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Does Apostolic ministry exist today ?
Apostles are given by the lord Jesus Christ as gifts to the Body of Christ.
The Bible confirms that time and again the Apostles have been given by the Lord to the Church with a definite purpose of God.
"He gave some Apostles,” (Eph 4:11)
“God hath set in the church firstly APOSTLES … (1 Cor 12:28)
Does the Body of Christ need Apostles today?
Yes, until the church attains the PERFECTION as per Ephesians 4:13, it needs Apostolic Ministry. He began to give Apostles after his ascension and still He GIVES. In the list of ministry gifts (Eph 4:10, 1 Cor 12:28) Apostles come first. .The first ministry chosen by Christ was the apostolic ministry and the first ministry training was given to Apostles. The Apostles were the pioneers of the New Testament Ministry. Apostolic ministry is the foundational ministry for the Church. Apostles also stand as the pillars in the Local churches taking the responsibility of supporting others. Only a few are called to this ministry “Are all Apostles?” says Paul (1Cor 12:29)
1. The meaning of Apostles:
The word ‘Apostle’ literally means ”A SENT ONE”. They are sent by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and not by men. They are sent out to various places. If we see the scripture, mostly they were sent as a team consisting of two before and after Pentecost. (Acts 8:14, 15:40). They are not ordained by MEN but appointed by God himself. They have the vision for the whole Body of Christ.
Though they partake in the five-fold ministry of the local Churches, their ministry is not limited to any particular local church or any particular denomination. Usually, they do not settle down in one place.
2.The first twelve Apostles:
The first twelve Apostles are the foundation Apostles having a special place in God’s plan.
- They were called and trained PERSONALLY BY THE LORD before Pentecost (except Mathias).
- They were COMPANIONS of the lord’s earthly Ministry.
- They were Jews from the house of Israel
- They began their ministry during the TRANSITION period between the Age of the old covenant and New covenant.
- They will sit on the Throne and RULE OVER THE 12 TRIBES of Israel during the future kingdom (Millennial kingdom- Luke 22:30)
- FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES came to the Church through them -- known as the Doctrine of Apostles (Acts 2:42)
- They were EYEWITNESSES of the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of JESUS CHRIST.
- Their names will be written on the FOUNDATION of the city of God called New Jerusalem which will remain eternally (Rev. 21:14)
- They are called as the ‘TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE LAMB’. (The place of Judas was occupied by Mathias (Acts 1:26)
Thus they occupied the unique place in the Eternal plan of God both in time and eternity, which is not shared by other servants of God.
Introduction of Apostles
3.They taught the foundational truths of New Testament:
Apostles Paul said .” I laid a foundation as an expert builder …” I cor 3:10
Fundamental doctrines (Hebrews 6:1) were given to the church through Apostles. The foundational doctrines were even known as” doctrine of Apostles” (Acts 2:42)
They didn’t preach the fundamental doctrines partially” .. for I have not shunned to declare to you the WHOLE counsel of God”(Acts 20:27).
Today’s Apostolic ministry has much to do in RECOVERING the lost and neglected foundational truths of NEW TESTAMENT.
4.They involved in the building up ministry:
“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing”.
“He went through Syria and Cilicia STRENTHENING the Churches” (Acts 15:36,41)
“They preached the good new in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, I conium and Antioch, STRENTHENING the disciples and ENCOURAGING them to remain true to faith ….” (Acts 14: 21, 22)
“And when I come I will give further directions”, 1 cor 11:34.
So they used to visit the churches they have established to encourage them and to settle the church problems.
5.They taught the elders how to be elders of New Testament
“. Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care …. Not Lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock ……” (I pet 5:2,3)
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God .” (Acts 20:28)
“. .. But set an example for the believers in speech in life, in love, in faith and in purity”…. 2 Tim 4:12.
They did not exercise Lordship or control over the elders whom they have appointed. According to Apostolic teaching elders should not control but shepherd and feed the saints spiritually. They did not exercise dictatorial authority over elders but they used the spiritual authority to train the elders.
6.They were involved in Judgements and Church discipline:
a) Ananias and Saphira were judged through Apostle Peter because of the lie they said to Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:1-11)
b) Sorcerer Elymas was blinded through Apostle Paul for resisting the Gospel. (Acts 13:11)
c) Apostle Paul committed a fornicator of Corinthian church into the hands of the enemy for his immoral living. (I Cor 5:1-5).
d) Apostle Paul handed over Hymenaeus and Alexander to satan because of their False doctrines. (I Tim 1:20)
7.They took part in the government of the local churches
According to the Scripture,no local church in New Testament was governed by one-man ministry but by a group of elders which included Apostles too.
“And in the church God has appointed first of all Apostles…….” I Cor 12:28
Apostle Peter stayed in Jerusalem as an elder of that church (Acts 2). The New Testament Eldership in the local church included Apostolic ministry also.
In the early church Apostles had much responsibility to fulfill.
“… for time to time there who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sale sand put it at the Apostle feet, and it was DISTRIBUTED to anyone as he had need,” Acts 4:34-35
Present day ministers of the local churches have to recognize the need of Apostles in church Government.