There is much debate today concerning the modern day existence of apostles and prophets. I find this quite interesting since Ephesians 4:11 says And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.
And I Corithians 12:28 says And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
There is no place in Scripture where it says that He removed any of the gifts of the Spirit nor the ministry gifts which includes apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. God knows how to build His Church. In Mathew 16:18 Jesus said He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. What He has set in the Church cannot be voted out by a deacon board or any man. I have heard where denominations have voted and decided there are no apostles in the Church today. The problem with that is that Jesus didn’t say it and He didn’t do it; and it’s His Church!
There is also an order mentioned in I Corinthians 12 which says that the Apostles are set in first. This word is the Greek word, “prōton” which means firstly (in time, place, order, or importance): – before, at the beginning, chiefly, at the first (of all). It comes from the word, “prōtos,” which means, foremost (in time, place, order or importance): – before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.
After the apostles come the prophets and the teachers. Then it says something very enlightening. It says, after that miracles. Could it be that one reason we see so few miracles is that we are all out of order?
My opinion is that there have always been apostles in the Church that Jesus builds. They may not have been called that by people or even known exactly what they were themselves, but there has always been apostolic anointing in the Church somewhere.
There were only 12 “apostles of the Lamb.” We are not referring to the original twelve who walked with Jesus when He was on the earth, but to the others that have been set in the Church.
The problem today is that we call everyone who leads a ministry a pastor and everyone who travels an evangelist. We are confused. We seem to be afraid to use the very terms the Bible uses and instead prefer words man has made up. We have been told that it is pride to know that you are called as an apostle or prophet, but ok to know you are a evangelist, pastor or teacher. All the ministry graces come from Jesus, no one earns any of them.
I understand that on the flipside there are those who run around using “titles” with no substance or identification. When someone is called to be an apostle or prophet, they will be confirmed and affirmed by other apostles and prophets. It takes some time for that to develop but when someone is true, they will eventually be identified if they walk faithfully with the Lord. They should not identify themselves, but wait on God’s timing. He knows when we are ready. There will come a day when we can acknowledge that we are what we are.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
What we do in the Body of Christ should always be according to grace. Part of the definition of grace is the ability to do what you have been called to do.
The apostle Paul said he was a “wise masterbuilder.” This word, “masterbuilder” is the word, “architektōn”. It is where we get or word, “architect”.
So, apostles are builders. They lay the foundation of Christ for others to build upon.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
These verses tell us that apostles and prophets are foundational in the “temple of the Lord” with Jesus Himself being the Chief Conerstone. How is it that we have cut them out of the Body for so many years? What a disaster!
We need apostles today to impart according to Rom 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.
Apostles strengthen the Church. Apostles are pioneers, messengers, ambassadors.
They have a very specific call from God.
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.
Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…
Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2Ti 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Paul knew for sure who God had called him to be. So if we are in pride when we know we are called as an apostle, was Paul also in pride? I have only placed a few of the Scriptures where Paul says he is an apostle. You can study more about it for yourself.
Paul said he was a preacher or a herald of the gospel. He said he was an apostle. This word is
“apostolos” and it means, a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”), (with miraculous powers): – apostle, messenger, he that is sent. And he said he was a teacher or instructor. He was confident in his heavenly mandate. He said he was suffering some things because of his calling. Apostles are familiar with suffering in some fashion. We are not all called to suffer the same things in the same way, but apostles are acquainted with suffering.
Apostles are sent one’s. They are sent by God with a mission. Their lives are a direct mandate from God. They can tell you details concerning how God has called them and know they are called beyond any doubt.
Luk 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Luk 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Apostles are sent to release the supernatural power of God.
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
This word “warfare” is the Greek word “strateia”. It means, military service, that is, (figuratively) the apostolic career (as one of hardship and danger).
When someone is called to be apostle, they cannot expect everything in their life to always be smooth sailing. They have a career of warfare.
2Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
The Bible in Basic English says it this way – 2Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an Apostle were done among you in quiet strength, with wonders and acts of power.
One meaning of the word patience is consistency. Apostles are constant. They are not easily swayed. They are focused on their assignments. They move in the power of God with signs and wonders. They preach the Good News, heal the sick and cast out demons among other things.
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.
Apostles train others. They pour their lives into those who are connected to them. They do not expect to have the same relationship with everyone in their lives. They are very relational and know those who are connected to their apostleship.
1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 1Th 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Apostles are parental in the Body of Christ. They have traits of a nursing mother. They love deeply, even though many times they are accused of not being loving. They take relationships very serious. It is their life.
The English Standard Version says – 1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
And they have the traits of a father.
1Th 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 1Th 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Apostles expect those who are with them to grow and walk in holiness. They teach and train in Kingdom living. If you are looking for someone who views Christianity as “going to church” won’t be comfortable with an apostle as a leader. They will think that too much is being required of them. Apostles focus on raising up leaders.
Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came up and told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Mat 28:19 Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Mat 28:20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.”
The world view of an apostle is that all nations are to be discipled. They are not only locally minded, but have a heart for all nations. They are aware that wherever they are, they are there because God has sent them. Apostles also want to see others sent into their own divine assignments.
If you are looking for someone who is full of vision, will challenge you to grow in Christ, give you opportunities to move in the gifts of the Spirit, release impartation to you and expect you to develop in your God given purpose, then you will love being with a true apostle.