GIFTED WITH GIFTS G
APOSTOLIC SHIFT: A FATHERING KIND OF THING
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.
As wonderful as the first church movement 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. 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.
In the modern church, many people see Apostolic networks as a gathering around people of national or international importance. It seeks credentialing and approval from a group who exist outside of their sphere of influence. This is how the church has operated for centuries. I am going to propose to you that it isn’t biblical, if you accept that biblical authority is relationally based. Apostolic ministry is local, not outside of a region. Hear me on this. Networks can and should operate across regions and even the globe in order to resource people and ministries, and to create platforms for accountability and doctrinal purity. However, once the accountability turns into a credentialing apparatus that exists outside of local relationship, it creates positional authority and negates relational authority. I reject this model as being absurd and non-biblical.. Today there are a number of people who are throwing around credentials and titles for simply attending a conference or for having a cup of coffee. It abrogates the biblical injunction to lay hands on no man suddenly/ Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, clause found in 1 Timothy 5:22.
The reason Apostles, (and Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor Teachers) operated in local churches was to create the ability to have accountability and relationship. This is why the local church is so important. You cannot have real, meaningful accountability with someone who lives on the other side of the State, the country or the world. When we rebuild structures that make allowance for that system, we recreate the paradigm that has messed the church up for years, as we reshuffle the Roman system of top down ministry.
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
FATHER and SON: TIMOTHY and TITUS TO PAUL
Scripture reveals to us the father/son nature of ministry that Paul had with Timothy and Titus, Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord… and But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly… you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel… and To Titus, a true son in our common faith(1 Corinthians 4:16-17; Philippians 2:19-22; Titus 1:4). When Paul wrote this to the Corinthians, he commended Timothy and told them to be imitative of him (Paul) as he sent this son in the faith to lead them in the ways of the LORD. This is the essence of real Apostolic ministry and authority, this is my son whom I love… is faithful in the LORD. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 4:17). This is the biblical model of all true authority and relationships, which is the essence of true biblical Christianity. The apostolic church is to reflect the nature of a Father/Son God, a relationship in which the same essence and nature of the father is seen in sons. This happens whether we are cognizant of this principle or not. Its why people say churches/people look like their pastor(s).
Relational ministry is seen in the imitation model. Do as I do, do as I instruct, do as I did, instruct as I did. This isn’t a suggestion, it’s a biblical command to imitate my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere (1 Corinthians 4:15-17), For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Deviating from this command of imitating our models in ministry has created a devastating inept church. We are supposed to be imparters of relational ministry, values that are biblical and a lifestyle that honors one another and honors Jesus. Paul’s way of life was an affirmation of covenantal relationships that would enhance the Kingdom through heartfelt personal commitments that were as strong as any familial bond.
THERE IS POWER IN THE FATHER’S ANOINTING
Luke 1:13, 16, 17, But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John… And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
This a confirmed word. We see an Angelic messenger and Jesus telling us that John the Baptist was the prophesied Elijah, to be sure, Elijah comes and restores all things. When this word was spoken, it had a twofold application, then and in the future according to Jesus, And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13). John was the fulfillment of the prophetic insight in the first mountain sighting, and there will be a secondary more important manifestation at the end of the age prior to the return of Christ. This is what Malachi 4:5 refers to, Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
Let me know throw you a little curveball when it comes to John and Elijah, these two Old Testament prophetic men. Luke 7:26-27 affirms their ministry in a different light, But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You. Behold I send… I appostello My messenger… who is more than a Prophet. Both Elijah and John serve as prototypes of Apostolic ministry, as they were forerunners who operated as those who restore all things and prepare/make ready a people for the LORD. These apostolic voices will come in the Spirit and power of Elijah. Elijah and John both have basic components that show us what modern apostolic voices need to display. They spoke with great authority like Jesus (not as the religious voices/Scribes), they served as reformers of the old model, calling people to a new level, they were sent ones who turned the hearts of people back to their real Father… God. They were both spiritual fathers who pointed others to one greater than themselves.
Elijah and John challenged the idolatry of their day. They spoke against the religious systems and false beliefs of a people. They were confrontational when necessary. Apostles challenge the idolatry in the church and call for reformation and restoration of the way of the LORD, in worship, relationship, message and outpouring. They come in the spirit and power of Elijah, which is an anointing, the anointing of a father. Again, Elijah’s main importance in Scripture is seen in the way he imparted a double portion of his anointing to his spiritual son in the ministry. This is the way the Spirit of Jesus works. This is what happened when the one who came before Jesus operated at the River Jordan. As he pointed to the one who was greater, the Spirit descended without measure.
This fathering anointing is relational and powerful. It encompasses numerous areas of expression in Scripture,
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 and they have to replicate their work, 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? 2 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 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 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.