Saturday, March 03, 2018

Who is a Prophet?

Most of us would not acknowledge an apostle unless he came across
like a Paul or a Peter. Likewise, we will not accept a prophet unless he
measures up to Elijah. In the same way, when we think of, let's say, an
evangelist, we think of Billy Graham and nothing less will do. Truth is,
many of the apostles in the New Testament were such ordinary people
(Barnabas, Andronicus, Junia), that very little was written about them.

If we were to stop looking for the spectacular, we would find there are
many people in our ranks who are called to be apostles, sent ones who
go about establishing churches and training and equipping as they are
needed. These "apostling" types may actually come from anywhere
within our ranks - from the one we refer to as "Pastor" to the least-likely
among us; one who is simply willing and whose life in Christ is
unbridled. Most Christian groups can't see themselves functioning
without human leadership and, therefore, in our inability to rely solely
upon the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit Himself, the Church
at large fails to occupy new territory. Rather, she hunkers down within
the four walls and expects the lost to come to THEM. The "sent ones"
in your midst may not be in the same league as Paul or Elijah, but they
could exercise some extremely valid ministries and more rapidly
advance God's Kingdom.

The purpose of Pentecost was to pour the Holy Spirit out onto ALL
believers. This means that EVERY believer can have a ministry. We
need a Church structure that allows every member to develop into a
minister. Rather than a few celebrity Christians in pulpits, , God seems
to prefer many - even millions - of small ministries anointed with
His Spirit.


Years ago, a lady called me and asked what the difference was
between an apostle and an epistle. "Is an epistle a female apostle?" she
asked, totally serious.

Like it or not, women have always played an important role in the
advancement of God's Kingdom, even serving in foundational roles. In
Exodus 15:20, Miriam, the sister of Aaron was a prophetess and one
of the triad of leaders of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt. In Judges
4 & 5, Deborah, a prophet-judge, headed the army of ancient Israel.
New Testament examples can be found in Acts 21:8: Philip the
evangelist had four unmarried daughters who were prophets. In Romans
16:3, Paul refers to Priscilla as another of his "fellow workers in Christ
Jesus." Other translations refer to her as a "co-worker." Still others
attempt to downgrade her status by calling her a mere "helper." The
original Greek word is "synergoi," which literally means "fellow
worker" or "colleague."

In Romans 16:7, Paul refers to a male apostle, Andronicus, and a
female apostle, Junia, as "outstanding among the apostles." The
Amplified Bible translates this passage as "They are men held in high
esteem among the apostles." The Revised Standard Version shows the
verse as "they are men of note among the apostles." The reference to
them both being men does NOT appear in the original Greek text; the
word "men" was apparently inserted by the translators simply because
their minds recoiled from the concept of a female apostle, just as they
often do today. Many translations, including the Amplified Bible,
Rheims New Testament, New American Standard Bible, and the New
International Version simply picked the letter "s" out of thin air, and
converted the original "Junia" (a woman) into "Junias" (a man).
The evidence is quite compelling that, in God's Kingdom, "...there is
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28)"
and that, despite our modern prejudices and downright hard-
headedness about women in ministry, God's opinion seems to differ

I heard a story about an East Indian Christian woman who was sent by
the Holy Spirit to establish churches in a certain region of her country.
She began by walking the area and praying. When people asked her
what she was doing, she answered that she was looking for people for
whom she might pray. Time and again she was invited into people's
homes to do just that and the people saw miracles take place. When the
dust had settled, she had established 50 churches that met in people's
home a la the Book of Acts. Was she a "sent one" - an apostle? If any
of those people ever needed instruction or additional training, do you
think she'd get called upon? Of course!

She was apostling and was, therefore, an apostle in the TRUEST sense.
The authority of an apostle comes out of relationship. Paul
demonstrated this type of authority in his letters. He was able to give
direction to the Church because he had a relationship with them. He
was the apostle who had established them.


For those who believe that the "office" of "Apostle" died away with
the last apostle mentioned in the Bible, those individuals must ask
themselves "How can a job description' die?" If a baseball team's
coach dies, there will remain other coaches to come for years on end.
ONLY when we perceive the job description as an office that
problems arise. Actually, apostles are to be with The Church until we
become like Jesus according to Ephesians 4:1-16 and Romans 16:17.
There were, of course, the foundational twelve disciples who followed
Christ. When He sent them out in Luke 10, Judas was still with the team.
Was he an apostle when he betrayed Christ? Matthias came along in
Acts 1:11-26. Later, Barnabas & Paul came on the scene, as was
mentioned in Acts 14:14. In Romans 16:7, there were Andronicus and
Junia. Then came James, the Lords brother, Galatians 1:19, and
Epaphroditus, Philippians 2:19,25; 4:18. Apollos is mentioned in Acts
18:18-27, throughout 1 Corinthians, and in Titus 3:13. Silvanus and
Timothy are referred to in 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6.

Add them up - minus Judas - and where the Early Church was
concerned, according to the New Testament accounts, there were at
least 21 apostles for the perfecting of the Saints. I'm certain there were,
most likely, many more.

From the looks of things, it appears that many more apostles are
needed today. It also appears that apostles are a necessary, basic
foundational building block for The Church. Further, it was a master
stroke of the enemy to see to it that so many Christians do not believe,
or haven't been taught, that the office still exists and have no faith for
its function. Just look at the denominational divisions and confusion
such lack of faith and teaching has generated. Where is John 17 in all
of this?

To build House Churches for our Lord and hope to get the foundations
deep and level and in the balance of His great love, holiness and
power, many people will and ARE being sent.
If one's apostling duties are a true calling from God, all he/she must
do is obey and make themselves available.

If this is truly a ministry of The Church that is needed for today, the
parts have been ordered and are on the way!

Throughout Church history, it has always been this way only with
a different group of disciples each time.

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