We are examining Acts 13:1-5… and the genuine apostolic ministry as seen in this passage. This is a good thing to do because there are many “false apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:13) and “super apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:5; 2 Corinthians 12:11). So, we must book to the Scriptures to help us determine who the “real (or true) apostles” are (2 Corinthians 12:12). Yesterday we saw that true apostles do apostolic work. This may seem so very obvious but it needs to be stated because many who call themselves apostles are simply not doing what the Bible clearly states is the ministry of the apostle.
Today (#2) we want to state that the Church is the normal sending station from which true apostolic ministry is sent.
Acts 13:1 begins, “Now in the church that was at Antioch there were…” Today many who have been called to be apostles have been trained by “mission agencies,” parachurch organizations, and seminaries. But, the actual sending is rightfully and biblically done by the Church. I believe that the time is coming when future apostles will find their training within the local church and mainly through mentoring relationships with active and mature apostles who have proven themselves over the long term and have a fruitful, long-term ministry. However, even though training is often currently received away from the local church – it is the local church that must be the sending agent for all those called to be apostles and work in apostolic ministry. It is the biblical pattern.
There are important reasons for this pattern. No one knows us bette than the folks back home. No one can better encourage is or offer prayer support. And no one is in a better position to gauge our spiritual condition and provide a source of accountability. It is important for apostles and apostolic team members not only to know that there is a place where they have been sent out from but also to know that is a place where they can go back to. Tragically, many apostles today don’t have this sense of security that only a local church can supply.
So, the local church should be the place where apostles are trained and equipped (Ephesians 4:11-15) as well as sent out from. This also means they should return to the sending church on a regular basis to give an account of their work as Paul and Barnabas did in Acts 14:27-28).