the apostolic vs. an apostle

August 15, 2008

School started Monday the 11th, and because I’ve been led to enroll in the Apostolic Prayer and Preaching Program (AP3) here at IHOPU, I thought it good to study what exactly an apostle is, and how they differ from the apostolic. (Most of this is from my own past personal studies, though some is taken from recent class discussions.) I definitely have an apostolic calling on my life, though I would hesitate to say that I have been called to be an apostle. What I do know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that the Lord of hosts has called me to be a General in His army. Some would say that is synonymous with “apostle”, but if this is true, then judging by my study, I have a long way to go before I can be sent!

We are all, as children of God, called to be apostolic, but only some of us have been called to wear the mantle of the Apostle. This holds true for all of the five-fold ministry: some are prophets, but all can prophesy; some are evangelists, yet all ought to evangelize. An apostle is as a priest, and an apostolic person is as a priestly person. To cast out demons and to heal the sick is apostolic, but pastors and teachers have this power just as do apostles. This is because the apostolic is by the Holy Spirit, who we all have, whereas one’s apostleship is by a holy mantle, which not all have. To serve, fast, have pure eyes, a tamed tongue, and the eager desire to give – all for love – is to have apostolic power, as it is subjecting yourself to His authority, but this is still not what an apostle is.

Apostles are those who are Spirit-filled and sent from the New Jerusalem, who have been given by the Lord powerful authority to summon all creation to subject itself to Jesus Christ, having the anointed right to steward God’s blessings and curses upon it, and to co-govern all that is His (cp. Matt. 10:1-14; Heb. 2:5-10; 3:1). It follows then that as a person in authority, an apostle is also under authority (cp. Matt. 8:5-13), and they are appointed first, being above all other members of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:28). But though they are first, they are displayed by God Himself as last, “as men condemned to death” (4:9), “being made as the filth of the world” (v.13). To be an apostle is not as glorious as some would make it out to be, nor is it as common (too many claim apostleship, yet lack the holy character and the clear signs of an apostle; 2 Cor. 12:12).

It is not enough to know facts about the kingdom of God to carry the title of an apostle (doctrine is not without action; Tts. 2); a true apostle operates in the power of the kingdom because he is intimate with the one Truth, and not mere facts, for knowledge puffs up, and love alone edifies (1 Cor. 8:1), as agape love is the constitution of God’s kingdom (Matt. 22:36-40). And it is not enough to be sovereignly called by God as an apostle; the twelve apostles of the Lamb could not subject demons without first subjecting themselves through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:18, 29), and Paul was tested and approved by God before he was entrusted with the gospel (1 Thess. 2:4). One’s mantle, once given by following Jesus and waiting upon Him, must be maintained, or it will quickly become useless and could even deceive you.

Do we have the correct understanding that Judas was an apostle; that he was given by God a mantle of authority, yet it was he who was called a devil? Do we see the damage caused by the “super” apostles – the thorn in Paul’s side? Do we take seriously and soberly that Satan’s ministers transform themselves into “ministers of righteousness”; that he too is raising up an army? Do we give heed to the overwhelming portion of Scripture warning us of false brethren in the last days, which even entire epistles are given to? And not only this, but to we who are sincere, are we building with gold, silver, and precious things, being the mysteries of the cross, or are we building with wood, hay, and stubble, being words without power (for power is found only in the crucified life)? We need to regain the vision of Jesus lifted up, not in His resurrection or in His return, but as the brazen serpent in the desert, for it was the crucifixion of the God-Man which Paul spoke of when he quoted Isa. 64:4, that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). We must recover true agape love, for it is imperative that we reclaim the apostleship. Without them, we can never “come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).



One Response to “the apostolic vs. an apostle”

  1. In my estimation I see the Apostle as someone who has ‘the grace inherent (unconscious and uncoerced) in himself to represent Jesus Christ Himself'(Gladstone) being outworked in the various ways you describe, namely to form Christ-centered and Christ-like communities (Eph 4:13). But the substance of which is Christ being revealed, diffused, and displayed through his reconciling ambassadors, who have been counted worthy not only to bear His word but his fragrance unto the reproduction of it in the nations (Col 1:27).

    This I think the crux of Paul’s apostolic heart as seen in Gal 1:16 where he says that Jesus was revealed in him and is further substantiated in the great apostolic polemical book of 2 Corinthians. It is Christ revealing himself, and to the degree that a soul is submitted to and displaying the God-Man is to the degree that apostolicity is a reality in a persons life, which is only exemplified in the mantle of the Apostle! Therefore the degree to which an apostle is an apostle is to the degree that he ‘inherently (through the power of the Spirit –Col 1:24-29) represents Jesus Christ Himself’. Qualification and disqualification are not based on the knowledge, the beatings, the preaching’s, or the converts, but the conformity to Christ Himself and his ability to reproduce believing communities of true faith.

    I really enjoy your posts!


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