APOSTOLIC FUNCTION & IT'S RESULTING FORM

(Part 5)

by Bill Click

EXPRESSIONS OF CHRIST'S FORM PRODUCE THE FUNCTIONAL RESULT OF APOSTOLIC/PROPHETIC FOUNDATIONS

By functioning in their unique expression of God's image, Apostles and Prophets of Christ can move forward in the specific function of their gifts and callings. It is only through the uniqueness of each that the purposes of God will be fulfilled. While this is not limited to the Apostles and Prophets, for the other ministry gifts and body populace to flow likewise, it can only take place as they follow suit. But without Apostles and Prophets functioning as intended, it is impossible for the establishment of God's purposes to take place in their spheres and be reproduced by the body. And that is just to be the beginning of God's plan.

When the Apostles and Prophets as well as other governmental giftings move in accordance with their divine design, then the entire body to which these relate can be released and established in the graces for which they were designed by God to function. This is because the Church Jesus came to build is about Him expressing Himself in His totality through His people (Mt.16:18, 1Cor.12).

Each ministry gift is such because of receiving the "gifts" (domata) of Christ (Eph.4:8; Ps.68:18). These "gifts" are specific expressions and abilities of Christ Himself, enablements for representing Him. When allowed to function as Christ intended, they reveal His character and compassion as they manifest (doreas Eph.4:7). Each of these is rooted in Christ's choice of those to whom He uses this ability to bestow. The gifts are always supernatural in their essence. Furthermore, they are not dependant on the work or worthiness of the recipient (charis Eph.4:7). With these functioning as designed and desired by the Lord, the church is activated and mobilized, producing an eternal impact. Through this authentic representation of Christ the church is extended through soul winning, personal transformation, equipping, and reproducing more of the same.

When we combine the revelation of how Christ equips in His grace with the New Testament models of Apostolic/Prophetic structures in Jerusalem, Antioch, & Ephesus, we begin to "see" in new ways. We then discover many access points, functional modes and models for the Apostolic/Prophetic church– the Spiritual war machine Jesus came to establish with His own blood. We will then begin to open our inner being even more to the eternal reality that the Apostolic/Prophetic church Jesus is building is manifold in its function and various in its form, not monolithic in its structure and one dimensional in its emphasis.

Our tendency, however, is to view the Apostolic/Prophetic through our accumulated knowledge, previous experience and/or function, or worse: from an example which is external to us which we would really seek to emulate for lack of a real vision and perhaps less than a pure motivation. It is not enough to wonder why what is being done somewhere else with someone else can't be adapted and applied in our setting. That neither honors the promise and necessity of true "vision," nor does it recognize the uniqueness of those who are to receive and walk in it. All our present understandings, previous experience and dependence on pragmatism are counterproductive to what the Lord is seeking us out to receive from Him for establishing Him and His ways in our spheres (Phil.3:12-15a).

Unfortunately and too often, each of our milestones actually only serve to prevent the authentic scope of Christ's Apostolic and Prophetic function and form in and through the church. The greatest move of God we've ever experienced or even heard of will become nothing more than tomorrow's religious tradition if we do not live in the now of God "today" (Heb.3:7-4:8). And this 'new now' must be continually received and applied primarily through the Apostolic and Prophetic ministries by way of the "mystery of Christ" through the Spirit (Eph.3:4-5).

Limiting self to personal preferences or the successes seen and admired destines us to being either focused (& absorbed with) self, or: preoccupied with others (& their activities). But "vision" as truly defined Scripturally and termed in the New Testament as "the mystery of Christ" and "revealed by the Spirit to His holy Apostles and Prophets" is the result of a God-focus, a being occupied with the Lord (Acts 6:4). And it will release the very DNA of Jesus to the ones called to release His life in the earth and oversee its establishment through the church (Pro.29:18; Eph.3:4-5; 3:9-12). This means that the very thoughts, intents, and abilities of the Lord regarding who He is revealed (in His identity) and what He longs to do (through His Nature) can be walked in, demonstrated and witnessed to throughout the earth. And it will be (1Cor.2:8-16; Mt.24:14).

Christ has a variety of Apostles and Prophets and therefore a plethora of powerful reproductive materials potentially available. But it all depends on a God-focus combined with embracing and living out of His unique design. It is not enough to have the gift and use it to the best of your effort, ability and efficiency. The first call of the Apostle is to be "with Him" and from the Hebrew Bible we see the lifestyle of the Prophet as much more God-oriented than accomplishment based (Mk.3:13-15). The Prophet is to see, hear and say, while the Apostle is to go, move and pioneer. But these, as a result of an intimacy in relationship that is unmatched by the rest of the Body, not by a skill set can be learned without character. And that is the "mystery of Christ."

"Many are called, but few are chosen" and "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" in no wise indicates that success or accomplishment is the indicator of God's blessing (Mt.22:14; Ro.11:29). Instead, it is relationship with Him that bespeaks the "holy" character which describes the condition of the Apostles and Prophets to whom Christ reveals Himself (Eph.3:4-5). In fact, the Lord Himself made it clear that:

"Not everyone that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?' And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me, ye that do iniquity." (Mt.7:21-23)

It is "he that doeth the will of my Father" who enters and lives in the "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" which is "the kingdom" (Mt.7:21, Ro.14:17). Anointing, wisdom, the right team, having plenty of money, being well thought of, becoming admirable, media-exposure and becoming prevalent is neither verification, nor will it produce "fruit that remains." All this can come to any who has been "called" (& undoubtedly comes to some even who are not). The Father's desires must not only be revealed, but fully received and walked out with Christ's heart. That is what determines who is "chosen."

In the passage above, "iniquity" is a curious term. The question arises: "how can the mighty workers of God's power be rejected by Christ?" In the Old Testament "iniquity" (avon) meant perversity, mischief, and evil acts. Its usage in Matthew 7:23 does not so much refer to the sin drive, however, but instead that (1) the way one is working is illegal, so (2) the one who works the mighty works is rejected. Why? Because "I never knew you." It is not enough to use the gifts and anointing to accomplish Kingdom works, they must be the works God is specifically calling for. But to know these specifics, we must become intimate. And to become and remain intimate, we must only move with God, not always try to move Him.

A "holy" relationship with Christ is what leads to true revelation of "the mystery of Christ" ("a vision" Pro.29:18). This will only truly come through ongoing intimacy. It is time we muster the courage to become self-honest enough to say that it is false to espouse there are Apostles and Prophets by using the biblical paradigm to support our conclusion if it is primarily an endorsement for them to foster, embellish and then follow what others have done or their own imaginations (Eph.3:4-5; 2Cor.10:5, 1Cor.3:18-23). The gift and calling won't vindicate us before God even if it convinces others, ourselves, or even the enemy. Wrong use of the right "stuff" (working illegally from the outer court, devoid of a true vision) will never be accepted as a substitute for "holy" relationship that produces uniqueness of function and a divinely designed form.

But just as often we "miss it" in the other extreme. Paul indicated that a sign of rampant apostasy in the last days would be a structured Christianity having all the appearances of being what God wanted, but that the Lord would be absent from it.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2Tim.3:1-5).

The Word for "power" in 3:5 is dunamis, the same word that the Lord used to describe the very distinguishing quality of the lives of those who would believe in Him (Acts 1:8). According to the Spirit through Paul, the stance of these is one of "denying the power," (arneomai ho autos) meaning they:

(1) reject dunamis as the true source of life's power

(2) contradict dunamis by using their own power instead, and

(3) refuse to allow others to function in their unique dunamis.

This apostate form of Christianity as presented is forecasted by the Lord to become both the preferred and pervasive condition of the church. The "form of godliness" is said to be what attracts and holds it together while the function of God's true grace is completely absent. And again, the end result will be the lack of true godliness. Although the war is increasing in its intensity, and it is the battle for delineating the authenticity of the body, such a bleak prognosis will not become the final outcome of "holy apostles and prophets" who function with God and walk in "the mystery of Christ" (Eph.3:4-5).

If the apostasy described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 does not sound like a grocery list of the issues that most of our North American churches (& often leaders) are overflowing with, what else does? It would be easy to just pick on the seeker-sensitive programmatic emphasis, or the (sic) "godless liberal denominations," but integrity requires that we face reality: these issues abound in the most Apostolic and/or Prophetic (by doctrine) of companies. The remedy? The preliminary response doesn't seem like much of an answer, but it is the necessary first step. Even in the (then) present tense, the Spirit tells Timothy through Paul to (literally) "avoid these people" or "from such turn away" (apotrepo toutous 3:5).

What is the ultimate answer?

Walking completely submitted to God, receiving "a vision" and walking out "the mystery of Christ" as revealed– whether it come to us directly as an Apostle or Prophet or (just as importantly) through those whom God has placed us with, under their covering and authority. Wherever Christ's Apostles and Prophets are, the supernatural raw material of the Lord can be received and released. And it must be. Subjugating ourselves to warehousing believers, increasing numbers of those gathered, attracting new ones, and devising new methods to involve people in a "form of godliness" that rejects, contradicts, rejects and refuses "the power thereof" can never allowed to be thought of as the answer. God is not ever going to call for a culturally acceptable Apostolic/Prophetic foundation to be laid. And what is never going to be laid in by the Lord is never supposed to be devised to lived out by us.

This in itself should get all past doing endless, fruitless battle in the high places for the sake of the program (when it is ours and not His to begin with) Get up into the seat which His people have been designed to sit in with Him (Eph.2:6).

If we will walk with God long enough, consistently enough, and learn to not be deceived by religious shortcuts, cutesy methods and following the 'successes' of others, over the years Revelation" of "the mystery of Christ" will enable many to (finally) get bored with success, cultural substitutes for God's grace, comfort and even the devil. How? By becoming overwhelmingly occupied with (& by) the Lord.