While Christ was with us upon this earth, before Christ ascended into heaven, he appointed Apostles he would eventually send forth into the world. For this reason the early church readily accepted the office of the Apostle, continuing this acceptance after the ascension of Christ, continuing until the death of the last Apostle. Many have been called an Apostle in the loose sense of one being sent, but the Apostle within the church is considerably more than a messenger. This Apostle is one appointed with power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, told of in the letters of the New Testament. Paul describes how he is to assemble the parts of the church in (Eph 4:11-18), and this Church is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some time after these Bible references of the twelve Apostles and Matthias who replaced Judas, including the Apostle Paul, Barnabas and others, it was believed and taught that the Apostolic period had come to an end and no longer existed. In fact it was taught that only those who had been chosen by Christ, those who had been with Christ and knew Christ, could in the future be called an Apostle. Some even taught that the powers given by Christ to the Apostles were no longer possible and evidenced, proving that the Apostolic period had ended. What would surprise many if this were true, Apostle Mark and Luke had not met Christ, also that today many churches from lack have been corrupted.
It is apostasy to say the Apostolic need has ended, this contradicts the very word of God. Saul was given the name Paul by the Spirit of the Lord and laying on of hands was also made an Apostle. The Apostles themselves laid hands upon and appointed Matthias to replace Judas. In truth today the fivefold ministry are those who are to bring the church into unity and maturity. Those appointed for this need and purpose described in Ephesian 4:11-16, and among these five is first mentioned the Apostle. Be it certain that no Apostle will be appointed by man but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, and this by laying on of righteous hands. And of these what man may claim to know Jesus and God our Father through the Holy Spirit within.
Those who did not see a direct connection today for the continuance of the Apostle did not realize this, after Christ ascended into heaven and as he had instructed the body of believers, Christ sent His Holy Spirit to the body of His church. Are we without Christ today that we no longer are directly connected to Christ, of course not, we have his Spirit and mind who intercedes for us daily.
Did Christ cease a work on this earth after ascending into heaven, of course not, he has instructed the church as His body to continue this work. Is the body of the church without need of daily ministry, certainly not, as Gods word tells us there are those who are appointed that will bring the church into unity and maturity. And yes, among these is found the Apostle, and for this reason we must in prayer be observant in looking for Christ through the church to bring these people forward.
Some churches refer to themselves as 'Apostolic' churches, referring to their apparent beginnings, while others have designated an office of another name such as Bishop or overseer as continuance of the Apostle. This in effect would negate the true purpose and work of the Apostle as the Bible states in Ephesians 4. It may well be that we will not see the Apostle again within the church until God again pours out the Holy Spirit upon the end days church.
It is evident today we do not see or recognize the workings of the true Apostle in the church or what we call the church today. That this Apostle un-recognized works still within the church body on earth is without doubt. Until then only by our Lords direct intervention and very likely unrecognized Apostles will we see Christians in unity and maturity. Although many may claim this church establishment today, rarely or for short duration is it manifest.
Today I see the Pastor or Preacher laboring twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, doing as much of the entire churches work as his health will permit. I see Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, but of the mysterious Apostle perhaps his work needed greater than ever is stamped "obsolete." Most know that today, it is primarily the Preacher or Pastor and perhaps a few others who often burn themselves out in service of our Lord. Satan appears to have boxed in many who were called, denying the full measure and work that Christ commanded. But in the end times, we are told there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and again the chosen of the Lord will display power and authority in their ministry.
The Apostle Paul best shows the need for this office or work within the church today. Paul often described his work as least important within an established church, after united and maturing into the works commissioned by Christ. Paul was a networker, one whose Spiritual Gift was in identifying and uniting the parts of the body of believers, becoming a unique and self sufficient church with all parts needed to be one in spirit and unity.
During this initial period of networking the body or church, Paul temporarily evidenced in service the gifts that later would be Gods gifts of service among this body. Once the body and gifts were found and established, Apostle Paul moved on to establish the next church, keeping in contact as needed to provide any correction and clarifying any misunderstanding. It may well be that today the mature church produces Apostles, it is evident that each church is to have an Apostle in its formation.
The Apostolic gift is based almost entirely on faith, showing little previous skill or ability, indeed Saul before was best known for persecuting Christ and the church. Paul accredited all he had previously learned for naught, his three years in the desert he credited and valued greatly as from the Lord. When the Apostles Peter and John were brought before religious leaders, these leaders saw them as unschooled and ordinary men, yet astonished and took note these men had been with Jesus. Paul is often heard playing down any natural abilities that brought him into the ministry by Jesus. Paul almost complains about his unpretentious character that could compete with the super leaders.
Paul had no eloquence that made him an outstanding orator, even his sight required he write in rather large characters. What Paul did have, was a direct commission of the Lord, evidencing the powers and authority as were needed. And what Paul did was establish the body of believers, as would a master builder in the service of the Lord. Perhaps the Apostle is the least important of the fivefold ministry, yet a real necessity for discerning where each (part) was to fit in the foundation of the temple.
This is very importance for us today, the Lord has told us in 1Cor 12:28-31 about His church, this is the church we can become today. It is very important we learn and understand the important uniqueness of the (first) appointed Apostle. We must understand why in the establishment of the church (first) is appointed the Apostle. Look closely to see how these churches are seen by the Apostle, the many parts that the Apostle mysteriously assembles (first) into one body.
It is this body (of gifts) the Apostle has assembled that has all the parts needed to grow, as each (gift of service) does its part in building up and preparing the church. The Lord says in Ephesians 4:11-16, this is how He will (begin) a church that will (grow) into maturity and unity, a church whose will and acts will be according to His will and purpose. The Lord has said if this is done according to my will and purpose, this church will do all that I have done and more.
Who can see the need of such a church in the world today, see what the Lord has said in Eph 4:11-16, this is what the Lord is saying to His people today. Listen, in truth this church is not only needed for the harvest each in their turn, but listen closely, it is also much needed to prepare for the war daily in our lives. In ending, it is well to remember what Christ said, believe what I have told you, or believe by the miracles you have seen me do.
In the Old Testament we had the Prophet and the Priest or law that established Gods Temple. For this Temple design God gave precise building plans, the faithful did not wander from these plans. In the New Testament we have the Apostle and Christ of Grace that establishes the Church of Christ. For this Church Christ has given very precise building plans, and the faithful will not wander from these plans. The Bible from beginning to Revelations tells of the signs of the times, many faithful believe the signs show the end of the age is near. Then now is the time for prayer and repentance, a calling for the outpouring again of the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but the same God
works all of them in all men.
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