There is much confusion about the apostolic ministry because the Church does not recognize the signs that follow this type of ministry. These signs prove the authenticity of the apostle and his apostolic ministry. They reveal his integrity and inner as well as exterior nature as a man. Therefore, these signs are not the functions he carries out but the revelation of what the man really is: his fruit, character, attitude, heart and wisdom; his relationship with God, authority in the Spirit, his works, and his deeds.
“This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You did unless God is with him.'” John 3:2
Signs and wonders cannot be fabricated, produced, or invented with human strength; they are the result of the power and approval that God gives to a man. Biblical signs are the evidence – the seal of authenticity and the guarantee of quality of an apostle.
In Greek, the word for ‘sign’ is “semeion”; it means sign. miracle, wonder, of token; that which distinguishes one person from the next.
“Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” 2 Corinthians 12:12
Paul mentioned a few of the signs that are, in truth, the most important in the life of a genuine apostle. However, we find in the Word of God more signs which describe who and what an apostle is – and which validate his apostolic ministry. These signs make up the pattern of the life of all apostles because they are common to each and very one of them.
So, what are the important biblical signs that follow a genuine apostle? The best way to find out about a person, gift, or ministry is to create a profile or picture of it. So, let’s do that… There are many signs, but I want to look at just the important ones in the next few days…
The first sign of a genuine apostle is that they have a call to this ministry and that this call has been received directly from God and confirmed numerous times through other more mature and seasons apostles and prophets. The apostle can only be appointed by our Lord Jesus Christ and so this is the first sign. Ephesians 4:11 “And He gave same to be apostle…” God calls the man and places in him the desires of an apostle, the apostolic drive, the vision and dreams of an apostle. Then others will come along and recognize that grace on his life and speak a Word of the Lord confirming what the young apostle-in-training already knows deep in his heart and soul.
The calling of an apostle is the end result of a supernatural revelation received while in intimacy with Jesus – in a direct encounter with Him in the Spirit. It is an assignment personally given by the Lord directly into the one being called. This revelation can come through dreams, visions, the Word, a personal visitation from Jesus, the still small voice of the Spirit, or in many other ways God might choose. However, it will come in such a way that the man of God receiving this call will know deep in his heart that he has heard from God – there will be no doubts or hesitation. This personal and direct revelation is later confirmed by other reputable apostles and prophets within the Body of Christ. They will make that calling official before the people and the Church.
Apostles cannot be called and commissioned by councils or committees, only by Jesus. After the calling is received, the only task for man to do is to disciple, train, equip and mentor the young apostle-to-be … and then publicly release the man to begin to minister in His calling. To be separated, chosen, commissioned, and sent as an apostle directly by God, helps an apostle to stand firm and steady through even the worse opposition and persecution. In the world today there are many who were not sent out by the Lord and the local church – they just went on their own. They were not called by the Lord – they simply recognized what the Spirit of God was doing today in the Kingdom, jumped on the bandwagon, and declared themselves to be an apostle. This means there are many false apostles working in the Kingdom and we need to be seriously discerning before receiving the ministry of anyone who happens to call himself an apostle. Wait for the genuine article – it is worth the wait.