No, you don't have to become an apostle or prophet to be in the apostolic. Apostolic means being relevant to what God is doing. Being in the same Kingdom wavelength. The apostles had that connection to heaven. Their faith enabled them to do what Jesus did, and then greater things, said Jesus. They did nothing else. They didn't sit down and plan and decide things among themselves what's next and then asked God to bless it. [Image above from Karl Magnuson, Unsplash].
The spiritual disease of the modern church is its desperation to make things happen on its own so it can beat some deadline or be ahead in some competition for greatness. It has lost the discipline to wait on God. It plans and prays and does as it pleases. Often, it copies from the world or gets hints from it. It lures people (its number one mistake) by giving them what they crave for. It identifies with the crowd.
But no matter what accomplishments you get using worldly ways, you remain irrelevant in the heavenly realms. One reason Jesus is the Way is because his ways alone get God's approval. We know the Way where Jesus is going if we follow him--follow his steps and use his ministry principles. This is why we can find lots of Kingdom principles in the Gospel and the bible itself.
One important and powerful ministry principle is waiting. Jesus could have started ministry at age 20 or 25, especially when millions of souls were already perishing in hell at the time. But he waited. He had to start at about age 30. Waiting is an apostolic principle. The apostles had to wait for the gift the Father had promised before they could do any ministry. Today, the church has totally abandoned this principle. It starts pronto--as soon as its human systems and materials are in place.
"To you any time is right," Jesus told his brothers who knew nothing about Kingdom ministries. What they knew was publicity antics, or popularity games. Church today are in a hurry to hit their own targets so they can be the greatest. So any time to them is right. Watch this:
"4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” [John 7]A public figure--that's what churches want to be. So they've lost the discipline to wait. In so doing, they lose relevance in the spiritual realms. They go ahead of God. The results they get surely appeal to the flesh--numbers, church income, popularity, good image, and the like. But zero in the heavenly realms.
Everything must be done in Jesus' ways. Remember, he said that everything not done in God's ways will be demolished, especially in the spiritual realms. Yes, you look grand in the eyes of the world, but you are zero in the eyes of God. So the devil just laughs at you and angels ignore you. And you are powerless in the spiritual realms. One sign is the absence of signs and wonders in your ministry.
"Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. [Matthew 15.13]Waiting and doing things solely in Jesus' ways are all apostolic. If you are not apostolic these things are unimportant to you. You'd even laugh at them or mock. You will always opt for what looks effective in the earthly realms. Thus, you often copy from what you see works around you.
I once saw a post on Facebook that goes something like this:
Religious people do what they are told no matter what the truth is. Spiritual people do what the truth says they should do no matter what people say.What I say, however, is stick with God's Word and ways no matter how ineffective they may seem to be--and no matter how effective other ways may seem to be. It's not how grand but how faithful. We will be weighed, not by our results, but by what's inside our hearts, like faithfulness. Did we cling to God's Word and ways to the very end? "He who perseveres to the end will be saved."
The test involves a guise or appearance of defeat while being faithful to the Word at the same time seeing how effective worldly ways are. And all the others are surpassing you and becoming "successful" at what they're doing, like in ministry. While you lag behind, they excel and are congratulated. And they see you as weak and a loser. But actually, you are great in the eyes of God.
Your rigging hangs loose: The mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided and even the lame will carry off plunder. [Isaiah 33]Element of Disinterest
Another apostolic principle is the element of disinterest. Jesus never pursued people, went after them, followed them up or begged their attention. Instead, people literally ran after him. Some say evangelism without follow up is wrong. Well, the apostolic says evangelism with follow up is foolish. What Jesus did was challenge. "If any man come after me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me." That's hardly follow up. That may even sound like a discouragement. The rich, young ruler was discouraged, and Jesus didn't follow him up to explain, justify or clarify his statement further.
John 1.12 says being a child of God is not a result of human decision or human effort or human persuasion. You cannot force or encourage anyone. You cannot play on emotions to make anyone receive Jesus. Your only job is to proclaim the Gospel, period. Thus, you should exercise disinterest as Jesus did. Imagine a high profile Pharisee like Nicodemus going to you one night and you just talk nonchalant, even insulting him with, "You are a teacher in Israel and you don't know what born again is?" Pastors today would have done everything to please Nicodemus and not lose him. That's how lost the church is.
To the true believers, Jesus offered discipleship--but he still did not pursue anyone. There was only the challenge: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." That's it. And the challenge is that they follow him, not the other way around. Pastors today follow you around, regularly visit you in your home until you finally say yes to Jesus. Impressive but it's not God's way. Pastors might even say, "I'll follow you if you make me fishers of men." Often, his church board members tell him what he should do.
I read a book where a church pastor asked people what they wanted in a church. And that's what exactly he did. No wonder he had a big congregation--the members were the boss.
But the apostolic just proclaims the Gospel and prays for souls to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the one who convicts and convinces people. The Spirit may sometimes use you in this, but it's not for running after people to make them accept Christ and become members of your church so they can give you their tithes and offering.
These are apostolic principles for ministry which Jesus taught his apostles (this is why they are "apostolic teachings"). They are Jesus' ways and they are according to God's Word.
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