Monday, April 26, 2021

Gifts To The Church

Last time, we looked at the real reason as to why 20% of church members actively function in the work of ministry while 80% sit idle. We saw that it is due to the erroneous philosophy accepted in the church that once the last of the apostles, like Peter and Paul died, that the gift/office of apostle and prophet as well as miracles faded away. That we have no need of them because we have the Bible and yet there is not one verse of scripture (unless taken out of context to agree with certain man made philosophies) that says the gift/office of apostle and prophet has faded away and with them the miraculous. So, how do we know that apostles  and prophets (although maybe not recognized) along with miracles are still alive, well and needed in the church today?

The Hebrew usage of the word apostle is to "send away; one who was commissioned and authorized by God." The ancient Greek usage refers to "a personal envoy, emissary or ambassador; a delegate." The Koine Greek usage (Greek language commonly spoken during the time of Jesus' earthly ministry) refers to, "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders." In other words, the word apostle simply means "a sent one, an ambassador, a delegate, one who is sent forth, one commissioned and authorized by another to represent another and carry out his will and purposes.

To say that Matthias and Paul were the last apostles chosen by the Lord a part from the original twelve and that there is no apostolic secession is not a valid statement. (For the sake of space, I will list others that were apostles after these two men, based on the definition shown above.)

  • James, the Lords brother (Acts 1:14, 1 Corinthians 15:7, Galatians 1:9, 2:9)
  • Barnabas (Acts 4:36, 11:22-30, 14:1, 4, 14, 1 Corinthians 9:6)
  • Apollos (1 Corinthians 4:6-9) 
  • Andronicus (Romans 16:7)
  • Junia (Romans 16:7)
  • Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25)
  • Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23)
  • Two unnamed brethren (2 Corinthians 8:23)
  • Timothy Acts 19:22, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6)
  • Judas (Acts 15:23, 1 Thessalonians 2:6)
  • silas/Silvanus (Acts 15:23, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6)
  • Erastus (Acts 19:22)
  • Tychicus (2 Timothy 4:12)
God has appointed in His church , first apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28) They are gifts from Christ to His body and they have not ceased in God's eyes even though a portion of the church refuses to recognize and receive them.

Along with the gift of apostle, the gift of prophet has also been rejected by many sectors of the church today. Keeping in mind that the church has been in the last days since Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, the prophetic ministry of the prophet is still a much needed gift to the church  today. One of the signs of the last days is the prophetic word coming as a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh. (Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:14-21) Notice that neither the prophet Joel nor the apostle Peter quoting the prophet Joel say anything about the prophetic fading away or ceasing in operation, on the contrary. The word says, that these things would come to pass in the last days. The last days are those which continue until the return of Jesus.

The misunderstanding of the prophets (prophetic) role in the church is one of the main reasons why it is rejected as a viable ministry to the church. The word prophet is defined as, "to foretell events, to speak under inspiration, to proclaim a divine revelation, and to break forth under sudden impulse into inspired discourse." The nature of prophecy is two fold; forth-telling, which comes in the form of preaching. It is to speak for God to the people, communicating the mind of God. Often the past (prophecy) will be used to deal with the present. This comes in the form of exhortation, reproof, warning, edification and comfort. This is seen in the New Testament prophets. New testament prophets are also considered non-writing prophets because they confirm the Word of God through guidance, words of wisdom and words of knowledge.

The other is fore-telling, which comes in the form of prediction. The prophet speaks for God, communicating His mind for the future. Often both the past and the present will be used to deal with the future.  This is seen in the ministry of the Old Testament prophets. The Old Testament prophets were chosen, inspired by God and their words became scripture. There were Old Testament prophets that wrote historical books, poetical books and prophetical books. It can then be said, that the major difference between the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament prophets is writing scripture (Old Testament prophets) and confirming scripture (New Testament prophets) Unfortunately, many in the church have misunderstood the difference between the two and have rejected prophets/prophecy today believing that it is extra-biblical because it adds to scripture when in fact it is very biblical because it only confirms scripture.

Another aspect of the gift/office/ministry of the apostle and prophet is that they generally work closely together in the Body of Christ. For instance, Gods divine order in the church states, "First apostles, second prophets..." (1 Corinthians 12:28) We also see that the church is "built on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." (Ephesians 2:20) We see an example of this as the apostle Paul and the prophet Silas worker together (Acts 15:22-40, 16:6-7) Although there is opposition to these gifts/offices/ministries functioning in the church today, we will see the Lord bring all of the ascension gift/office/ministries together. We the will once again work in unity of heart, mind, spirit and faith for His glory. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen...  

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