Summary: When the five-fold ministry is not operating properly, the church is handicapped. The Apostle provides government, order, stability and guidance. He is the tracklayer.
The Office of the Apostle
Intro.: When the five-fold ministry is not operating properly, the church is handicapped. Many churches and denominations don’t acknowledge that the offices of Apostle and Prophet exist any longer. So those leaders with these giftings are forced to mold themselves into another gift, usually that of pastor. Those with apostolic giftings have a bent for government and order while those with pastoral giftings have a natural bent for care and shepherding.
READ: Eph. 4:11-12, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
2 Corinthians 12:12, The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance.
Illustration: In the 19th century RR companies planned to expand their lines westward. We are going to use this RR analogy to describe the workings of the five-fold ministry. The Apostle is like the surveyor & tracklayer, the prophet is the “engine crew” the evangelist is the conductor, the pastor is the porter and the teacher is the tour guide. I’ll explain each of these in detail in the coming weeks, but today I’m going to focus on the apostle. The first thing the RR did was to send explorers or surveyors to check out the lay of the land and map out the best routes for the RR to take. Like the surveyor, the apostle is on the cutting edge. He checks things out and then says to the church, “this is where we are going.” The ministry of the apostle lays the course for the church. The apostle also is the “tracklayer”.
If no track has been laid, the train’s not going anywhere and there’s no use in getting on board. If a church doesn’t know where it’s going, it’s probably going nowhere. Then the only way to convince people to get on beard is to provide an attractive building with padded pews and an impressive preacher that promotes delicious pot-luck dinners. If we don’t recognize the office of the apostle then our train is stuck w/o a track to run on.
I. Qualifications of an Apostle
A. The desire to build the Body of Christ and bring it to maturity
1. READ: Romans 1:8-11
2. An apostle communicates spiritual truths (rather than spiritual knowledge)
a. S. truth brings changed lives – S. knowledge brings pharisaism
3. His ministry is accompanied by signs & wonders that build up the church
B. Those with an apostolic anointing deliver prophetic preaching
1. Prophetic preaching establishes a destination
2. It passes on the vision of where the church is supposed to go
3. Prophetic preaching identifies the correct track so that the congregation
arrives at the desired destination
C. Those with an apostolic anointing provide doctrinal teaching
1. Tracks must have a solid foundation or they will shift and sink
D. Those with an apostolic anointing display and inspire leadership
1. If an apostle lays a track, but no one follows, what has been accomplished?
2. He must inspire confidence, effectively communicate the vision and
exercise wise leadership
II. The function of the Office of Apostle/Bishop
A. Establish churches that are relevant to the times and the society
NOTE: Through planting churches or fostering “turnaround” churches
1. Many churches have lost touch with where people are and what they need.
2. Because of tradition or religiosity, their preaching, worship and teaching
have lost meaning for them as well as for those outside their church doors
3. A relevant church must reevaluate where it’s going & what it’s doing
4. We must be willing to change methods & ministries, but not our message
NOTE: We must use creative strategies to make the never-changing message of
Christ continually relevant in an ever changing society and culture
B. He must inspire the dynamics of an apostolic church
1. A church that influences the community thru each one’s personal ministry
a. An apostolic church doesn’t “circle the wagons” it remains in an
offensive posture, ready to take back what the devil stole!
2. A church that maintains a positive outlook in the midst of resistance
a. When trouble came to the N.T. Church, they didn’t moan and groan
b. They sang and prayed until one of 3 things happened:
1. God’s power was manifested
2. The chains fell off
3. Or the doors flew open!
C. He establishes order and experiences spontaneity – together
NOTE: Order in the church helps ensure that everyone remains on the right track, headed in the right direction. Spontaneity injects life and excitement into the journey.
1. Many demand sameness and order quoting I Cor. 14:40, “Let all things be
done decently and in order”.
a. Order alone leads to boredom, empty tradition and meaningless ritual