Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Apostolic Ministry functions Today!

The Apostolic Ministry functions Today!

“For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles” (Gal 2:8 NLT).

Welcome to today’s article, where we will continue this theme that the apostolic ministry which Christ Himself ordained - still functions today. However in order for this apostolic ministry to function correctly as He desired (and not as formulism or man-made hierarchy prefer it), we must be “in-charge-of-our-egos” especially where clerical titles are concerned! Even though Christ Himself gave these gifts their titles, we must not think of ourselves more highly than we should (Romans 12:3). Consider this that in addition to “holding-office” the apostle is also a “ministry-gift” to the Body; nevertheless he is first a “servant” before he is anything else – just as are all the other gifts/offices that Christ ordained.

Also we can be certain that Satan is out to destroy this “structure” that God is building now through His apostolic ministries. Satan knows full-well that a house divide against itself (against its own ordained structure) will collapse. He capitalizes on this by triggering some of the “in-fighting” that exists between the different “gifts” which renders them almost entirely “counter-productive” in their quest. Furthermore deception for the “individual-gift” occurs when he (Satan) deceptively steers us down paths that have not been ordained for us! Let’s be honest, a little “steering” here and there, is all it takes to make even the most “sincere” amongst us, totally ineffective! In other words our adversary might not be able to influence our love for Christ or dampen our zeal but he certainly can and does influence our egos, time and time again! All apostolic ministries must never forget that they have been called to serve the Church and not their own egos! When power is involved – this can be challenging (1 Peter 5:5-8).

Now looking at the individual apostle and where he stands with the other apostolic gifts is also very important! But before we go there let’s just take a moment to deliver this simple illustration, perhaps well known to many! Take your hand and look at each of the five fingers. Imagine each one represents the different ministry gifts that Christ gave to His Body! The index finger: represents the prophet – the one who points the way and says just like Isaiah “This is the way; walk in it…” (30:21) Therefore he gives direction, tells of the spiritual condition of the church and exposes its sin!

The middle finger: represents the evangelist. His ministry is more widespread than others. He reaches further. He is stifled if left in the confines of the church. He loves to be out in the field. He needs to be let loose to do his job, supported and equipped by the church that sends him out – to go beyond its confines and be effective. The ring finger: represents the pastor’s ministry. He is totally committed to his flock - loving as a Sheppard would - caring, encouraging and meeting the individual needs of his sheep. The little finger: represents the teacher’s ministry – the finger small enough to clear away the wax in the ears so that folks can hear well and understand better!

Lastly the thumb: represents the apostle. It is sturdier than the other fingers and can touch all of the others with ease! This implies that an apostle can function in all of the other ministry gifts - when necessary. He brings stability and flexibility which is essential for the Body to grown with strength and maturity. However and perhaps most importantly is the fact that without a thumb it is impossible to “grasp” anything! However, the thumb by itself is also not able to grasp anything – it needs the other fingers to cooperate with him in order to get the job done!

Its elementary then that just as the fingers of one hand must work together, so too must apostolic ministries cooperate and collaborate together so that they can collectively benefit the Body to which they have been called.

Apostolic Gifts flowing Together
Fivefold Ministries: These are the fivefold ascension gift ministers as revealed in Ephesians 4:11—Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. They are not gifts of the Holy Spirit per se, but an extension of Christ’s headship ministry to the Church. Their primary ministry and function are to teach, train, activate and mature the saints for the work of their ministries (Eph. 4:12-13).

Apostle. One of the fivefold ministries of Ephesians 4:11. The Apostle is a foundation-laying ministry (Eph.2:20) that we see in the New Testament establishing new churches (Paul’s missionary journeys), correcting error by establishing proper order and structure (First Epistle to the Corinthians), and acting as an oversight ministry that fathers other ministries (1 Cor. 4:15; 2 Cor. 11:28).

The New Testament Apostle has a revelatory anointing (Eph. 3:5). Some major characteristics are great patience and manifestations of signs, wonders and miracles. We will know more and see greater manifestations concerning the apostle during the peak of the Apostolic Movement.

Prophet: He is a man of God whom Christ has given the ascension gift of a “prophet” (Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28; 14:29; Acts 11:27; 13:1). A prophet is one of the fivefold ascension gift ministers who are an extension of Christ’s ministry to the Church. He is an anointed minister who has the gifted ability to perceive and speak the specific mind of Christ to individuals, churches, businesses and nations. GREEK: “prophetes” (prof-ay-tace) a foreteller, an inspired speaker (STRONG’S Concordance, p. 62; VINE’S Concordance, p.894). A proclaimer of a divine message, denoted among the reeks as an interpreter of the oracles of gods.

In the Septuagint it is the translation of the word “roeh” – a seer – indicating that the prophet was one who had immediate intercourse with God (1 Sam. 9:9). It also translates the word “nabhi,” meaning either “one in whom the message from God springs forth, or one to whom anything is secretly communicated” (Amos 3:7; Eph. 3:5).

Prophetess: Greek: “prophetis” – the feminine of phrophet (Gr. Prophetes). A woman of God whom the Holy Spirit has given the divine prophetic ability to perceive and speak the mind of Christ on specific matters to particular people. STRONG’S: a “female foreteller or an inspired woman.” She is a specially called woman who functions like the New Testament prophet to minister to the body of Christ with inspired speaking and prophetic utterance (Acts 2:17; 21:9; Luke 2:36; Isa. 8:3; 2 Chron. 34:22; Jude 4; Ex. 15:20). Prophetess is the proper title for a woman with this ascension gift and calling. Prophet is the proper title for a man with this ascension gift and calling.

Evangelist: The traditional view of the evangelist is a bearer of the “Good News,” proclaiming the gospel to the unbelieving world. This is exemplified by modern-day evangelists who preach the message of salvation in crusades and the like. However, Philip, the New Testament Evangelist mentioned in Acts 21:8, demonstrated a strong supernatural dimension to the Evangelistic ministry. Philip preached the gospel to the lost (Acts 8:5), moved in miracles (8:6), delivered people from demons (8:7), received instructions from an angel (8:26), had revelation knowledge (8:29), and was supernaturally translated from Gaza to Asotus (8:26, 40). We are looking forward to the restoration of this type of Prophetic Evangelist to the Body of Christ.

Pastor: “Poiment, a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feed them), is used metaphorically of Christian ‘pastors’.” Episkopeo (overseer, bishop) is an overseer, and Pesbuteros (elder) is another term for the same person as bishop or overseer (VINE’’). They normally give the title to the senior minister of the local church, regardless of his fivefold calling. It is a shepherding ministry to feed and care for the flock.

Responsibilities that appear connected with pastoral ministry include oversight and care of the saints, providing spiritual food for their growth and development, leadership and guidance, and counsel. Prophetic pastors not only do the things normally associated with pasturing, but also move in supernatural graces and gifts of God (prophesying, word of knowledge, healing) and have the vision and willingness to develop the saints in their gifts and callings.

Teacher: An instructor of truth. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). A New Testament Apostolic-Prophetic Teacher is one who not only teaches the letter of the word, but also ministers with divine life and Holy Spirit anointing (2 Cor. 3:6). He exhibits keen spiritual discernment and divine insight into the Word of God and its personal application to believers.

Apostolic-Prophetic Lifestyle: These are the people who live their lives according to the Logos and Rhema word of God. The logos is their general standard for living and the rhema gives direction in specific areas of their lives. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is their characteristic motivation, and the gifts of the Spirit are their manifestation to meet the needs of mankind. They are allowing their lives to become a prophetic expression of Galatians 2:20; “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” *(Apostles, Prophets and the coming moves of God, By Dr. Bill Hamon. Page 279-281)

Father I want to grasp everything that you have intended for my life. I need the thumb to do that (with my natural hands) and I need the apostolic ministries working together to do that for me spiritually. I fully respect the ministry gifts and offices that you have ordained for the Church – help me to submit my life and “my-way” of doing things in order to cooperate with the five-fold ministries that are in place where I live. Forgive me when I have fought those who have been ordained to work your master plan and for those times in particular when I have made their jobs harder instead of easier...! Amen

The apostolic is in full swing. The best is yet to come. Much is being restored back to the church and we will see the power of the early church. The days of “Ananias and Sapphira” will return – where the fear of God will reign again and those outside the church walls with respect her position of authority on the earth – even if it fails to properly understand! There is power and authority when the apostolic ministry is allowed to function and flow by the Spirit of God just as they were supposed to. I look forward with great expectation and anticipation to the complete restoration of all things. Hallelujah!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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