2 Corinthians 13:10 states, “For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.”
Paul is stating that apostles are given godly authority and anointing to build up the Church and to edify the saints so that they reach full maturity and fulfill the plan and purpose for the local church that they are part of as well as the specific call upon their own individual lives.
The authority given to apostles as “sent ones” is for the purpose of edifying (building up) the Body. This authority should not be used to hurt or destroy God’s people. Apostles are not called to be dictators over God’s people thus using their office to control and manipulate and fulfill their own agenda.
However, they are to rebuke and correct in love, not in control or pride. They often have to tear down and uproot before they can plant and build – but this is always accomplished from a heart filled with the love of the Father for His children and the Church.
This authority is not meant to destroy, but build up. If apostles minister in the flesh, destroying God’s heritage, they will be judged by the Lord and often corrected by others holding the same office.
The apostle Paul knew the purpose of his apostolic authority. He knew his authority was given to build up the Church. He confronted false apostles who took advantage of God’s people. False apostles and “super-apostles” (2 Corinthians 12:11-13) are recognized by their abusive authority which is really false authority.
Fleshly authority is manipulative, controlling, dominating and destructive. True apostolic authority is edifying and uplifting. It is often difficult to determine if someone is a false apostle – however, this is where relational ministry is so important for only in decent relationships do you see the character of the man and the fruit of the ministry.