Sunday, 12 February 2012

Relationship between the Apostolic and the local Church!

Relationship between the Apostolic and the local Church!

“…look carefully at Jesus, the apostle and chief priest about whom we make our declaration of faith” (Hebrews 3:1 GW).

In today’s Truth for the Journey we are going to look at the relationship that should exist between the apostle and the local Church – how they should relate. We will look at how the authoritative structure within the Church works. Also we will look at gifts – for example is an apostle a position of “office” or a “gift?” This we can answer straight away - the position of an apostle is an office and NOT a gift. Or in other words; the apostle has a governing office and can function in any of the gifts. Therefore the apostle has an office to govern, along with ministry gifts and the authority to establish. It’s important to interject here - in no uncertain terms - that THE APOSTLE DOES NOT “TAKE” AUTHORITY BUT IT IS “GIVEN” BY THE LOCAL CHURCH.

Apostle James offers us an exception from the rule by the fact that although he was considered an apostle in scripture, he did not actually leave the church in Jerusalem. Seemingly, he never ministered outside of Jerusalem. But Apostle Paul travelled continually during his thirty-plus years of ministry. His longest stay at any local church was two years in Ephesus. So this begs the question; “can an apostle be a ‘sent-one’ and be a ‘stayed-one’ at the same time?” Yes! So long as he is “establishing,” “building” and fulfilling a mandate that he has ultimately been sent by God from (from birth) to fulfil. However this depends largely on his “gifting” too and not just his “office.” Now his office is one thing, and his gifting helps him to carry out the mandate upon his office. I.e. an apostle whose main gifting is to be a pastor can build right where he is – while still able to be very internationally minded (not parochial or narrow in scope) with the spiritual capacity to travel or to “go,” but primarily “stays!”

Now in addition to this, it must be stated that all the gifts are EQUAL - they just have different tasks to do. Likewise all the “offices” are EQUAL; they just operate with different gifting. For example a local elder who has a governing-office to “oversee,” is one who has been given dominion in a certain area. However when it comes to the local church in relation to the apostle – it has to be said that being part of one Body – includes being “connected” with the rest of the Body. And a great part of what the apostle does is through “connections.” He is a great connector. The Holy Spirit uses the apostolic ministry more than any other to do His great global networking!

Now having said all this – any position of authority or given office of governing authority (whether apostle, elder/bishop) is not dictatorial but submissive – particularly the apostle who is able to “recognise” what God has already established and continues to establish.

It is also crucial to observe here that once the local elders have been set in and their role established – it is THEY who have the authority over the local church and “NOT” the apostle. Now of cause he still has authority to bring correction like a shepherd-father-figure would - but he does not stay around to carry this out. His role is to oversee… To view this in scripture we go to the verses quoted below in order to highlight or showcase this point perfectly – when Paul was troubled to write with much concern to warn the Church in Corinth of his pending rebuke!

“I'm afraid that I may come and find you different from what I want you to be, and that you may find me different from what you want me to be…. I already warned you when I was with you the second time, and even though I'm not there now, I'm warning you again. When I visit you again, I won't spare you. That goes for all those who formerly led sinful lives as well as for all the others. Since you want proof that Christ is speaking through me, that's what you'll get. Christ isn't weak in dealing with you. Instead, he makes his power felt among you. He was weak when he was crucified, but by God's power he lives” (2 Cor 12:20; 13:3-4 GW).

Obviously the apostle has a continuing position of responsibility when it comes to the local church but he is not there to stay and to “RUN” the local church or implement the local vision! This again is the role of the set leading elders.

Let us move on now to the next step and take a look at how apostolic teams in particular should function and work together. Before we do this let me point out ever so briefly how important structure is. The spine or backbone is our natural structure. None of us can live without it! And spiritually speaking the same is true also. Even Satan’s kingdom has structure to it. We see this evidenced in the sixth chapter of the book of Ephesians and verse 12 where it says; “This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world” (emphasis added - GW). It is very distinct here that there are varying levels in the kingdom of darkness, levels of authority or hierarchy to execute its mandates. This represents none other than a governing “structure” – yet perhaps in reverse from that of the Kingdom of God. And by using the words, “in-reverse” I don’t suggest for a moment that this means “equal-to” God’s Kingdom – albeit the other way around – by no means! Yet Satan once knew just how the Kingdom of God functioned and was internally structured… therefore he most certainly would have modeled his best attempts at organizing his hordes of darkness - upon what he saw working with pristine order and condition within the Kingdom of God!

Structure is valued by those who understand how it works (and by structure I don’t mean that we get all rapped up in knots because we have adopted some form of legalism, nevertheless “structure-less-ness” is far from freedom – but more like anarchy and chaos and who can have success in the midst of confusion?) Anyhow take business for example; they could never thrive without structure. Organizations would collapse the world over without structure and so would every great building of antiquity that we know! From the tower of London and Big Ben to the Eiffel tower – still known as the tallest structure in Paris! Nothing of significance can remain standing without some form of structure holding it up!

So we must not be “structure-shy” especially within the Church where we tend to feel obliged to run a “free-for-all” and expect it to work! It must not be said by our enemies that the Body of Christ has no backbone or that we are spineless! But nor let us try and create our own image of structure based upon what we think Church should be like… No! Rather we should submit ourselves to what God has already laid out in scripture to work (irrespective and notwithstanding our misguided reservations towards…) the apostolic ministry!

Instead we should shout, “Welcome back!” For the Church as we know it – has indeed been feeble and without strength – yes even much of it has been guilty of being spineless and void of spiritual backbone! But now is the time to embrace true spiritual structure as Christ deemed fit to bestow upon the Church and to recognize once again the importance of this “apostolic ministry” within His Body. Who are we to resist any rate? We must work-with and not against true spiritual structure.

It is true to say that it has never been enough for the spiritually immature - “floppy-n-floaty” (freshly filled with new wine Christians) to get this great and awesome job done! Nor has it ever been enough just for the “stuffy-n-religious-bookworm-types” to give their official nod to everything! What we need is the precious working of God’s Holy Spirit, the power of His Word and the coming together of His mighty Body worldwide – “a-great-working-together” – to get this great and divine commission complete!

So as we continue then, from our brief look at the supposed “hierarchy” of Satan’s kingdom – lets us now look at the “structure-of-authority” as it should exist within God’s kingdom – according to scripture (in other words apostolic teams working together) - as follows:

Derek Prince presence to us,
1) Main Forces of Human Leadership:

A] Apostolic teams and Presbyteries (elders):
1. Both usually PLURAL
2. A shepherd is a pastor
a) Shepherd (singular) always refers to Jesus (Acts 20:17)
b) Elders (plural) are overseers (or bishops) or shepherds (see also 1 Peter 5:1-2).
3. As shepherds (Elders) are united, so will their flocks be.

B] Elder’s Responsibility is to Govern – Conservation (1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5):
a) In the O.T. the elders place was at the gate
b) Their function: judgement, counsel and government
c) The N.T. concurs with this

C] Apostolic Team’s Function is Extensive (Romans 15:20-21):
a) Reach the unreached
b) They did not operate alone

D] Governing Body in an Area is Sovereign:
a) Same applies to a family, mother and father are sovereign
Independence and sovereignty are not the same.
b) Sovereign: accountable to God
c) Independent: out from under God’s authority possibly?

E] Apostolic Teams:
Top Authority of Church Extension
Local / Resident
Govern Locally Conservation

a) Balance is 50% emphasis on either side in N.T Church
b) The current balance is 98% conservation and 2% extension.

F] There is no Place for Independence in Christianity:

2) Interdependence:

A] Apostles Appoint Elders (Acts 14:21-23):
a) After elders become installed, a group of believers becomes a

B] Apostles sent out by Elders (Acts 13: 1-4):
a) They became apostles after being prayed for and sent out
(Acts 14:14)
b) They where selected by the Holy Spirit from the most
Experienced and fruitful
c) Then new leadership emerges from the less experienced.

C] Reproductive Cycle (Acts 16:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:6):
a) Apostle means; one sent forth
b) It all starts with God the Father.

3) Jesus Set the Pattern:

A] The first Apostle (Hebrew 3:1):
a) Women have a place (Luke 8:1-3)

B] The Early Church was mobile:

C] Apostolic Attestation :
a) It takes the supernatural to make Gentiles obedient (Romans
b) (2 Corinthians 12:12)

D] Marks of the Apostle:
a) Perseverance, character, not giving up
b) Signs, wonders and mighty deeds.

E] The issue is NOT Apostle Succession, but Apostolic Ministry (1 Cor. 4:20):

Father for any living creature to exist there must be structure. Without this – it cannot survive. Whether it is the food chain that sustains it or the spin that holds it up! We all need structure in our lives. Fresh converts care little about structure – but there is need for this in your Body just as in the human body. Without a backbone we can no longer stand up! Father help us to grasp the structure of the apostolic ministry. Help us to receive it by faith and the security that it is meant to bring. Amen.

Today I have spiritual backbone. I have a spiritual spine. I have structure. I accept this structure and I accept the restoration of the apostolic ministry within the Body of Christ; the power, authority and spiritual security that it brings, including the networking capabilities that it brings… to banish that tendency to be isolated. I confess today that I recognise my personal need for the working of the Holy Spirit and the fulfilment of scripture – through the apostolic ministry.

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

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Types of Apostles

Types of Apostles

“Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead...” (Galatians 1:1)

Welcome back! Today we are going to continue with our current theme surrounding the Apostolic Ministry and specifically in this article we are mainly going to focus on what differentiates between two separate groups of apostles. In successive articles that will follow on directly after this, we will discuss the many different aspects of this subject. However to begin here right at the start, the word “apostle” literally means: “to-send-forth,” in other words, someone who has received a commission and will go-forth to fulfil it while representing the very same authority that sent them. We see this in the following scriptures; “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me...’” (John 8:42) “Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute’” (Luke 11:49). “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’” (John 20: 21).

Therefore an “apostle” is not someone who is sent by men or appointed by men, but by God. Again we go straight to scripture in order to see this; “Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead... (Gal 1:1) “Paul called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God...” (1Cor 1:1) “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me...” (Matt 10:40 - see also Acts 14:14; 15:23; Rom 16:7; 2 Cor 8:23; 1 Thess 1:1).

However before I go any further, let me add to this by taking an excerpt from one of Ulf Ekman’s books called “The Apostolic Ministry” (p20-21).

“Apostles and Prophets lay the foundation for the Church: This century has seen increasing revelation on the ministry gifts. We have begun to understand what a pastor is, how an evangelist functions and what a teacher does. However, there are two special gifts that we need to understand so that God can develop strong local churches in the Last Days. There is a fierce struggle concerning these gifts going on right now across the earth. The devil hates strong churches. He tries to crush them, tear then down and render them passive and ineffective. If he can remove the gifts that develop strong local churches, then he’ll be satisfied. Apostles and prophets are the gifts that do this more than any other.

The apostle and the prophet are like spearheads, and the church is built on the foundation they lay (Eph 2:20). If they are not allowed to lay a proper foundation, then the church will lose direction, strength, anointing and spiritual insight. You can have good meetings, interesting conferences and fantastic campaigns without these gifts. But when the preachers leave and the crowds disappear, where is the strength that’s needed for the local church? If you look closely, you’ll see that the church is small, exhausted, confused and unsure of its direction.

The apostle and the prophet, especially the apostle, channel strength to the churches that helps them grow on a daily basis. Churches are not built on conferences, campaigns and seminars. They are built by the steady labour of ordinary people, who are constantly developing and maturing. Maturity, in a biblical sense, refers to increased vigour and stability, which makes us stronger. The apostle’s ministry is vital and the Bible gives us many examples of this”.

Therefore it is important that we have a balanced concept of what an apostle is and what an apostle is really sent to do. Otherwise (and just as I have witnessed around the world), this authentic and much needed role of the apostle is “misunderstood” and is desperately lacking in the church. Often it is misconstrued as something intolerable, domineering and threatening. It couldn’t be further away from the truth and totally robs the church of a vital element that will help it grow strong and STAY strong! In stead of complaining about weaknesses in the Church – let the apostle take back his rightful position in the Body of Christ – and then we will witness the power and strength of the early church, that we all crave to see! The devil fears this strength and will do anything to uphold the myth that apostles (and prophets) are obsolete and not necessary anymore. The devil IS a liar! Oh how we need the apostolic ministry today… and little will be achieved without it. Nothing substantial anyhow… we can make a fanfare about anything. But will it stand the test of time? To be of significance again – we need the apostolic ministry to do what it was sent forth to do – to bring stability, maturity and growth.

None of us want to create works that have no substance. Consider how puff-pastry is just fluff-n-stuff! It looks substantial on the outside but once we break through its crust – little substance is found. It lays on top, glazed and looks impressive – but has little (if any) foundation. Spiritual puff pastry is a far cry from what God has planned for His church and for that which Christ has died to liberate.

Resurrection Apostles:
Let’s commence onto different types of apostles. Ignorance not only fails to recognise the significance of the apostolic apostleship but also refused to grasp its depth of identity. Take for instance the original twelve - minus Judas – those directly commissioned by Jesus. These are the RESURRECTION APOSTLES. They received the “in-breathing” of resurrection life directly from Him, as the first fruits of His new creation. From Him they received proof of His being alive and principles of the Kingdom first hand. Reinforced by Mathias (Acts 1:12f) they received the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These are the APOSTLES OF THE LAMB as seen clearly in the 21st chapter of the book of Revelations verse 14; “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (emphasis added).

In addition Paul must be included in this group of resurrection apostles, “...and last of all he appeared to me also, as one abnormally born” (1 Cor 15:8). It must be noted here that it is the testimony of this exclusive group of men that forms the definitive standard of teaching and doctrine for us. For example, we believe Jesus through their word – in the context that Jesus spoke of here in John 17:20, “My prayer is not for them alone, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message...”

Strictly speaking (concerning these “resurrection apostles”) their only true successor is the New Testament itself; which preserves the record of their inspired testimony. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes; he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you...”(John 16:12-14)

All subsequent apostolic ministries (namely “ascension apostles”) must submit to and accurately reflect their testimony. I can be said like this; the words of the “resurrection apostles” are still primary and still Scripture; but however, any other apostolic word is derivative and non-scripture. Unfortunately this is just where some of our modern-day apostles (both resent-past and present) have made their errors. Some of them have wrongly imagined that this status of being an “apostle” gave their own words the same footing and weight as scripture itself! Clearly mistaken they have misunderstood their proper boundaries.

To be clear about this, no one is receiving “additional revelation!” that can add or take away from the original foundation of the gospel. We already have the revelation of the New Testament. Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that, which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8). Paul warned that we are to take heed how we build upon the foundation that has already been laid (1Cor 3:10). Quite simply we can’t add to it or take anything away from it.

Ascension Apostles:
As mentioned already above, there exists a clear and definitive distinction between these two sets of apostles; those of the resurrection (apostles of the Lamb) and those of the ascension. In addition to this fact and to further explain this, it can be said that Paul was very much a “pivot” in that he was not only the last of the RESURRECTION APOSTLES (who actually saw the risen Lord Jesus Christ) but was also the first of a new series of apostles, namely the ASCENSION APOSTLES.

Again I want to appreciate the writings of another apostle here – so we will return to Ulf Ekman’s book to insert another paragraph of his book, that has the full title: “The Apostolic Ministry – can the Church Live without It?” (P23).

“The Apostolic Ministry has Long-term Effects: we must be set free from the idea of a religious “St Paul” as portrayed in marble statues, icons and ancient historical images. We must see him in the unique role he had. It was Paul who received the revelation of Jesus’ resurrection and wrote one-third of the New Testament. He remains the most important example of a Christian today after Jesus – our primary example.

Paul is an example in two areas: first he shows us how a Christian should live… lives of consistency. Second, he exemplifies the ministry of an apostle. He demonstrates the function of an apostle and the results that follow… Every ministry gift operates within the restrictions of time. The ministry of John the Baptist was effective for only a short period of time, yet his influence was great. Paul not only affected his era, but his influence has remained from generation to generation up to our present day.

An examination of the apostolic ministry will show that its influence continues even after the apostle has died. History speaks of men who weren’t called apostles but were in fact just that. Wycliffe was definitely an apostle, as his degree of influence demonstrates. Huss, Luther, Calvin, Knox and Wesley were also apostles. How do we know? From their preaching, their message, their ministry and the enduring legacy they left behind. These are some of the signs of the apostle”.

Yes! And like I said in the last article – the apostle is certainly in it for long-haul not the short term. Even his natural death can not limit his influence! That’s exciting… but there is much more to an apostle than this - we have only discussed “some” of the signs of an apostle – there is much more yet! And we will endeavour to draw this out with each article that follows...

Inclosing for today let me summarize by saying that clearly not all apostles were like Paul. Some had a lesser anointing and some a greater anointing, all with differing gifts. But the fact remains; there are two distinct categories of apostles; the resurrection and the ascension. Today these commissioned individuals “sent-forth” with great influence can still be referred to as “ascension apostles.”

Father its clear at every turn we take – when we study Your Word – how magnificently You made provision for Your Church to succeed and to thrive; to overcome and to have influence in this earth – from generation to generation. We must continue having maximum impact today in this world, help us to accept the role of those You have sent-forth as apostles today and to willingly loose our ignorance about this subject - apostolic apostleship. Restore truth to Your Body, restore revelation… so that Your will can be achieved in this earth and not hindered by our own ignorance, unwillingness or un-teachable spirits...

I accept the will of God – not only for my personal life – but also for the entire Body of Christ. I do not stand against revelation being restored back to the Church. I yield to God’s Spirit, who is causing the apostles to rise once again around the earth; divine foundation layers – who influence the nations and the generations to come.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Marks of an Apostle

Marks of an Apostle

“…the signs of the apostles were worked out among you in all patience, in miracles and in wonders, and by works of power” (2 Cor 12:12).

Here we are again - yet another Truth for the Journey! In our last article we mainly discussed the difference between two certain types of apostles; namely the ascension and the resurrection apostles. We also spoke of the basic meaning of the word apostle as used in scripture – as “sent-forth” not by man but by God. Today however we are going to progress further by discussing the major functions and characteristics of the apostle.

There are clear elements that dominate the calling and gifting of an apostle; which causes all apostles to act in similar ways. In other words, they can be very different in personality and background, but their gifting will have similar functions and boundaries. Firstly and arguable the most important is that apostles are very good at “working-together” whereas other gifts are more prone to “compete.” An apostle is not willing to lay on another’s foundations, but will allow others to build with him.

I would say that this is one of the quickest ways of seeing whether someone is an apostle or not! As all true apostles will work together. Those who are not team players, who climb over others to get “ahead” and “compete” – are behaving like ruthless businessmen but NOT as an apostle. Apostles do not compete. Instead they have a unique understanding about foundations and how “counter-productive” it is to build upon the foundation that another has laid. He will not waste his time. He will work “with” instead or go lay his own.

Also another feature or characteristic of the apostle is that of a pioneer. They go first. When scripture says, “….first apostles” in (1 Cor 12: 28) this was NOT a sentiment of “hierarchy” – rather it literally meant that the apostles would “go-first” in that they would go in front and pioneer! They break-open new ground and are not at all shy of ploughing where it has never been ploughed before. Nor do they shy away from “hard-work.” In fact you have never known real hard work until you have gotten around an apostle! Ask those who know! Their work ethic is second to none and they have durability and spiritual back bone that others (even half their age) lack!

Their ability to endure hardship is also a trait of the apostle. They are not flimsy in their approach. They are tough but fatherly. They observe and watch when others race and chase. They have wisdom and a panoramic view of how things are developing. They keep their finger on the pulse – knowing where everything is up to in its overall development. This is unique to the apostle. Who spiritual sight – is more far reaching than that of the other gifts. Even though the prophet is traditionally the “seer” it is the apostle who can over-see production and development in the Kingdom of God – with much more scope than the prophet – that’s why they need each other.

Apostles can have different gifting, such as an apostle who is a pastor or an apostle who is a teacher and so forth. Nevertheless we can see at many different intervals within scripture the “apostles” working together. In Acts 2:42 it says “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching… to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Note how it uses the plural of “apostles’” and not just the teaching of “one” apostle. We could add here that for a genuine apostle - it is not a fame-game. They don’t require all the credit, but they MUST be accomplished. They are productive wherever they are. Paul was not stifled in prison or under house arrest. Nothing deterred him from his mission. Not chains or hardship. In addition to this, apostles are not nervous about money, whether in abundance or in lack. They know how to abase and abound. They are given to seasons and are ready for anything. One major characteristic apart from being extremely hard working and focused is their drive and belief in “preparation.” They are always preparing and therefore are always ready. They live prepared!

“Sturdy” is equalled to “nerdy” in the world’s eyes, but for an apostle “spiritual-backbone” is everything. One of their greatest satisfactions is derived from seeing “spiritual-maturity” outworked in the people. In addition they help “release” the gifting’s within others, which stir up the saints for ACTION and brings an explosion of life and activity! No one can sit around an apostle and get away with it! They motivate people and therefore no one feels comfortable being “sedentary” around them! Their work ethic can make even a “work-a-holic” feel lazy! But all is taken in their stride, with an inner-drive that comes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Each apostle has a specific “time-frame” to work to that they are completely aware of and they work ceaselessly to achieve the goal set before them. (Note: seasoned apostles don’t tire with age instead they just employ more wisdom and learn better how to delegate!)

Nothing displeases them more than to see rampant apostasy amongst God’s people and spiritual carelessness or sloppiness. Therefore its also good to point out that the apostle is not heavily prone to taking spiritual short-cuts. No architect would do it. The safety of their overall structure would be compromised and the apostle sees things much the same way!

Another characteristic is that of “order” – the apostle has an affinity with all things “order.” They bring order into chaos and restoration where there is brokenness. They are the ones trusted with God’s blue print as they are God’s builders. No one can build in chaos and just as Nehemiah had get rid of the pile of rubbish before he could continue building - so too will an apostle – deal with, delegate and organise so that “spiritual-waste” or “trash” can be aptly dealt with.

Eight points to Remember!
1). Plurality of Apostles - works as part of a Team: (1 Thess. 1:1; 2:6) Lets look a little deeper at the apostle’s ability to work alone but also as part of a team. He is not easily threatened and likes to work with others. In fact over “twenty men,” at one time or another, were associated with Paul in his apostolic travels. True apostles are not charismatic lone-rangers who lack and even despise the checks and balances of plurality. This is one reason that they like to bring on younger men in their calling in God, such as Paul did with Timothy.

2). Gifts and Anointing: (1 Thess. 1:5a) They have spiritual “power” not just ecclesiastical “status.” They enjoy the charisma of the Holy Spirit rather than their ordination papers or may not even be officially ordained by a denomination. God is rising up a new breed of apostolic ministers who will readily admit that they are embryonic and earnestly desire and covet the wonders and miracles that is one of the signs of a true apostle. “The things that mark an apostle - signs, wonders and miracles – were done among you with great perseverance” (2 Cor 12:12).

3). Has a Proven Character: (1 Thess. 1:5b) We see in scripture that the apostles were men of integrity with mastery over wrong motives. For example they were not out to deceive, flatter or make money from those they ministered to (1 Thessalonians 2:2-6); men worthy of imitating.

4). He is a Man of Patience and Gentleness: (1 Thess. 2:6-7) Because he is a man of faith he can afford to wait. Because he is a man of love he does not have to throw his weight about. Building with living bricks takes time and trouble. Taking another look at the sign of a true apostle, (2 Corinthians 12:12) we find the word perseverance, (patience...KJV). This reveals that true apostles are not mere remote office managers presiding over some new charismatic empire, which they lay claim to “covering”. True apostles are prepared to spend time with individuals and not just leaders at that. (Unless one is called to leaders specifically) They are “on-site” superintendents of the work.

5). A Bearer of God’s Word: (1 Thess. 2: 13) “And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and a apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles (1 Tim 2:7). No man can ultimately be recognised as an apostle, who does not have a proven ministry as a preacher and a teacher of the Word of God, for it is that which is the root of his authority, the source of his life and the dynamic of his ministry, he is a preacher and teacher of the Word before he is an apostle.

6). He Stands or Falls by The Church: (1 Thess. 1:6-7) 1) Like Peter, he should have been a fellow-elder in a local Body. There, he can be tested and checked as he learns like everybody else, what it is to submit to one another in the fear of the Lord. As a local elder, he knows the responsibility of rule and pastoral care, which leaders in the Church have, and then as an apostle, will be able to speak into other Churches with greater sensitivity. “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow-elder, a witness to Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve...” (1 Pet 5:1-2)

7). One who is “sent-out” by the Church to which he belongs, an apostle carries credibility with him. Those who receive him can expect that he will have worked out at home whatever he is laying on them as counsel; in this way Paul and Barnabas were “released” by the Church at Antioch (Acts 13:1-3). Being sent out by the Church of which they were a part - they are eager to return to give their support and report. “From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:26-27).

8). Finally and most importantly true apostles appreciate being “accountable.” This gives them a sense of security, saves them from the wrong kind of independence and reminds them they exist to serve the Body and not themselves. They desire the best for the Church (1 Thess. 2:19).

Father thank you for the stability that the apostolic ministry brings to your Body, I crave the stability that you have provided through your apostolic ministries. We need the spiritual back bone that you have desired for us. Thank you Father that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.

Hebrews 3:1 says that Jesus is the apostle and high priest of my confession, who was “sent-forth” to bring salvation to the world.

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