Part 2
by Bill Click

Apostolic Advancement into His Eternal Purposes
As soon as the Apostles receive the promise of the Spirit's power for witness, they are then also told "to stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Acts 1:8; Lk.24:49). In order to obtain that promise they are to heed its condition. Through this we see not only the necessity of God's timing and empowerment for Apostolic advance, but a unity of heart and purpose as described by the Lord. The heart is for those yet to receive; the purpose is for those yet to believe. Jesus gave this charge, instructing them to prepare for Apostolic advancement into His eternal purposes (Luke 24:49).

In keeping with the direction of Jesus, the Apostles "returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet . . . to the upper room, where they were staying . . . all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women" (Acts 1:14). There, obedience in prayer during the 10 days prior to Pentecost brought fulfillment of the promise for Apostolic power in witness. And that birthing of the Church was their first release into the previously received commission to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mt.28:16-20).

That same power is available to those who yield to His direction for specific, strategic mission today. It is the "now" catalyst for every impending Apostolic endowment to advance all being prepared for Apostolically representing Christ in this hour (Mt.28:20).

As the eleven began responding to Christ's call to gather, wait, and pray, their prayers prepared them for fruitfulness as His Apostolic instruments. During that time they began receiving and perceiving the shift in perception and priority of the new covenant of the Lord. This was necessary, because their destiny was not as they imagined, thought, or even hoped (Acts 1:4-5). They necessarily began to acknowledge their mission as one effecting the hearts of men in spiritual, eternal terms of restoration (Acts 3:19-21). Their understanding began to shift from intending to fulfill the desires of their countrymen in terms of temporal, national interests. As they began to be fit for a new wineskin they began looking past political and economic agendas for reversing the plight of Israel under Rome to the new covenant of the Lord. Instead, they began to open to the heart and purpose of the Lord for an eternal, transnational Kingdom.

As they wait they begin to reinterpret the Old Testament in ways that align with the teaching of the Master, perceiving for the first time the implications of Christ's Lordship and their new role as Ambassadors of His Kingdom (Jn.20:20-23). Still, it does not compute that "Samaria and the uttermost parts of the Earth" means the number of Gentiles receiving Christ would quickly come to outnumber Jewish believers (Acts 1:6-8). After Pentecost they begin to realize that countless "whosoevers" are beginning to hear and receive Jesus Christ (Acts 2:21; 39).

We Must Not Yield to False Authority
In Chapter 4 of Acts we see further transformation of their perception and priorities. As the result of the healing which took place with man who lame from birth at the entrance to the Temple, they receive opposition which seemingly results in an impasse. Those of the very authority they had originally hoped to effect had not only rejected their message, but intentionally worked to forbid them to continue in it. We need to see the contrast between their approach and ours. The Apostles do not conclude that the Church needs to form a study group to develop a position paper on the subject, form a task force, or political action committee to lobby their interests. No, instead they place the problem back into the laps of the Council, saying"you be the judge . . ." (Acts 4:19).

With the confidence of the Lord's command and in His anointing, the Apostles and the church are easily able to remain firm and continue as His representatives. And this is how we should respond when told we cannot freely speak the Name of Jesus or evangelize in public. Of course, without doing so at the Lord's command or without His anointing, we will neither truly represent Him, nor be able to continue when criticized or opposed. We have already heard from the highest authority and our lives belong to God (Mt.22:17-21). But as the Lord says, "The wicked flee when no one pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion" (Pro.28:1).

The Church in Acts turned to prayer as a result of being persecuted. What was the intent of their prayer? Not to receive favor, permission, or even protection, but instead for increasing in the powerful witness of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:24-35). As we go forward now the ground will become ours to the same extent it became theirs, if we birth new believers on that same firm foundation: Jesus Christ's Lordship. But if they are reared on the belief and hope that God primarily waits act in a temporal understanding of what is expedient and convenient, none of us will ever be weaned from childishness (1Cor.13:9-11).

The release of true Apostolic/Prophetic intercessory authority is dangerous to the Devil. Through entering the prayer of Jesus as He prays to the Father, the false authority paradigms and structures rampant within culture and society which currently influence the Church will be discerned. Uncompromising integrity with Christ's heart and mind will establish true spiritual authority for "taking captive" various rationales of political correctness and personal irresponsibility which so undermine all we are and do (2Cor.10:3-5).

For instance, popular paradigms of appropriateness and courtesy that appear rooted in an interpretation of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The problem goes much deeper than interpreting the law, therefore even a right understanding and application of it will not be sufficient for bringing about change. That is because as these various rationales manifest and influence public policy they are nothing more than demonic mindsets which give entrance and inroad to the antichrist spirit (2Tim.3:1-5). These desperately try to eliminate any line of demarcation between true relationship with Jesus Christ and all other religions, neither knowing what or whom is believed (1Jn.2:22-23). The most extreme of these actually promote prejudice against the church by purporting to liberate minorities in the same way that college quotas and affirmative action discriminates against skin color. Everything that is right must be done to insure that those who (in the past) have been discriminated against and marginalized be given fair treatment. But the answer for this can never be ultimately found in legislation, but instead always and forever in the hearts of men and women.

We know that unless we are converted to Jesus by the faith and grace, we are not part of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the enemy blurs the reality of the one true God by attempting to remove the Name of Jesus Christ from view. The only Name by which we can be united with God. Therefore we must neither back down, nor expect the government to fight our battles for us. Christians who oppress others by flaunting their faith also subvert His Lordship. They do this by denying that all will come to bow before Him (Php.2:10). We were not commissioned to flaunt or taunt or even legislate for our own favoritism. Instead, we have been commanded and commissioned to preach, teach, and disciple through the power of the Spirit (Mt.28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

In Acts 4, the prayer of the united Body together for the sake of preaching and speaking in the Name of Jesus resulted in "the place where they had gathered together was shaken" (Acts 4:31). Their prayer did not seek to reverse the decision of the Council, nor were they ultimately concerned with that decision. Why not? Their course had already been set by the One raised from the dead. No one under Heaven could force them to alter or desist following His call.

The intent of their prayer was for the power of God and not the favor of man. As a result it released such wonders the people actually became converted out of fear (Acts 5:12-14). The restoration of the reverential awe of God is greatly needed in this hour. Clearly standing firm while threatened in times of persecution will release such wonders. We often desire the fear of God to be manifested for the purposes of judgment, and this is scriptural (Rev.6:9-10). But judgment is also purposed by God as a witness intended to grip the hearts of those who have not yet have received Christ. In days ahead, Apostolic/Prophetic intercession and petition will release these Apostolic manifestations.

We must always remember and live with the confidence that no man, government, or devil can take away what God has already given and charged us with. Unless, that is, we yield to a false authority which may be legal in the eyes of society, but will never be lawful in the sight of God. It is only by standing firm in such matters that we will become positioned for participating in His true Apostolic power.