Saturday, 11 February 2012

Are there Apostles Today?

Are there Apostles Today?

“And they kept their attention fixed on the Apostles' teaching and were united together...” (Acts 2:42 BBE)

Welcome again to today’s Truth for the Journey – in this continued study of the apostle. While these articles are enjoyed by many across the internet, we enjoy the tremendous feed back and many positive remarks that they provoke! In particular, one email that we received this week was from an apostle from Spain called “Emilio Sevilla.” He dropped me a line to encourage but also to elaborate a little deeper on the meaning of the word apostle. I quote him “The word apostle means ‘sent – to - establish’ because the word is made up of two words which are, APO-STELLO - APO means to be sent forth and STELLO means to establish… this is why apostles should not rest until they have established the Kingdom in their given area…” end quote. Thanks… Emilio for your in put!

To see this in its various forms we simply go to the Strong’s Greek Concordance. To do so we take the precise place in scripture where Paul emphatically introduces himself as an “apostle” in his letter to the Corinthians; “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God…” (1 Cor 1:1 KJV) or as the Young’s Literal Translation puts it “Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ… (YLT). The Greek word that was used here is the compound word apostolos: (ap-os’-tol-os 00652) specifically meaning; a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ ("apostle") (with miraculous powers):--apostle, messenger, he that is sent. However there are actually numerous compound words that help make up or have influence up on the meaning of this word apostle - which we have all become familiar with. But for now lets move on.

For sure the more we see what apostles do, the more we realise how indispensable their ministry is. The Acts of the Apostles is a book with no ending, as it records that which Jesus began to do and teach; He continues to do and say through His apostles. Apostolic men who have the ability to father the Church, it’s pastors and people and who are real blessings from God, so much needed for today.

Yet there are still those who ask “are there apostles for today?” Of course the answer has to be an unequivocal “Yes!” But let us qualify this answer because there are many who would answer with “No!” To those who still question the validity of apostleship for today I would say that if there are prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers then there must be apostles. Why? Because Jesus Himself gave and commissioned ALL FIVE of these gifts to His bride and as long as this institution that we call Church remains upon the earth – until Christ returns for it – then these five gifts will remain in total!

As we stated in the last article, apostles willingly work together just as the twelve did in the beginning to lay the foundation for the very first church in Jerusalem. However – where they really “unique” as some like to suggest in an attempt to imply that apostles had their rightful place in the beginning but are obsolete for today.

Unique? Yes! In the context only that they walked with Christ from the time of his baptism by John the Baptist until he rose from the dead. They were also eyewitnesses of all that Jesus said and did. Some of them even recorded what they experienced (testimony), which became part of the New Testament that we have today. In addition they not only received divine revelation but also communicated that revelation once and for all – yet even with this fact the bible never stipulated that these were the first and final apostles for the Church.

The most prominent apostles of all were Peter and Paul. The most important was arguably Paul – who was not even among the original twelve, yet neither was Barnabas who we also found being called an apostle in scripture (see Acts 14:14-15). This is the point. Scripture clearly states that they were both apostles. Furthermore, we find in Galatians 1:19 that James the brother of Jesus was also considered an “apostle.” In addition to this we find Paul writing about the apostolic ministry of Silvanus and Timothy – (incidentally not part of the original twelve!) in his letter to the Philippians and there exists many more examples in scripture of this. So it appears quite significantly that there were indeed many more apostles that the bible identifies – outside of the original twelve! They even lived and functioned during the same lifetime as the original twelve but were not included into that band. This identifies that the apostolic ministry was in circulation and was not limited to a certain number.

So the purpose of the apostles for the early church was clear. They helped lay the foundations and continued to establish and build upon what Christ had said and done. With this in mind then, let us ask the following question regarding today’s church. “Is the building finished? Is the bride ready? Is the church full-grown and are the saints completely equipped? Has the Church attained its ordained maturity and unity?” I dare say this: only when the answer to these questions is “yes” can we dispense with the apostolic ministry.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father thank you once again for the commission that Christ laid upon the apostolic ministry for yesterday and for today. All five are indispensible and we need each in order to become what You ordained for us in this generation. We are limited by time and space - while still living in these tents (natural bodies) so help us use our time wisely to be most effective for You. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Jesus is the apostle and high priest of my confession. I accept the role of the apostle in Him and through others. In its place it brings blessing, stability and maturity. I flow with the apostolic. I understand its purpose and am not threatened by what God ordained.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE! WE LOVE YOU…!
Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

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