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The Office of Apostle

It’s time for the Church to return to the biblical governmental pattern
 that Christ himself laid out for the body of Christ, for the perfecting of the saints. 

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 

In the scripture above we see all five of the five fold ministry offices listed in order of their rank of authority. The office of apostle is a ministry office given as a gift to the body of Christ to carry on the work of the ministry of perfecting and equipping the saints. 

The word apostle comes from the Greek word <apostolos> 

Which is defined as: a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ ("apostle") (with miraculous powers):--apostle, messenger, one that is sent..

An apostle is one sent on a definite mission, in which that one acts with full authority on behalf of the sender and is accountable to him. In the case of An Apostle of Christ Jesus, an apostle, acts as an ambassador of Christ Jesus and carries with the office full authority to speak and act on behalf of the one sending, The office of apostle is not a self appointed office. But is an office to which one must be called of God and raised up by him.
Some erroneously teach that the office of apostle passed away with the first twelve apostles that were chosen by Jesus, while others erroneously maintain that Mathias was not the true replacement for the office space left empty by Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent fall from office, but that Saul of Tarsus also known as Paul was actually the replacement Jesus chose and that after these there were no more apostles. Fortunately for us we have the Holy Scriptures to show us otherwise. Let’s look at the scriptures.

 Let's start with the original 12 apostles.

Matthew 10:2 -4  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. NKJV

After the crucifixion of Christ Jesus we see in scripture there were yet mention of several others who are called apostle. A look at the list below should make it clear that the office of apostle did not cease after the original twelve, nor did it cease after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus.

Let’s Look at the others mentioned in scripture.

Ø      Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;: Heb 3:1

Ø      Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus:Acts 13:2, Acts 14:4, Galatians 1:1

Ø      Barnabas:1 Corinthians 9:5-6, Acts 14:4 & 14

Ø      Andronicus :Romans 16:7

Ø      Junias (only woman apostle mentioned):Romans 16:7

Ø      James the Lord's brother: Galatians 1:19

Ø      Silas or Silvanus: 1Thess.,1:1, 2:6& 2 Thess.1:1

Ø      Matthias : Ac 1:26

Ø      Timothy:1 Thessalonians 1:1 & 2:6

Ø      Apollos (associated by we & us):1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:4-6, 4:6-13

Ø      Epaphroditus: Philippians 2:25

Ø      Unnamed apostle:2 Corinthians 8:18b

Ø      Unnamed apostle:2 Corinthians 8:22b

While it is clear that the original twelve were part of an “elect” group, chosen by Christ and had a particular and special Apostolic mandate , it is also clear that these are not the only apostles ever chosen. All totaled there are twenty four apostles mentioned in the bible , Christ Jesus, Himself being the Chief Apostle of them all.

The scripture below, found in Ephesians 4; 11-13 shows us that the ministry offices were given for a purpose and for a time.

Verse 11 describes in order, the varying offices and verse twelve describes the purpose as being” for the perfecting of the saints”, verse 13 shows us the season of time as beingTill we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
The scripture clearly shows that the five ministry offices including the office of apostle were given to the church to carry on the work that Christ had begun, until the saints of God are perfected or matured unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Clearly all the saints of God have not been matured, saints being those whom God has sanctified and cleansed through the blood of Christ Jesus.

  • The words apostle occurs 19 times
  • The word Apostles occurs 59 times
  • The word Prophet occurs 68 times
  • The word Prophets occurs 88 times..
  • The word Prophetess occurs 2 times.
  • The word Evangelist occurs 2 times.
  • The word Evangelists occurs 1 time.
  • The word Pastor occurs 0 times.
  • The word Pastors occurs 1 time.
  • The word Teacher occurs 4 times

I find it interesting to note that the ministry office least mentioned. in the New Testament, pastor,  is  the most prominent ministerial office referred to in the church world today and is mentioned one time in the New Testament.  Yet, the ministerial offices most prominent in the New Testament are the offices that are most resisted in the church today, that being the offices of apostle and prophet. For some time now the church has been operating beneath its full potential. We are now seeing the offices of apostle and prophet. being restored to the body of Christ along with this restoration we see a lot of opposition . We see worldwide acceptance of the offices of evangelist, pastor, and teacher as being valid ministry offices in the church today. But the ministry offices of apostles and prophet are erroneously considered by many to be only a part of the early church and not a part of the contemporary modern day church. Because of erroneous doctrines being taught in many churches there has been much dispute regarding the offices of both the apostle and the prophet. Erroneous doctrines and ignorance have deprived the Lord’s Church of the two foundational ministries that Christ Himself put in place as a part of the church’s foundational government.

Apostolic Authority
The lack of clear and correct scriptural teaching regarding these two offices, has largely been responsible for an increase of individuals attempting to operate in a sphere of apostleship to which they were neither called, commissioned or sent of God..

2Co 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Throughout the ages there have been false apostles and false prophets. Satan has throughout time sought to imitate the things of God and draw away those whom he can. It is not surprising to me that he would continue to do so today. How better to confuse the young sheep than to toss in a few wolves in sheep’s clothing to devour and deceive. Considering that an apostle is a leader, can you imagine the harm that could be done if the sheep were to blindly follow a false apostle. Sadly many do just that.

While the existence of false apostles has been confirmed, even in scripture, we must not allow ourselves to become so affected by the fear of the false that we overlook or totally deny the existence of that which is real., to the detriment of the church itself.

Unfortunately there are those who are genuinely called of God to the office of apostle that have no true understanding as to the role or position they actually have in the body of Christ , and are convinced that their “apostleship” gives them authority over any and or  all the churches. We hear tales of those who come into churches and announce to the church that they are an apostle and therefore this church must submit to their authority only to find themselves tossed out by the seat of their pants, and rightly so.for they do not know the limits of their authority.

Paul who was also known as Saul of Tarsus said it like this to the church of God which is at Corinth

1Co 9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

 There is with in the body of Christ differing spheres of authority. No where in the scriptures do we see a person other than Christ Jesus commissioned and sent as an Apostle who is in a place of authority over the whole body of Christ. That position is reserved for the Lord Himself, Him being the Chief Apostle of our faith. Yet for various reasons we see some who are convinced that a call to apostleship gives that one authority over any and all Churches.

Paul the Apostle knew there were limits to his apostolic Sphere:

Ro 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:

1Co 9:1 ¶ Am I not an apostle? am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord?  2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

Paul understood that to some he was not considered an apostle but to those he had been sent He was indeed an apostle operating within his sphere of authority. While Paul is definitely known as an apostle his Apostolic authority only extended to areas where he had laid the foundation for that specific city or church as God had directed him.. In the areas where Paul had traveled and established ministry and churches, he had Apostolic Authority as being the founding father of the Church in that area, but his level of Apostolic authority did not extend beyond those boundaries., except in areas where he had established ministry or churches.

Acts16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. 6 ¶ Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

The apostles had sought to go to Asia and to Bythnia but the Holy Ghost did not allow them and did not send them to those areas. If they had gone, they would have been outside of the Sphere they were commissioned to work in and they would not be walking in apostolic authority be cause they had not been sent of God to those areas.

After this we see that Paul is given a vision: And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

As they go over into Macedonia they are going in true Apostolic Authority for the Lord has both called them and commissioned them ( sent them as his Ambassadors) to preach the gospel message in Macedonia.

In Acts chapter thirteen we see Saul and Barnabas being separated out for the work the Holy Ghost

Ac 13:1 ¶ Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.4 ¶ So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Having been sent of the Holy Ghost, the two received a divine commission in addition to their gifts, and that qualified them for apostolic ministry

Apostolic Mandate: An Apostolic mandate is a command given  by the Lord himself to the apostle, which not only charges that one with the responsibility to carry out that mandate but also the authority with which to go forth as an ambassador in representation of the Lord who sent that apostle having given that one a mandate or command to carry out a specific act function or command.

Apostolic Calling: The event that occurs in which God literally calls one to the Apostolic Ministry. This is a precursor to Commissioning. One must be called before he is commissioned. Jesus called his disciples one by one, calling them out to follow him. After they accepted the call he disciplined and taught them to walk in his ways. Having called them as his apostles he later gave them the great commission and sent them out.

Lu 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

Mr 6:7 ¶ And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Apostolic Commissioning: Mt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Apostolic Nurturing: One of the key functions of the apostle is to raise up others as Spiritual Children and to bring them from infancy to maturity. A true apostle will have a heart to disciple others as spiritual sons and daughters.

1Co 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

Spiritual Leader: An apostle is anointed to lead others and they will seek to equip and see each person fulfill their destiny. Apostles have the ability to take charge and organize people and they will encourage teamwork in the church, working to equip each person in their calling or position in the body of Christ, training them up to go forth into the body and continue the mission of equipping the saints .

1Co 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

Galatians 4:19 ¶ My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Adversity: Apostles will live lives marked by adversity.

1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Doctrinal Issues : Apostles deal with doctrinal issues and sin issues within the body of Christ and bring correction to the church or individual in biblical manners.

Eph 5:3 ¶ But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

In the scripture above Paul is speaking to the church at Ephesus and brings correction to the church for many of their sin issues.

He does likewise at Corinth and Galatia and other places where the church has been newly established. Throughout the New Testament we see Paul has written to the Churches and directed or admonished them, giving direction and correction as was needed.

Today in the church the apostle brings correction to the church to keep the church inline with the foundation which was laid out by the Lord, using the Holy Scriptures as a plumb line by which to build.

1Co 5:1 ¶ It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

 Church Planting: One of the roles of the apostle is to plant churches. An apostle is one whom God has anointed  to begin a church from the ground up and for this reason an apostle is anointed to stand in each of the four remaining five fold offices and is gifted accordingly with Spiritual gifts to carry out that process.


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