Ephesians 4:7-12

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Intro: In the early days of our last revival period, the one we called the Renewal Movement, we talked a lot about “Rivers” and river concepts.  We talked about the River of God, Standing in the River, Flowing in the River, Soaking in the River, Letting the River Pour over us, among other things.  They were good days and it was good conversation, that I have to confess, I really didn’t understand until I moved East.  I have now seen the special purpose of rivers in a way most Californians are oblivious too: Rivers that are used to transport good contain a lot of water

We are a people that are associated with the river of God’s presence and who are rebuilding David’s Tabernacle.   Part of becoming river people, renewal people, Tabernaclers, or whatever you want to associate with in this movement of God, is to be known as apostolic people who are building an apostolic church.

In the first century, a apostolic wave hit the world.  The explosive nature of the anointing over powered a generation, For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.  19 I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:15-21).

Peters prophetic insight gave a promise, the outpouring of that generation would extend into future people groups and generations, For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:39).  This lets us know that we can and should expect the same type of empowerment and effectiveness that those believers did.  When God invaded a generation, apostolic men and women preached with great power and conviction, establishing the church.

Public miracles were happening with frequency, mass conversions and repentance flowed, cities and regions were transformed, demonic forces were routed and for decades the people reeled under Holy Spirit outpouring and the world seemed to turn on its head, But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too (Act: 17:6).

The wave of apostolic authority and power was awesome!  The apostolic spirit was revealed, as Holy Spirit operated as a type of first fruit apostolically. Holy Spirit is apostolic, as He is the sent one.  As He came to dwell with men, His character, personality and life expression became seen as the supernatural invaded the natural fallen realm.  Mankind began to see a glimpse of what Heavenly presence is all about, us seeing that the natural state of heaven is what we are being called to express.  The resultant conditions of this invasion is seen in the miraculous, as Holy Spirit changes Lives.

Mike Bickel:  God’s judgment is always aimed at whatever interferes with love.  The Lord always targets the stuff that will destroy.  Not punishment; actually decisions that out of love keeps us safe.  He chooses what is best for us out of absolute love and celebration.

11 This verse is a commentary on the quote in verse 8, Christ’s giving gifts to Christians. The gifts to the church are gifted people. The subject He is emphatic in the Greek.  It denotes that Christ Himself gives the gifted people.  The differing kinds of gifted people are listed in the predicate accusative, so the NIV correctly translates it as , gave some to be.  The first two, apostles and prophets, have already been mentioned in 2:20 and 3:5 as the foundation gifts to the church.  The apostles include the Twelve, who had the office of apostleship by virtue of being with Christ (Acts 1:21-22) and having been appointed by Him (which would also include Paul; 1 Cor. 15:8-9; Gal. 1:1; 2:6-9). But “apostles” also included others who were recognized as apostles, such as a James (1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19), Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14; 1 Cor. 9:6), Andronicus and Junias (Rom. 16:7), Silas and Timothy (1 Thes. 1:1; 2:7), and Apollos (1 Cor. 4:6, 9).  Apostles, in the early days were those who carried the gospel message with God’s authority. “  Apostle” means “sent as an authoritative delegate.”   “Apostles” were literally made to order messengers carrying out their sender’s mission, backed by the sender’s authority to the extent that they accurately represented that commission.  In the New Testament, the term applies to commissioned agents of Christ authorized in a special way (gave some/more authoritatively set apart than others) to declare and propagate his will.

As in many ancient lists, some of these terms may overlap considerably  as the Greek indicates an especially strong overlapping connection between “pastors” and “teachers.” There is shared, common focus and basis of authority as bearers of Christ’s presence and message.  The authority is resident in their words and works and their spiritual gifting.  As in the case of Jewish teachers of God’s message (as opposed to the chief priests), none represents institutional authority in the sense of a supralocal church hierarchy, which does not seem to appear until the early second century.  In my opinion, this is the mistake of some of our generations voices who are advocating new apostolic networks (read denominations), as they are rebuilding the system that replaced the apostolic community.  Together these ministers of God’s Word were to equip all God’s people for their ministry (4:12–16).

12 The term for “training” or “equipping” was used in the Greek culture to describe the work of philosophers and teachers.

Now here’s a novel concept, these Apostles and the people they led and influenced became an apostolic community under Kingdoms Chief Apostle, Jesus, Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus (Hebrews 3:1).   Acts 8:1, 4 tells us that when the great scattering happened, it was the people, not the Apostles who left and spread the Gospel initially, At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles… Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

Why do I point out the combination of people, Apostles and scattered company?  They both operated under Holy Spirit, who by nature is Apostolic (sent from Jesus as a dora gift).  Spirit’s nature and personality are apostolic, And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”   (Galatians 4:6)!”  This is why we are to be people who are always seeking outpouring.  When Spirit pours out, a true activation of apostolic ministry follows because He is apostolic.  God the Spirit is invasive, life changing and supernatural.  Wherever He comes, wherever He is welcomed, the end result will be miracles, invasions of His life and transformed lives through His ministry of reconciling people to Jesus Kingdom.

One of the biggest detriments to true, Apostolic ministry relates to the perverse system that developed under the apostolic fathers in the early centuries of the churches existence as Greco-roman influences lapped at the shores of God’s Kingdom.  Apostles are not the top rung in a ladder, nor is it a bottom supported ministry expression.  Isaiah 60:1-2 is a key passage in opening our hearts toward Gods truths as they apply to the administrative functions of the church today.  Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.

 Leadership is not about living separately from the people. Platforms, titles, all that kind of stuff, positions – they’re irrelevant in many ways. When it all comes down to it, we’re all children of God learning how to walk with Him. I like getting involved in people’s lives. It’s thrilling. Everyone has a story and a journey. Good leadership is about stepping off a platform into someone’s story!” Graham Cooke


Be selective in what you do – Jesus only attempted to do one thing when it came to ministry matters: Then Jesus answered and said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner (John 5:19).  Narrow focus is what gets results, according to the patterns we see in the life of Jesus.  Jesus had a clear goal: to seek and save that which was lost.  You don’t see accounts of Jesus traveling all over the Roman world.  He knew His limitations and lived within them.  No one can do everything and no one should try and do everything.

Focus: what is the difference between a river and a swamp?  Rivers are flowing to a destination, while swamps are not going anywhere fast.  Rivers have banks that limit their capacity to spread, which places directive limitations on them, keeping them on track.  The result is rivers have focus and energy.  We usually admire rivers and avoid swamps.

Make the main thing the main thing – Major on majors, not on minors.  Directive focus understands that there can be a lot of good opportunities that we come across.  We have to be selective in what we embrace and endorse, or we become swamps, not rivers.  In ministry, there are no shortcuts to success.  This doesn’t sit well in our instantaneous culture that demands gratification quickly, but real achievement comes by doing the right things and doing them over and over.

Do right things more than “things rightly.” – There is a difference between leaders and managers, according to Peter Drucker in the Executive Manager.  Managers do things the right way, while leaders learn to pick out the right things and do them repeatedly until they get the results (fruit) they desire.

Do the lesser to gain the greater – success in ministry and life rarely happens without intentionally denying the lesser things in life in order to gain the greater purposes.  This is the issue of self denial.  Everyone needs two ingredients to succeed: self-discipline and focus.

Allow time between sowing and reaping – Anything that is valuable takes time, And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).  Oak trees never grow quickly.  Mushrooms and squash do.

Allow Holy Spirit to empower you – this is the most important in becoming intentionally apostolic.  If your core main thing is to allow Holy Spirit to flow through you, you will see greater things than could ever imagine.  When God’s power moves through you, you will become a magnifier of Jesus, Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12).  Our church has power lines that parallel our property.  Power flows through them powering thousands of homes and businesses.  When you run a copper wire from the lines to a building, power is transferred .  That’s what happens to us when we connect to Holy Spirit.  We become the magnifying point of God’s power and presence.  Focus on the main thing of welcoming Holy Spirit into your life and you will become an instrument for greater things than these.

As wonderful as this move was, God has always intended it to be replicated.  Whether it was the Reformation, the Great Awakenings, the Jesus Movement, the Charismatic Movement, the Evangelical Movement, they have paled in comparison to the first move.  It’s time to press in for all God had intended us to walk out and embrace the end time revival fires.  The wave is mounting, as world missions estimates indicate that around 80,000 people are being won to Christ daily, with 20,000 of these conversions happening behind the Bamboo curtain.

When we think about these things, it raises questions like, what dynamics will be released in the next season of the Spirit? How will we be impacted and affected? In most movements, external influences outside of the local church are the primary shapers of movement, like speakers or denominations, or events.  This is where impartation happens, and it is why we see people flocking to events to hear what is happening elsewhere, as we receive impartation from others.  There is nothing wrong with that. Speakers challenge us, present truth in new ways and demonstrate new models or paradigms of activities.

Ministry: Break down the clergy-layman distinctions.  I don’t believe in vertical relationships in the church, nor do I believe in an elite group in the church.

Motivation: healing agency in the community, not a refuge from the community.  We don’t want to compete with the worlds-family, school, entertainment all have a proper place.

Danger: loss of control, as people begin to follow the Lord in developing ministry opportunities

Last 4 centuries have seen tremendous restoration movements occur, at times with great force and momentum, at times slowly.  We are currently in an Apostolic and Prophetic revolution.  Think about this for a moment: the 20th century saw a restoration of healing and worship with a huge wave of prayer momentum.

This wave in the 20th century included a flood of evangelists in the 50’s, in the 60’s and 70’s a surge of pastor/teachers and teachers stormed the beaches. In the 80’s an openness to the prophetic office began to be embraced.  Although there has been attempts to restore the apostolic, it has met resistance.  In part this due to ignorance, in part it has to do with the governmental structure the Evangelical church has operated under.

Qualifications of an Apostle:

  • Apostles have to have the spiritual gift of apostleship. The gift was provided by Jesus Christ after His ascension into Heaven, Eph. 4:8-11. This gift was first imparted by Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, 1 Cor. 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills; Acts 2.
  • Apostles receive their gift and office by the sovereign decision of God the Father, 1 Cor. 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother; 12:18; Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus Eph. 1:1; Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother Col. 1:1.
  • Apostles had an eyewitness vision of the resurrected Lord, Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 1 Cor. 9:1.

Credentials of an Apostle:

  • Apostles are endowed with miraculous powers for miracles, Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds 2 Cor. 12:12.
  • Apostles should be successful in evangelism, Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord; 1 Cor. 9:2; But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised Gal. 2:7-9.
  • Apostles have the capacity to minister supernaturally and patiently, Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds 2 Cor. 12:12.



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