Summary: The apostolic ministry is one of the five perfecting ministries God gave to men so that Christians may come to spiritual maturity. Apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and pastors are the governing body of the church. The office or ministry of the a
The office of the apostle
Ephesians 4:11-16 - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
The apostolic ministry is one of the five perfecting ministries God gave to men so that Christians may come to spiritual maturity. Apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and pastors are the governing body of the church. The office or ministry of the apostle falls into this category.
Apostles are given to help train and equip God’s people and to bring them to maturity.
They are to prepare the saints for works of ministry and to teach them how to build up the body of Christ. The purpose is to bring the church into unity of the faith so that the body of Christ can grow into the full measure of Christ Himself.
This is also true for the other four ministry offices that have been given to the church.
The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word “apostlos” which means "one who is sent". It is applied to a messenger, ambassador, or a delegate who is sent with authority on a mission and faithfully represents the purposes and intentions of the sender.
Apostles have the divine ability to start and oversee the development of new churches or ministry structures and to exercise general leadership or oversight over a number of churches with an authority in spiritual matters, which is readily recognized.
It is the gift whereby the Spirit appoints certain Christians to lead, inspire, and develop churches by the proclamation and teaching of true doctrine.
b. Their function
The nature and work of their office is best described by the commission which Jesus gave them when He was on earth.
Mark 16:15-17 - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.
Acts 1:8 - But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
The office of the apostle is only given to certain individuals who God anoints with supernatural enablement to minister.
A person cannot simply study to be an evangelist and no one can teach someone to be an evangelist. You cannot choose to be an evangelist and they are not trained in the religious schools of man, nor are they raised up from among the leadership of the organized church.
Apostle set up churches and church leaderships in cities, countries, and nations. Their main gifts are found in their ability to lead, organize, develop, build, and expand. They strengthen local churches, pioneer churches, facilitate the ministries of others and often perform signs and wonders.
Apostles set standards for the church but are not subject to the hierarchy of church leadership. However, the primary nature of their work is always spiritual.
c. Apostles in the New Testament
In the early days of the church, the apostles served as the primary means of inspired communication and direction from the Lord to His people. Paul and Barnabas then went through Asia Minor establishing new churches. Once they had been sent out, Luke referred to Paul and Barnabas as apostles.
Some apostles mentioned in the New Testament are:
* The twelve disciples
* The seventy (Luke 10:1-3)
* Matthias (Acts 1:26)
* James, the Lord's brother (Galatians 1:19)
* Apollos (1 Corinthians 4:6-9)
* Andronicus (Romans 16:7)
* Junia (Romans 16:7)
* Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25)
* Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23)
* Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6)
* Silas (1 Thessalonians1:1, 2:6)
d. Marks of a true apostle