Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; (Hebrews 3:1)
In order to understand apostolic ministry, many review the lives of Peter, James, John, Paul and the like.
Obviously, we can learn invaluable truths and extract principles from the manner in which the early apostles functioned. However, to truly understand apostolic ministry being relevant in our day, we MUST recognize that those men partook of the grace and nature of Christ’s Spirit for their individual calling and the times in which they lived. In so doing, they were led by the Spirit as sons and were moved to transact Father’s purposes in the earth.
The Jewish apostles were positioned to attend and administrate the birthing of the Church as fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. When they eventually struggled with whether or not to make the Way simply another Jewish religious sect tied to the law, the Spirit moved decisively to send Peter to Cornelius’ abode. Also, a revelation of Jesus knocked a Jew’s Jew off of his religious high horse on the road to Damascus and prepared him to be sent to the Gentiles. Through genuine apostolic grace, Paul ensured God’s purposes were performed in the earth as the Gospel of the Kingdom was presented to Gentiles!
The end result was the destruction of the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles and a representation of Christ, the ONE NEW MAN, in whom neither Jew nor Gentile existed. THAT was heaven coming into earth! It was eternity invading time. It was God’s thoughts/ways overtaking men’s thoughts/ways. The impetus of God’s Will being done in such a strategic and dynamic manner in the earth was genuine apostolic ministry. I pause here only to say, we desperately need such clear and effective apostolic function in the earth today!
While I consider such inspection an extremely valuable and profitable endeavor, especially Paul’s life/ministry, I have been led back beyond their experiences as portrayed in the New Testament in order to gain an understanding of authentic apostolic function. As directed in Hebrews 3, we must “consider” the Apostle, Jesus. The word means to perceive, observe, understand or to fix one’s eyes or mind upon and the imperative mood that is applied to “consider” in this passage makes it a command……not an option.
If we are to know, understand or experience genuine apostolic function in our day, it will be because we have trained our spiritual eyes to focus on seeing Christ revealed. If believers were mature enough to exercise such spiritual sight, it would allow them to weed out apostolic pretenders, (Revelation 2:2) and diminish the degree of foolishness that transpires in most so-called “apostolic” spheres today and embrace authentic apostolic ministry that is foundational to maturation, both individually and corporately.
When Christ ascended, Ephesians 4 tells us that He Himself gave, out of Himself, gifts of men and he gave some apostles……. The simple point here is that any person who is functioning in authentic apostolic ministry has received the Apostle’s grace and nature and that person’s function as an apostle must be consistent to the Source. This holds true, not only for the remainder of the ascension gifts of prophet, pastor-teacher and evangelist, but through the entire Body of Christ, as well. Every believer is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ and is to function according to that grace in revealing Christ. We’ll talk more about that in a future post.
Now, I understand that this is more than likely not a major, new revelation for most readers. However, we can’t simply stop at Jesus as the Apostle. We must go further!
In a previous post, Brian Harrison answered the question, “What does the apostolic look like?” In his clear and concise example, his first point was “it is heavenly and not earthly.” Since “apostolic” means a sent one, by the very nature of the word, what matters is the point of origination from which you are sent because that is the basis of authority and what is to be represented.
Because we are self-centered and think that God’s sole reason for existence is to redeem us, we tend to view things more from an earthly, carnal perspective rather than from an eternal, heavenly point of view and according to Father’s eternal purpose. As a result, Father’s testimony in the earth through His People, the Church, has drastically suffered and become benign as we have been influenced by the world more than we have influenced it.
Harrison goes on to say,
“When people begin to think “apostolically” they evaluate circumstances from the perspective of eternity.”
I couldn’t agree more. As the writer of Hebrews encourages us, we are to “be partakers of a heavenly calling”, which by its very nature, will cause us to function with eternity in mind. Understanding who THE APOSTLE is will also allow authentic apostolic ministry to function according to His thought and impart His heart into the lives of God’s People.
Jesus, as the Sent One, had to be sent from somewhere. What was his point of origination? He told the religious leaders plainly that “the Father Himself sent him”. Apostle John stated clearly that he along with the other apostles, ”
- have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son.” (I John 4:14)
However, the religious order of the day chose NOT to believe that Jesus had come in the Father’s name, meaning he was the visible Representative of the unseen God with authority to transact Father’s business in the earth. (John 5:43) Despite the Apostle being stamped with Father’s image and perfectly mirroring Him, religion looked him eyeball to eyeball, heard the Father’s words roll out of his mouth and refused to accept him and, thereby, rejected the Source from which he was sent.
You see, Father is actually THE APOSTLE! Before Jesus was ever sent as the Apostle, it was the intention of Father’s heart to do the sending. The authority in which Jesus functioned; the words he spoke; the deeds he performed; Jesus made it plain, “I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.” (John 6:38; MSG)
It is vital for those who fancy themselves to be apostles today to not only have a revelation of Ephesians 4:11 or even an understanding of Jesus Christ as the Apostle; they must have an accurate understanding of THE APOSTLE!
Why is it important to gain an understanding of THE APOSTLE? Because the Apostle, who was the Son, came to reveal to us the Father, who was THE APOSTLE in motive and intention in sending. The Way of Father is an apostolic way! The Spirit of true christianity is at its core an apostolic spirit! It always has been and always will be.
Now when I say, always, I’m not speaking about always as in time or history. Nor am I speaking of time before, during or after the development of cessationism as a religious philosophy that substitutes man’s thinking in place of God’s so that the church can fit intelligently and nicely in this world.
No, I am speaking of always as in the ETERNAL thought and purpose of THE APOSTLE! Understanding and knowing THE APOSTLE is what transfixes our eyes on the eternity that Father planted in man’s hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and sets our minds on heavenly things rather than earthly. (Colossians 3:2)
Remember, we are partakers of a heavenly calling. We are “in” the world but are not “of” its nature. It was always intended for the Church to think and function apostolically and evaluate things from an eternal perspective, just like THE APOSTLE ! As we have seen, Jesus as the Apostle surely did.
Since we are commanded to thoughtfully and attentively consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed as ours when we embraced the Christian faith, we must come to realize that the Apostle was sent to reveal THE APOSTLE. The purpose of such a revealing, especially in the lives of gifts called apostles, is that all believers are to share and partake of Father’s Nature! This is the ONLY way that the Body of Christ will mature and be able to transact Father’s purposes in the earth.
Understanding, partaking of and expressing Father’s Nature is the true evidence of authentic New Testament faith. The purpose of authentic apostolic ministry, whether found in the early church or in our day, is to accurately lay the foundation of Christ in the lives of believers so that Father can be known.
In order to do so, apostles must be dealt with severely by THE APOSTLE through the Apostle’s grace and work of the Holy Spirit. Such a solemn work in an individual’s life moves beyond mere theological understanding which can only be relayed intellectually. Such stringent effort touches the motives and intentions of an apostle’s very being and reconstitutes his character to be Christ-like so that THE APOSTLE’S Nature can be purely demonstrated and effectively imparted into the lives of His People.
As we conclude this post, I urge you to prayerfully consider the Apostle’s words found in John 17: (emphasis added)
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
Keep your peace!