And what actually are apostolic teachings? Do you know? We read in Acts how believers "devoted themselves to the apostles' teachings" but we don't know exactly what apostles' teachings are. What specifically are they? We don't know what because I don't see anyone in church teaching them and I don't see any church operating in them.
One apostolic teaching is communal sharing. Watch this and observe the contextual connection:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. [Acts 2]They "devoted" themselves to apostolic teachings. This means they were dead serious because this thing was important. The modern church cannot just ignore this and treat it as nothing. We should devote ourselves in these teachings, too. But we don't know what they are. First, they have to do with breaking of bread and prayer--breaking of bread has to do with sharing in the body of Christ, the "bread" being a symbol of his body, Jesus said. Remembering why Christ died for the body--one body--and praying for the same--that we become one body in Christ. That's apostolic.
Today, what the church understands as "the body of Christ" is either their local church or their denomination. Their imagination is always narrowed-down to that. They have difficulty thinking in terms of the body worldwide, without denomination.Yeah, they have no problem with the idea of "sharing" within the context of their local church and denomination. Or making some alliances with other denominations of like persuasion. Temporary unity as far as some programs or activities are concerned. But radical complete unity, as the Father and Son are one?
Like sharing with believers not of their denomination? Worldwide? Baptists paying for the electric bills of Pentecostals when they're short of funds, for instance? And vice versa?
Churches today cannot do radical things like sharing everything in the body of Christ because they are not devoted to apostolic teachings. Inability to be radically one like that is the result of the absence of apostolic teaching. All they teach are their human theologies and denominational doctrines (adulterated or watered-down Word of God) which will not result to the glorious church of Jesus Christ, without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Peopled, moneyed, yes, but not glorious.
Second, apostolic teachings also has to do with signs and wonders. "Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles." You see the word everyone? Yup, everybody in church was in great awe--even "filled" with it--because the apostles were showing them the genuine and raw power of God in their midst--right before their eyes. That's apostolic teaching. Where is that today?
Today, we replace God's signs and wonders with our musical instruments and gimmicks. We entertain church people with our pop or rock "Christian" music or concert (not fill them with awe) and lift up church stage performers, not God. Nothing wrong with Christian music--I enjoy worship with music so much--but this is nothing compared to apostolic worship--the actual display of God's awesome supernatural powers. Church today is so alien to this because it has no apostolic teachings.
Then the Acts church had radical communal sharing. I've heard of pastors say that this communal thing is obsolete and irrelevant in our times. But communal sharing is God's perfect model for the church regardless of the time. It prepares the church for the great persecution in the last days talked about by Daniel and Revelation. Slowly some churches are realizing this truth. Only God's ways will preserve us in the last days. And communal sharing (putting everything at the apostles' feet and distributed according to needs) keep believers humble and low-profile in Christ. No one's a superstar because of his or her wealth.
The same thing with house churches. Some churches open to the move of God in these last days are realizing that mega church is not the design for believers. It's house churches deeply targeting families, not crowds. Mega churches are super glamorous and crowds flock to them. Pastors love them. But mega churches won't last come the great persecution. They will scatter in the wilderness and find refuge in house churches. But they will feel so uncomfortable with the compact, informal set up without comfy seats, air-conditioning, hi-tech musical instruments and sound systems. In house churches, there is no stage to pamper the flesh with. No superstars. No titles and degrees. Just God and his family. That's apostolic.
"The Lord added to their number daily." That's apostolic evangelism--one that is spearheaded by the Lord, with HIM as its Alpha and Omega, first and last. The church doesn't know this. It does evangelism pretty much the same way how the world does its campaigns and events, particularly how the world does its sales, marketing and promotions, aiming at specific goals and doing its best to hit them. The church also has its so-called SMART principle (adopted from marketing)--how plans should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. Now SMART, if you notice, has no room for miracles and signs and wonders which are unrealistic, not measurable and not time-bound.
Yup, the modern church does a lot of things except the apostolic. In fact, some believers and pastors laugh at the apostolic because of sheer ignorance.
Without apostolic teachings, churches are run like corporations. They have their chairman, president, directors and board of trustees but no apostles, prophets, evangelists. Pastors become employees. The rich and benefactors (or "capitalists" as it were) run the church and orders the pastor around. There are no spiritual fathers in faith who grow family members in Christ. Instead, church members are taught in classrooms and seminars. Pastors are taught by professors in bible schools--exactly how the world does them.
And signs and wonders. Where are they today in church?
God promises to "restore everything" before Jesus returns. "Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." He will cause the apostolic and prophetic teachings to be re-discovered and re-used by the glorious church in the last days. The remnant church--believers who refuse to be stained by the ways of the world. The rest will go on with worldly systems and standards and miss the great supernatural revival of the Holy Spirit.
No More Need for Apostles Today?
It's foolish to think that there is no more need for apostles today. One friend asked me what use would apostles be today when the bible is already complete? Will they have new revelations in addition to the bible? Nope. Their work will be to preserve (I'd say enforce) apostolic teachings already in the bible, and perhaps get updated revelation derived from apostolic truths already in the bible. They will insist on the church going back to apostolic teachings and devoting themselves in them. If you have this spirit and anointing, you are apostolic. You may even be a modern apostle.
The reason churches today are doing a trial-and-error or right-minus-wrong system (trying anything they see effective and efficient) is because it chooses to do away with the apostolic. They see it in the bible but do not do it. They see it as history or some fairy tale. They would rather copy what's effective in the world and which gathers big crowds instantly for their church.
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