Sheep and Wolves – Part Two

Continuing on from last time…

Jesus said plainly that He was sending His followers out “like sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). Then He told them even more. He told them that they would be handed over to the local councils, flogged in the synagogues, and brought before governors and kings as witnesses. He told them that they would be arrested, betrayed, and hated (verses 17-22). In a word, His followers would be persecuted (verse 23). Jesus made it clear that this impending persecution was not merely a possibility; for those who would obey Him, persecution is a certainty.

In response to His instructions, Jesus’ followers set out on this grand and frightening adventure, and sure enough, they experienced everything that Jesus had promised. They went out as sheep among wolves, and they experienced what sheep typically experienced in the presence of wolves. Predictably, the sheep were true to their identity. Just as predictably, the wolves wet true to theirs. And the inevitable result is precisely what Jesus has promised: persecution.

If there is any possible way to do it, we generally want to relegate passages like Matthew 10 to the distant past. We want to keep passages like Matthew 10 as far as possible from our own experience. Obedience to these ancient words, in today’s world, would potentially be seen as unbalanced — even insane. Especially within the church today, we might be encouraged to avoid taking Jesus’ instructions too seriously.

All the same, we claim that we are utterly devoted to Scripture. With great respect, we study to understand the world of these earliest followers of Jesus., We read about their suffering and we celebrate their costly obedience to Jesus’ call. Jesus clearly told His followers long ago that they wold suffer, and they did suffer. We know the story of these faithful followers is true.

As true as this story of ancient persecution is, however, we long to believe that these verses are merely “history.” We want very much to believe what happened to these earliest disciples is not what will happen to us. We want to believe Jesus’ words in Matthew 10 do not apply to believers today — at least, not to all believers!

But what if Matthew 10 is not merely “history”? What if Matthew 10 is a true word intended for Jesus’ followers of every time — a true word intended for even our time? What if Matthew 10 is about your and about me? What if “sheep among wolves” is an accurate description of both our calling and our world today? What if Jesus’ followers — His followers today — really are like sheep? And what if the world — the world today — really is filled with wolves?

Opening ourselves to the truth of God’s Word is dangerous. Popular theologies would tell us suffering can be avoided, that there is a way to be both faithful and comfortable at the same time, that there is a way to be both obedient and safe, that persecution is the destiny of believers who live only at certain times or in certain places, that God will reward obedience with success and security. Popular theologies would tell us that, even if we are sheep, it is possible to minimize our exposure to a world filled with wolves.

God’s Word — lived out in present active tense — however, tells its something very different. Jesus would have us understand that His followers — His followers long ago and His followers today — are, in fact, sheep. Jesus would have us understand that our world — our world long ago and our world today — is filled with wolves. And knowing the certain outcome of that encounter between the sheep and the wolves, Jesus would have us understand, even in this kind of a world, He fully intends to accomplish His purposes. Jesus will use these sheep to complete His great plan. 

Judging by what eventually happened to Jesus Himself, we come to understand that persecution and suffering and sacrifice are necessary parts of His ultimate strategy, even today.

Jesus’ instruction is compelling in its clarity. It is not a suggestion: it is a command. “Go!” He says. “I am sending you!”

We have the high privilege of answering Jesus’ call to go. But let’s be clear about this: we go on His terms, not ours. If we go at all, we go as sheep among wolves.

Why then, given that Jesus led His disciples every day to be with Him “to seek and to save what were lost” (Luke 19:10), did He feel it necessary to one more time command us with the Great Commission of Matthew 28?

Can it be that which Jesus lived and commanded to most is what we ignore obeying the most?

Today are we willing to follow Jesus to the tough places; anywhere and anytime He still commands?

Mentor -Mentee

If you are someone who is dedicated to personal growth, you will always be learning from many people in many places. Occasionally, you will have an opportunity to be mentored on an ongoing basis by an individual. This usually happens because you go looking for the help. Good mentors seldom find you as they are usually very busy. You need to search for one and ask them to walk along side you and mentor you.

Being mentored by someone who is successful in your area of interest has great value. However, let me give you some advice as you look for and approach a mentor. If you find a potential mentor, know that the following are your responsibility:

      • Be hungry to learn and grow
      • Be assertive and aggressive, not passive
      • Possess a teachable spirit
      • Always be prepared for the time you get with your mentor
      • Set the agenda by asking great questions
      • Demonstrate how you’ve learned from your time together
      • Be accountable for what you have learned

As someone who had mentored a lot of people, here are what I believe the responsibilities of a mentor are. My responsibility to the people I mentor is to add value. My goal is always to help them to become more than they are, not to try to make them something they’re not. These are the areas I focus on:

      • Strengths
      • Temperament
      • Track record
      • Passion 
      • Choices
      • Advice
      • Support, resources, connections
      • Game plan
      • Feedback
      • Encouragement 

For each of these areas, think about what specific contribution you can offer to the person you are mentoring.

In one case I heard of, during the start of the second meeting with the mentor, the one being mentored said:

      • Here’s what I asked
      • Here’s what you shared
      • Here’s what I did
      • Now can I ask more questions?

This situation would be a mentor’s delight. 

Every person who can help you is not necessarily the right person to help you. You must pick and choose. And so must they. Your goal should be to find a fit that is mutually beneficial for both mentor and mente


As we close this short series on the apostle and apostolic ministry we need to look at “The Apostolic Measure” which includes their purpose and vision.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7 

These are great days to be alive as a builder (apostle) in the kingdom of God! If, indeed, the first is the last restored, we are not far away from the days of the glorious church, having “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27). 

Coming forth is “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” (I Peter 2:9) 

The kingdom of “the world (will) become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”   (Revelation 11:15)

The apostle is at the forefront, the visionary, the messenger. He lays down his life, that Jesus Christ may be the foundation upon which others build. He labours until “Christ is formed in His people” (Galatians 4:19), and “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:13)

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”     (I Corinthians 13:12-13). 

Young, emerging apostle: value the time you get with the fathers. Honour the fathers.
Ho farther than they have gone. You will walk over their bones into the kingdom. But, you must travel their path before you find your own. Value most the time you take with your Father who is in heaven. For, “He is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”   (Philippians 2:13)

Senior apostle: Multiply yourself! That is, impart what you have freely received into the sons whom God gives you. Your ultimate success is in your successor. Don’t ever be too busy for your sons. Instruct your sons, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  (2 Timothy 2:2). Be trans-generational, and train your sons to be trans-generational, until “the kingdom has fully come on earth as it is in heaven.”    (Matthew 6:10)

Apostles: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” (Colossians 3:15-16) Jesus Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1), the builder of all things (verse 4) is in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He is the radiance of His (Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3), and He is in You that, through Him, you may glorify the Father by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. 

“We are at best vessels of clay. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body,”    (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). 

There is no more noble cause than to fulfill the purpose of God in our generation!  


We are looking at “The Apostolic Manifestation” within the apostolic church. Last time we saw that the Church will be manifested as:

1> A governing people                                                                                                                                                                   2> A warring people                                                                                                                                                                        3> A trans-generational people 


All believers are committed to glorifying God by accomplishing (completing; finishing) the work which God foreordained for them to walk in (John 17:4; Ephesians 2:10). They have counted the cost before beginning to build to be sure that they can finish what they begin (Luke 14:28-30). They know and are disciplined to focus upon their individual measures of rule (2 Corinthians 10:13), trusting their leaders and their brothers to be faithful to their spheres. They are committed to the kingdom of heaven on the earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10), and deny themselves daily (Luke 9:23) to follow Jesus, for the glory of God and His purpose. 


They know where they fit in the spiritual house built with living stones (I Peter 2:5), each one knowing who is above, beneath, and on either side of him. They build on the foundation of Jesus Christ with gold, silver and precious stones – all which will be proven and purified by the fires which try their lives so that they may receive the reward (I Corinthians 3:11-15). 

They do all by faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). They faithfully, obediently do what they see the Father doing (John 5:19), co- labouring with God (I Corinthians 3:9), realizing that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1). They are given to building up one another in love (Ephesians 4:16), encouraging and cooperating with one another as each one carries out his role.  


God so loved the world, that he sent Jesus into the world that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17). 

Jesus sends His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation…”   (Mark 16:15). 

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is to the church of all ages. The church is to be apostolic. We are “sent ones.” The apostolic church has been prepared to respond to the Great Commission. The apostolic church has a biblical world view. Some are literally sent; others give that they may go. Each local expression of the apostolic church has a priority of sending labourers into the harvest field and providing the substance for their missions.

God is love; we are to love one another (I John 4:7-21). The fruit of the Spirit is love. The apostolic church, which is His body, is to carry His love to the world. We are to love God, love one another, love our neighbour, love our enemies, love ourselves. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) will be fulfilled by a prototype people who fulfill the Great Commandment: 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . You shall love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). 


Let’s look today at the first part of “The Apostolic Manifestation”…


Prophets can lead churches to be prophetic. Evangelists can equip the church to be evangelistic. Pastors can prepare the church to be pastoral, and teachers can train the church to be teaching others also. The church will never be without spot or wrinkle, she will never be holy and blameless, without the apostolic impartation and ministry. 

The apostle is not limited to tunnel vision. He sees the plan of God. He is the master builder, and his sphere includes the releasing of all five equipping ministries. The apostolic church is prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching. The apostolic church also has revelation of the mission and motivation to go forth extending the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

Jesus is the Pattern Son, a prototype for many sons. The apostolic church is a prototype for the restoration of God’s kingdom dominion in every phase of life, in every place in the earth. Here are seven marks of a prototype people: 


Governing people rule within their God-given sphere of authority and responsibility. Beginning with their own personal lives and extending to their families, their lifestyle is to become overcoming and victorious. They are to know their measure of rule and, under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, walk in the steps ordered for them by God. They glorify the Father within their earth realm by accomplishing the work He ordained before hand, that they should walk in (Ephesians 2:10). Some have been called to priestly roles, others to kingly roles within the kingdom of priests and kings. Whatever our role, whatever our sphere, we are to develop our dominion in faith, and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 


“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”    (Ephesians 6:12)

Ruling spirits over principalities will be unseated as ruling elders are established in in each apostolic sphere. People will be set free from the powers of darkness, and the world system will be delivered from the spiritual forces of wickedness, as the sons of God extend their measures of rule. God’s kingdom is coming on the earth as it is in heaven through the intercessions and faithful obedience of the body of Christ. Equipped with authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19) and with the anointing to preach, the people of God will go forth saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”     (Matthew 4:17)


Children, young men and fathers (I John 2:12-14) are all parts of today’s church. Older women are exhorted to encourage the younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Paul, spiritual father to Timothy, reminds him, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness.” (I Timothy 4:12). 

We are to: 

Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). 

Trained in the way of faith, there is no departing. You must be a part of something before you can depart. Children are part of the church of tomorrow, but foremost are parts of the church today. A widow indeed, who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God, is cared for by the church (I Timothy 5:3-16). 

All members of all ages are being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies (Ephesians 4:16). 

The apostolic church is a trans-generational people, a chosen generation (I Peter 2:9), in service to this generation, and preparing for the next. 



Discipling The Next Generation

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”    Matthew 28:19-20 

Multiplication is essential if we hope to extend the kingdom to the ends of the earth. Jesus set the pattern. He was the Perfect Pattern Son, the Perfect Pattern Apostle. The apostle will do well to carefully examine the methodology for multiplication which was evident in the life and ministry of Jesus. 

His command is backed by His example. A high, high priority in the earthly life of Messiah was discipling and mentoring. While he discipled more than twelve, He gave special attention and effort to reproducing apostles. He mentored them. They were sent to the then known world, the uttermost parts. Their commission: disciple the nations, every ethnic people group on the face of the earth. 

Today’s apostle bears in his soul the burden of Jesus for the discipling of the nations. Regardless of his chronological age, he will disciple sons as a father, labouring in childbearing until Christ be formed in them. It is essential to be trans-generational in ministry, always preparing the next generation to carry on until Jesus comes. 

Let’s examine the way in which Jesus made disciples. We will consider five major steps. 


There can be no successful ministry without a calling from God. Jesus prayed all night before extending the call. He went through the names, over the list, perhaps several times until He was certain that He had the mind of His Father (Luke 6:12-13). Jesus did nothing of His own initiative, but only what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19,30). The success of Jesus’ mentoring efforts rested largely on selecting and calling the right men. Only the Father looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7). 

The apostle/mentor must pray and receive guidance from God before calling people into a discipleship and mentoring relationship. He must know what he is to do with them before he calls them. Jesus gives us an important overview: 

He appointed the twelve, (1) so that they would be with Him and (2) that He could send them out (a) to preach, and (b) to have authority to cast out the demons (Mark 3:14-15). 

It takes a commitment of life, time and effort to properly mentor tomorrow’s servant-leaders. Before they can be sent out to preach and restore kingdom dominion in people’s lives, they first must be equipped. Jesus’ first priority and primary ministry on the earth was to be with His disciples, imparting to them all that they would need in order to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) which He would leave with them. 

In addition to understanding the required investment of time, the apostle must have an understanding of the purpose and content of his responsibilities to those whom the Father gives him. He is to prepare the next generation of labourers for the white harvest fields. He is to establish them upon the foundation of Jesus Christ so that they will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). 

This requires a sensitivity to and cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Considering the illustration of the potter and the clay (see Jeremiah 18:1-6), we realize that both hands need to be used to mold the clay into a vessel. There is the hand on the inside of the vessel, and also the hand on the outside of the vessel. As the wheel turns, the two hands must work in a coordinated manner to perfect the vessel. 

In our analogy, the hand on the inside of the individual is the Holy Spirit, and the hand on the outside is the mentor. When we are considering the church as the vessel, the “hand” on the outside is the fivefold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12). Here again, the work on the outside of the vessel must be coordinated with and by the Holy Spirit. The workers must be directed by the Holy Spirit for Christ to be formed in the individual and in the church. 

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all nations, leading to obedience of faith;to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever. Amen.”      (Romans 16:25-27)

The apostle’s objective is obedient disciples. However, he is not labouring for an obedience which is in response to mere gentile authority. Neither is he satisfied with humanistic behaviour modification. Paul’s objective is the obedience that is by faith, a way of life referred to as “The Way.” This kind of obedience comes as a result of conversion following the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ, according to revelation knowledge, and under the anointing. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, the Anointed One.”    (Romans 10:17)

Once the call had been extended and the disciples had responded, Jesus began to train them in the way of the Kingdom. He gave them clear instructions. It is good that disciples understand the objectives and are given measurable, achievable goals. This is necessary for their obedience and their progress to be measured. 


We are looking at the restoration of the ministry of the apostle. So far we have seen:

The apostolic ministry                                                                                                                                                                 The apostolic mantle and authority                                                                                                                                          The apostolic mandate – Kingdom expansion                                                                                                                        The apostolic mission – Laying the foundation                                                                                                                      The apostolic message – sonship                                                                                                                                              The apostolic motivation – Filling the earth with God’s glory

Let’s look at our next concern – “The Apostolic Method” …

THE APOSTOLIC METHOD – Fivefold Impartation 

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”   (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We can teach what we know, but we impart what and who we are. We can inform people on a variety of topics. However, we can only form people according to what we are. Everything reproduces after its own kind (Genesis 1). The apostle labours in childbirth until Christ is formed in people. The need is for formation, not mere information. 

Jesus said, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me”     (Matthew 10:40). 

This is more than a promise of information! Jesus is declaring that when someone receives the one who is sent, he or she actually receives Jesus. Because, Jesus is abiding in the sent one, He may be imparted by the sent one, and formed in the one who receives. Furthermore, because the Father abides in Jesus even as Jesus abides in the sent one, the recipient receives not only the sent one, but also Jesus and the Father! 

Jesus continues, “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.” (John 10:41)

A prophetic impartation is received when we receive a prophet. The prophets, as well as the other fivefold ministries, are themselves gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:10-11) They have freely received their anointing from the Holy One, and freely give as they are received. The prophetic gifts of God are imparted through the prophets of God. 

In the same manner, the apostles are God’s gifts to the church for the purpose of imparting of the apostolic anointing. Paul, a master builder, was constantly motivated to intentionally strengthen and establish the church through impartation: 

“For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.” (Romans 1:11)


The apostle is a vessel of clay through whom Jesus, THE Apostle, chooses to reveal Himself. The prophet is a human being through whom Jesus, THE Prophet, manifests Himself. In like manner, the evangelist, pastor and teacher are mere men and women through whom THE Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher glorifies Himself. 

God’s grace, not our choice, determines our giftings. Paul testifies, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I laboured even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
  (I Corinthians 15:9-10)

Each one is what he is by the choice and grace of God. 

It is the will of God that the church, “Grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”      (Ephesians 4:15-16) 

As His body, we are to manifest all aspects of Christ. He is Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. Therefore, His body is to be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching. Jesus imparts these aspects of Himself through His gift  – fivefold men and women, His gifts to the church. 

Apostles reproduce after kind; prophets reproduce after kind; evangelists reproduce after kind; pastors reproduce after kind; teachers reproduce after kind. Apostles impart the apostolic gift. Prophets impart the prophetic gift. Evangelists impart the evangelistic gift. Pastors impart the pastoral gift. Teachers impart the teaching gift. The church grows up in all aspects into Him as these aspects of Him are imparted through the fivefold ministry gifts. 

Apostles are task focused. As master builders, they see and understand the blueprint for building. They will normally view everything from the point of view of fulfilling the task of building up the church and extending the kingdom of God throughout the earth. 

Prophets are word focused. They speak to man on behalf of God. As spokesmen for God, they are constantly comparing what they are seeing in the natural realm with what they are seeing in the spiritual realm. They are weighing everything according to the word which is revealed to them. 

These two gifts are foundational to the church. 

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”     (Ephesians 2:19-22)

The evangelist is soul focused. He equips the church for evangelism, the saving of souls. 

The pastor is people focused. He tends and feeds the flock, caring for them and bringing healing to them. 

The teacher is detail and doctrine focused. He builds the truth into the understanding and lives of people, precept upon precept, line upon line. 

The church which is growing in all aspects of Christ, through fivefold impartation, will be apostolic – envisioned for worldwide kingdom expansion; prophetic – sensitive to the voice of God; evangelistic – concerned that everyone should hear the gospel; pastoral – given to caring for one another; and teaching – sharing what each one has learned with others. 

Fivefold Ministers – Apostles govern, prophets guide, evangelists gather, pastors guard and teachers ground the church in the truth. 

The church which is growing in all aspects of Christ, through fivefold impartation, will enjoy divinely ordered government, divinely inspired guidance, fruitful gathering of new believers, the environment of a safe sheepfold, and will prosper in the word of God. 

Such a local expression of the Church of Jesus Christ will be a manifestation of Christ Himself, a mature man (Ephesians 4:13), a body with many members which builds itself up in love (verse 16). Authentic fivefold ministry will bring the impartation of the many aspects of Jesus Christ so that He may be revealed in His body. 

The apostle must understand his sphere, both with respect to his measure of rule and also his areas of anointing. He must operate within his geographical and ecclesiastical boundaries. As a master builder, he must coordinate and cooperate with the other gifts in the body to assure the fully orbed equipping of the church for the work of service. 


We are looking at the restoration of the ministry of the apostle. So far we have seen:

The apostolic Ministry                                                                                                                                                                 The apostolic mantle and authority                                                                                                                                           The apostolic mandate – Kingdom expansion                                                                                                                          The apostolic mission – Laying the foundation                                                                                                                       The apostolic message – sonship

Let’s look at our next concern – “The Apostolic Motivation” …

THE APOSTOLIC MOTIVATION – Filling The Earth With God’s Glory 

Paul writes, “… this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship
from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is
Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. (Colossians 1:25-29) 

The apostle should observe the substance of this apostolic passage. Paul maintains his priority of being a messenger, a steward of the mystery: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

He proclaims with wisdom this Christ, that he may present every man complete in Christ. 

He is careful to exemplify the way of God by pointing out that it is the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ working within him. 

Perhaps somewhat frustrated by the Galatians’ tendency to stray, he wrote: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh.” (Galatians 3:3) 

He also wrote: “My little children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”  (Galatians 4:19) 

The apostle must be faithful to the task. Only sons can glorify the Father as they labour, striving according to His power within them. 

Our Father intends that He be glorified in and through His sons by their Spirit-led obedience. Jesus, the firstborn among many brethren, prayed to our Father: “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17:4). 

The apostle’s privilege and duty is to declare this vision to the church. It should be the life motivation of all believers to glorify Him (Jesus) on the earth by finishing the work which He has given them to do. 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”   (Ephesians 2:10)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit of God, the first-fruit of sonship. He was filled with the Spirit of His Father, and walked by faith in fellowship with the Father. 

His testimony: “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:10) He goes on to say… “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”   (John 5:30)

The apostle labours to form Christ in individual leaders and local bodies of believers, by precept and by example. He will hear and judge, see and hear, and co-labor with the Father as he seeks not his own will, but the will of Him who sent him. He will glorify the Father because Christ is in him. He will bring believers to understand that God is glorified as He works through them by the revelation and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “The Father abiding in Me does His works.”   (John 14:10) We must birth that truth in every believer’s heart so that they will see the Father working through them. 


God is now working to bring many sons to glory. The Holy Spirit is labouring within His sons to bring them to maturity. The process of learning obedience can be painful. Although He (Jesus) was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) 

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies (the firstborn Son) and those who are sanctified (many sons) are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:10-11)

These two words, sufferings and glory, are often used together in Scripture. Peter wrote, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (I Peter 4:12-14)

Paul wrote, “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to (and in) us.”   (Romans 8:18) 

He continues: “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”       (Romans 8:19). 

It is vital that the apostle understand that he is sent to extend the kingdom throughout the earth. This is accomplished as believers are matured in the Spirit until they are revealed, manifested, as sons. Sons reveal their father. They glorify their father. As many sons come to glory, the Father will be seen in them. All of creation is crying out for these sons to be manifested. The sons will turn futility into fruition. 

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”  (Romans 8:20-21). 

God placed the first man in the Garden of Eden, gave him dominion, and instructed him to cultivate and keep it and to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:15). Through faith in Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same dominion and commission is being restored to God’s sons. Creation will be delivered from its slavery to corruption which came about with the fall of man. 

The painful process of maturing equips believers for the Throne. “If we endure, we will also reign with Him.”  (2Timothy 2:12) First the suffering, then the glory. First the pain, then the gain. Isaiah provides a picture of the consummation of God’s process involving His sons: 

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.   (Isaiah 55:10-13)

“As I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Numbers 14:21)


Having looked at “The Apostolic Mission” let’s turn our attention to “The Apostolic Message.”

THE APOSTOLIC MESSAGE Sonship – Christ In You and You in Christ

“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:19-20 

It is one of those transition times. Within just a few hours of betrayal, Jesus knows that He must communicate the true substance of the Gospel, give His apostles this most important revelation. He will go, but not stay away. He will not leave them (or us) as orphans. Although no longer seen by the natural eye of natural man, those who have eyes to see will know that He has returned in Spirit to abide within believers. 

Jesus would be arrested, tried, crucified, buried. He would be raised from the dead by the same Spirit who would come to dwell in His people. Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also.”

 Paul put it this way: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11) 

The foolproof mark of the authentic Christian is the presence of the Spirit of Christ within and the Holy Spirit being upon them as they are enabled and empowered by the Spirit to be His witnesses and to do what He did…

Acts 1:5,8 “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now … But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

John 14:12 ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

Paul goes on to write:

“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9)

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Of do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless you fail the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Jesus Himself said: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

“Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)

So, the apostle must clearly communicate the foundation of Christian life, “Jesus Christ in you.” No Christ, no Christ life! 


Note several phases of development from seed to fruition. First the root, then the shoot, then the fruit. 

Jesus said it better, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows – how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.” (Mark 4:26-28)

Paul observed that God was causing the growth. (I Corinthians 3:6)

John, an apostle, taught that there are children, young men and fathers. Children are those whose sins are forgiven, young men are those who are strong because of the word abiding in them by which they overcome the evil one. Fathers are those who have come to know Him who was from the beginning and, in their maturity, are mentoring those who are younger in the faith. (I John 2:12-14)

It is good to be born of the Spirit, have the seed of Christ in you and your sins forgiven; better to develop the word of faith in the soil of your heart until you are strong and can overcome the evil one; best to press on to know Him who was from the beginning, knowing His heart, motivations, and purposes; passing on your wisdom and understanding to the next generation (discipleship and mentoring).

Generally speaking, there are four significant phases in the life of the developing Christian. 

1. Hireling – believer understands that if he does certain things he’ll receive certain benefits. 

2. Servant – believer comes to understand that he ought to serve the Lord whether or not he receives any benefits. 

3. Friend – believer enters into a relational level beyond the hireling or the servant and, out of love for Christ, will do as he is asked – obedient regardless of the personal cost.

4. Sonship – believer begins to understand that the purpose of God is to reveal Himself through sons who are conformed to His image and likeness.

The apostle must bring an understanding of these phases of development and keep a vision before the people which will motivate them on in the increase of the seed of Christ in them, the seed of sonship. 

“For in subjecting all things to him (man), He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subject to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom
are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:8-11) 

The apostle must instil in the believers the truth that Christ is in them, that they are sons, that all things have been subjected to them, and that they are being brought to glory. It is a process. The apostle must not allow the church to perish for lack of knowledge or vision (revelation). The bedrock of kingdom truth is that we are brothers of Christ, born of the same Father, and have His Spirit within us to bring us into all of our potential in Him. Paul describes the process: 

“Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:1-7). 

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  (John 12:24)

He was speaking of the multiplication of sons which would come forth through His death. Just as a grain of wheat falls into the ground and a crop of wheat results, the Son was buried and a crop of sons is coming forth. After He returned to His Father, the Spirit of Adoption, the Holy Spirit of Sonship, was sent upon the disciples. 

“Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

“All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  (Romans 8:14)


We just finished looking at “The Apostolic Mandate.” Let’s turn our attention to “The Apostolic Mission”…

THE APOSTOLIC MISSION is to lay the foundation for the Church that Jesus is building.

My little children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19) 

Paul told the Corinthians, “No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” ( I Corinthians 3:11). 

When the apostolic mission is to virgin territory, Jesus must be built into the believers’ hearts as the very bedrock of their lives. When the mission is to the existing church world, the objective of the apostle is the same, but the task may be more difficult. There are many false foundations which must be unearthed and removed. Sometimes, a prophetic “Jeremiah ministry” must come first, to pluck up and break down, to destroy and to overthrow. Then the apostle can come, to build and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10). 

The traditions of men and the dogmas of denominations head the list of false foundations. Anything other than Jesus Christ in us is a fault in the foundation which will allow devastation in earthquake proportions in our lives. Jesus put it this way: 

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of the house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)

A proper foundation is vital to withstanding the storms of life. One who builds upon the ground (earth) of his own will and understanding of life is destined for failure. However, one who digs deep and builds upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, is prepared for the inevitable trials which come to everyone 

Those who not only call Jesus, “Lord,” but do what He says, enjoy the benefits of His promises: 

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

Paul exhorts, “I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.” (I Corinthians 3:10) 

Again, Paul writes, Others will build upon the foundation, but the foundation, who is Jesus Christ, is laid by the apostle. Paul makes it clear that he laid the foundation himself. Then he warns all who build on the foundation to be careful to use the proper materials (I Corinthians 3:12-17). 

The apostle is to be a wise master builder, architect, who lays the foundation then oversees the building of the house. Others are to be involved in the building process. But, the architect prescribes the proper materials with which to build – gold, silver, precious stones – all materials which will be purified by fiery trials. Fire destroys the wood, hay and straw of human nature, the man-initiated building. Fire purifies that which God initiates, and the house remains and accomplishes God’s will for it. 

Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, speaks to His disciples: “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) “I can do nothing of My own initiative.” (verse 30) “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” (John 6:63)

The apostle must walk in the Spirit to see what the Father is doing so that he might do the same, laying the proper foundation and also supervising the building process. The grace of God upon the apostle’s life, the anointing and wisdom to build, all are necessary for the discerning of gold and the avoiding of wood. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1)

Peter identifies Jesus as the Cornerstone: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (I Peter 2:6) He identifies believers: “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (verses 4 and 5)

For the house to be spiritual, for the priesthood to be holy, and for the sacrifices to be acceptable to God, the proper materials must be built into the house. Living stones are to be fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part (Ephesians 4:16). 

God has appointed and anointed apostles to function as wise master builders, and, along with the prophets, to lay the foundation of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 12:28) The apostolic and prophetic roles will be more clearly defined in a future blog. 

The individual believer must have his life founded upon Jesus Christ. The apostle is to present Him as Saviour, Lord, High Priest, and King. He is also our apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor (Great Shepherd), and teacher.  The believer must understand that Jesus has saved him from sin, that he is to serve Him in obedience, that Jesus will speak to him the word of God, intercede for him before the Father, and rule over him in His kingdom. His security and fulfillment are dependent upon knowing Him in this way. 

As each individual “living stone” is secured in his personal revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Shepherd, he will flow together with other believers. The Holy Spirit will have reign in their lives because of the security of a proper foundation, and they together will become a spiritual house which is founded upon the Rock.