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The Ministry of an Apostle
by Segun Olumide
11/03/2014 / Leadership
Ministry Gifts Series
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in this book are from the King James Version of the Bible.
KEYS TO OTHER BIBLE VERSIONS USED:
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NIV-New International Version
TLB-The Living Bible
Gideons-The Gideons International
RSV-Revised Standard Version
NCV-New Century Version
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation;
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.;
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.;
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version. Copyright 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
2014 The New Apostolic Movement
The New Apostolic Movement,
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SPECIAL! SPECIAL! SPECIAL!
A MUST READING/VIEW
(Google the following free of charge on the Internet and God will change your life forever.)
1. Holiness Required For Heaven by Carillo from Bolivia
2. Eternal Destinations: Godly Attire and Adornment
3. Another Warning by Kingsley Ubani
4. Time Is Over : Run For Your Life by Kingsley Ubani
5. 9 Testimonies on Tithing from Heaven and Hell Visions
6. The Dangers of Eating Gods Tithes and Offerings
7. The Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega
(Crosscheck these testimonies with the Scriptures and if you have questions you may send us an email.)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1MEANING OF AN APOSTLE
Chapter 2SIGNS OF AN APOSTLE
Chapter 3VITAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF AN APOSTLE
Chapter 4WRONG NOTIONS ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF AN APOSTLE
Chapter 5EXECUTING THE MINISTRY OF AN APOSTLE EFFECTIVELY
Chapter 6APOSTOLIC STRATEGY FOR APOSTOLIC WORK
Chapter 7THE OFFICE OF AN APOSTLE
Chapter 8APOSTLESHIP: A CALL TO SUFFERING?
Chapter 9THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Chapter 10THE APOSTOLIC MOVE OF GOD
Chapter 11FULFILLING YOUR PART IN GODS APOSTOLIC MOVE
Chapter 12WARNING FOR APOSTLES AGAINST WRONG WAYS OF RAISING MONEY
Chapter 13 GUIDANCE FOR APOSTLES ABOUT RIGHT WAYS OF RAISING MONEY
Chapter 14 METHODS MINISTERS CAN USE TO RAISE MONEY
Chapter 15 THE FOUNDATION OF MY APOSTOLIC MINISTRY
MEANING OF AN APOSTLE
The term apostle comes from the Greek word apostolos, which means a sent one, a messenger, a representative or an ambassador.
Actually, while the word 'apostle' originated from Greek, the word 'missionary' originated from Latin, and they have the same meaning.
So an apostle is an ordinary messenger sent with an extra-ordinary message on an extra-ordinary mission! Hence his calling makes him an extra-ordinary minister.
Bill Scheidler threw more light on this in one of his books. Talking about the Greek Language, a pastor from Greece plainly told him, In Greece, an apostle is simply a messenger. It is not uncommon to see an ad (advert) in the paper, Wanted: Apostle. Must have his own bicycle. 1
That means an apostle is a servant sent to undertake a task. No wonder Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1), even the Greatest Apostle that even walked on the earth, clearly said to the twelve apostles, Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your SERVANT and whoever wants to be first must be your SLAVE just as THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY (Mat 20:26-28, NIV).
We need to understand that Jesus as the Apostle of our confession connotes the one who served us and sacrificed himself for us to give us our confession of faith in Him. Thats why we confess Him.
Thats why Paul wrote, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (Rom 10:9a). So, great apostles are great servants.
In fact, Paul began his epistle to the Romans with PAUL, A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE, separated unto the Gospel of God (Rom 1:1).
Peter also began his second epistle similarly: SIMON PETER, A SERVANT AND AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST (2 Pet 1:1a).
You see, true apostleship is in serving or function, not mere title. Some have ambitiously acquired the title because of the glamour, prestige or power that goes with that office but such are false apostles with flattering titles (see Revelation 2:2).
John Alexander Dowie was an apostle whom God used tremendously to "turn the world upside down" at the turn of the previous century! He had a followership of several thousands of people with great signs, wonders and miracles following his ministry.
But because he had poor understanding of what it means to be an apostle, he himself was soon turned upside down by the world!
He frustrated Gods apostolic grace upon his life by going heavily into politics: running for Parliament. After failing abysmally in the elections, he returned to his calling. But ambition would not let him rest; before long, he built his own empire and exalted himself.
Paul wrote of himself, In as much as I am AN APOSTLE to the Gentiles, I MAGNIFY MY MINISTRY (not myself) Rom 11:13, Gideons).
Its scriptural to magnify ones ministry, but its sinful to magnify oneself. Sadly enough, Dowie magnified himself as John Alexander, First Apostle.
Shortly after he had lifted himself up as someone superior to others, God permitted him to be struck with stroke while preaching on his platform. Eventually, he was confined to a wheel chair. He had a tragic end!
He confessed this:
In becoming an apostle, it is not a question of rising high, it is a question of becoming low enough I do not think that I have reached a deep enough depth of true humility of true abasement and self-effacement, for the high office of an apostle 2
Remember what Paul wrote to some saints: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus [the Apostle and High Priest of our confession]:
Who being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name (Phil 2:3-9, NIV).
Every one likes the power that accompanies the office of an apostle but no one likes the challenges that confront true apostles.
If some of us lived in Pauls days, we probably wouldnt accept him fully as an apostle because our present understanding of an apostle is twisted! This must be corrected quickly but gradually.
The great Apostle Paul lamented, For it seems to me that God has put us APOSTLES on display at the end of the procession, LIKE MEN CONDEMNED TO DIE IN THE ARENA. We have been made A SPECTACLE TO THE WHOLE UNIVERSE, to angels as well as to men
Up to this moment WE HAVE BECOME THE SCUM OF THE EARTH, THE REFUSE OF THE WORLD (1 Cor 4:9, 13, NIV).
In other words, Paul was saying an apostle is like a foot-mat, refuse in a rubbish dump or garbage in a dustbin!
SIGNS OF AN APOSTLE
1. HE HAS PROFOUND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH THE LORD RESULTING IN APOSTOLIC REVELATIONS.
Paul, an apostle sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by REVELATION from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:1, 11-12, NIV).
Paul evidently had profound personal experience with the Lord resulting in his awesome revelations from the Lord.
An apostle today may not receive revelations the way Paul did because he (Paul) was a foundational apostle whose revelations constitute more than half of the New Testament books (see Ephesians 3:2-7).
The twelve apostles of the Lamb had apostolic revelations, too. Apostolic revelations are known to break the generational shackles of human traditions, religion and lethargy!
The Bible says of the early Church, under the leadership of the twelve:
They devoted themselves to THE APOSTLES TEACHINGS (Act 2:42, NIV).
You see, an apostles personal experience with the Lord being profound doesnt necessarily mean he or she must see the Lord as some would argue.
Their argument is based on what Paul wrote some believers:
Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord?(1 Cor 9:1).
Yes, Paul was an apostle. Yes, he was free. Yes, he had seen Jesus. Yes, they were his work in the Lord!
Paul was considering different issues here for there is no link between being an apostle and being free or seeing the Lord. Does it mean everyone who is free or has seen the Lord is an apostle? No, a billion times no!
2. HE CAN FUNCTION IN ALL OTHERS OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY OFFICES EFFECTIVELY AS THOSE STANDING IN THEM, AS THE NEED ARISES.
Paul, as an apostle operated in all the five ministry gift offices.
Firstly, he was primarily an apostle to the Gentiles (see Galatians 2:8).
Secondly, he stood in the office of a prophet as the need arose. For example, he wrote, I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord (2 Cor 12:1). Visions and revelations are common with prophets, though, we have different types of prophets. (For a detailed study on prophets, read volume 3: The Ministry Of A Prophet in this series).
Thirdly, he stood in the office of an evangelist as the occasion demanded. He had evangelistic meetings from city to city and won a large number of people to the Lord (see Acts 14:21, Acts 19:11-20, Acts 28:23-31).
Remember he told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, too! He was telling Timothy to use the office of an evangelist temporarily or to execute the ministry of an evangelist when necessary, not to become an evangelist permanently (see 2 Tim 4:5).
Fourthly, he pastored churches temporarily until he had trained capable hands to carry on with the pastorate (Acts 14:21-23, Acts15:36, 41, Acts 20:17-38).
Lastly, he was divinely appointed a teacher as part of his commission from the Lord. Thats why he wrote, And of this Gospel I was appointed a herald (preacher) and an apostle and A TEACHER (2 Tim 1:11, NIV).
Similarly, Peter, as an apostle, functioned in the prophetic office (Acts 1:15-22, Acts 2:14-36, Acts 10:9-21). He moved in the evangelistic office sometimes (Acts 2:37-41, Acts 3:12-26, Acts 4:1-4, Acts 10:34-48). He pastored temporarily (John 21:16, NIV, Acts 2: 42-47, Acts 4:32-37). He was a teacher as part of his call (Acts 2:42; see his two epistles, too).
3. HE HAS REMARKABLE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, ESPECIALLY THE POWER GIFTS OPERATING THROUGH HIM WITH CONTINUED MANIFESTATION.
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in SIGNS, WONDERS and MIGHTY DEEDS (2 Cor 12:12).
and many WONDERS AND SIGNS were done by the apostles (Acts 2:43
The apostles performed many MIRACLES, SIGNS and WONDERS among the people (Acts 5:12, NIV).
Paul acknowledged in the first Scripture above that signs, wonders and miracles (mighty deeds) are signs or marks of an apostle. I know some apostles walk more in the miraculous than other apostles.
If a man who claims to be an apostle but lacks signs, wonders and miracles following his ministry, he is a false apostle.
The apostles of the Early Church were marked by these. Even Jesus was not an exception.
Does it mean then that anyone who has signs, wonders and miracles is automatically an apostle? No, a billion times no! This is just one out of many other factors for determining an apostle.
The ministries of people like John G. Lake, John Alexander Dowie, William F. Kumuyi, Benson Idahosa, Enoch Adeboye, Joseph Ayo Babalola, among others exemplify the true apostolic call and commission with incredible signs, wonders and miracles following.
I remember reading the biography of John G. Lake, a great apostle to Africa. That man breathed in and out miracles! On one occasion, a six-year-old, born with a closed head, was brought to him. The skull was said to be pushed upwards like a house roof, with a long forehead and an extended back of the head. The little boy was consequently dumb and paralyzed on his right side.
Through John Lakes ministry, however, the bones softened, the head expanded, the skull was reduced to its normal size, the paralysis disappeared and the dumbness was gone. He spoke like other children and afterwards attended the public school. 1
4. HE CAN PLANT CHURCHES SUCCESSFULLY.
An apostle can plant or start churches through his preaching. Paul and Barnabas planted many churches through preaching the Gospel.
Paul wrote Timo, Whereunto I am ordained A PREACHER, and AN APOSTLE..., a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity (1 Tim 2:7, see also 2Tim 1:11).
Anyone who is called an apostle but who lacks the divine enablement to plant churches directly or indirectly is not a true apostle.
An evangelist can have crusades but he is not called to plant churches. That was why Peter and John, with true apostolic mantles, were sent to Samaria to plant a church or congregate the new converts after Philips evangelistic crusade there (see Acts 8:5-25).
That doesnt mean that every church planter is an apostle! Thats unbiblical! Some ministers, prophets or pastors could plant churches, too, but as the Lord directs!
You see, an apostle should be able to plant churches successfully as part of his mandate. He should be able to get churches started. But only churches founded on the right foundation of the authority of the Word and leading of the Spirit will stand the test of time.
In fact, his first attempt may not be encouraging, but he must never give up until he is up the ladder of success. All he needs is to give it all it takes.
One of the most outstanding apostles in contemporary times, who is based in Asia, said he had packed up his things to quit his ministry or pastorate in the early days, I think over eight times, believing God had not called him because it looked like he wasnt going to make it.
It almost appeared as if nothing was working for him. Those were the hard trying times. But eventually, God gave him a breakthrough. Today, he leads the biggest church in the world!
5. HE CAN BUILD UP CHURCHES SUCCESSFULLY.
Apart from planting or starting churches successfully, an apostle can also build up or strengthen those churches through sound teaching of the Word of God.
Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, STRENGTHENING THE DISCIPLES AND ENCOURAGING THEM TO REMAIN TRUE TO THE FAITH (Acts 14:21-22, NIV).
He (Paul) went through Syria and Cilicia STRENGTHENING THE CHURCHES (Acts 15:41, NIV).
Unlike church planting which can take a short time like a few hours or days, church building takes longer like months or years. In fact, building up the church takes our life time for it is a gradual, continuous process.
Actually, an apostle can build up churches successfully by staying put in places long enough to strengthen new churches until he can turn them over to "permanent" pastors or qualified elders (not deacons) who will serve as temporary pastors (see Acts 18:9-11, Acts 19:1-21, Acts 20:17-38).
Also they can do so by sometimes visiting those churches to strengthen and encourage them. They can even send people with apostolic impartation (see Acts 14:21-22, Acts 16:4-5, Philippians 2:19-23).
God greatly used Barnabas and Saul to build up the church in Antioch through sound teaching of the Word (before their commissioning) so much so that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch (see Acts 11:9-26).
There is a wide difference between a Christian and a believer. While a believer is someone who is born-again, a Christian is a Christ-like person who thinks, talks, dresses, walks and acts like Christ.
It is sad news that many of the people who are supposed to be Christians today are mere believers.
Apostles can also help build up churches planted by others.
6. HE CAN GOVERN ALL THE CHURCHES UNDER HIM EFFECTIVELY WITH GODS AUTHORITY.
An apostle is respected and feared in a godly manner for his apostolic authority that backs up his commission. He does not fear oppositions from inside or outside the churches in his care. Neither does he try to govern them with the arms of flesh.
Paul silenced the opposition of a sorcerer against his first apostolic outreach by his apostolic authority (see Acts 13:4-12).
Later, when there was a report of sexual immorality in one of the churches he established, he simply wrote them,
Even though I am not physically present, I am with you IN SPIRIT. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you IN SPIRIT, and the POWER of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature (the flesh) may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:3-5, NIV; see also 1 Timothy 1:19-20).
Peter also walked in a high degree of apostolic authority. Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead instantly before him for telling what some today would call a white lie (see Acts 5:1-11)!
The problem today is that some of the so-called apostles are seriously lacking in the apostolic authority. They use manipulation and charismatic witchcraft to govern the people under them.
A true apostle is authoritative, that is, behaving and speaking in a confident determined loving, caring way that makes people respect and obey him, but not authoritarian, that is, strictly forcing people to obey him.
I read about a pastor under the great apostle, Ayo Babalola of the Christ Apostolic Church, who rebelled and appropriated the church branch he shepherded.
When the news came to the apostle, he refrained those who wanted to go there and remove him by force and retrieve the church belongings. He told them to leave the pastor that ants and pests would ultimately occupy the house at the end.
You see, the apostolic authority does not wrestle with flesh and blood!
It happened exactly like that as the entire congregation deserted the pastor because of an out-break of an epidemic in the church. This self-willed pastor later died mysteriously. 2
7. HE CAN ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP UNDER HIS GOVERNANCE IN ALL THE CHURCHES.
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in EACH CHURCH and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust (Acts 14:23, NIV).
The twelve apostles ordained elders and deacons in the Jerusalem Church (Acts 6:1-6, Acts 15:22).
Paul instructed Timo and Titus to ordain elders (that is, bishops or overseers) and/or deacons in some churches following some divine directives (Titus 1:5-9, 1Timothy 3:1-15).
You remember, Paul began his work in Ephesus with about twelve people. They were born-again but he had to minister to them to receive the Holy Ghost. He continued feeding and training them with the Word of God and they kept increasing. After some time, some of his trainees became elders (improvised pastors) of the church.
Before he eventually left for Jerusalem, he sent for those elders of the Ephesian Church while he was in Miletus. He convened a church leaders conference to charge, challenge and warn them as well as to commit them unto God and his Word of grace and to pray with them (see Acts 19:1-10, Acts 20:17-38).
8. HE DOESNT HAVE A RESIDING MINISTRY LIKE A PASTOR, BUT HAS A TRAVELING MINISTRY.
Paul, for instance, was not a resident pastor but a travelling apostle. He had quite some missionary journeys. He travelled from town to town and from city to city.
He never stayed beyond 3 years in any location (Read Acts 16:4, Acts 19:8-10, Acts 18:9-11, 18-23, Acts 20:17-18,31, Acts 28:30-31, Acts 15:36).
Some true apostles today have sadly resigned themselves to the pastorate because of the security and benefits pastors enjoy. That explains why a higher degree of apostolic anointing and authority are lacking in their lives.
I read about a woman who carried an apostolic anointing to pioneer new works in certain places. In fact, her husband got born-again in one of her services. Later, he left his business and gave support to his wifes ministry.
This woman preached from place to place. The husband would lead the songs. So they would have an evangelistic crusade for about two to three weeks or more until they have got some people saved.
They would stay in a particular place so long that she would begin a church. The husband, being a building contractor would handle building the churchs physical structure.
This woman confessed, If I stayed more than two years in any place, the work would start to fail because Im not called to be a pastor. So I would just stay long enough to start a church, and then I would turn it over to a pastor.3
9. HE HAS PASSION, VISION AND MISSION FOR WORLD EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLING THE NATIONS FROM THIS PRIMARY PLACE OF ASSIGNMENT.
Later Jesus appeared to the ElevenHe said to them, Go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the good news to ALL CREATION (Mk 16:14-15, NIV).
Then the ELEVEN DISCIPLES went to Galilee Then Jesus came to them and said, Therefore go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS read Matthew 28:16-20).
Jesus told the eleven apostles to witness to His resurrection from Jerusalem to all Judea, to Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:1-8).
From all these Scriptures, there is a clear indication that the apostolic call is a call to world evangelization and discipling.
Even Jesus, the Greatest Apostle of all times, died for the whole wide world (Jn 3:16). He has always had a world vision. God raised apostolic ministries to play a crucial role in world evangelization and discipling.
An apostle true to his call will go to the nations at the bidding or leading of the Spirit. He will even train and send missionaries to places he may never personally reach.
In all these Scriptures, we see that Jesus Christ sent the apostles to the nations but for many years they remained mostly in Jerusalem as their comfort zone (Acts 8:1), though, Peter had two missionary journeys in the Book of Acts. John was with him on one of the trips (see Acts 8:14-25; Acts 9:32-43, Acts 10:1-48).
Church history, however, had it that they eventually moved out of Jerusalem. For instance, Matthew preached in Egypt; Bartholomew preached to the Indians; Simon, the Zealot ministered in the continents of Africa and Europe (Mauritania and Britain); Thomas reached out to the Medes, Persians, and so on.
Apostolic men like T.L. Osborn, Benson Idahosa, Enoch Adeboye, Dick Iverson, William Kumuyi, David Yonggi Cho and many more exemplify ministers with a world vision!
10. HE HAS A DIVINE ENDOWMENT OF PATIENCE (IMPARTING THE GRACE TO SUFFER HARDSHIP AND PERSECUTION).
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all PATIENCE, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds (2 Cor 12:12).
An apostle is divinely endowed with patience or perseverance which graces him to suffer hardship, persecution and the like, which all accompany his call.
We see in the second Scripture above that suffering is not disconnected from an apostolic call.
This can be buttressed by Jesus statement to Ananias that he had called Saul of Tarsus to suffer as an apostle.
Jesus literally told Ananias about Saul, I will show him how much HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME (see Acts 9:16).
So suffering is a must, a necessity, not a probability, for the apostolic office.
Even Jesus the Apostle of our confession learnt obedience through suffering and was made perfect through the same (see Hebrews 5:8, Hebrews 2:10).
When Paul was disproving the authority of false apostles who were challenging his own true authority, he boasted in his numerous sufferings. He used his hardship to defend his apostolic grace (2 Corinthians 11:5-33; 2 Corinthians 12:1-12).
An apostle should be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12)! If you read the whole chapter where Paul wrote, Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in ALL PATIENCE (KJV) or The things that mark an apostlewere done among you with GREAT PERSEVERANCE (NIV), then you will understand he was alluding to patience or perseverance in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties (see 2 Corinthians 12:8-12).
An anonymous and famous apostle of China reportedly said, The first sign of an apostle is one who is still standing when everyone else has fallen down from the pressure, discouragement or hopelessness of a situation.
VITAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF AN APOSTLE
1. THERE ARE FOUR KINDS OF APOSTLES.
The first kind of apostle is the Apostle of our confession. Only Jesus Christ is qualified to stand in this office. He is not going to be the Apostle of our confession neither was he the Apostle of our confession just some years ago. No! He is the Apostle of our confession now (see Hebrews 3:1)!
The second kind of apostles comprises the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Jesus had quite a number of disciples but he named just twelve of them apostles. They are:
Andrew, his brother
James, the son of Zebedee
John, his brother
Matthew, the tax collector
James, the son of Alphaeus
Simon, the zealot
Judas, the brother of James or Lebbaeus Thaddaeus
Judas Iscariot (see Luke 6:12-16, Matthew 10:2-4).
Then Matthias was chosen to replace Judas who betrayed Jesus and hanged himself (see Acts 1:15-26). These twelve apostles of the Lamb have a strategic place in the eternal plan of God (see Luke 22:14-15, 28-29, Revelation 21:12-14). They all witnessed Jesus life, ministry, sufferings, death, and so on until his ascension!
The third kind of apostles consists of the other foundational apostles in the Early Church.
Ephesians 2:20 reads:
And are built upon THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Cornerstone.
Ephesians 3:5 reads:
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as IT IS NOW REVEALED UNTO HIS HOLY APOSTLES AND PROPHETS by the Spirit.
The foundation of the Church of Jesus was laid by the twelve apostles of the Lamb and other foundational apostles as well as other foundational prophets in the Early Church.
The other foundational apostles include:
Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:14)
Silas and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2-6)
James, the Lords brother (Galatians 1:19)
Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7)
These apostles listed above as well as the twelve apostles of the Lamb contributed their quota to lay the foundation of the Universal Church once and for all.
It should be noted that the 12 apostles of the Lamb and these other apostles of the Early Church listed above are called the foundational apostles.
Now that the foundation is laid forever and the Chief Cornerstone has taken his position, we have no foundational apostles any more today.
The last kind of apostles comprises the present day, non-foundational apostles.
Ephesians 4:11-13 reads:
And he gave some, APOSTLESFor the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
As long as the saints need to be perfected or matured, to be released into the work of the ministry, and the body of Christ needs to be edified or built up, there will be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; for they were given for that three-fold purpose!
More so, they were given till we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13, NIV).
Have we attained that yet? No! So we still need apostles and other ministry gifts today!
2. APOSTLES HAVE DIFFERENT (VARYING) MEASURES AND DEGREES OF ANOINTING.
Jesus, the Apostle of our confession had an anointing without measure in his earthly ministry (John 3:34) and the same is still true of him today (Hebrews 13:8).
The twelve apostles of the Lamb had different measures and degrees of apostolic anointing. Likewise, the other foundational apostles (in the Early Church) as well as the present day (non-foundational or post-foundational) apostles vary in their apostolic anointing.
You see, God sovereignly determines the measure of an apostles anointing. Remember the Master gave one servant five talents, another two talents, yet another one talent (see Matthew 25:15).
But each apostle determines the degree of anointing he operates in within that measure by his faithfulness, yieldedness, consecration, 'God's-Wordedness' and prayerfulness (see Matthew 25:16-18).
(For a detailed study on The Anointing of the Five-Fold Ministry, read Unfolding the Five-Fold Ministry Volume 1 of this series, which is a prequel to this volume you are reading now.)
3. NO TWO APOSTLES HAVE THE SAME ASSIGNMENT OR MESSAGE FROM GOD.
Gal 2:8-9 (NIV) reads:
For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as AN APOSTLE TO THE JEWS, was also at work in my ministry as AN APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES.
James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.
Paul was sent primarily to the Gentiles while Peter was sent primarily to the Jews. When two apostles are doing exactly the same work at the same place at the same time, then either of them is a copycat or a fake!
Though Paul and Barnabas were commissioned together as a formable apostolic team, nevertheless Paul was used of the Lord to write more than half of the New Testament books.
On the other hand, neither Barnabas nor Silas was used like Paul in this aspect.
One apostle could be called to emphasize faith while another church growth. One may be an apostle primarily to Asia or Australia while another primarily to America, Africa or Europe.
No matter where he is primarily sent to, he can, however, from there affect the destinies of many nations for he has a world vision. He cant physically go to all nations on earth but his grace and anointing can impact the nations of the world.
Its dangerous and foolish for any apostle or minister to compare and measure himself by another apostle or minister.
This is unscriptural for no two apostles or ministers have the same assignment or message or mandate from God (see 2 Corinthians 10:12-18, Luke 4:25-27, 1 Corinthians 9:2).
Just as stars differ from stars in glory so does one apostle differ from another in glory (see 1 Corinthians 14:41c).
There are about ten things which differentiate apostles one from another. (Some of the following ideas were gleaned from the anointed writings of Dr Jonathan David in his wonderful book: Apostolic Strategies: Affecting Nations. I have modified them and added more points as the Lord enabled me. ) These are:
i. THEIR DIVINE GIFTS
FOR THE GIFTS and calling of God are without repentance (Rom 11:29).
One apostle could be more gifted than another in a particular area.
ii. THEIR DIVINE CALLING
For the gifts and CALLING OF GOD are without repentance (Rom 11:29).
Gods calling by grace upon an apostle distinguishes him from another apostle. What are you called to do on earth as an apostle? That makes you stand out from other apostles.
The younger sister of the great apostle, Ayo Babalola, was asked what she believed was responsible for the power that the apostle (her brother) walked in.
She replied Most people talk of his prayer life as being the reason for the power of God in his life and to be sure, he prayed a lot. As a matter of fact, he possessed the spirit of prayer and his presence in any place changed the level of prayer of the entire area. But prayer is not the reason for the power God in his life or his unusualness.
Some other people speak of his fasting as being the reason. And truly he fasted. In fact, he was unsurpassed when it comes to fasting. But fasting is not the reason for power of God on his life or his success.
The reason is because he was the one chosen of God 1 (Romans 9:11-16, Romans 11:6).
I believe if prayer and fasting alone is what makes one a great apostle, then many people who are prayer and fasting machines should have become great apostles by now!
iii. THEIR LABOURING IN THE WORD
The apostles of the Lamb understood this when they said, It would not be right for us to neglect THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD OF GOD in order to wait on tables
We will turn this responsibility (of waiting on tables) over to them (deacons-to-be) and give our attention to prayer and THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD (Acts 6:2, 3b, 4, NIV, see also 1 Cor 15: 9-10).
iv. THEIR LABOURING IN PRAYER (OFTEN WITH FASTING)
The KJV puts Acts 6:4 above as, But we will give ourselves continually to PRAYER
Certain things cannot be done except by serious prayer and fasting (see Mt 17:19-21, 2 Cor 11:23, 27).
v. THEIR CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION
Is the apostle sound in the six basic or fundamental doctrines of Christ? Does he live a sound lifestyle of repentance? Does he walk by bold faith? Is he filled with the Holy Spirit daily?
Does he understand the laying on of hands? How deeply has he imbibed the teaching on the resurrection of the dead? How conscious is he of eternal judgment? (see Heb 6:1-2).
vi. THEIR BALANCED ATTITUDE TOWARDS LIFE AND MINISTRY
Not all apostles are balanced in this regard. It takes a balanced apostle like Paul to write, I am not saying this because I am in need for I HAVE LEARNED TO BE CONTENT WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I HAVE LEARNED THE SECRET OF BEING CONTENT IN ANY AND EVERY SITUATION, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I CAN SO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH (Phil 4:11-13, NIV).
James 1:4 also talks about this kind of balance (see Deut 8, too).
vii. THEIR CONSISTENCY OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY IN CHARACTER, PURITY AND INTEGRITY
James wrote, Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be MATURE and COMPLETE, NOT LACKING ANYTHING (Jas 1:4, NIV).
An apostle who is consistently lacking is integrity, purity and character is a problem to the cause of Christ but another apostle who is consistently living in integrity, purity and godly character will be of eternal excellency and joy of many generations. His impact will outlast him.
viii. THEIR SENSITIVITY TO HEAR AND OBEY GODS VOICE
David wrote, God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this (Ps 62:11). This verse is a call to spiritual sensitivity. You see, God can speak ten times, yet some will not hear him at all, not even once, because they are not sensitive to Him (see Luke 8:18).
An apostle who is sensitive to hear God more accurately and to obey Him more promptly will outshine another apostle who is dull to hear God and hesitant to obey Him!
Jesus said, Blessed rather are those who HEAR the Word of God and OBEY it (Luke 11:28, NIV, see also John 2:5).
ix. THE PURITY AND STRENGTH OF THEIR INNER CIRCLE
If the people closest to an apostle − those advising and supporting him at a close range − are weaklings, deceivers, and yes-men, they will weaken his apostolic influence. Jesus built a pure, strong inner circle
(Mat 17, Mat 26). So did Paul.
That was what happened to one of the greatest apostles here in Africa. He is still alive. He is a God-fearing man of integrity. He is a preacher and teacher of truth.
But his apostolic influence has greatly waned. I kept wondering until one of their church members told me what actually happened. God had actually revealed some things prophetically.
Those in his inner circle may include his mentors and those he is mentoring. It may be people ahead of him and those he is ahead of.
x. THEIR LEVEL OF DIVINE AUTHORITY
This is one of the truths some people do not understand. I will explain
it in the next few lines.
One of the problems today is that we have confused anointing with authority. You see, an apostle may walk in more anointing but lesser authority! How? You will soon see!
4. APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY IS DETERMINED BY HOW AN APOSTLE OBEYS GODS WORD AND CHARGES OTHERS TO DO LIKEWISE.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because HE TAUGHT AS ONE WHO HAD AUTHORITY, AND NOT AS THEIR TEACHERS OF THE LAW (Mt 7:28-29, NIV).
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW AND THE PHARISEES SIT IN MOSES SEAT. SO YOU MUST OBEY THEM AND DO EVERYTHING THEY TELL YOU. BUT DO NOT DO WHAT THEY DO, FOR THEY DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH. They tie up heavy loads and put them on mens shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them (Mt 23:1-4, NIV).
Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches other to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but WHOEVER PRACTICES AND TEACHES THESE COMMANDS WILL BE CALLED GREAT IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (Mt 5:19, NIV).
It was recorded about Jesus Christ, the greatest Apostle with the greatest apostolic authority:
I wrote about ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN TO DO AND TEACH (Acts 1:1, NIV).
From the scriptures above, we understand that Jesus taught with authority, unlike the scribes or teachers of the law who taught without authority because they didnt practice what they taught others to practice.
The Greek word for authority here in Matthew 7:29 is exousia, and part its meaning is mastery or competency.
So Jesus, the Apostle of apostles taught with mastery or competency because he had mastered the written Word to the extent that that written Word mastered his lifestyle (see Mt 4:4, 7, 10). Remember he was the Word made flesh.
What masters your life? Paul wrote, SIN NEED NEVER AGAIN BE YOUR MASTER, for now you are no longer tied to the law where sin enslaves you
Dont you realize that YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR OWN MASTER? You can choose sin (with death) or else obedience (with acquittal).
THE ONE TO WHOM YOU OFFER YOURSELF − HE WILL TAKE YOU AND BE YOUR MASTER AND YOU WILL BE HIS SLAVE (Rom 6:14, 16, Living Bible).
The life and ministry of W.F. Kumuyi, an apostle-teacher, has really challenged me in this regard. He teaches what he does unlike some other people. (No one has reached perfection yet!).
Yes, there are others like him but his impact is outstanding. He has his limitations, too. The lifestyle and teachings of this great apostle, especially in the 1980s and 1990s imparted holiness to thousands or millions of saints in Africa and beyond! He walks in great apostolic authority by his lifestyle of holiness and teachings of holiness!
You see, two ministers can preach or teach on the same holiness, faith, love, anointing, financial prosperity or something else, but with different results!
Any anointed crook or charlatan (I try to say that in love) can teach on holiness or Christian character, but I can guarantee you that he will have little or no results. Even the little he manages to have may never last. No abiding results or fruit!
Why? It's so simply because he is teaching from his head what he must have read in the Bible or heard from others.
But a man of true impact will teach from his heart the truth he practises and knows.
5. THE APOSTOLIC MOVE IS A SOVEREIGN MOVE OF GOD PREDESTINED TO RESTORE THE APOSTLES TO THEIR TRUE STATUS.
And I will RESTORE to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm (Joel 2:25).
When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORDS order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days
Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether BY DAY or BY NIGHT whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.
Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out, but when it lifted they would set out.
At the LORDS command they encamped, and at the LORDS command they set out. They obeyed the LORDS ORDER in accordance with his command through Moses [the prophet] (Num 9:19-23, NIV).
We see from the first scripture above: Gods promise to restore to His people what the enemy has destroyed!
We also see from the second scripture above: the importance of moving in Gods direction and timing!
Moses led the Israelites to follow Gods move. Yes, they followed the cloud of Glory.
Someone said, If you dont follow the cloud [of Glory], then you will follow the crowd.
And do you know that if you follow the crowd, you will be lost in the crowd?
Sad to say, many ministries today are still limited to what God did in 1906, 1928 or 1968. Worse still, some others are about arriving the spot where the Cloud of Glory had moved from many years earlier. I believe some are far behind their generation, and such will miss out on what God is doing in our day.
The current move of God on earth today is the apostolic move, which will restore apostles to their true status. We would discuss this move of God more towards the end of this book.
Much of what we call the apostolic ministry today still has a long way to go when it comes to walking in true apostolic revelations, anointing, authority and impartation coming from not just one, two or three apostles but multitude or thousands of seasoned apostles from virtually every nation on earth. Thats where the church is heading right now!
So God is raising thousands of apostles all over the world [in big cities as well as in remote towns and villages] who will move in the realm and status that the Early Church apostles operated in, and even go beyond it!
But they will never be foundational apostles like those Early Church apostles!
6. THE SUPERNATURAL RESTORATION OF THE APOSTLES THROUGH THE APOSTOLIC MOVE WILL PRE-EMPT THE BIRTH OF THE TRULY APOSTOLIC CHURCH.
I will shake ALL NATIONS, and the desire of ALL NATIONS will come, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD Almighty.
The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the LORD Almighty. THE GLORY OF THIS PRESENT HOUSE WILL BE GREATER THAN THE GLORY OF THE FORMER HOUSE (Hag 2:7-9, NIV).
As the apostles are restored, an apostolic church similar to (but more powerful than) the one in Acts of the Apostles will emerge on earth. The Early Church was a Baby Church but this one will be an Adult Church!
Surely, the glory of this New Apostolic Church will be greater than that of the Early Apostolic Church. It will fulfill the prophecy in Haggai 2:7-9 above in a sense.
The pattern of this New Apostolic Church will be proper church structure and order, proper Scriptural meetings and practices, and proper release of saints into work of ministry.
The purpose of this Church will be to use Gods provision (silver and gold) and Gods power (anointing and authority) to penetrate territories so that the knowledge of Gods glory (His Presence) can cover the earth as the waters cover the sea(Num 14:21, Ps 24:1). She will bring sinners-turned-saints into sweet intimate fellowship with God first, then with other saints second.
What are the proofs of the Apostolic Church? First, the headship (Lordship and Authority) of Christ, which strengthens the authority of the believers, is evident (Jas 4:7).
Second, the fear of the Lord, which enables us to have purity, is obvious in a strong way (2 Cor 7:1).
Third, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus − which makes us free from religion, traditions of the elders and demonic influences or bondages − permeates the Church (John 8:32).
Also, a truly apostolic Church has its pillars as strong leadership that can navigate the saints through the storms of persecution; prioritized ministry of the word and prayer; and worship, hence releasing her to the prophetic dimension (Acts 6:1-4; Acts 13:1-4).
7. APOSTOLIC FATHERS HAVE THEIR FRUIT AS THE SEAL OF THEIR APOSTLESHIP.
1 Cor 4:9, 14-15 reads:
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last...
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
FOR THOUGH YE HAVE TEN THOUSAND INSTRUCTORS IN CHRIST, YET HAVE YE NOT MANY FATHERS: FOR IN CHRIST JESUS I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU THROUGH THE GOSPEL.
1 Cor 9:1-2 reads:
Am I not AN APOSTLE? ... Are you not THE RESULT OF MY WORK IN THE LORD?
EVEN THOUGH I MAY NOT BE AN APOSTLE TO OTHERS, SURELY I AM TO YOU! FOR YOU ARE THE SEAL OF MY APOSTLESHIP IN THE LORD.
These scriptures reveal an apostle as a father. Yes, as a fruitful father! The seal of his ministry is the people he has introduced into the kingdom of God and established in the faith.
Paul related to the churches he founded as a father would to his own children. He didnt act like a draconian or colonial master (read 1 Thes 2:1-12).
1 Thessalonians 2:6 (NIV) 7, 11 (Amplified) reads:
AS APOSTLES OF CHRIST we could have been a burden to you.
BUT WE BEHAVED GENTLY WHEN WE WERE AMONG YOU, LIKE A DEVOTED MOTHER NURSING AND CHERISHING HER OWN CHILDREN
LIKE A FATHER [DEALING WITH HIS CHILDREN], WE USED TO EXHORT EACH OF YOU PERSONALLY, STIMULATING AND ENCOURAGING AND CHARGING YOU.
Show me an apostle who has no fruit in ministry, then I will show you a false apostle! But some true apostles may not have much fruit initially.
I remember an apostolic man in America sharing his testimony that his first attempt in planting and building up a church was a failure! But now after years of diligence and perseverance he has fruit in different nations. It takes time to bear abiding fruit!
8. RECEIVING THE TRUE APOSTLES AND REJECTING THE FALSE ONES, FOR WHOM THEY ARE GUARANTEES APOSTOLIC RIGHTS (FOR THE APOSTLES), APOSTOLIC REWARD (FOR THE RECEIVERS) AND APOSTOLIC RESTORATION (FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL).
He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophets reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous mans reward (Rev 2:2, NIV).
Jesus told the Ephesian Church: I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false (Rev 2:2, NIV).
It is Biblical that when we learn to receive apostles as apostles, not just as pastors or teachers, we will receive the rewards or benefits of apostles ministries. Also we must learn to reject false apostles as soon as we discern them otherwise they may steal, kill or destroy part of what God is doing in some territories on earth (see Jn 10:10).
When Paul discerned some false apostles trying to manipulate the Church in Corinth, he didnt keep quiet and gloss over it as minor, rather he rejected them and warned the Church to avoid them like a plague (2 Cor 11:15).
The Corinthian Church recognized and received Paul and his partner as apostles sent to them. This entitled the duo to some rights in the Church but they voluntarily gave up these in order not to hinder the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 9:2-18, NIV).
If we want to see apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers truly and fully restored to the Church, we need to discern the true ones from the false ones.
Also we need to boldly reject the false ones and humbly accept true apostles as apostles, true prophets as prophets, true evangelists as evangelists, true pastors as pastors, and true teachers as teachers.
9. APOSTLES (AS BUILDERS) AND PROPHETS (AS ARCHITECTS) ARE COMPLIMENTARY; NEITHER INTERCHANGEABLE NOR MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE (OR CONTRADICTORY).
Because of this, God in his wisdom said, I WILL SEND THEM PROPHETS AND APOSTLES (Lk 11:49, NIV).
And are built upon the foundation of THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20).
Which was not made known to man in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to Gods HOLY APOSTLES AND PROPHETS (Eph 3:5, NIV).
Rejoice, saints and APOSTLES AND PROPHETS! God has judged her for the way she treated you (Rev 18:20, NIV).
Apostles and prophets are given to the Church, not to compete with one another, but to complement one another.
Also, we cant say since we have apostles, we dont need prophets. Neither could we say that because God has raised some prophets, then apostles are no longer necessary!
When today's apostles and prophets learn to walk together in the Spirit and in their respective callings without breaking ranks, then they will put finishing touches to what their counterparts began in the Early Church (see Eph 2:20; Eph 3:5).
I believe the End-time Church will be completed with the roof of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself began the Chief Roof beam just as the Early Church was started on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Cornerstone!
You see, a prophet, as an architect, has the plan or pattern more detailedly. So he can inspire and show direction to apostles and others in the body as regards how to go about building up the house of the Lord − the Church (see Ezra 5:1-2; Ezra 6:14).
On the other hand, apostles, as builders, can build up the Universal Church and strong local Churches according to Gods pattern or plan made clearer through the prophets! Apostles are church planters and builders!
Remember some prophets (and teachers) released Barnabas and Paul into their apostolic offices (see Acts 13:1-14).
10. APOSTOLIC TEAMS AND NETWORKS ARE GODS VEHICLES FOR SPREADING APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY AND ANOINTING ALL OVER THE WORLD.
The first apostolic team in the New Testament Church was in Jerusalem. Later, the Church in Antioch released another apostolic team (Acts 2:14, 37, 42; Acts 13:1-4).
Despite the fact that different apostolic teams have different assignments from God, the team in Jerusalem had a strong network with that in Antioch (see Acts 15).
There is an important lesson for us here: as great and anointed as Paul was, he networked with the apostolic team in Jerusalem.
He admitted, Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles.
But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain
James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they RECOGNIZED THE GRACE given to me (Gal. 2:1-2, 9 NIV).
You see, the leaders of the apostolic team in Jerusalem recognized Gods grace in Paul, and so received and encouraged him and Barnabas as an apostolic team to the Gentiles.
I feel bad, sad and uncomfortable whenever the older generation refuses to recognize the grace of God upon the younger generation, and hence encourage them.
We should let go of our pride, envy, fear and hatred, and encourage Gods work in and through others. As Paul encouraged Timo (2 Tim 2:1) and Moses was to encourage Joshua (Deut. 3:28), so must we encourage one another in sincerity and in truth, as well as in words and in action (1 Thes 5:11-15).
An apostle, through the help of God, should form a strong and formidable team. Then, as the Spirit leads, he should network with other ministers, especially apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20; Eph 3:5; Lk 11:49).
It is both unscriptural and dangerous when an apostle wants to network with fellow apostles only and sometimes with prophets only. We should not refuse whoever the Lord is networking us with.
Some ministerial breakthroughs and platforms will come through Spirit-inspired networks based on covenant relationships (Eccl 4:9-21). Wrong networks, however, can ruin a ministry partially or totally (Pro 14:12, Pro 13:20, 1 Cor 15:33).
WRONG NOTIONS ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF AN APOSTLE
1. WRONG NOTION 1:
AN APOSTLE OF TODAY CAN LAY OR RE-LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.
And are BUILT UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20).
This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the LORD Almighty.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: The hands of Zerubbabel had laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it (Zech 4:6, 8-9, NIV).
We see in the first Scripture above that Gods people are built upon the foundation of the early apostles and prophets. The foundation had already been laid before now. If anyone tries to lay another foundation, it will be a false foundation.
The foundational apostles and prophets helped to establish the New Testament teachings (doctrine) and traditions (practices) of the Church. Only a false minister will try to add to or subtract from what has already been given to us!
Kenneth Hagin pointed out that since Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone, if we need another foundation to be laid by [our present-day] apostles, then we need another cornerstone because the cornerstone is part of the foundation.
He explained that we dont need another cornerstone because we dont need another foundation!
If we are to progress in building Gods Church, then we must not go back to trying to re-lay what was laid several centuries ago. Rather lets build on it.
The End-time Church is called to build upon, not to re-lay the foundation of the Global Church!
So the apostles of today are not called to lay or re-lay the foundation of the Universal Church of Jesus Christ, though, they may lay the foundation of an individual person or local church or assembly by bringing Christ Jesus into sinners lives to make them believers and by forming the same Christ in them (see 1 Cor 3:1-11, Gal 4:19).
The Bible reveals that Zerubbabels hands laid the foundation of the temple and will complete it. That means Gods ultimate goal is not just starting His House by laying the foundation but rather completing it by roofing it and doing the finishings.
The cry of the Spirit at this hour is, People of God. Arise and complete the house of the Lord which was started a long time ago. The apostles and prophets of old began it with the foundation. The end-time apostles and prophets, however, will complete it with the roof.
Until it is completed, Gods ultimate goal for the Church cant be achieved.
2. WRONG NOTION 2:
AN APOSTLE IS SUPERIOR TO OTHER MINISTRY GIFTS IN THE CHURCH.
It is believed and taught in the Church world today that because the word apostle is mentioned first in the list of the five-fold ministry, then it is superior to all the rest.
Ephesians 4:11 (NIV) reads,
It was he who gave some to be APOSTLES, some to be PROPHETS, some to be EVANGELISTS, and some to be PASTORS and TEACHERS.
1 Corinthians 12:28 (NIV) reads,
And in the Church God has appointed FIRST of all APOSTLES, SECOND PROPHETS, THIRD TEACHERS
In all of the Scriptures above, the ministries are not listed in order of importance or superiority. They are rather listed in order of responsibility and of time of evolution.
Can you say the Father is superior to the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Son to the Holy Spirit because of how they are mentioned in some Scriptures? No, there is no one superior to the other or more important than another among the three persons of the Godhead.
Jesus Christ was a hundred percent God and a hundred percent man while on earth (Jn 1:1-14). He has all that it takes to be God (Is 9:6). In fact, he was Emmanuel God with us (Mt 1:23)!
So being in the form of God, he neither claimed equality with God nor claimed inferiority to Him. But he humbly obeyed and honoured God, his Father (Phil 2:6-8).
He said, The Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28). That speaks of responsibility. And responsibility determines position. Thats why Jesus sits today at His right hand but they are one in unity, love and righteousness (see Jn 10:30).
The Father has delegated all authority in heaven and on earth to the Son as a responsibility. But the Son, in turn, has delegated all authority on earth to the church − His Body (Mt 28:18-20, Mk 16:15-20, Jn 5:22-30, 1 Cor 15:22-28)!
In the same vein, an apostle has greater responsibility than a prophet, a prophet has greater responsibilities than an evangelist; an evangelist has greater responsibilities than a pastor, and a pastor has greater responsibilities than a teacher. Who is superior or inferior among them? No one!
Yes, no minister is designed by God to be of a lesser quality or given an inferior calling, grace, gift or anointing.
Also we need to understand that the Early Church (as a Baby Church) began with apostles as the only ministers present.
Later, prophets began to spring up. After them came evangelists [though, we know of only Philip in the Early Church, yet I believe there were other evangelists who were not recorded. Philip was the only conspicuous one because of his conspicuous position in the Jerusalem Church], then pastors and teachers.
For instance, when Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church, he mentioned only three out of the five-fold ministry! Why?
Its so because he was focusing on that local Church, not the Universal Church (see 1 Cor 12:28).
In this Scripture, he probably meant, And in the Corinthian Church, God has appointed firstapostles, second prophets, third teachers (1 Cor 12:28).
Why were evangelists and pastors not mentioned? It was because when he looked at that local church he saw no one in the office of an evangelist.
Also he saw nobody with a pastoral anointing, though, he had temporarily appointed elders there based on certain qualifications, not the divine call necessary to stand in the office of a pastor.
The elders were not pastors in the true sense of it, but they were just overseers. They were appointed until pastors would evolve over time. They were temporary or improvised pastors.
So you can see that he listed them here, not in the order of importance. No! But in the order of the manner and the time they evolved or sprang up in that particular local Church.
That is the reason why we cant say that every local church must have all the five-fold ministry in place.
God will set them in each local church as He desires, not as we want (1Cor 12:18, 28). Therefore, some local churches may have all the five, some others just two or so, and so on.
The New Living Translation puts this Scripture in an interesting way, HERE ARE SOME OF THE PARTS GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR THE CHURCH: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers (1 Cor 12:28).
That suggests to us that Paul was only giving a partial listing of what obtains in the Universal Church or a partial listing of what existed in the Corinthian Church.
3. WRONG NOTIONS 3:
AN APOSTLE WAS EXISTENT AND FUNCTIONAL ONLY IN THE EARLY CHURCH, NOT IN THE PRESENT-DAY CHURCH.
And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets, and some, evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
TILL WE ALL (not some) come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:11-13).
Are there apostles today? The answer is found in the Scripture above. It says the Lord gave us the five-fold ministers till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Can you boldly say that the Body of Christ globally has reached unity in the faith? Have we all reached unity in the knowledge of the Son of God? Have we all become fully mature or 'perfect'? Have we all attained to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?
The answer is: capital NO! And as long as it is so, we will continue to need and have apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the Body of Christ.
Please notice the beautiful phrase TILL WE ALL in verse 13 above. Till speaks of the future, and we all includes everyone.
Yes, some may claim to have reached the unity of the faith. Some others may claim to have reached the unity in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Some have become mature. And some may seem to have attained to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ!
But, Gods plan is to give and keep giving us the five-fold ministers until WE ALL attained ALL these things as written in verse 13.
4. WRONG NOTION 4:
EVERY LOCAL CHURCH MUST BE UNDER THE DIRECT OR INDIRECT LEADERSHIP OF AN APOSTLE.
And in the Church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers (2 Cor 12:28, NIV).
The Scripture above has been wrongly interpreted by some. They think it refers to what exists in every local church or available in the Universal Church of Jesus Christ.
No, it refers to neither. As explained earlier, it refers to the Corinthian Church at that point in time or its just a partial listing. Some years later, as they developed further, evangelists and pastors were probably added to them.
Lets look at the Church in Antioch as its initial state. To start with there was no one standing in the office of an apostle there.
The Scripture says, In the church at Antioch THERE WERE PROPHETS AND TEACHERS; Barnabas, Simon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul, (Acts 13:1, NIV).
After a while, Paul and Barnabas emerged as apostles. Though they had their respective apostolic call for years, they stepped into the apostolic office each in Acts 13:2.
Until then, they were prophets and /or teachers. I think some churches are like this. You see, it is true that churches should be open to and enjoy apostolic influence that God brings their way. Yet it is unbiblical to say that every local church should be under the leadership of an apostle.
The Scripture teaches that the head of a local church is a pastor, not an apostle. You know, some folks are parading churches saying something like, I am an apostle from God. You must submit your church to me. You need my apostolic grace and fatherly cover to weather through the storms ahead. Unless you receive my apostolic ministry and the word I have for you, you cannot succeed.
There could be an element of truth in these statements. But submission should never be forced on people. It should be done willingly!
You see, a true apostle earns peoples respect through his apostolic authority and apostolic work. So out of due respect for him, some people will willingly submit the ministries or churches they lead to him for mentoring or impartation.
Paul wrote, Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers (not hinderers) of your joy (2 Cor 1:24).
Any apostle who dominates or manipulates others becomes a false apostle (2Cor 11:12-15).
5. WRONG NOTION 5:
AN APOSTLE CAN BE SELF-ORDAINED OR MAN-APPOINTED.
Paul, an apostle sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father (Gal 1:1, NIV).
A true apostle can only be sent by God. Who sent Jesus? Who sent the twelve apostles? Who sent Paul and Barnabas?
The Bible reveals that none of them was self-ordained or man-appointed.
The Scripture teaches t
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