APOSTOLIC FUNCTION & IT'S RESULTING FORM

(Part 7)

by Bill Click

Some Non-Negotiables

We must never allow ourselves to believe that aspects of identity, function, character and form are in any way negotiable. Apostles and Prophets– indeed, the whole church– must remain true to the One who is forming, reforming and conforming us for His eternal purposes. Not only that, but what must be especially honored and held to is the way Christ is forming each one for His intentions. The result will feature individual uniqueness and corporate peculiarity, but also unity of the Spirit and a mutually beneficial function (1Pe.2:9-10, Eph.4:1-3, 1Cor.12:7,11).

To prevent relativism and pragmatic extremes, there needs to be a valid paradigm for discerning who we are, what we are to do, and what will be the end result of all this. There is such a blueprint available to us. However, this model is not rooted in evaluations of our skill sets, job descriptions, present or past reputations, prospects for advancement, or any other this-age mile-marker of achievement or accomplishment.

To prevent relativism and pragmatic extremes, there needs to be a valid paradigm for discerning who we are, what we are to do, and what will be the end result of all this. There is such a blueprint available to us. However, this model is not rooted in evaluations of our skill sets, job descriptions, present or past reputations, prospects for advancement, or any other this-age mile-marker of achievement or accomplishment.

This paradigm has parameters

Who defines those parameters? God. How does He do it? Through His Word. How was His Word made manifest to us? Through Christ (Jn.1:1,14). Who makes Christ clear to us? The Holy Spirit (1Cor.2:8-16; Eph.3:4-5). What defines the boundaries for those understandings and applications? Scripture (2Tim.3:16). How does He lead us through Scripture? By the Holy Spirit (1Cor.2:12-13; Ro.8:14). Where does the embodiment of that living Word reside in the Earth? Within the church Jesus came to establish (Mt.16:18). Who are those of the church Jesus came to establish? Those who walk in their God-provided identity and function through righteous relationship with the Lord, which takes the form of submitted, committed service to the body of Christ. And this is a non-negotiable for all of us, without exception (1Cor.12:12f). And to be authentic, it must include all the dimensions of participation with the body of Christ, not just the ones we are most comfortable with in our own natural self. It is non-negotiable that your life with God include the "apostles fellowship," "the temple," "all that believed were together" and also "house to house" (Acts 2:42-47).

God has absolute and final say in all matters of faith and life and even death. But Christ has given of His own anointing and nature to those He calls to the Church (Eph.4:11). Christ has overcome sin, death and hell and matured, commissioned Apostles have been given the keys to the Kingdom (Mt.16:19). Christ has given us life, fully manifested God to us, and has taught us– not only when He imparted to His Apostles, but also through His Apostles as well (Mt.28:19). His Apostles without fail were Baptized by the Spirit of God and known to be the ones who initially sought to be led by the Spirit(Acts 16:4-10)

They emphasized not only the power of the Spirit, but the essentiality of His leadership as well (Acts 15:28; Ro.8:14). Christ's Apostles are no less called to that same walk today. The degree to which they ultimately do defines their individual apostolicity. But it also enables the Prophets to come into their full function as well. Moreover, it also releases the environment to become one pregnant with the potential for becoming the authentic apostolic body that Christ came to establish by that same Spirit (Mt.16:18-19; Ro.8:13-14).

Being an Apostle or Prophet is about much more than becoming a person who either goes, moves and pioneers or sees, hears and says what God is doing. Being an Apostle or Prophet is also more than building, orchestrating, releasing and governing, or revealing, imparting, exhorting and equipping others. It's even about more than power, authority, revelation, direction and provision. Walking in Christ's Apostolic or Prophetic anointing and authority requires submission to repeated processes of preparation which result in the greatest degree of selfless commitment to serve the Master and His Body. Although there is no greater call to self death in the church than that of being "first apostles, secondarily prophets" (1Cor.12:28), as this is "made flesh" by Apostles and Prophets, then the whole body can and must rise up now in the resurrection power that results from crucified living (Jn.1:12; Gal.2:20; Ro.8:13-22).

Paul made it clear that he honestly believed God had placed Apostles "last on the processional" (1Cor.4:9-13). Later in that same letter, he also asserted by the Spirit that their ministries were "set" and appointed as God's first priority for the church (12:28). I would add that not only is this true, but that Prophets are second to last in that "processional" as well. That certainly seems to be the pattern of restoration which has taken place in the Body during our lifetimes. It also reflects that the ministry of the Prophets has been set and appointed by God "second" in the Body– that their ministries are of the "second" highest priority to the ongoing work of Christ establishing the church in the Kingdom of God. Second only to that of the apostolic (1Cor.12:28). As this is "made flesh" by Apostles and Prophets, then the whole body can flow in Christ's order as well, the example for it having been set by those whose responsibility is the greatest

Jesus said the greatest in the Kingdom would be the servant of all (Mk.9:33-35)

What does that mean for the Apostle and Prophet? The body does not exist for Apostles and Prophets. Instead, these foundational ministries exist for the body. That means the selfless obedience of Christ's matured, commissioned and "set" Apostles and Prophets provides the rock-solid footing for the other parts to commit, combine, flow together in order and rise up now to become a Holy Building unto the Lord, built on top of that unshakeable foundation (Eph.2:19-22).

This is what sets the Apostle and Prophet apart from the other "ascension gifts" of Christ. The rest of the body is dependant on them for providing the dimension that will make the difference. It is also what differentiates the Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts to the church from the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. Charismata are given by the Spirit to individuals for the sake of "the common good" and the self-edification of the church (1Cor.12:7; 14:3). But the domata are given by Christ to the Church for the sake of preparing all for their eternal communion with Christ through a unique function, a peculiar form, maturity in character and true service (Eph.4:7-18; 5:25-32). And Apostles and Prophets are unique among the Ephesians 4 ministry gifts.

Because they are the "tipping point" of pouring true foundation for the church, Apostles and Prophets who flow in their unique Christ function will impact the corporate body in ways that are peculiar. But they must never allow themselves to become puffed up by their fruit, or by the way or extent to which they are received, by popularity, resulting influence, reproductive power, prosperity, or visibility. All those are the byproducts of imparting and establishing Christ through their unique measure of His nature and supernatural ability. These corresponding attributes are to be regarded as spoils of war which are only important to the degree they serve the greater purpose of the Kingdom. In other words, Apostles and Prophets exist for Christ's sake and belong to His Body. When they live out this reality, then the church can truly begin to live for and move with the Lord, moving past always desiring to have Christ to live for them and getting the Lord to move for them.

Apostles and Prophets have one method which not only defines their function, but their direction, decision making, and confidence as well. And that is following God's Holy Spirit. And through their example, the entire church is to be inspired, equipped and released to do the same (Ro.8:14). Together. God has designed us so that the complexities and nuances of all we are called to be and do are totally dependant upon the simplicity of the clear revelation of His will. Walking in His way, timing and steps are compulsory prerequisites for true and complete functioning and fruitfulness in His image. And God's will requires us to revere and prefer His leadership to our intentions, plans and preferences. If we are not already fully aware of and in full agreement with this, we very soon will be. The road we are all on will only continue to narrow, encouraging and even requiring us to allow a continual redefinition of our priorities and set new markers for what is true Godly passion.

Apostles and Prophets have one means by which they operate as ministers– one Holy Currency– and that is faith. Matured, commissioned Apostles and Prophets realize that faith is the fuel for the energy which comes from His Voice (Ro.10:17). They also realize that everything He calls them to requires the exercise of faith for its completion (Heb.11:1,6). They recognize that they are called to create just like God does . . . from nothing. Therefore, they rise up in their unique imprint of His image and go for all He has shown them. How? In the way He has shown them, at the time He releases, and from among those He has given them. They believe for doors to open, for finances to come in, for the reception of direction from Him and for wisdom to apply what He says. Faith is not only their fuel, but a Holy Currency. Faith is not only their substance and evidence, it is "the land" of the "sphere" they are "sent" to and "set" over, and also the title deed for its emergence into full function and effectiveness. And as Apostles and Prophets live in this way, so can the church.

As Apostles and Prophets walk in their measure of faith, they exhibit marks which set them apart– not only from the body of Christ– but also from each other as well. The Prophetic spontaneously sees, hears and says that which God is doing throughout the Body. The Prophetic then releases it accordingly, and– at the matured, commissioned level equips others to do the same. Apostles often apply what they are shown in systematic ways and operate more in the mode of going, moving and pioneering. This builds and orchestrates by the Spirit for the sake of fully establishing that which the entire Body needs in order to become self-reproducing over time. When Apostles and Prophets move this way in God's Spirit, so can the entire church (Mk.16:17f).

When Apostles and Prophets minister by the Spirit, they produce the supernatural in ways which clearly identify them (Eph.3:3-7). Some would not be eager– or even willing– to include these "marks" as essential. Or else, would instead insist on the signs for a Prophet (Num.12:6), but not those for Apostles (2Cor.12:12). But we have clear teaching from an Apostle about Apostles, therefore we must never allow ourselves to deny the authority of those words over us. For it is God who has absolute say over all matters of faith and life and even death. Signs will be manifested by those who believe in His Name and come under true Apostolic authority, whether that authority resides within the individual by Christ's design and measure, or is the result of coming under those of Apostolic authority in the Body of Christ. (Acts 1:8; 1Cor.14:37-38). And it is only to Him and His clearly revealed will that we must forever bow (Ro.14:11-12; Php.2:9-11; Mk.7:6-8).

Apostles and Prophets indeed, the whole church must remain true to the One who is forming, reforming and conforming for His purposes

Not only that, but what must be especially honored and held to is the way Christ is forming each for these eternal purposes. That is individually unique and corporately peculiar (1Pe.2:9-10). But it also features unity of the Spirit and a mutually beneficial function (1Pe.2:9-10, Eph.4:1-3, 1Cor.12:7,11).

When Apostles and Prophets minister by the Spirit, they produce the supernatural in ways which clearly identify them (Eph.3:3-7). Some would not be eager– or even willing– to include these "marks" as essential. Or else, would instead insist on the signs for a Prophet (Num.12:6), but not those for Apostles (2Cor.12:12). But we have clear teaching from an Apostle about Apostles, therefore we must never allow ourselves to deny the authority of those words over us. For it is God who has absolute say over all matters of faith and life and even death. Signs will be manifested by those who believe in His Name and come under true Apostolic authority, whether that authority resides within the individual by Christ's design and measure, or is the result of coming under those of Apostolic authority in the Body of Christ . (Acts 1:8; 1Cor.14:37-38). And it is only to Him and His clearly revealed will that we must forever bow (Ro.14:11-12; Php.2:9-11; Mk.7:6-8).

Apostles and Prophets indeed, the whole church must remain true to the One who is forming, reforming and conforming for His purposes

Not only that, but what must be especially honored and held to is the way Christ is forming each for these eternal purposes. That is individually unique and corporately peculiar (1Pe.2:9-10). But it also features unity of the Spirit and a mutually beneficial function (1Pe.2:9-10, Eph.4:1-3, 1Cor.12:7,11).

God has given us a valid paradigm for discerning who we are, what we are to do, and what will be the end result of it. This paradigm has parameters.

Who defines those boundaries? God. How does He do it? Through His Word. How was His Word made manifest to us? Through Christ (Jn.1:1,14). Who makes Christ clear to us? The Holy Spirit (1Cor.2:8-16; Eph.3:4-5). What defines the boundaries for those understandings and applications? Scripture (2Tim.3:16). How does He lead us through Scripture? By the Holy Spirit (1Cor.2:12-13; Ro.8:14). Where does the embodiment of that living Word reside in the Earth? Within the church Jesus came to establish (Mt.16:18). Who are those of the church Jesus came to establish? Those who walk in their God-provided identity and function through righteous relationship with the Lord, which takes the form of submitted, committed service to the body of Christ.

And these non-negotiables are for all of us, without exception (1Cor.12:12f). And to be authentic, they must include all the dimensions of participation with the body of Christ, not just the ones we are most comfortable with in our own natural self. It is non-negotiable that your life with God include the "apostles fellowship," "the temple," "all that believed were together" and also "house to house" (Acts 2:42-47).