Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Order of the Kingdom

Kriston Couchey 

A NEW THING COMING FORTH
When Jesus began His ministry on the earth, even John the Baptist questioned whether He was the one they had waited for(Luke 7:19). John's expectations were dashed as Jesus ignored the Roman occupation of Israel, and didn't try to change or gain influence with the religious and political establishment of His day. Instead, He offended the establishment by spending His time loving and bringing wholeness to the broken, the sick, and the destitute, and the outcasts. These nobodies flocked to Him to the embarrassment and anger of those who were in power. His inner circle of leadership were unlearned and poor men.

Like John, many today are expecting God to strengthen the existing political, economic, and religious systems of men; and bless and enhance them with kingdom life. But it is not to be so in this unfolding age. As in Jesus day, a new thing is coming forth. Father Himself is revealing His heart in sons who have left their dependence upon the systems and ways of men to walk as bearers of the Love of God to the broken and destitute. The most powerful force mankind has ever seen is Love made flesh in the form of the first-fruit Jesus Christ. The seed of the first-fruit has germinated and has been growing and maturing and is now bearing fruit; the sons of God manifesting the very heart and Love of God to all of creation with authority. A new order is emerging; it is the order of the kingdom of God, it is an order of the heart of God in His people, it is the order of Love!  

A KINGDOM ORDER OF LOVE
This order of Love is not coming forth to enhance to make better previous systems or works that have been part of an age of sin and death. The order of God that is now unfolding is an order of an age in which sin and death are being completely placed under His feet (you and I are His feet). This unfolding age is being trumpeted from the heavens and the signs of this awesome transition cover the earth. The powers of the earth are shaking and all man has built is cracking and failing. The order of his kingdom is an order of Love that the current political, economic, religious, and military powers of man CANNOT contain, nor can they stop it's coming forth. This kingdom order is emerging in fullness as the stone uncut by human hands turns to dust all nations and their systems built upon the wisdom and works of men. The order of Love coming forth in this day is much different then the order and structure of society as we have known it up till now. Here are some of the differences: 

LEADERSHIP OF LOVE
Man's political and religious systems have placed emphasis on leaders with position and title. While position and title exist in the kingdom, these are simply an expression of the love one possesses. Father gives authority for the sake of expressing love. The gifts are tools to express the Love that God places in His people. In the kingdom order greater authority is expressed and possessed by those with the greatest love. There is coming forth a relational order of love among the people of God that far surpasses titles. Those who have come to relationally express their gifts in self sacrificing love will be given greater gifts and authority; while those who have gifts and authority but have not increased the "talent" of love will find what little "authority" they have will be given to others. Leadership is coming to be known for greater love that far surpasses their gifts. People will honor and follow the love of God in others and not seek to exploit a gift. True love relationships are taking predominance in God's people and the manner in which we have related is drastically changing from that of title to one of love relationship.  

LAW OF LOVE
 Religion and the laws of men's governments have enacted rules and requirements for people in an age where sin and death have made it necessary for law to keep people in check. Jesus made it clear that the one who loves God and others fulfills the law. The rules of men's systems are irrelevant when men by nature love each other and have written within their hearts the law of God. This order coming forth is one in which political and religious institutions find they have lost relevance as men and women are transformed by the Love of God. People will no longer need an external controlling influence to live in peace with their fellow man. As in Jesus day, there will be jealousy of the kingdom order of love that invalidates man's institutions; jealousy that will bring persecution. 

THE ECONOMY OF LOVE
Today's economic system is based upon supply and demand, capitalism, free-markets, and usury. The economy of the kingdom is not based upon any of these factors, but is based solely on love. It was love that caused the New Testament believers to give all they had to meet the needs of others, not considering what they had their own. It is religion that has relegated giving to a law of tithe from an age of law, when Father's intent is that the order of love meets everyones needs. Love makes unnecessary an economic system built by man's desire to gain wealth. A new order of love turns to dust and crushes the political and economic systems of men that depend upon natural resources to live. Our Father gives all things abundantly to those who ask, and uses men whose hearts are full of His love to do so.  

THE POWER OF LOVE
What the arm of man's flesh cannot do the love of God can do. While men cannot conquer a well defended city, love can conquer the hearts of the most hardened sinner. God's love is bringing down the forces of darkness that encroach upon the earth. Radical Islam, ethnic strife, and the wars that rage over resources cannot stand against the power of a life laid down in sacrifice for love. No country and their warriors can establish the kingdom with the arm of the flesh. Only the kingdom of God coming forth from His warriors of love can do so. No military was able to stop the spread of the gospel out of the mouths of the early witnesses moved by the love of God. That same self sacrificing love will bring down the very principalities and powers that empower the forces of violence, pride, and greed that threaten to overtake the earth today. 

THE ARMY OF LOVE
There are warriors coming forth today out of the most desperate places. Jesus came upon the scene preaching the kingdom to the outcasts, sinners, broken, and weak. It was these that He was able to reach because they KNEW they were in need. It was this ragtag group of people filled with the Love of God that turned the world upside down. These became the leaders of God's army in their day.

Where is this order of Love manifesting today? It is manifesting among the brokenhearted, the cast down, those bound in chains and weak, and those who mourn. It is coming forth from impoverished nations whose people have been oppressed of the devil. Its coming from Indian Reservations among people who have been stripped of their dignity and heritage. It is coming forth from prostitutes finding real love in Christ. It is coming forth from street gangs, from bars, and from prisons. It comes forth in the group homes and halfway houses that cannot correct what Father alone can heal. There is coming forth an order and force of the kingdom that exercises great authority because it is motivated and moved by Love. There is a simplicity in what Father is doing, meeting mankind where their needs are because of His love. Father is calling us to be part of that order, the Order of Love.  

Isaiah 16:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn...

In His Love
Kriston Couchey
kcouchey@gmail.com

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THE ORDER OF THE KINGDOM

THE ORDER OF THE KINGDOM
Kriston Couchey

A NEW THING COMING FORTH

When Jesus began His ministry on the earth, even John the Baptist questioned whether He was the one they had waited for(Luke 7:19). John's expectations were dashed as Jesus ignored the Roman occupation of Israel, and didn't try to change or gain influence with the religious and political establishment of His day. Instead, He offended the establishment by spending His time loving and bringing wholeness to the broken, the sick, and the destitute, and the outcasts. These nobodies flocked to Him to the embarrassment and anger of those who were in power. His inner circle of leadership were unlearned and poor men. Like John, many today are expecting God to strengthen the existing political, economic, and religious systems of men; and bless and enhance them with kingdom life. But it is not to be so in this unfolding age.

As in Jesus day, a new thing is coming forth. Father Himself is revealing His heart in sons who have left their dependence upon the systems and ways of men to walk as bearers of the Love of God to the broken and destitute. The most powerful force mankind has ever seen is Love made flesh in the form of the first-fruit Jesus Christ. The seed of the first-fruit has germinated and has been growing and maturing and is now bearing fruit; the sons of God manifesting the very heart and Love of God to all of creation with authority. A new order is emerging; it is the order of the kingdom of God, it is an order of the heart of God in His people, it is the order of Love!

A KINGDOM ORDER OF LOVE
This order of Love is not coming forth to enhance to make better previous systems or works that have been part of an age of sin and death. The order of God that is now unfolding is an order of an age in which sin and death are being completely placed under His feet (you and I are His feet). This unfolding age is being trumpeted from the heavens and the signs of this awesome transition cover the earth. The powers of the earth are shaking and all man has built is cracking and failing.

The order of his kingdom is an order of Love that the current political, economic, religious, and military powers of man CANNOT contain, nor can they stop it's coming forth. This kingdom order is emerging in fullness as the stone uncut by human hands turns to dust all nations and their systems built upon the wisdom and works of men. The order of Love coming forth in this day is much different then the order and structure of society as we have known it up till now. Here are some of the differences:

LEADERSHIP OF LOVE
Man's political and religious systems have placed emphasis on leaders with position and title. While position and title exist in the kingdom, these are simply an expression of the love one possesses. Father gives authority for the sake of expressing love. The gifts are tools to express the Love that God places in His people. In the kingdom order greater authority is expressed and possessed by those with the greatest love. There is coming forth a relational order of love among the people of God that far surpasses titles. Those who have come to relationally express their gifts in self sacrificing love will be given greater gifts and authority; while those who have gifts and authority but have not increased the "talent" of love will find what little "authority" they have will be given to others. Leadership is coming to be known for greater love that far surpasses their gifts. People will honor and follow the love of God in others and not seek to exploit a gift. True love relationships are taking predominance in God's people and the manner in which we have related is drastically changing from that of title to one of love relationship.

LAW OF LOVE

Religion and the laws of men's governments have enacted rules and requirements for people in an age where sin and death have made it necessary for law to keep people in check. Jesus made it clear that the one who loves God and others fulfills the law. The rules of men's systems are irrelevant when men by nature love each other and have written within their hearts the law of God. This order coming forth is one in which political and religious institutions find they have lost relevance as men and women are transformed by the Love of God. People will no longer need an external controlling influence to live in peace with their fellow man. As in Jesus day, there will be jealousy of the kingdom order of love that invalidates man's institutions; jealousy that will bring persecution.

THE ECONOMY OF LOVE
Today's economic system is based upon supply and demand, capitalism, free-markets, and usury. The economy of the kingdom is not based upon any of these factors, but is based solely on love. It was love that caused the New Testament believers to give all they had to meet the needs of others, not considering what they had their own. It is religion that has relegated giving to a law of tithe from an age of law, when Father's intent is that the order of love meets everyones needs. Love makes unnecessary an economic system built by man's desire to gain wealth. A new order of love turns to dust and crushes the political and economic systems of men that depend upon natural resources to live. Our Father gives all things abundantly to those who ask, and uses men whose hearts are full of His love to do so.

THE POWER OF LOVE
What the arm of man's flesh cannot do the love of God can do. While men cannot conquer a well defended city, love can conquer the hearts of the most hardened sinner. God's love is bringing down the forces of darkness that encroach upon the earth. Radical Islam, ethnic strife, and the wars that rage over resources cannot stand against the power of a life laid down in sacrifice for love. No country and their warriors can establish the kingdom with the arm of the flesh. Only the kingdom of God coming forth from His warriors of love can do so. No military was able to stop the spread of the gospel out of the mouths of the early witnesses moved by the love of God. That same self sacrificing love will bring down the very principalities and powers that empower the forces of violence, pride, and greed that threaten to overtake the earth today.

THE ARMY OF LOVE
There are warriors coming forth today out of the most desperate places. Jesus came upon the scene preaching the kingdom to the outcasts, sinners, broken, and weak. It was these that He was able to reach because they KNEW they were in need. It was this ragtag group of people filled with the Love of God that turned the world upside down. These became the leaders of God's army in their day.

Where is this order of Love manifesting today? It is manifesting among the brokenhearted, the cast down, those bound in chains and weak, and those who mourn. It is coming forth from impoverished nations whose people have been oppressed of the devil. Its coming from Indian Reservations among people who have been stripped of their dignity and heritage. It is coming forth from prostitutes finding real love in Christ. It is coming forth from street gangs, from bars, and from prisons. It comes forth in the group homes and halfway houses that cannot correct what Father alone can heal. There is coming forth an order and force of the kingdom that exercises great authority because it is motivated and moved by Love. There is a simplicity in what Father is doing, meeting mankind where their needs are because of His love. Father is calling us to be part of that order, the Order of Love.

Isaiah 16:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn...


In His Love
Kriston Couchey
kcouchey@gmail.com
http://my.opera.com/Boanerges/blog/
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eschatological Core Values

By Kris Vallotton,
  1. I will not embrace an end-time worldview that re-empowers a disempowered devil.
  2. I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy.
  3. I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations, and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like heaven.
  4. I will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.
  5. I will not embrace an eschatology that changes the nature of a good God.
  6. I refuse to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus.
  7. I am opposed to any doctrinal position that pushes the promises of God into a time zone that can’t be obtained in my generation and therefore takes away any responsibility I have to believe God for them in my lifetime.
  8. I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment, nor do I believe God gave the church the right to call for wrath for sinful cities. There is a day of judgment in which GOD will judge man, not us.
Kris Vallotton, from Bethel Church in Redding, CA, is a prophet, and is part of an apostolic team with Bill Johnson and others. He posted these core values on his blog.

Here's his brief bio for those who don't know him. I found it encouraging:

I wasn't born to be a passive pundit, tossed like a tiny ship on the stormy seas of evil schemes. Nor was I conceived to be a weatherman, predicting the next deadly assault on the shores of humanity.

NO! I was purposely born behind enemy lines as a force to be reckoned with. I was commissioned with a mandate to destroy the works of the devil. I was given power and authority to set captives free, release prisoners, rebuild ruined cities, and make disciples of all nations.

I have been assaulted, slandered and hated. I have known depression so deep that I've despaired of life itself, and anxiety so horrific that I could scarcely function.

I spent 20 years building businesses, sweating payrolls, scraping and clawing my way through life to compete with ruthless competitors who would stop at nothing to destroy their opponents. I was celebrated as one of the top entrepreneurs in my field. Yet when the dust cleared and the moving vans were gone, I was left sitting in the rubble of a once thriving enterprise with a $1.6 million debt as a memorial to my hard work…my house and most of my possessions gone.

My soul has known the pain of heartbreak and betrayal. I have staggered my way through years of abandonment and abuse. I've experienced the humiliation of poverty, and the intense pain of being the only kid on the field with no one cheering for him. I have pleaded for attention, only to be locked outside all by myself. I have hid for hours while my stepfather was on another drunken violent rampage with my mother, locked in a room as he beat her. I grew up in a culture of intense fear.

I understand what it's like to be unable to read in high school, and to be called stupid by my leaders. I have felt the pain of being the untalented little boy who no one wants to play on their team…standing on the sidelines, raising my hand, hoping to somehow be chosen. Many times I have stood by silently as my peers argued over who had to put me on their team.

Yet I refuse to be crushed by the circumstances of life, or be deterred by the opinions of the "experts". I won't wallow in self-pity, or waste my days hating the people who abused me. I reject the spirit of regret, and I will not drive my life by being fixated on the rearview mirror of the past. I have decided that feeling sorry for myself is taking up valuable time that could be used to rescue cities. My past pain will not dictate my future victories. I was born to win, equipped to shape history, empowered to extend the borders of the Kingdom, and redeemed to display the unreasonable love of my King to a desperate and lost world.

This mandate has become my mission, and with the help of God, I intend to accomplish it!!!!!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apostles: What are they?


From the International Coalition of Apostles, led by C. Peter Wagner.

The Second Apostolic Age began roughly in 2001, heralding the most radical change in the way church is done since the Protestant Reformation. This New Apostolic Reformation embraces the largest segment of non-Catholic Christianity worldwide and is the fastest growing. Churches of the Apostolic Movement embrace the only Christian mega block growing faster than Islam.

The New Testament clearly outlines the gift of the apostle in Ephesians 4:11-12: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Also mentioned in Ephesians 2:20 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. The Apostle Paul and Christ’s apostles spoke of the gift as essential for the healthy function of the Church and training of the Saints.

C. Peter Wagner briefly defines an ‘Apostle’ as a: “Christian leader who is gifted, taught, and commissioned by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the Church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.” This is by no means a comprehensive definition.

A thorough study must be done to specifically understand what the term ‘Apostle’ means. ICA Council Members, Drs. Ron Cottle and John P. Kelly have written a series entitled: APOSTLES: WHAT ARE THEY? Using the original Greek and Hebrew, they outline the term for more clarity.





APOSTLES: WHAT ARE THEY?

By Dr. Ron Cottle and Dr. John P. Kelly

There is much discussion on what the word ‘apostle’ means and how to describe an apostle. Some of the confusion is because apostles don’t all look or work alike. Some focus on world missions, some on the marketplace, and others on the local church or a network of churches. However, they all share at least three basic characteristics: Apostles are Ambassadors, Generals-Governors, and Patriarchs.

This series of teachings will begin with the Ambassador Apostle. The next two months will focus on Generals and Patriarchs. These teachings will become part of the ICA Prospectus.

APOSTLES ARE AMBASSADORS

One day Jesus called aside His twelve disciples and after He had given them authority, He commissioned them apostles: “When He had called unto Him his twelve disciples, He gave them authority…and the twelve apostles….” (Matthew 10:1-2).

A. Jesus Himself Chose the People and the Title

It was Jesus alone who chose the name “apostolos” for those whom He called, authorized, and sent out. Among the earliest uses of the term were the Greek historians who used it to describe an admiral over a fleet of ships sent out by his king to discover, explore, conquer, and establish his government in newterritories. Jesus’ choice of the word reflects this meaning and stresses its emphasis on “one sent from

another
” or a fully authorized representative, ambassador of the sender. (Lyssichus, Or., 19:21; Demosthenes, Or., 18:107) So, Apostles are fully authorized representatives or ambassadors of the one who sent them.

B. Apostles Were First Disciples

It is important to note that the people chosen and authorized to be apostles were already disciples—mathetes. That is, they were not just pupils learning facts from their teacher, or even students learning principles from a professor. They were disciples who were incarnating the character and essence (psuche) of their Master. Like Timothy with Paul, they took on the isopsuchos—same soul or DNA of their Lord (Philippians 2:20). Jesus led them to a mountain and there poured into them Himself. He did not release them until they were thoroughly filled with His vision and values. Only when they were ready did He release them for the task and turn His attention to “teach and preach in their cities.”

C. The Difference between Disciples and Apostles is the Impartation of Exsousia

What is the difference between committed disciples and commissioned apostles? Exsousia! This is not power as the KJV translates it. Rather it is “the right to power” or authority (Matthew 10:1-2). When one is sent out as an apostolos, he is the full delegate and representative ambassador of his sender. He carries in his person the full authority of the one who sent him.

D. Apostle equals Sheliach

Jesus did not think or speak Greek, but Aramaic-Hebrew. He took the Greek word apostolos because Greek was the universal language of the Roman Empire. But He filled it with the content of the Hebrew Sheliach. What then is a Sheliach? He is one commissioned and authorized to fully represent his sender. He represents in his person the one who commissioned him.

Eliezer, the Syrian slave whom Abraham commissioned to bring a wife for Isaac, was the first Sheliach mentioned in scripture (Genesis 24:2ff and 15:2). He was already an elder and servant (zakenand ebed) in Abraham’s house. As such, he was selected and appointed by Abraham himself to be his emissary. He placed his hand “beneath Abraham’s thigh” to take an oath of loyalty and faithfulness. Only after this did Abraham send him out. While on his mission, he was as Abraham himself as he negotiated for Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife.

So, while Greek apostolos gives us the form of the New Testament apostle, it is the Hebrew Sheliach that provides the content. A Sheliach-Apostolos is the full representative of his sender. As the Rabbis said: “The Sheliach of a man is as the man himself” (Beraita 5:5). Gerhard Kittel says: “The Sheliach (of Jesus) is as good as his Sender in all he says and does in the execution of his mission” (K., TDNT, 1:415).

The ancients called thisplenipotentiaryrepresentation—fully empowered. This is the true meaning of “representative government.” Kittel adds “The emissary of the King is as the King Himself” (K., TDNT, 1:416).

An Apostle is an Ambassador of the One who sent him.

© Dr. Ron Cottle and Dr. John P. Kelly





Apostles are Generals and Governors

By Dr. Ron Cottle

 Growing out of the basic identity presented in Section One, there are two important expressions.  The first is the apostle as general or governor.  In 2 Corinthians 10:4 Paul says:

          “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty….”

 Warfare in this verse is strateia and it is “military service.”  We are at war and God has provided equipment (hopla) that is powerful and fit for demolishing enemy fortifications erected against us.  All this equipment is most effective under the command of a full representative of the King—an apostle-Sheliach on assignment and under orders.  In the NT this person is a strategos, warrior-strategist, a general or governor in his assigned sphere. 

 As His representatives, God gives apostles commissions and goals; as apostles we devise the strategy to accomplish them.  Some translations of strategos in the NT are: Praetor/Governor; chief magistrate or captain of the Temple—both are Caesar’s representatives over either a territory or a temple.  This person served as an officer of the government of Rome and was commissioned by Caesar to be “in charge” and responsible only to the government.  If he served faithfully, he had the entire might of the Roman Empire behind him.  If he served unfaithfully or abusively, he was subject to recall or banishment by Caesar but never by the subjects of his assignment.  See Luke 22:4, 52; Acts 4:1; 5:24, 26; Acts 16:20, 22, 35, 36, 38. 

A strategos was appointed by Imperial authority as its official, authorized representative.  As such, he was “in charge and responsible” to the Emperor for the legal operation of the Provincial government or the Temple government, whichever was his sphere of assignment.

 In Nehemiah 2:5, Nehemiah asked the king to send him (Shalach) as his authorized representative-ambassador and “man in charge” to rebuild Jerusalem.  He was asking to be an apostle-Sheliach on mission.  In 2:6 the Word says, “So it pleased the King and he sent (Shalach) me.”  Letters were given to others already in the field and on assignment by the King so that they might recognize and assist Nehemiah in his mission.

 When he arrived, he took charge and became Governor (Pechad—overseer or Bishop) over Artaxerxes’ work in all Jerusalem and Judea.  The other rulers in the region dealt with him as with a head of state.  Here we have a strong example of what an apostle really is.  Nehemiah was a strategos, an apostle-Sheliach to Artaxerxes to establish and maintain governmental order.  Apostles today are God’s representatives commissioned to maintain His government in their assigned spheres.  The apostle does not necessarily run a church or micromanage its departments and activities.  But he exercises the authority necessary to keep the ministry of his assignment true to its Kingdom purposes.

 I saw this work first-hand in China recently.  We helped to start a university there.  The communist government of China appointed one of their own leaders, a communist party member, to serve as president of the university.  He has ultimate authority over the 20,000 students, the faculty, the Board of Directors, the 300 acres and 50 major buildings, the founder-chancellor, and his staff.  He speaks for the government on all matters of policy and strategic planning.  He does not interfere with the daily administration and instruction of the university except to keep them directed on a path approved by the government.

 He is the strategos, an authorized representative of the government sent to maintain order.  That is what an apostle of God is: God’s appointed, anointed, authorized ambassador to maintain right government (shaphat) in his sphere of ministry.

© Dr. Ron Cottle 

 From the International Coalition of Apostles, led by C. Peter Wagner.





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Thursday, February 2, 2012

So What Is an Apostle?



by Teresa Seputis


That question, "What is an apostle?" is almost as loaded as asking, "What is a Christian?" There are many dimensions to the office/role of apostle. There is still debate as to how many of these a person needs to fill to truly be considered an apostle. Even in scripture, we don't see any one person performing all of the apostolic activities. Peter and Paul performed a lot of them, but neither performed all of them. And we don't know everything that most of the other apostles did, because scripture does not tell us. Here are some of the tasks apostles do and the anointings that they carry, as seen in the New Testament (any quoted scripture is NIV):
  • Leadership
    Acts 6:1-4 shares the dispute between the Jews and Greeks about the widow's provision. It tells how this conflict was brought to the apostles, who instructed them to appoint deacons to take care of the problem. This demonstrates that the apostles were the "leadership" of the early church.
    Also, Acts 16:4 says, "As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey."

  • Oversee Church/Ministry Finances
    Acts 4:32-35 describes how the believers were in unity and shared all possessions. The way they accomplished this was that those who had resources gave them to the apostles, and the apostles gave it to those who had need.

  • Establish Doctrine
    Acts 1:2 says, "Until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen." And Acts 15:6 shares how the apostles met together to consider a question and established a doctrine regarding it. In other words, Jesus gave instructions to the apostles and they passed those instructions on to the church.
    Paul talked about how part of the apostolic commission is to teach true faith to the Gentiles, which means he was establishing doctrine. We see this in 1 Tim. 2:7 and again in 2 Tim. 1:11.

  • Train And Equip The Saints/Release Individuals Into Ministry.
    Acts 2:42 talks about the new believers devoting themselves to the apostle's teaching. Acts 8:14 is where the apostles sent Peter to the converts in Samaria to equip them and get them baptized in the Holy Spirit. Acts 15:22 is where the apostles choose and send out some men from the church (Judas and Silas) to Antioch with Paul and Barnabus.

  • Impartation Of Spiritual Anointings By Laying On Of Hands
    Acts 6:5-6 gives us an example. When the early church had the conflict regarding care of Greek and Jewish widows, the apostles instructed them to select seven men to act as deacons and take care of the widows. When they were selected, "they presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them" (verse 6). Stephen, the first martyr, was one of the seven the apostles laid hands on. Acts 6:8 tells us what happened to Stephen after they laid hands on him: "Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people." Stephen received an impartation of miraculous power from the apostles and became able to perform miracles himself. This demonstrates how apostles have the ability to impart spiritual gifts and spiritual anointings to others, as God directs them.

  • Perform Signs And Wonders
    This is one of the earmarks of an apostle, a person who has been granted spiritual authority by Jesus. Signs and wonders would include things like physical healings, miraculous healings (such as missing body parts growing back), taking authority over weather patterns (turning storms), multiplying food or other needed supplies, striking people temporarily blind (Acts 13:11), etc.
    Acts 2:43 has this to say about signs and wonders: "Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles." Acts 5:12 says, "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people." And Paul, when discussing his authority as an apostle, said in 2 Cor. 12:12, "The things that mark an apostle -- signs, wonders and miracles -- were done among you with great perseverance."
    I think it would be fair to say that, based on scripture, if a person claims to be an apostle, he should have signs and wonders operating in his life as evidence of apostolic authority. So be leery of those who claim to be an apostle and have no miracle level evidence to back it up. (This is not to say that everyone who moves in signs and wonders is an apostle, but we do expect that real apostles should move in the miraculous.)

  • Bring God's Discipline To The Church
    Acts 5:1-11 tells how Peter disciplines Ananias and Sapphira for lying. We also see Paul bringing discipline and correction to the churches he planted in his various epistles.

  • Do Missions And Evangelism
    Acts 2:37-41 records Peter doing evangelism. Romans 1:5 tells us that Paul and others were made apostles specifically for missions to the Gentiles: "Through Him and for His name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

  • Preach And Prophesy
    Immediately after the Holy Spirit came to the apostles, Peter preached his first big public sermon (Acts 2:14-36). The result is that many are saved. The book of Acts contains many other examples of various apostles preaching.
    The apostles also moved in the prophetic. Eph. 3:5 says, "Which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets." 2 Peter 3:2 says, "I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles." Jude 1:17 says, "But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold." These verses speak about evidences of the prophetic. revealing spiritual truth, speaking the words of Jesus, foretelling things.

  • Plant Churches (Or Works Of God)
    Eph. 2:20 talks of being "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone." Also, apostle Paul plants many churches in the book of Acts.

  • Engage In Spiritual Warfare And Demonic Confrontations
    Acts 16:15-23 tells of Paul and Silas casting out a fortune-telling demon and they were throw into prison for it. Also, Acts 19:19-41 describes when Paul engaged in a conflict with territorial spirits over Corinth.

  • Spend Time With Jesus (prayer and devotional life)
    Mark 3:14-15 puts it this way, "He (Jesus) appointed 12 -- designating them apostles -- that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons."

  • Apostles Are Chosen By God Rather Than Appointed By Man
    Acts 1:2, "..until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen."

  • Sent Out By God
    Galatians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle -- sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead."

  • Resolve Conflicts
    Acts 15:2 is one example: "This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question." When a conflict broke out, the apostles were the ones everyone went to, to get the conflict resolved.
The above list is not exhaustive, but it begins to give you an idea of the types of things that Jesus intends His apostles to do. The book of Acts shows us that there were a relatively small number apostles compared with the number of believers. In Acts 1:20-26, we see the 11 surviving apostles (Judas Iscariot had already committed suicide) select Matthias as the 12th apostle. There were about 120 believers gathered together when the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 1:15). This was a ratio of one apostle for every 10 believers, which sounds like a lot of us might be apostles.

But the ratio quickly changed. In Acts 2:41, 3,000 new converts were added, bringing the ratio to one apostle for every 260 believers. The number of believers quickly grew to about 5,000 men plus their wives and families (Acts 4:4).

Theologians guess that number was really more than 20,000 people (counting spouses and children). That puts the ratio at about one apostle for every 1,667 people. Acts 5:14 says that even more men and women believed in Jesus, making the number of believers grow even more. And the number keeps increasing as we progress through the book of Acts.

Meanwhile, we don't see God adding any more apostles until the conversion of the apostle Paul in Acts 9. And He used Paul to bring countless numbers of Gentiles into the Kingdom of God, increasing the number of believers even more. This illustrates that God really does not need very many apostles, and that relatively few people in the Body of Christ are called and appointed by God as apostles.
By Teresa Seputis, Godspeak International


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