Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirty-Seven

We have been looking in the past few days at the impact of the ministry of apostles as they focus on their ministry and prioritize the ministry of prayer and the Word. As they apostles stay focused and tuned to the direction of the Holy Spirit their ministry will touch cities. And the next sabbath day almost the WHOLE CITY gathered to hear the word of God. Acts 13:44

Multitudes of lost people live in cities. In Paul’s ministry he focused on the cities as these major metropolitan centers had many people both living in them or moving through them as they bought and sold their goods. Paul maximized his impact and the influence of the Gospel by targeting and focusing on the cities of his day. The same should be true for apostles today.

I believe God desires that every major city be touched by apostolic ministry in these last days. Strong churches are being raised up through apostolic anointing to reach the multitudes in cities. Media will be instrumental in reaching the multitudes in every city and so the Church must use all available means to preach the Gospel in the city.

In 1950, only seven cities in the world had a population of more than 5,000,000 people. By 1985, this number had reached thirty-four. It is estimated that by the year 2020, this number will rise to close to one hundred!

The world is becoming increasingly URBAN. In the year 2000, ninety-four percent of the population of Canada and the United States was living in cities.

There will be regional churches raised up by the Spirit of God in every city. Some will be what is referred to as “mega churches” but others will simply have “mega influence” even if they are not large in numbers attending. These will be apostolic centers that will release the power of God into these cities.

Apostolic grace is needed to break through the strongholds of major metropolitan Areas. God is raising up apostles in each city who will work together to take their city and the surrounding geographical area for Jesus and His Kingdom.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirty-Six

As we continue to look at the ministry of apostles both in the early days of the Church and today we see that apostolic ministry touches multitudes. The Bible states: And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. Acts 5:14

The result of signs and wonders (see yesterday’s blog) is that MULTITUDES of believers are added to the Lord. Throughout the book of Acts, we see reference to the multitudes. We see words such as believers MULTIPLIED or believers ADDED to the Church. Apostolic ministry is a key to church growth. It is a key to touching the multitudes of people who do not yet know the Lord. Apostles have the grace, power and authority to touch multitudes.

MULTITUDES gathered from the towns around Jerusalem,… Acts 5:16
But when the Jews saw the MULTITUDES (crowds)…Acts 13:45
And the MULTITUDE of them that believed,…Acts 4:32
…called the MULTITUDE of the disciples unto,…Acts 6:2
…that a GREAT MULTITUDE both of the Jews…Acts 14:1

To reach the multitudes or large crowds the apostle needs to believe that he can and that the Holy Spirit will confirm his words with signs and wonders. He must walk in faith and understand that the call upon his life and the anointing that he walks in is to draw crowds so that many come to know the Lord personally and are added to the Church.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirty-Five

As we saw yesterday, the power of the Spirit confirms the preaching and teaching of the Word through apostles today. The apostolic ministry is one of signs and wonders …and many signs and wonders were done by the apostles. Acts 2:43

And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people… Acts 5:12

Signs and wonders include miracles, casting out devils, healings, and the pulling down of strongholds resulting in many coming to the Lord. These signs and wonders are proof that the message being preached is true and that Jesus is alive and is Lord and Savior. Some people will not believe except they see signs and wonders (John 4:48).

Signs and wonders cause breakthroughs in the spirit and open the way for multitudes to come into the Kingdom. The gospel cannot be fully preached without signs and wonders (Romans 15:19). Signs and wonders attract people to hear the gospel. They are the dinner bell to salvation.

Signs and wonders captures the attention of multitudes. They cause people to be attentive to the message of the gospel. They do not get people saved and we know that “an evil and adulterous generation seek after signs” but true signs and wonders done at the hands of apostles are like a “calling card” drawing people to hear the Word preached – the Word by which they are saved (1 Peter 1:23).

Apostolic ministry arrests the attention of multitudes and draws them into the Kingdom through signs and wonders.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirty-Four

One important aspect of the ministry of apostles is that apostles demonstrate the Spirit and power in their ministry. They do not just preach the Word as that would only be half of the work they are called to – they demonstrate that the Word they preach and the message that they bring is THE Truth and the only way into Heaven. (Romans 15:18-19)

In his letter to the Church in Corinth Paul writes, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power…” 1 Corinthians 2:4

One of the ways apostles demolish strongholds (arguments against the truth – 2 Corinthians 10:5)) is by demonstration of the Spirit and power. The Williams translation says, “They were attended with
PROOF and POWER given by the Spirit.” Apostolic ministry demonstrates the Word preached. God confirms apostolic ministry with signs following (Mark 16:20). Miracles, healings, deliverance, along with signs and wonders, should follow mature apostolic ministry. Philosophy and worldly wisdom can never accomplish what demonstration can. The power of God must be DEMONSTRATED. This means “to be put on public display;” “to exhibit;” and to “manifest publicly.”

As a result the early Church saw many come to a saving knowledge of the Lord as the apostles preached and ministered the Word. The Bible states: And with great power gave the APOSTLES witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus… Acts 4:33

And by the HANDS OF THE APOSTLES were many signs and wonders wrought among the people… Acts 5:12

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirty-Three

As we saw yesterday, the strength and focus of apostolic ministry is prayer and the ministry of the Word. The early apostles in the book of Acts stated very clearly “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word.” (Acts 6:4)

Because of this focus the early Church chose six men to wait upon tables and do the ministry that was needed in the local church in order that the apostles could give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. This way the early apostles were able to stay focused and do that which the Lord had called them to do. As well, this experience in the early church shows the importance of the “ministry of helps” to the apostle. (see also 1 Corinthians 12:28)

The results were powerful, “And the Word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7). Prayer and the ministry of the Word causes the apostolic
anointing to accomplish great things.

The ministry of Helps releases the apostle to concentrate on these two areas that are so vital to the ministry. Apostles must have time to pray and minister the Word in order to be effective.
Anything that takes them away from prayer and the ministry of the Word must be delegated to others.

This is why deacons were chosen and released in the book of Acts. It is important to note that they were not chosen to run the church but rather to relieve the Apostles so that they could prioritize and focus. This is the definition of helps ministry -TO RELIEVE.

Every apostle needs to find those that the Lord has called to come along side them to “help” so that they can stay focused and fulfill the call that is on their life and not become involved in the daily details of the ministry.

Fresh Insights Into Apostles – Part Thirty-Two

Apostles Make Intercession for the Saints

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 3:14

Apostles, as we see in Acts 6:4, have two main aspects of ministry that they focus on – Prayer and the ministry of the Word (teaching and preaching). Often many other aspects of ministry draw them away from these basic and foundational apostolic ministry but, with hearts sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, apostles are always drawn back to these two critical ministries.

Apostolic intercession is important to the Church. In one very specific way it is extremely helpful. The prayers of the apostles helps prepare the Church to receive the fresh revelation that is released through the ministry of apostles.

Paul’s intercession was a vital part of causing the churches he planted to grow and mature in the things of God. The prayers of Paul are recorded in his letters to the churches he was related to. He prayed for:
1. Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1);
2. Strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3);
3. Rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3);
4. Approve things that are excellent (Philippians 1);
5. Sincere and without offense (Philippians 1);
6. Filled with the knowledge of God’s will (Colossians 1);
7. Walk worthy of the Lord pleasing God in all things (Colossians 1);
8. Fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1).

Apostles are responsible to intercede and pray for the churches and ministries they are related to and even the Church around the world. Their intercession helps the Church to come into the fullness of what the Lord intends.