Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Fourteen

Apostolic revelation is the foundation upon which the Church is Built. As the Bible states,

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 Peter received a revelation from heaven that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said that upon this rock – the openness of the spirit (heart) of man to receive a revelation from God (see Ephesians 1:17) – He would build His Church.

The Church is built upon the rock of revelation. Revelation is the foundation upon which the Church stands. Without apostolic revelation, the Church cannot be built correctly.

Different apostles are sent to preach different revelations.

Although there are different messages revealed to different apostles, these revelations together will be foundational. Again, apostles work together (see this week’s blogs). The message of the apostles together lays a strong foundation in the lives of the saints upon which others (teachers, pastors, evangelists, and prophets) can then build.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirteen

We have been looking at the fact that apostles bring revelation to the Church. Paul, the apostle, writes”…which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 3:5 ESV

Martin Luther brought revelation to the Church of the Middle Ages concerning “justification by faith”. He also had a tremendous revelation about the “priesthood of all believers” which did not gain as much ground and acceptance as the truth that we need to be born again.

This truth was brought forth originally by the apostle Paul. However, it was brought forth again to the Church by another apostle, Martin Luther.

Different apostles bring forth different revelation. There are apostles of faith, deliverance, love, healing, and even the basic doctrines which all constantly need to be rediscovered by each generation and expressed in a way that the truth can be grasped and lived out. The message does not change but each generation needs to have a fresh revelation of the Turth.

Revelation is the rock upon which the Church is built (Matthew 16:17-18). Supernatural churches are raised up through apostolic revelation.

Every revelation has apostles that preach and teach a specigic truth until it is received by the Church. Apostles have the anointing to break through the ignorance and darkness that keeps people from receiving revelation. Their preaching and teaching causes men to see truth and walk in it. This is part of their apostolic call and their pioneering anointing.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Twelve

Apostolic Doctrine Comes From Heaven

The Jews therefore marveled, saying, ‘How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?’ So Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me.” John 7:15-16 ESV

The Taylor translation says, “How can He know so much when He’s never been to our schools?”

The Jews were astonished at Jesus’ ability to teach seeing He had never received a theological education. Jesus replied that His doctrine came from His Father who sent Him. A true “sent one” is taught by the Sender. Apostles teach by revelation (see yesterday’s blog).

The apostle Paul received his revelation directly from the Lord. He was not taught his gospel by man, but from the Lord. However, he did go up to Jerusalem to speak with the others called to be apostles and spoke with them about his revelations checking with others that his teachings would be in line with the “apostles’ doctrines.”

As a result, I believe that those who are called to this ministry must relate to others also called to be apostles and be constantly checking any and all teachings with them – especially any teaching of a “fresh revelation” from the Lord.

Apostles have the ability to preach and teach revelation from the Scriptures that cannot be learned in schools. I am not referring to extra-biblical revelation, but revelation from the written Word of God. Apostles have the ability to cause people to see things in the Scriptures by the Spirit of revelation (Ephesians 1:17). This ability comes with apostolic grace as a result of being called, mentored, commissioned and sent.

Real Christians?

The Christian faith is all about “dying to self;” “taking up your cross daily;” “following Jesus and becoming a soul winner;” “doing the Father’s will and not your own;” “out of love obeying everything He has commanded.” The list can go on and on and should. However, a lot of people today who call themselves Christians would already be struggling with this partial list. Maybe you are as well. We have, in many ways, made the Christian faith all about us when, in reality, it is all about Him. Followers need to come to realize that it is all about Him.

So, we have those who are out there ministering, teaching, prophesying, sharing Jesus with those they meet. Looks good on the surface but deep inside – where motives hide in the heart – they are in it for themselves. It is about “their reputation,” “their ministry,” their gifts,” “their calling, “their income,” “their network…” Again, not much “dying to self and taking up the cross” here either. It is regretful but this is the reality that many face today. Leaders need to come to realize it is all about Him.

Jesus put it like this:

“Knowing the correct password – saying ‘Master, Master’ for instance – isn’t going to get you anywhere with Me. What is required is serious obedience – doing what My Father wills. I can see it now – at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsord projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use Me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress Me one bit. You’re out of here.'” (Matthew 7:21-23 The Message)

Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will obey Me.” Our only motivation and purpose must be our love for our Lord and Savior. Not personal comfort, security, or recognition; not ministry, gifts, callings, and reputation. Simply loving others in His Name – simple love where we love Him because He first loved us. Nothing more, but nothing less.

Just a thought!!!!

Fresh Insight Into Apostles – Part Eleven

One of the basic and foundational ministries of apostles is to establish, set forth, and teach correct doctrines in the local church – especially to the leaders of the Church.

The Bible states that in the early Church the disciples “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…” Acts 2:42

It is good to notice, it is called “the apostles’ doctrine” (plural) not the apostle’s doctrine (singular). No one man has all the truth and revelation. No one man can set himself up as the presenter of all truth. Together the apostles have a fuller revelation of the basic doctrines of the faith as well as a fuller grasp of the “times and seasons” that the Church is currently going through. This was one of the keys to the Church’s success in the book of Acts—apostolic doctrine. And, it is a seriously needed today in all nations of the world as false doctrines and “every wind of doctrine” infiltrate the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is in serious need of strong apostolic ministry – in print, on-line, and in the pulpits today. With so much false doctrine being taught in the body of Christ today, we desperately need the ministry of the apostle!

The doctrine of a true apostle does not proceed from man but from heaven (John 7:15-17). They minister with revelation that cannot be taught by a man. When the Church leaves apostolic doctrine, the result is apostasy.

One warning – we teach by revelation but this is not an excuse or an open door to teach whatever we want and blame it on the Holy Spirit. The revelations being received are to be fresh insights into old truths – not some new truth that takes a church into heresy. Everything must be tested to the totality of the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church down through the centuries (the basic biblical understanding of the faith).

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Ten

When looking at the ministry of an apostle the things that he accomplishes in the Name of the Lord should bear witness that they truly are called, have been commissioned, and are sent.

Jesus said, “But I have a greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, BEAR WITNESS of me, that the FATHER HAS SENT ME.” John 5:36

Anyone can stand up and say, “I am an apostle; I have been sent by God.” And many are doing just that today. But, as Jesus warned us, there are many false apostles out there deceiving many believers. Paul even talks about false apostles in his letters to the Corinthian church and mentions (tongue in cheek) that some are “super apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11:5, 13)

True apostles have works that bear witness to the fact they have been sent. These can be called apostolic works. These works arise out of a tried and tested ministry of a man who has been called by God and then discipled, trained, eqipped, and mentored by apostles. This calling and maturity (especially the man’s character) is then recognized by the elders of a local church and, with the help of other five-fold ministers, the man is then commissioned and released into his calling.

So, as an apostle ministers others really do have a right to examine the fruit of his life and ministry … Looking at how many churches have been planted, how many sons and daughters have been birthed and mentored, and how many miracles have been seen in their ministry.

In other words, the works will speak for an apostle. The works will testify that this one has been sent. The purpose of apostleship is to accomplish and do “greater works” (John 14:12) in the earth, not to walk around with titles. Jesus pointed to His works as verification that He was sent and He is the Chief Apostle (Hebrews 3:1). Apostles are “sent ones” and their works will bear witness to this fact.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Nine

Apostles Have the Ability to Judge Correctly

And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that SENT ME. John 8:16

This is another characteristic of a sent one, the apostle. One translation reads, “but I and He that sent me judge together.” The same is true in the case of the “sent ones” today. They work with Jesus, the One who sends them, to judge the work that is being accomplished in His Name.

The judgment is true because of the presence and anointing of the Sender upon the sent one. Judging is issuing sentences and passing verdicts.

The apostle Paul issued a sentence and passed a verdict concerning a fornicator in the Church (1 Corinthians 5:3-5). Apostolic judgment is necessary to keep the Church in order. Where there is no proper judgment, confusion and anarchy could reigns.

Judgment is based on proper discernment. It is also based on knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Apostles have knowledge, wisdom and understanding through grace to judge correctly. The Holy Spirit gives them insight and revelation as they enter into each situation, church, and geographic area. This does not mean they are infallible. They will judge correctly as long as they operate and walk in the Spirit.

When difficult situations arise in the church concerning individuals, doctrines, direction, methods and approach to ministry, as well as the general life of the Church the wisdom of the apostles is needed to judge correctly and bring correction and necessary adjustments. This helps keep the church on course and fulfilling the Great Commision as well as the vision of the local church.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Eight

As we continue to look at the ministry of the apostle today in the Church that Jesus is building we see that Apostles are Ambassadors of Christ. Of course the Bible states that all born again believers and true disciples of Jesus are ambassadors of the Kingdom and the King.

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,… 2 Corinthians 5:20

But, apostles are also seen as and minister as ambassadors to the nations as their name implies. The word “apostle” is taken from the Greek word apostolos meaning an ambassador of the Gospel, officially a commissioner of Christ. It literally means, “he that is sent.”

An ambassador is defined as an official envoy, a diplomatic agent of a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his own government or sovereign (Webster).

This gives us an idea of the authority apostles carry as ambassadors of Christ. They have authority to speak and represent the Kingdom of heaven while ministering on the earth. An ambassador carries the rank necessary to carry out a commission with authority. This authority and rank is official.

The spirit realm must recognize this authority because it is official. To be official means legal, right, AUTHORITATIVE.

Demons don’t recognize unofficial authority. The apostle as an ambassador has official authority and rank to penetrate darkness and represent heaven on earth.

They have official license from heaven to preach and teach with authority the message committed to them by the Lord.

As a result, apostles are sent ones. The Bible states,

“And how can they preach, except they be sent?…” (Romans 10:15)

Again, all true disciples of the Lord are sent because the Great Commission states that we are “to go into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19). But apostles are specifically chosen by God as the lead “sent ones;” the pioneers who lead the way into areas where the Gospel of the Kingdom has never been preached. In other words, all true disciples and all five-fold ministers are sent by God including prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

However, the word apostle by definition means a sent one.. They have the authority and power of the Sender.

Apostles are sent forth by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4). Jesus called His twelve disciples and gave them power (Matthew 10:1). After He sent the twelve, they were called “apostles” (Matthew 10:2). They were sent to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils (Matthew 10:8).

As sent ones, they have the ability to judge correctly (John 8:16). They preach the basic doctrines of the Christian faith laying foundations (John 7:15-17; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:20). Their works (planting churches, laying foundation, pioneering, etc.) bear witness that they are sent from the Father (John 5:36). They are sent into certain cities, regions and nations to pioneer the Gospel and raise up the Church that Jesus is building.

Because they are “first” and are planting the Gospel and raising up the Church these churches will be apostolic in nature and thus the people of these new works will be, right from the start, apostolic. These new works being planted will be filled with disciples who will take the Great Commission to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) seriously and will be actively engaged in carrying the message of the Kingdom further into unreached territory. Apostles will raise up apostolic people who will then, in turn, be ambassadors. Sent ones!

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Seven

Apostles are Here Today

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” ~ Ephesians 4:13

This verse clearly tells us that all five-fold ministry will be given until we advance and arrive at oneness of faith and mature manhood and stature in Christ. If we honestly look at the condition of the Church today, we can obviously see that we have not yet arrived.

Five-fold Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are all needed today if we are to come to this place of maturity; and God, by His grace, is giving us these ministers to fulfill this purpose.

As stated previously, there is no substitute for the apostle. The prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher cannot do what the apostle can do. Each gift is needed and has a unique purpose. They are
not optional. God gave them to us because we need them all.

In fact, we need them TODAY more than ever. We need a mature Church that is effective and efficient at fulfilling the mandate the Lord gave to us to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). So, today more than ever, we need the full five-fold ministry beginning with the apostles. If we plan to come “unto the measure of the stature of Christ” today, then we need apostles “today”.

We needed them yesterday, we need them TODAY, and we will need them TOMORROW until we “come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4)

Apostles are Given for the Perfecting of the Saints

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry… Ephesians 4:12

To perfect means to equip. The saints need apostolic ministry to be equipped for service. The saints cannot be perfected without the ministry of the apostle.

When and where apostolic ministry is lacking, the saints will be lacking in their ability to do the work of the ministry. The apostle, along with the prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher, Each have a part in this “perfecting” process. Following the death of the early apostles, the church went into apostasy and tradition because of the lack of mentoring the next generation of apostles and prophets who would then prepare the full five-fold ministry for the work they are to do was a team within the Kingdom. As a result, the ministry was relegated to the clergy.

God, in this hour, is releasing all believers to do the work of the ministry. This began with the restoration of the truth of “the priesthood of all believers” that came through the ministry of Martin Luther and the REFORMATION. All believers can do the works of Jesus (John 14:12).

Apostles help to perfect (equip) believers – true disciples – to move in the supernatural power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that they can be sent out to “seek and save the lost as Jesus did.” (Luke 19:10).

Ministries are birthed and disciples are raised up as effective and powerful ministers of the Gospel as a result of apostolic ministry. Believers are released to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons through apostolic ministry (Matthew 10:1-8).

Apostles are key to the future effectiveness of the Church and the expansion of the Kingdom into every people group in every nation.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Six

As we look briefly each day at the life and calling of apostles today we quickly see that apostles are pioneers. In fact, when prophetically calling out young people and letting them know that the Lord is calling them to be apostolic the word “pioneer” is often spoken as part of the prophetic word over them.

Since apostles are set in the Church FIRST by God, they have what I call a PIONEERING anointing. A pioneer is defined as one of the first to settle in a territory. To pioneer means to open or prepare for others to follow.

Apostles have the anointing to invade new areas of revelation (receiving new understanding of old truths as well as new ways to present these truths), ministry, or geographies. They are PATHFINDERS and TRAILBLAZERS.

Without pioneers, we would become stagnant as a Church lacking movement into new areas of ministry – both geographically as well as in methods and models of ministry. Pioneers keep us moving ahead. They keep us on the “cutting edge.” They help us “set a course” for the future. Others are blessed by the courage, vision, and strength of the PIONEERS. Others move into “new areas” because the way is first cleared and made straight by the pioneer.

Apostles as pioneers preach new insights into established truths, plant new churches, establish new believers, and invade new territories with the Gospel of the Kingdom. Pioneers are not satisfied with “settling down”. They must advance and plant churches until all the land is possessed.

As a result of being “pioneers” apostles have what is often referred to as a Breakthrough Anointing. Breakthrough is defined as an act or instance of breaking through an obstruction; an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare (Webster).

Pioneers have the ability to break through ignorance, fear, and other obstacles that keep men from advancing. Apostolic ministry has the ability to penetrate the defenses set up by the powers of darkness. This is why it is FIRST. Someone must breakthrough first before any significant progress can be made. Someone must have the courage, ability, and power to BREAKTHROUGH the obstacles set up by the enemy. Apostolic preaching and teaching has this penetrating power.

We must be able to breakthrough tradition, religion, ignorance, poverty, witchcraft, pride, rebellion, etc. The apostle has the anointing to break through these things that people might be “set free” to walk in the truth. Nations, cities and regions are “opened up” because of this breakthrough anointing. Without this “breakthrough” anointing, areas remain closed to the truth. This is why it is so difficult to breakthrough in some cities, nations or groups of people. These areas and people need a “SENT ONE”. They need apostolic ministry. When apostles are sent into a region, they have the ability through the anointing to penetrate the darkness and bring light and revelation to the people. There is no substitute for the apostle. This ministry is like a “battering ram” against the citadels of the enemy.