Let’s begin this article by establishing the nature of my prose. It is my intention to arrive at some clarity regarding the principle purpose of the emergent apostolic presence in modern-day Christendom. Allow me to lay some foundational elements taken from Isaiah 9:6-7. When reading these verses we must immediately identify the job description, so to speak, of our Chief Apostle and First Born Among Many Brethren, Jesus Christ. When dissected, we should quickly identify what ought to be the evolution of modern-day apostles: Child(1), Son(2), Government(3), Increasing Government(4), Increasing Peace(5), Order(6), Judgment(7) and finally, Justice(8). The eight (8) functions described herein also constitute the change evidenced when the Kingdom of God replaces the philosophy of the Kingdom of men.
Truth be told, often times the trend found in many present day apostles is that they seem to pretend to have a niche market or they own the cornerstone of supernatural ability and revelation. In actuality, while many are trying to spiritualize many natural things, true apostles are intentionally trying to naturalize many spiritual things and lay foundations in inconspicuous places. This in turn, causes inconsequentiality and monotony to take on the quadruple-dimensional love of Christ, which amplifies his purposes in specific individuals and regions. We see this type of defiance when God used the mundane rod of Moses to amplify the very reason for which he had been brought into the kingdom. The same is true of David’s slingshot as well as many other notable examples noted in the scriptures.
In many countries where the god of materialism entrenches itself in Christian culture, we see many novice and immature apostles lean toward boosting their church networks or increasing their public profile as if ‘bigger is better’. They now desire to be slick-looking while enticing many with facades that will soon be purged and blown away like grass in a fire. Scripturally, the apostolic is not a license to a lifestyle of greater wealth or comforts. There is price to pay, so to speak and many people will not be comfortable with this God-given role in his body. In the book of Revelation 2:2, Jesus is pleased with Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles, the Bereans were equally honored because they tested the apostle Paul (Acts 17:11). The Body should approve apostles, however, this often times causes undesirable repercussions.
The following scriptures prove that Apostles typically provoke vehement reactions causing the “vipers” to emerge (Acts 16:16-24, 17:5-8, 21:27-36, 1 Corinthians 15:32). They also provoke political unrest that’s why they jailed and killed many (Mathew 10:18). Obviously, religious spirits like Jezebel, Cain, Korah and others would have a problem with this type of leadership (2 Corinthians 11:3-5,13-15, 1John 4:1-6, Galatians 1:8). This is not a curse on apostleship, simply a reaction to walking in our identity and sphere of dominion.
This is not to judge present day apostles who truly have a desire to market the understandings and insights they have received from God. There is nothing wrong with marketing, strategizing or networking as long as the primary purpose is to lead many to Him who is worthy of our calling, Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:2 says, “the servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.” This is a pattern for us as apostles, therefore regardless of the appearance of our apostolic assignment; let’s ascertain that Christ’s fame is our objective and not merely the means to our personal gain. God is not calling anyone to super-apostleship ministries that create fans. Oh, quite contraire! He desires we make disciples who will extend their reach beyond us and proceed to accomplish greater things than we were able to accomplish.
The apostolic reformation has attracted many to titles, positions and office. However, those who commandeer the flagships of apostleship, these sent ones, were never intended to draw attention unto themselves, but rather to Christ’s apostolic life and anointing. To create look-alikes who are simply self-centered leaders who are operating with a spirit of control is not apostleship. It’s dangerously inflated egos at the verge of bursting and causing a big ole mess. Many have attempted to simply overlay an ‘apostolic’ covering atop of charisma or old wineskin institutionalism and hierarchal leadership. This is a satanic counterfeit and the apostle Paul spared no punches when sharply exposing it in his letter to the Corinthian Church (2 Corinthians 11:5,13-15, 12:11)
I'm divinely discontent and believing God for a genuine and mature apostleship. The role of the apostolic anointing should not be used to mesmerize the Saints by large networks or charming preaching. On the contrary, as 21-Century apostles we must resist the lure of remaining indifferent towards apostolic maturity. Failure to mature in this area will cause developmental retardation in us as well as those assigned to us. The progression noted by the prophet Isaiah is not a suggestion. Apostolic charlatanism will always be found in many, but they would be continually exposed if we pursued maturation. "So then, let us serve him with all fear and all reverence, as he himself commanded us, and as did the apostles who brought us the gospel and the prophets who foretold the coming of our Lord" (Philippians 6:3).
So then, what do apostles do, you may be asking? This is obviously a fair question. However, the apostolic has two sides to it. Not only are there functions that must be visible in the apostolic, there must equally be a substance carried and transferred. Although much of what may be evident in apostleship may be inexplicable and unexplainable, it is surely transferrable and should be transferred. This ability to transfer the spearheading, demolishing anointing that rests on apostles, is clearly one of the most attractive characteristics upon these individuals.
Ok, so here it is. Apostles write epistles! Not quite like the ones, which have been accepted as the canonized writings found in the Old and New Testaments. These epistles are written on the hearts of men, known and read of men. The Spirit of the Living God writes these epistles on tablets of flesh through the teaching (doctrine) of the Apostles. These writings keep the Church from losing its missional edge and getting bogged down in institutionalism. Apostles as well as Prophets, for that matter, lay foundations on the hearts of the Saints so that their God-given dreams can materialize and onlookers can be awed by God.
How do they accomplish this grandiose task? The apostolic is responsible for breaking the orphan spirit and opening up a panoramic understanding of the inheritance and adoption we now have through Abba Father. They are activators of the generational blessing by connecting many to the blessing of Abraham via the order of fathers (mothers) to sons (daughters). Additionally, many seem to have a knack for uncanny innovation and creativity (Ro 1:11, Ro 15:20,21). They love to break ground and lay foundations until they see original or restored Kingdom communities (movements) emerge as a replacement to hemorrhaging relationships (Acts 8:14, 11:22, Romans 15:20, 1 Corinthians 4:15, 9:1,2, 2 Corinthians 11:28, 1 Pet 1:1.)
One of the markers of a mature apostle is the lack of competition. They truly love to raise-up and attract leaders who rule with character and Godliness. We see this in following relationships: Paul-Timothy, Paul-Titus, Peter-John Mark, Barnabas-John Mark, John-Polycarp; Acts 14:23, 2 Timothy 2:2, Titus 1:5, 1 Peter 5:13) They also seem to have a strong inclination toward the message of absolute freedom and therefore can infiltrate difficult high places, regions or circumstances with unprecedented power, manifestations and dominion (Ro 15:19,20, 2Co 12:12, 1Co 4:19,20). Mature apostles are in their element when they are repairing breaches and building bridges between disconnected portions of the Body of Christ (Ac 11:29,30, 16:4, Ro 15:25-28, 1Co 4:17, 16:1-4,12, 2Co 8:1-6, 9:1-4, 1Pet 1:1).
In conclusion, mature apostles desperately and intentionally gravitate toward intimacy with God before being driven by the demands of ministry (Mark 12:29,30, Luke 10:39-42, Revelation 2:4). Spending time with the Father is paramount to the life of a mature apostle. Equally as vital a sign of maturity is life-giving relationships. Relational apostles make some of the best apostles, anywhere. These are those who will not relegate the value of loyal relationships to the fleeting euphoria of accomplishments, connections or success.