One who builds upon the ground (earth) of his own will and understanding of life is destined for failure. However, one who digs deep and builds upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, is prepared for the inevitable trials which come to everyone
Those who not only call Jesus, “Lord,” but do what He says, enjoy the benefits of His promises:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:1-3)
Paul exhorts, “I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.” (I Corinthians 3:10)
Again, Paul writes, Others will build upon the foundation, but the foundation, who is Jesus Christ, is laid by the apostle. Paul makes it clear that he laid the foundation himself. Then he warns all who build on the foundation to be careful to use the proper materials (I Corinthians 3:12-17).
The apostle is to be a wise master builder, architect, who lays the foundation then oversees the building of the house. Others are to be involved in the building process. But, the architect prescribes the proper materials with which to build – gold, silver, precious stones – all materials which will be purified by fiery trials. Fire destroys the wood, hay and straw of human nature, the man-initiated building. Fire purifies that which God initiates, and the house remains and accomplishes God’s will for it.
Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, speaks to His disciples: “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) “I can do nothing of My own initiative.” (verse 30) “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” (John 6:63)
The apostle must walk in the Spirit to see what the Father is doing so that he might do the same, laying the proper foundation and also supervising the building process. The grace of God upon the apostle’s life, the anointing and wisdom to build, all are necessary for the discerning of gold and the avoiding of wood. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1)
Peter identifies Jesus as the Cornerstone: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (I Peter 2:6) He identifies believers: “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (verses 4 and 5)
For the house to be spiritual, for the priesthood to be holy, and for the sacrifices to be acceptable to God, the proper materials must be built into the house. Living stones are to be fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part (Ephesians 4:16).
God has appointed and anointed apostles to function as wise master builders, and, along with the prophets, to lay the foundation of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 12:28) The apostolic and prophetic roles will be more clearly defined in a future blog.
The individual believer must have his life founded upon Jesus Christ. The apostle is to present Him as Saviour, Lord, High Priest, and King. He is also our apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor (Great Shepherd), and teacher. The believer must understand that Jesus has saved him from sin, that he is to serve Him in obedience, that Jesus will speak to him the word of God, intercede for him before the Father, and rule over him in His kingdom. His security and fulfillment are dependent upon knowing Him in this way.
As each individual “living stone” is secured in his personal revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Shepherd, he will flow together with other believers. The Holy Spirit will have reign in their lives because of the security of a proper foundation, and they together will become a spiritual house which is founded upon the Rock.