APOSTOLIC FUNCTION & IT'S RESULTING FORM

(Part 6)

by Bill Click

Intimacy, Intercession & Individual Identity

It is by becoming overwhelmingly occupied with (& by) the Lord that we enter into true usefulness in the Kingdom of God. Those who are truly occupied with (& by) God become one with Him and experience a merging of the natures: God's with their own. It is in this way the Word of God is fulfilled:

"for whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He may the firstborn of many brethren" (Ro.8:29).

What's sad is that what is above has to be qualified so much in order to not be wrongly understood and misapplied. God is not calling us into monasteries, instead out into the world. God is not calling us to shave our head and wear burlap, hanging out at the airport. Instead, God is calling us to take the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the earth by His power as He releases us by His Spirit. God is not calling us to forsake becoming employed, being an employer or working so that we can pursue things much more "spiritual." God is making our lives into true expressions of worship by placing us into the middle of lost peoples so they can see what God is like by the way we are in Him and He lives through us. All these externals are outer results of the inner reality of the Kingdom of God living within and among us (Lk.17:20-21). We are that church as we are in the world He has made, not just (or even primarily) as we are gathered together. Our gathering and spirituality is not valid unless it results in witness of Him in the places of His choosing "outside the four walls."

We know that individual body members are to be revealed as His true offspring–"the sons of God" (Ro.8:14). Intercession is described as the primary gateway for individual body members to experience the combining of Divine and human natures, restoring us to the image of God (Ro.8:29; Gen.1:27). We have also pointed out that "revelation" of "the mystery of Christ" to His "holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit" releases the "vision" for what Christ is building as the church (Eph.3:4-5; Mt.16:18; 1Cor.2:16). These are inner realities of the Kingdom that must be experienced if we are to example Him with His Substance and in His truthfulness.

This motif of the Lord to restore us to His image by experiencing the heart of God through the ongoing prayer of Jesus merging us together with Him is to be continually experienced by the whole body (Eph.6:18). When this takes place there will be ongoing release and provision of the corporate manifestation of His Mind, i.e., "Headship," in action. (1Cor.2:16; Col.1:18). Again, not just (or even necessarily, primarily) within the gathering, but also (& especially) out in the world He has made that He be seen, heard, felt and experienced.

Each member of the body of Christ is unique because of the Divine Imprint of Christ's specific image to which they are being conformed. Every ministry of Christ is unique because of the specific measure of Christ's grace given. All Apostles and Prophets are unique among themselves and one another because of the "measure" of the portion of Christ's Grace (Eph.4:7,13,16).

Therefore, every church and ministry is to be unique for several reasons. These include:

1. the design of the Lord for impacting and permeating the locale as a whole;

2. special bonding of the parts of the corporate infrastructure (member to member);

3. the relationships between the translocal interconnecting tissue (ministry to ministry);

4. the overall local, regional, trans-regional, national and international impact (apostolic influence & extension) &

5. because it is simply His pleasure to make us in the way He wants us to function.

Humanly speaking, we tend to under-emphasize or neglect God's pleasure in our theologizing. The more "git-r-done" we tend to be, the less 'pleasure' has to do with absolutely anything. Ever. But God enjoys Himself; He revels in His creation. For instance, God not only has pleasure in the holy and upright living of His people, but also in their prosperity (Psa.35:27). Not only are God's people to do His pleasure, but He even defines His wisdom as "pleasure" (Isa.44:28;46:10). We were even created for His pleasure:

"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev.4:10-11).

Because we were created for His pleasure, only His pleasure fulfills our designed function. Since we were created for His pleasure, only His pleasure will complete our own sense of self-image and purpose. "Glory and honor and power" are His because when we live out our callings in His will and way, it is Him living through us (Lk.17:10; Gal.2:20; 2Cor.12:9-10). Because of this the will and way of the Lord not only become our pleasure as well as His, but also our strength (Neh.8:10; Jn.4:31-34). Therefore, we can see that the merging of natures is absolutely essential for not only living in God's function and form, but also for experiencing His joyful pleasure. We must never let success, cultural substitutes for God's grace, comfort, or the other trappings of religion (such as guilt, duty & obligation for example) become a temporal placebo for or alternative to true destiny.

Uniqueness in Spheres & Measures

Not only are there New Testament models of various types of Apostolic/Prophetic functions and forms, there is also "room" for these to overlap and cross pollinate within any given city, area, region or "sphere," such as the media, specific subcultures, and/or other Divinely targeted socioeconomic strata (2Cor.10:8-16). Paul had a "measure" to the Gentiles; Peter to the Jews, etc. We also see that both John & Paul had "spheres" in Ephesus, and that Peter and Paul both used the authority they had been given at Corinth. Paul was quick to point out that Christ is Head, that whatever was authentically rendered provided a portion of His completeness (1Cor.1:10-13; 12:12-31). And Paul also gave us something unique: the example of being out in the public as a witness of Christ without any honor of Apostleship- as a tentmaker who served the needs of others and thus provided for the works God had Him to do and oversee.

What is Christ releasing the Spirit of God to do throughout the whole earth? The Lord is wanting Jerusalem, Antioch, and Ephesus type Apostolic/Prophetic functions deployed in a operation of His authority, with cooperative relationship and strategic co-laboring within the regions which they occupy. And His peoples moving beyond the understanding of ministry as a position-based, salary compensated work. We used to say "bi-vocational" and it was used to signify "less than" because a church or ministry could not completely support its minister. I wouldn't call Paul's Apostleship "less than," would you? So factor that into what follows.

Jerusalem-type revival centers, with abundant hubs for evangelism and leadership supply lines. Prophetic-Apostolic clusters intentionally obeying the Spirit of God to send the Apostolic/Prophetic foundations into all the earth in order to wreak havoc on the devil's kingdom and dismantle religious forms which are preventing the authentic experience of Christ from taking root in people's hearts. A regional understanding and mutual appreciation for the various gifts of Christ, such as what we see in the book of Ephesians, with the church standing on the sure foundations of maturing Apostles and Prophets, equipping and releasing others in the graces which they have been given. Could the devil stop such a fully functional matrix of ministries and ministers operating in the various measures and spheres of Christ's Apostolic and Prophetic foundation, revelation and authority? Especially if they were doing so with no full requirement or even absolute need of financial compensation in order to do so?

The heartbeat of God in this hour is for fully establishing cities, areas and regions through various, multiplied manifestations of His fully foundational, functioning church. Then, to release these trans-regionally, nationally, internationally and worldwide. The Lord longs to raise up His Holy Building, but to do so He must thrust His Apostles and Prophets more deeply into their spheres and also the geographic locales He has sent them to and set them over. As they receive and orchestrate the parts, they must be fully received as well so that function and form of the city of the Body of Christ becomes elevated to the top of humanity's hill. We must cooperate with Apostles and Prophets that fully equip, utilize, season and release ones to become that "savor" which the world so desperately needs in order to taste God (Mt.5:13).

Not only CAN God do this, He is LONGING to do so in this hour. What will it take? Some will have to take on more than they've ever embraced before. How? By stepping out of the boat of "church-ified," successful and comfortable ministry and into the water of witness, business, or other entrepreneurial endeavors to successfully manifest Him in the earth and also bring in the harvest. And this can only be done by receiving the power necessary to sustain a supernatural walk and stay afloat in spite of what may work to delay or distract them. Others will have to step into a deeper flow of Spiritual fuel and revelation while in the midst of an already existing turmoil of uncertainty.

Restoring Christ's Function & Form: a priority

Ministers and ministries need to make adjustments based on the development of spiritual authority which has been revealed and is emerging within, around and among them. When receiving the call to walk in Apostolic or Prophetic authority, we must lay aside all former and present expectations of self and others as well as old wineskins of doctrine, understanding and structure. Even (perhaps even especially in some instances) when it comes to money. There is coming a day when "being a minister" will not allow the expectation, need (&/or hopefully even the desire) for a salaried sustenance from the ministry itself. Otherwise, these will be held down and unable to rise up into what Christ has taken hold of them for. When those around us are revealed to possess what is lacking, we must be willing to develop relationships which will cause the church to enter the Kingdom in a deeper, more eternal way. If there are those within the existing church who are called and submitting themselves in preparation for foundational ministry and leadership, they must be identified, protected and mentored for what lay ahead. And a financial freedom emphasis must become part of what's built into the framework. As we engage this process in a committed, unrelenting manner, we will grow in strength, purpose and fruitfulness, and yes– even in number.

It is certainly in everyone's best interest to make any and all adjustments through which Christ will be freed to activate and release His giftings among us. Why? So that what He has planted which is rooting and reaching out beneath the surface will emerge from the soil– fully able to withstand all and remain in place– continually and visibly manifesting Him. God will bless the minister, member, church, city, area and region which flows in full recognition of what He wants to do. Moreover, He will visit the ones which receive, equip, nurture, protect and prepare those in various stages of Apostolic/Prophetic process– as well as those He has "sent" and "set" to provide the foundation and equipping in order that the Church being fully established in the Kingdom of God.

Let's all prepare ourselves accordingly for a visitation from God that goes beyond splashing about without bringing lasting change.