An Apostolic Understanding – Part Two

 

We have entered a season, in the Kingdom and thus in the Church, of major changes. Jesus, the head of the Church, is telling us that even though everything seems to be in order in the Church in this last season, we need to be ready for the changes He is bringing to His Church.

The Book of Daniel, an Old Testament prophetic look at the times we live in, tells us that “the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Daniel 11:32). Another version states it this way, “They that know their God will do mighty exploits.” And, as true born again believers, we have a personal daily relationship with God and know Him.

When we were born again and the “wages of sin” were removed from our lives, we were given a special gift that the Bible calls eternal life (Romans 6:23). This gift is defined in John 17:3 as the supernatural ability given to us when we are saved to have a personal, daily, ever deepening, unique, love relationship with the Living God and Jesus whom He sent. So, according to the book of Daniel, because we know God we are to moving in supernatural power and seeing many ‘mighty exploits’ through our life and ministry.

Jesus said this as well. Speaking to His disciples He said, “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 go to My father” (John 14:12). I believe we are in that season of “greater things” and we need to be leaving the old traditions and religious thinking behind (see the previous blog) and move forward in the things that Jesus is currently doing in and through His Church.

Jesus said, after Peter’s revelation of who Jesus was, “Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, favoured by God] are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood (mortal man) did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades (death) will not overpower it [by preventing the resurrection of the Christ]. I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.” Then He gave the disciples strict orders to tell no one that He was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).”

Peter’s revelation direct from the Father’s heart released a prophetic word from Jesus about the work of the Church as believers walk in the authority that He has given to each one of us (see Matthew 28:18). I believe that as we respond to the move of the Holy Spirit we are now entering we will become truly apostolic in nature … moving in authority and power in the world seeing many come into the Kingdom and become true disciples of Jesus.

As a result we will build a new prototype of the Church for today. This new apostolic-prophetic Church will be aggressive and even ‘violent’ as we take the Kingdom by force (Matthew 11:12). We will unlock a Kingdom mentality that hell cannot withstand. There is an apostolic Church arising that will go beyond anything we have ever seen or known in the past. To understand this Apostolic Church I will be looking at the first apostolic church as found in the pages of the New Testament as we return to the original plan Jesus had for His Church – a plan that, in the history of the early Church, was soon derailed by the early leaders of the Church after the death of the original twelve apostles.

An Apostolic Understanding – Part One

There is a new move of God happening today in every nation where Jesus is preached. It is an apostolic move that will be seriously prophetic and evangelistic in nature. To understand the move we must look back to the first Church as recorded in the New Testament, understand the principles of the way God moves when change is happening, discover what He is saying to His Church today, and then understand God’s plan for His Church in this new season. This will require an apostolic-prophetic approach to life in the Church as they are the leaders in any change in the Kingdom and the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20; 4:11-12)

The prophetic operates on four levels – personal, corporate, territorially, and generationally. The Spirit of God is now bringing changes to the Church that will have a tremendous affect in all four of these areas of life and society. Thus, we need to be listening to and heeding what the Spirit is saying to the Church today.

The apostolic gives the people an understanding of the culture that they are working in and the larger religious and spiritual context of life. Apostles are able to contextualize the Gospel of the Kingdom to the location being targeted for Kingdom expansion. The apostles also train God’s people how to reach out into their context and present the Gospel in a way that it can be understood and received.

God is doing something “new” in the Church so as to increase the impact and influence of the Church in the world today.

The Greek word for ‘new’ is ‘neos.’ This has two meanings. First it could mean something that has never happened before. Secondly, it can mean something in the process of going from what is to what needs to be, a new quality being formed or forming in a new way. I believe the change today includes both the old changing into the new and some totally new aspects of life in the Church.

So, change is in the wind and the Holy Spirit is speaking loudly and clearly about this change through the apostles and prophets that have been released in the Kingdom and within the Church. They are announcing that this is a supernatural season of change because God is renovating the house.

The issue that arises is this: We think we have everything in order and we are ready for whatever is going to happen. However, this is not true. There are many things in the Church that we think are biblical and they are seriously not. There are many things we believe are biblical and they are simply tradition or even folklore, or worse, pagan. And so we have nullified God’s Word and thus His work by embracing our traditions thinking they are of God when they are not.

So, there is a major season of change in progress and we can either ignore it and miss out; fight it and find ourselves opposing God; or we can follow the lead of the Spirit as expressed by the apostles and move forward in the current move of God as the Kingdom expands and the Church prepares for the great harvest of the end times.

Thus God speaks and says: “So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.” (Hebrews 12:25-27 The Message Version)