Faithlife Sermons

Apostles: More Than Just Sent

Ephesians 4:11–16 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
The Way the Heavenly Father Allows Me to Help
I can recall the first time I asked my son to be the big man of the house. I was getting ready to head out on a deployment, he was about 8 years old. I could see the wheels turning in his little head trying to make sense of what I was asking of him.
I was not trying to fool myself I knew my sons abilities. I knew his strengths and his weaknesses. I also understood this was a great weight on his shoulders. At this time he was asking for more responsibilities, so to him this was very important.
There was an expectation set, he we would take care of his mom and his sisters while I was away. I would not leave him completely alone as I would call home and check, but upon my return he would get his long awaited Xbox.
As I reflected on this story I began to think about how the Father places a calling on our lives. Sometimes it feels like it is too big to bear. Sometimes we may even question if we have the ability to do what He has called us to do or not.
Our God great in understanding and wisdom fills us with His Spirit and makes us ready for His service. There is one thing that also came to mind… for my son his assignment ended when I returned, for the ones who hear the call fo the Lord and respond you call does not end until Christ’s Return.
Focus on the Apostle:

Apostles: More Than Just Sent

Isaiah 6:8–10 ESV
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
Isaiah and Apostle?
Isaiah is not traditionally thought of as an apostle but like several others define at the root what an apostle is.
Defining the word:
If we look at this in the Greek sense the term apostle is equivalent to that of a leader of marine expedition (in its most basic sense simply a sent one.)
In the Hebrew sense the term (shaliach) is more than just a sent one it is:

A person who is temporarily authorized to carry fully in their own person the person and rights of another to accomplish a task

A Second look
Isaiah is one who is divinely commissioned to accomplish a specific task.
The apostle is one who is divinely commissioned to accomplish a specific task.
The apostle’s term is perpetual until (a) the task is complete or (b) the return of Christ.

Who Were the Apostles

When we think of the Apostles we may be quick to jump to the 12
Luke 6:13–16 ESV
And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Yet in Acts 1:21-26 Matthias replaces Judas and Acts 6 Stephan a Greek Jew is given apostleship.
Luke in Acts 14 tells of Barnabas and Paul as Apostles.
Paul in 1 Thessalonians tells us about Timothy as an Apostle
In Romans 6:7 Paul ascribes Andronicus and Junia as apostles before him.
So can we safely say there to be more than 12?
We can count at least 18 when we include the above mentioned names
Each one had a special assignment and each one carried out in authority what the Lord had placed in them.
They were divinely commissioned to accomplish a specific task.

The Qualifications of the Apostle

1 Corinthians 9:1 ESV
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?
Two qualifiers are noted here alone
To have seen Jesus face to face post His resurrection
For the 12 who were ministering to the Jewish community they had to have walked with Him
Check the fruits… He says look at my workmanship.
Galatians 1:1 ESV
Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
Many argue they are to be appointed by men (impossible because the original are all dead)
Note the apostle made after the ascension is not given from man
The commission to carry out the will of God is given through Christ
Heb 3:1 speaks to us about Christ as the Apostle of Apostles… the one who was commissioned directly by God
more clearly… The modern apostle must receive their commission directly from Christ
2 Corinthians 12:12 ESV
The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.
Signs and wonders will follow the apostle
This is what sets the apostle apart from the false apostles...
Galatians 1:11–12 ESV
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
This sign here is one which some contend… there is no new revelation…
There is a revelation of scripture and what it means… The Lord continues to this day revealing what He has stated through scripture
John 15 brings this to a culmination in which the fullness of God is made known to us through Christ.

The Fate of the Apostles

Several Crucified
1 flayed to death
Several stoned to death
Some speared others shot to death with arrows
1 died in isolation
and others hanged
I know of one modern apostle who I can say all of the qualifiers were with him… his fate? Died of throat cancer… Still want to be an apostle?
I surface this before I mention the big why… for any who would have the illusion of what awaits them should they be called to the apostleship…this is because of the calling and special assignment given to those who truly are apostles

The Assignment of the Apostle

John 21:15–17 ESV
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus asks Peter Twice Agapao Ego
Would you give everything for me?
The third time He simply says Phileo Ego
Do you at least like me enough
Focus on the command
Feed my Lambs
They were used for sacrifice
The ministers of the church
the other four ministries
(Tend) Shepherd my Sheep (the flock and congregation)
Feed my sheep
Peter is crushed in this space as he realizes just what the Lord was asking him.
It is not for high ranking position or for titles… It is the level of Love the Lord demands from this people that gives them such a calling… those who accept this know they are to be broken and poured out for the the ministers and the congregation.
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