Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Five

The Bible states that – Apostolic Ministry is First in Time

The Church was started and birthed through apostolic ministry. “First in time” means it must be recognized at the start or beginning. Churches need to be birthed and started through apostolic ministry.

Everything has a beginning. This is called the law of Genesis. Everything has a beginning and reproduces after its kind. If something begins wrong, it will usually end wrong. If it begins right, it has a better chance of ending right.

Apostles are usually the first ones to go into geographical regions to preach, to establish and plant churches, etc. They are often the first to preach certain revelations that God is releasing into the earth. Every field of study has “apostles”.

There are pioneers in medicine, economics, aviation, law, civil rights, etc. These are the first people to have significant breakthroughs in their fields. It is the same in the realm of the spirit.

The apostle Peter was to experience break throughs among the Jews. The apostle Paul among the Gentiles. Nations, regions, cities and denominations all have apostles. These are the first IN TIME to preach a truth, establish a church, or experience a breakthrough in a nation, city, region, etc.

The Bible states that – Apostolic Ministry is First in Rank

Rank is defined as a degree or position of dignity, eminence, or excellence, a grade of official standing (Webster). Even though we are all equal in Christ as to salvation, there are different ranks in the spirit. Different ranks carry different degrees of authority and power.

One of the definitions of “first” is chiefly. This means according to the highest rank or office, of greatest importance, significance, or influence.

Just as there is rank in the military, there is also rank in the “army of God”. There is rank in the spirit realm. There is rank in the Godhead. There is rank among angels. There is even rank among evil spirits. All authority and power is based upon rank. We must be able to receive, walk in, and discern different rankings in the spirit.

Evil spirits recognize spiritual rank. Every believer has rank to cast out devils. Apostles walk and minister in the highest rank. Evil spirits and angels must recognize and respect their rank. They have enough rank in the Spirit to command, decree and rebuke with authority.

Their rank is within their sphere of authority. In other words, they have rank in the areas they have been assigned to by God.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Four

The Bible states that – Apostles Have Been Set in the Church by God
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers … 1 Corinthians 12:28

The word “set” is the Greek word tithemi meaning to place, appoint, ordain, put or settle. To ordain means to establish or order by appointment, decree, or law.

Apostolic ministry is ordained by God. Regardless of what men think or believe, this ministry has been ordained by God’s appointment. Apostolic ministry is fruitful because it is chosen and ordained of God (John 15:16). Any ministry set and ordained by the Lord will be fruitful in spite of opposition or misunderstanding.

Apostles are set IN THE CHURCH. As long as there is “a Church”, apostles will be a part. The Scripture does not say God set them only in the “EARLY CHURCH” or the “CHURCH OF THE BOOK OF ACTS” but “THE CHURCH”. This includes the present day Church.

There are many who teach and believe that apostles are not for “TODAY”. If there are still teachers in the Church (mentioned as thirdly in the Scripture above), there are still apostles. If there are still “diversities of tongues” (mentioned last in the Scripture), there are still apostles.

The Bible states that – Apostles are Set in the Church by God First

God is a God of order, and His Word states that apostolic ministry is FIRST. “First” is the Greek word proton meaning firstly in time, place, order or importance. It also means before, at the beginning, chiefly, or first of all.

If the Church is to be successful, we must operate according to the law of FIRST THINGS. This law recognized God’s order in all things. When God says, “first”, He doesn’t mean second, third, fourth, or when we get around to it; He means FIRST. If we fail to recognize God’s order, we will not receive the fullness of blessing in what we do.

We have been guilty of overlooking this order because we have either 1) not been taught it; 2) did not see it clearly; or 3) simply rejected it. Tradition has also made this word of none effect (Mark 7:13).

Because of tradition many would rather call someone a “reverend”, a “doctor”, a “superintendent”, or a “bishop”; but very seldom an APOSTLE. Many have ignored, avoided and attacked the office of the apostle. But God is restoring this ministry to the Church, and giving us a revelation of its purpose and function.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Three

We are taking a fresh look at the call on some in the Church today to be apostles. Jesus is building His Church and to do so He is reintroducing or reemphasizing the ministry role of apostle to that Church. Apostles are foundational and they are first… (Ephesians 2:20 and 1 Corinthians 12:28).

Let’s look briefly today at some of what the New Testament states…

1. They are a unique New Testament ministry.
Jesus hand picked twelve of them to build His brand new church upon. One must be called by God to be an apostle, hand picked by the same head of the church Who choose the first twelve. Apostles are sovereignly chosen and equipped as supernatural, governmental, foundational five-fold, demonstration gift, impartation gift, equipping gift, ascension gift, headship gift ministers.

2. They lay (expose, reveal, position, and establish) spiritual foundations.
Apostles lay strong doctrinal and procedural foundations! They are a modern day gift to the modern day church. They don’t merely contain gifts, they are the gift!

3. They possess supernatural Christ-like authority
This gift to the Church possesses the most powerful governmental ministry in the Church today. Church government is their thing!

4. They are supernatural equippers.
They display in varying degrees the following ministry characteristics: healer, overseer, trainer, reproducer (father), depositor, visionary, and constructive disciplinarian. Apostles don’t entertain, they equip.

5. They operate strongly and consistently in all of the spiritual gifts

6. They can and should freely impart these same spiritual gifts. (Romans 1:11)

7. They lovingly govern the church
They humbly direct God’s policies on earth; giving insight into what God is emphasizing today and the direction that God is currently taking as He builds His Church and expands the Kingdom.

8. They plant successful churches/ministries
Ministries or churches that are strong but not necessarily large in numbers. Ministries and churches that also reproduce themselves. This is which their true legacy.

9. They are (along with the prophet) one of only two foundational ministries of the New
Testament church.

Ephesians 2:20… “(The Church) is built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets…” This simply means you can build on what they bring.

10. They are strong visionaries.
They see what we need!

11. They are practical strategists.
They know how to implement the vision!

12. They are anointed imparters.
They can impart (everything) they possess!

13. They are God’s gifted architects, His supernatural “wise master builders.”

14. Their ministry perspective is inclusive. They see the “big picture.”

15. Their favorite subject is the global church as demonstrated on the local level.

16. They gently “nurse” or bring healing and wholeness to the church. (1 Thessalonians 2:7)

17. They bring God’s order to the church
Their ministry is involved in updating and upgrading the quality of the church (1 Corinthians11:34)

18. They ordain (real) local church elders. (Acts 14:23)

19. They are intelligent, articulate, and often have writing skills.

20. They humbly “ooze” a proven, seasoned spiritual authority without having to boast.
They are not self-recognized. Instead, they are God-recognized ministers. Other church leaders publicly validate them as genuine apostles because they produce genuine apostolic results.

21. They are “fathers” and so will be discipling, training, equipping, and mentoring the next generation of Church leaders as well as apostles.

Are you apostolic? To avoid being one who “just went” instead of one who was legitimately “sent” by God, examine yourself first to see if the above ministry “qualifiers” are consistently manifesting through your life BEFORE you prematurely adopt a ministry title for which you do not (yet) qualify. In fact, skip the title and just do the ministry. Your gifts and your calling will “make room” for you without the titles.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Two

So, exactly what is an apostle?
What is his current New Testament “job description?”
What exactly do they do?

Many years ago I heard a prophet by the name of Lattie MacDougal say about apostles…“ Some were sent, others just went.”

Let’s look at this revealing statement as it pertains to the current release of apostles today.

Have they all been legitimately sent? Or, did some of them prematurely “just went?”

Some were (genuinely) sent, others (unfortunately) just went” means that:

• One is not an apostle because he thinks he is…
• One is not an apostle because he feels he is…
• One is not an apostle because someone has told you that you are one
• One is not an apostle even if he sincerely believes he is…
• One is an apostle because he has or is building something for God
• One is not an apostle just because he can gather a substantial number of people around him
• One is not an apostle because he has planted one or more churches
• One is not an apostle he has a large number of people coming to his church
• One is not an apostle simply because you have received a call to the office through a recognized prophetic or apostolic voice

You are an apostle because Jesus has called you to fulfill that office. Ephesians 4:11 states that “Jesus has given to His Church…” It is a calling and following the calling there is a lengthy time of preparation when you are discipled by someone who is a mature, recognized, and active apostle. You then need to be trained, equipped, and even spent quality time being mentored. At this point your gifts and calling will be recognized by a local church and you can be commissioned and released to minister with your gifts in your calling.

There are too many men roaming the world calling themselves apostles who are not. And even some who are declaring that they are apostles – while being false apostles. Of course, Jesus and even Paul the apostle warned the Church about these men…

Apostles are needed today for the Church to become all that the Lord plans for her to be. However, they are not raised up overnight and there are a lot fewer true apostles than one would think when taking a quick glance at the church world.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part One

Apostles are God’s Architects! Because they know the blueprint for the Church that Jesus is building God places great importance on apostolic ministry. He always has and He always will. In fact, He made His son Jesus Christ the very first apostle to the church. He’s called “the apostle of our faith” in Hebrews 3:1. He has then handed this ministry down to others throughout the centuries and in every generation.

The Bible names and references numerous apostles; they are listed throughout the New Testament books. Nineteen different New Testament books reference the ministry of the apostle. Indeed, the Bible gives us a rich history – a well documented record – that sheds light on their present-day mission today. The call of God on an apostle is the same today as it was in the early church as recorded in the book of Acts. So, as we see the work and ministry of the early apostles we receive insight and understanding regarding the work of apostles today.

However, it’s time to ask some hard probing biblical questions regarding the proliferation of so-called “apostles” in the church today. The reason: there are many who are calling themselves apostles or whom others call apostles and they are not! Jesus did warn His people that many false prophets and apostles would arise – and they have.

Genuine apostles were and are an incredibly significant “equipping” ministry in the New Testament church. The church cannot place too high a value on their spiritual contribution in the perfecting process of the Bride and the building of the Church today – the true people of God, the people of His presence.

In the simplest of terms they are understood as God’s architects, His master-builders. This term was used by Paul the apostle to describe his ministry in the early Church. There is no doubt we desperately need their valuable gifting today just as much as the “early” church did over two thousand years ago. Why? They are God’s “beginning craftsmen” who are supernaturally gifted to oversee the construction of the glorious New Testament church – the one Jesus will be coming back for. And this building process is ongoing even today.

So, as long as the church is being built, we need the architects – the apostles; we need their skill and perspective; we need someone who can draw up the blueprint as it is being revealed to them (the flow in the spirit of revelation and wisdom [Ephesians 1:17]) and accurately read the blueprint. So, this ministry function is absolutely needed to build the Church according to the plan and purpose of the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ.

However, the release of these apostles has been both a wonderful and frightening thing. Why? Some are genuine apostles, some are not.

More next time….