As we continue our look at the role of the apostolic office in the church today, we see that apostles are to:
- Expose false ministers and false doctrines
God calls those in the apostolic office to be good stewards over the mysteries of God that have been revealed to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Apostles are in governmental oversight in the church as part of the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11) and so must warn the shepherds of those who call themselves apostles and are not. As well, they must be well grounded in biblical doctrine so as to quickly reveal any false teachings in the church.
This is, of course, becoming more difficult as Christians are exposed to the influence of both radio and television preaching as well as the many popular Christian books being published. Even in the realm of prophetic revelation there are no universally accepted standards by which to judge a prophetic word. As well, there is no accountability when a prophetic word is spoken that is either not biblical or does not come to pass. So, many Christians – though sincere – are being deceived.
As a result of this situation created by modern technology, the apostles are to be very familiar with the current move of the Spirit in the church so as to be able to correctly discern and judge these teachings and prophecies. Then they are to warn the saints about those who would take the church in a direction contrary to where the Holy Spirit is leading the Church locally, nationally, and globally.
2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
So, those holding the apostolic office will contend for purity of faith and doctrine in the Church. They, like the prophets of old, will openly warn and speak against false prophets, teachers, and even false apostles openly.
As well, the authentic apostle must guard the sheep against false apostles who will have ‘false’ signs and wonders’ following their ministry. Often the sheep are not discerning enough to be able to know the difference and so it is the role of apostolic leaders to warn the sheep.
Paul is very specific about the need to warn God’s people …
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:13
- The apostle has a tremendous ministry involving the miraculous.
Apostles are gifted men and women who walk in a supernatural anointing so that God can demonstrate the truth of what they teach and minister by releasing miracles, signs, and wonders. Apostles are called and enabled to perform signs and wonders as well as to flow in the revelation gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, and prophecy will operate regularly in their ministries.
Acts 2:43 “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
- Apostles are to lay spiritual foundations in the Church.
In Acts 15 we see the first Church Council as the trans-local leaders of the Church (mostly apostles and prophets) meet with the leadership and the people of the Church in Jerusalem. Here they were discussing some basic doctrinal issues of the faith which would then become part of the foundational truths upon which the early church would be built. Ephesians 2:20 states that this is a major role for the apostolic ministry.
“(The Church) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
Apostles have the authority and anointing to lay spiritual foundations in the Church. Though no modern-day apostles will write scripture, they are equipped to reveal the hidden truths of God’s Word and to lay the proper foundations so that the Church of Jesus Christ can become strong and fulfill God’s plans and His purpose for His people.
Ephesians 3:4-5 “In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.”
- Establishing Churches in the Faith is the tenth role of the office of the apostle in the Church today.
Apostles, as they establish new works for the Lord, will see people converted to the faith. Their role then switches from ’evangelist’ to ‘teacher / disciple maker’ as they teach the new converts the basics of the faith. They are to guide the new believers into the truth until they become mature in their personal relationship with God and are firmly established in the Christian doctrines (Hebrews 6:1-3). Then they will not be moved about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). This ministry of the apostle promotes stability and growth in the Body of Christ.
Acts 16:4-5 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
There are many other aspects of the ministry of the apostle seen in the early church and thus valid in the Church today. It is an awesome ministry. I have simply listed and discussed the ‘top ten’ ministries that most apostles today will be involved in. They should demonstrate all of these ten functions at some time during their ministry as apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ.