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Summary: In what sense is the ministry of the Apostle active in the Church of today? In which ways is this different to that of the Apostles of the New Testament? There is a ministry today in the Church that can be described as apostolic, even if distinct from t

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15.5.11

THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY -- ROM 10:1-15 'First apostles'

INTRO RECAP. Last Sunday we did what we called a mini-consultancy. Bill has all the data and is working on it, but it will be a while before we can get back to you with what it all means.

I began by stating that:

The church is primarily a missionary agency

(The only organisation that exists primarily for its non-members)

God is more than a match when it comes to cultural change that challenges the survival and growth of his church.

Example: China -- (Only thousands of Christians when the missionaries were there. It turned into millions when the communist authorities drove out the missionaries and sought to destroy the faith)

God takes the initiative -- Our part is to discern what God is doing and to align ourselves with this.

A healthy and effective missional church operates with the five ministry gifts, not just two!

In times of exponential cultural change:

* Apostolic leadership and initiative emerges.

* Prophetic words are spoken to counter the challenge that confronts the church.

* Forms of evangelism emerge that are more than a match for the challenge.

* New Christians are born of the Spirit who need the ministries of pastors and teachers.

Problems arise with the erroneous model of having only a pastor/teacher gift.

The Canadian author Alan Roxburgh is quoted by Alan Hirsch: 'a predominantly pastoral conception of the church and ministry now actually constitutes a major hindrance to the church reconceiving itself as a missionary agency......

APPLIC

According to both authors (and I agree with them)

The Church that follows the Ephesians 4 pattern is one that grows.

It means giving recognition to apostolic vision

Listening to the prophetic word

Evangelism in the power of the Spirit

Pastoring and teaching new believers

With one flowing into the other.

POINT

We need the apostolic ministry. But what is the apostolic ministry?

Last week we were in Ephesians 4, but this Sunday we are going to take a look at Romans 10

READING: Romans 10:1-15

POINT

In Romans 10 Paul declares 'all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved'.

* Context -- reaching the Jews with the Gospel

* Error -- pursuing a righteousness of their own

* Moses shows that it condemns not justifies

* It is the same for Jews and non-Jews -- we are saved by grace through the response of faith

* But someone has to be SENT in order they can hear, believe, call on and be saved

APPLIC

If people need to be saved then they have not yet been saved. There are therefore those who have been saved and those who are lost. [Explain salvation]

But what does it mean to be sent? (apostello)

(one sent with a mission)

It is not just a matter of leaving one place to go to another

The goal is that people hear the Gospel.

POINT -- We used to think of it in terms of mission -- going from our country to another like Africa or China. But then the world changed and our country became multiracial.

But then we realized that the people of our nation are as much the 'mission field' as elsewhere. So what does it mean to be sent?

It is about effectively engaging with people with the good news of salvation wherever they are.

MAPS POINT

The old ways of engaging with people with the Gospel have changed. Because culture is not constantly and rapidly changing shape the old ways are do not work as they once did.

ILLUSTR

I have a Satnav that I use from time to time. I rely on it a lot when driving in areas I am unfamiliar with. But there is a problem. I am too mean to spend the money to download map upgrades!

This means that from time to time I get caught out. Driving over the new Kincardine bridge it looks as though I have taken a helicopter. A voice from the satnav keeps telling me 'turn around where possible.

Once when driving in a town I followed the satnav to the letter of instructions only to find that I had driven down a road that led to a dead end. The reason:

The landscape had changed and the rules had changed!

APPLIC

It is the same with our culture:

The landscape has changed and the rules have changed and the old maps don't work anymore.

They lead us down dead ends, or up one way streets, and into places that don't exist any more.

The culture we have moved out from was described as 'modern'. But we have moved on from this to something as yet undefined.

* In modernism outreach was about CONQUEST, but in postmodernism it's about SERVICE.

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