Why the Church Needs Apostles Today
Lesson 8 of 14
Have you ever found yourself sitting with a group of Christians, arguing the scriptures? Everyone is using the same scripture to argue a different point of view and everyone is claiming the authority of the scriptures—what they believe the scriptures to say. This situation is very common.
People want to know what they are to believe about Jesus Christ and how they are to defend the faith. What does the scriptures say about Christian living, how we are to pray and worship God, what it means to have faith, what it means to believe? Does God expect anything of us? What does He expect? What about tongues? What about the gifts of the Spirit? How are they to operate? How can we know that we are pleasing God? Why does Paul write about covenants, works, justification, and faith? Why does Peter write about a royal priesthood and the divine nature? What does the Bible say about authority? Who has the authority to teach doctrine? Who runs the church?
The Bible says that the authority is in grace. And that is what we are going to study in this lesson. Always remember that it is grace that carries the authority of the calling and the calling that carries the authority of Jesus Christ because Jesus is the Head of His church. What this means is that the government sits upon His shoulders, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder,” (Isaiah 9:6).
Apostles Are Christ’s Ambassadors
The apostles are Christ's ambassadors. When the apostles teach the doctrine of Christ, they stand in the authority of Jesus to represent Him on earth. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God,” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
When Jesus was on earth He said it this way, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,” (John 12:49). Grace was upon Jesus Christ without measure (John 3:34).
Jesus gave His apostles a measure of grace to teach the church so we would share the mind of His Father concerning His plan of redemption. The Spirit of God brings this to our attention in Ephesians 4:7, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” As also Paul understood by his own experience as an apostle:
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Again, we can see what the Bible says about authority, that the authority is grace and that grace is in the calling and that the calling carries the authority of Jesus Christ. So then, we could say it this way too: The authority is Jesus Christ and carries His grace.
Proper church government for the New Testament church begins with apostles first and results in correct body ministry. The flow of God's grace through the callings and from the body reflects the design of Christ.
Click on Image to Enlarge
Grace is the voice of the Spirit through His apostles to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ, that all believers may build the one foundation of truth. Grace is also in measure upon the prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to build upon that one foundation of truth to minister Christ to the Body and to the world. As each believer serves God in their priesthood, God issues an abundance of grace through each person. Body ministry is about knowing how to share the grace of God as good stewards of His grace.
There is no other authority than that which sits at the right hand of God—Jesus Christ. That is the true place of our authority. And this is why apostolic government is the first thread in the 3-fold cord of our faith: Government, Truth, and Spirit. These are the founding threads of the cord of your faith. If any one of these threads is missing, your faith will not reflect Jesus Christ.
Will the Holy Spirit Guide You Into Truth?
For many years it was believed that a person could be taught truth by studying under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The authority was thought to be in scripture. Specifically, what Jesus said to His apostles, that “the Spirit of truth, [when He is come], will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come,” John 16:13.
Many claim Jesus’ words for themselves, but in reality, Jesus was not speaking universally to all Christians everywhere. Jesus was speaking to His apostles about their calling and how His grace would assist them. Believers, not knowing God’s design for spiritual government, apply what Jesus said to themselves, and believe the Holy Spirit will guide them into truth apart from the apostle’s calling.
Can you see how this action removes the authority from Jesus Christ and places it in a person? And why this is dangerous, because the person carries the inclination of man, the boast of man, and the wisdom of this world, while the calling carries the grace and authority of Jesus Christ.
We can now understand why Apostle Peter warned against “private” interpretation of scripture (2 Peter 1:20). We can see this to be true in how Christians “argue” the scriptures among themselves. Each claim the authority of the scriptures while ignoring the true authority of Jesus in the grace and calling of the apostle.
It is only as the foundation of truth is being set in your heart by the instruction of living apostles that the Holy Spirit will guide you in your understanding. That is how the anointing works.
Study from 2 Timothy chapter 1
What the Bible says about authority. Part 1 of a 2 part lecture by Apostle Eric vonAnderseck that helps believers understand the role of apostles in today's church.
What does the Bible say about authority? In this study of selected verses taken from Apostle Eric’s expounding of 2 Timothy chapter 1, we are going to observe how Timothy was instructed to walk in the authority of his calling by walking in the sanctification of the calling. The authority is in the sanctification and the sanctification speaks of ownership. Timothy can then identify the power of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and stand in the equity of His grace. The 2 part lecture from Apostle Eric is available by clicking the videos to the right.
2 Timothy 1:1-2
1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 1 – “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ;”
Paul, as his habit is, first identifies his calling. Paul does this to explain and expose the power of God that accompanies the calling. Paul is identifying that position as a steward and also assisting Timothy who shares the same apostolic calling.
Now, many have called Paul's letter to Timothy the Pastoral Letters. This is not true. Paul was mentoring Timothy as an apostle. Many pastors claim these epistles as their authority, but the authority is not in the epistle, it is in the sanctification of the calling.
Timothy is functioning under Paul’s stewardship (we see that in verse 2). The Spirit of God set this pattern for the church to observe, that the instruction is only applicable to those who are functioning under stewardship. If you are not functioning under stewardship, then these letters from Paul's position as an apostle have no application, it’s just knowledge, it’s just ink on paper.
Part 2 of the lecture What the Bible Says About Authority.
When you understand the position that Timothy was in and how he was nurtured by Paul, his confirmation, the laying on of hands, you can understand God’s will for church government. Timothy was to continue to build the house of God in recognition of this tethering of government, not independent from it. Independent from the tethering of government there is no refuge, no confirmation, no defense. You are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
“an Apostle of Jesus Christ”
Paul identifies his calling with the name of Jesus Christ for the purpose of sanctification and establishing ownership. Sanctification has to do with God separating you from the world to Himself. He is taking ownership of you for the purpose of nurturing and preparing you for His grand plan of the baptism of light. Those who are outside of covenant will take ownership of Paul’s letters as they also take ownership of the Bible, but it is unsanctified ownership. Ownership has to be in His name—in the name of Jesus. that is sanctified ownership.
So Paul is identifying that position of stewardship for sanctification. And this is why Paul calls himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He stands in the sanctification of that name, not the name of Moses or of that law.
“by the will of God,”
When Paul says, “by the will of God,” he is identifying the power of the Spirit. He is also talking about our power of choice. We choose to join ourselves to our Creator through this sanctification, so he says, by the will of God, by this union, and this joining.
“according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus.”
The word "in" has to do with a point of access and access speaks of the altar of the house. This speaks of your priesthood and the building of the house of the Second Covenant-the house of Jesus Christ. The promise of life is only in this because it is only in Him.
You will not find the promise of life in the house of Baal. In the house of Baal are many unsanctified tokens and the activity of that house builds man’s boast. Always remember that the boast of man never progresses, but always regresses into a form of regret, and so we see in the house of Baal that preaching focuses on those things that man regrets.
The unsanctified stewardship mixes the aspiration and boast of man with Christ. That is why it is the house of the mother of harlots (joined to many suitors for pleasure), the house of the hydra (many heads).
Our Genealogy is Jesus Christ
God will always bring the church back to identifying the house of their true parentage that we may identify Him. This is “distinction of face”. In the house of God there is distinction of face because there is a pure language and there is an understanding of your function, so there is distinction of face. We know what relation we are of.
Just like birds. When a bird's eyes are opened he sees for the first time a reflection of what he is. So if he sees anything that is less than what his parent looks like then of course he says, "No, I am not part of your group, I am part of this group over here."
So the sea gull when his eyes open he sees the face of his mother. That image is burned within his mind concerning his house. And it is the same with us, when we are born again our eyes are opened by knowledge and we see the face of Christ and we know who our parent is from that point on, so there is no confusion of face.
The same is true for kittens of dogs. When puppies open their eyes for the first time they see who their parent is. Hopefully it will be your face. So when the little puppy’s eyes are opened, the first person they see they say, "Awww! I belong to you." And you want to cuddle it and pet it, and there is no confusion of face.
The sanctification of the calling is vital. If the knowledge the preacher shares is not Christ, then new born babes will not see the face of Christ when their eyes open, they will see the face of Baal or the many faces of the hydra. That is their parent. The knowledge they are born of.
The chronicles in the book of Numbers illustrates this for us. You can see that the Jews were very accurate in their genealogy (which is distinction of face). When they came out of Egypt, God was bringing out His people to separate them from all other people to Himself. God gave them all one language of covenant to speak through Moses. They all embraced the same law, the same altar, the same faith. They were all of one house, the house of Moses.
When the Jews wandered from the covenant of God they mixed with other nations. And as a result they learned their language and worshipped their gods. They spoke half the language of the house of Moses and half the language of Baal. The Spirit of the Lord brought this out through Nehemiah, “And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people,” (Nehemiah 13:24).
God Returns to the People a Pure Language
Let’s bring that forward to the New Covenant. The language of the covenant will be spoken by those who are in the house of Jesus Christ, for those who are born of His knowledge speak His language. Our genealogy is now Jesus Christ because we are born of new knowledge and by this knowledge we have distinction of face because our communication (our language) is in relation to the house we are in. So that is distinction of face.
There will be those who are outside of covenant that will speak half truth and half some other language of the hydra. This shows that their parent really is not of the house of God. They picked up on certain language they read in the Bible, they can say “grace” or “faith” or speak of the “Holy Spirit”, but that does not mean that they are of the house of the kingdom of God.
The restoration of church government is a fulfillment of the Lord’s promise, “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent,” Zephaniah 3:9.
Sanctified Stewardship Brings You Into Your Sanctification
Verse 10 – But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Verse 11 - Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
“made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ”
The face that we saw upon our birth by the knowledge that was brought to us by the apostles whom God has appointed to preach and teach (verse 11).
The light of His countenance was first seen in Moses, but it was in types and shadows. The high priest turned around upon the completion of the sacrifices and he raised his hands and said, "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you, make His countenance to arise upon you and give you peace.”
Sanctified stewardship brings you into your sanctification that you, upon seeing the face of Christ, may receive the blessing of His grace, mercy, and peace. This is what we see Paul saying to Timothy in verse 2: grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
we partake of this now at the altar. The face of God (His countenance) is now seen in the covenant and tools of Jesus Christs, in these things. We receive the blessings of the inheritance and the blessings of this grace through this altar of Jesus Christ. This is where His face is at. Because we see Him, we have His image burned within our understanding.
This is the “authority of grace”. The knowledge of Christ that apostles teach the church carries His sanctification that they may see His face. Through the stewardship your sanctification remains sealed. Apart from it, the peace of God will not rule.
God will not put His peace upon anything that is unsanctified. God puts his peace only upon those sanctified things. So here Timothy is in recognition of this tethering and Paul says, grace, mercy, and peace. So the revelation of God brings about this form of activity that God sanctifies. His peace will rule. And we see that the tether is strong. It is from God the Father and Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus our Lord.
“from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord”
From God the Father - shows us that He governs our destiny in this form of tethering and nurturing. That the witness (the Father) is superior to the record (Jesus Christ) because it is the empowerment of the record. Apart from the empowerment, the record is a dead letter. It's like soil without moisture, it is dead—called desert. It lays desolate. But when the moisture moves upon the sand, immediately life begins to spring up. So that which was desolate within you is now springing forth with life because of God's sanctification. This tether exists because of your priesthood and Timothy has an active priesthood.
It's good to have a strong prayer life. The application of your prayer life is equivalent to your growth. As you are utilizing the language of the angels, praying in the Spirit, your growth will continue to excel and excel, it will increase because knowledge comes from this form of contact. Revelation comes from this contact.
verse 5 – When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Unfeigned faith this has to do with the open activity of your faith. It is not concealed in any kind of emulation. That which you are doing, you are not expressing through emulation. And this is what Satan has taught the church, to assume Christ by emulation. Ministers come sailing into the pulpit very loudly, trying to emulate apostolic authority, yet they do not possess the substance of that calling. They are trying to emulate it. Timothy, you are not standing in emulation of the calling, you are standing in the reality of the calling, because your tether is true. That's good.
“which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice”
When I called to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you that first dwelt in your mother and grandmother. You, Timothy, are carrying this good tradition of faith. There is a difference between carrying a tradition and emulating what you read. A lot of people, when they read the Bible, try to emulate the characters they read in the Bible.
They read about the patriarchs and they try to fit into that role. They use the patriarchs as role models. By doing that they are role playing, like an actor. Actors play the role of certain famous characters. Actors like Charlton Heston who played the role of Moses in the movie The Ten Commandments. So he pretended he was Moses and people liked the way he acted it out because he showed zeal, he showed emotion, he showed conviction.
People like the conviction so they try to act out the things they admire. The thing of it is, without the calling, you are only an actor. Actors study the characters they are going to portray on the stage so that they can be as real as possible. So they read the Bible and other texts and try to role play the part. But when the reality comes they are not prepared for the responsibility of living the faith of their fathers.
Responsibility takes the fun out of it. When you were a child, playing base ball the rules were open to opinion, but when you grow up and play in the leagues it is no longer open to opinion where you can shout at your neighbor and say, "He is safe! He is safe!" And your neighbor shouts, "No! He is out! He is out!"
What kids do is role play things they see on TV. So they like to play the part of the umpire. Kids, when they watch particular programs about doctors and nurses, pick up a few terms they hear, and try to play that role. But it would be very dangerous for them if they had a real scalpel in their hand. They might end up maybe removing the cat’s tail.
People do the same thing when they read the Bible. They read about the Apostle Paul and say, "If I can act out his mannerisms and say what he said with great zeal and passion then I can really trick the eye, I can make myself look like a real apostle.” But they are just role playing. When it really comes to the grace of that calling, the responsibility takes the fun out of it and you realize that the responsibility of the calling is greater than the games you played as a child.
When you are role playing you are the one that calls the score. So what's the score now? And your neighbor says, "I have 5 runs in and you're losing." Why is it always like that? Every ball they hit is a home run and every time you tag him out, they are safe, and every ball they throw it is a strike, but to you it's a ball. So that's the way kids are, they want to make the rules as they go along. But when you are put into the real game, it is no longer under the control of your perception. It is in control of the true umpire who has the skills, and you are under the supervision of the manager and the coach whose job is to train and guide you. They are the ones making the rules for you. So the responsibility takes the fun out of it. Now it is not on the basis of fun but on the basis of money. If you are not a good player, you don't get paid.
The same thing is true for the calling. When it comes to the calling, the reality of the calling is the responsibility of prayer, study, and the labor at the altar. Now you are laboring through it where before it was in your imagination and it was an illusion. There is actually an expression out there in the current Christian culture "Fake it until you make it." Ministers actually teach faith like that.
So they read about the patriarchs like Abraham, and they try to act out the part (faking it, hoping to someday make it). Or they read about Jeremiah the prophet, or Isaiah, or they read about apostle Paul, or Jesus of Nazareth. So they try to put themselves in the role of that character, thinking that if they put themselves into the role it may morph into reality. It doesn't. It is by God's selection and by His grace and by His sanctification.
Stir Up the Gift
Verse 6 - Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
“stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands”
So Paul says to Timothy to stir up his calling, which Timothy received from God, but was confirmed before the church by the laying on of Paul's hands. So the Spirit is bringing out that the laying on of Paul's hands made valid Timothy's calling.
God used a physical vessel (Paul) to establish Timothy in his calling of apostle. God always did that. He used physical vessels to communicate His will through. So Paul, laying his hands on Timothy, confirmed that Timothy's calling was real, it was valid, it was sanctified. And that is the same thing God is doing again today. Validating your calling by His sanctification and the laying on of the hands of the chief apostle.
It is valid, it is real, it is sanctified. We are not playing church. This is the real thing. And because it is the real thing God continues to affirm it by dreams, visions, prophecy, and words of knowledge, discerning of spirits and that confirmation of grace upon grace upon grace upon grace and charity upon charity upon charity.
verse 8 - Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
“Be not thou therefore ashamed”
To be ashamed means to conceal something. Don't conceal your light. Let it shine. Don't conceal your calling. Let it shine. God gave it to you. That is a gift God gave you. Why would you be ashamed of it? If an individual is ashamed of his or her calling, 99% of the times the individual feigned the revelation for the calling in the first place. If they feigned the revelation for the calling then they would be ashamed of it because there is no substance to substantiate the confirmation.
When You Outgrow Your Imagination
But if the calling IS by the grace of God there is nothing to be ashamed of, let your light shine. There is no shame is saying, “Yes, I am called to be an apostle.” The same is true if you are called to be a prophet, or evangelists, or pastor, or teacher. This is the testimony that God gave to you in the name of Christ. So to bury it in the soil is to show shame towards it and His name, saying, well, it is not meeting my expectation. It is less than I thought it was. It is not fun anymore. So therefore I am going to put my ball and bat away, it’s not fun anymore. I outgrew my imagination of it. That is the problem in the first place, that is what they were using—their imagination. But the reality of it, as Paul brings out to Timothy, it is God that called you to this, don't bury it but let your light shine.
“ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner”
Be not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (that is concerning the calling), nor of me, the stewardship. Don't be ashamed of the stewardship. Because this is the first thing that Satan wants to attack. Satan wants to attack stewardship and of course attacking Paul's stewardship he would say things to undermine Paul or things that are derogatory.
How do you know if Paul really had that experience on the road to Damascus? Maybe he was just faking it. Well, how do you know if Moses saw the burning bush? Maybe he was just faking it? People draw from their own bad habits. Their own revelations were exaggerations, embellishments, and inflated grace.
But Paul stands strong in the sanctification of his calling and says to Timothy, “Be not you therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord concerning what God established for you or for me, the stewardship. Because it is God that called you to this. It is God that is sustaining you through this. You are not feigning these things.”
“nor of me his prisoner”
I am tethered to Him. You are tethered to Him. But the adversary is trying to convince the carnal eye. Remember that the carnal eye works with one's logic and the logic is prejudiced. The logic of man can be very religiously prejudiced because of a person’s upbringing, their association, their relatives, what someone said to them. That becomes your eyes. Can you believe that?
People are unaware of the influences of the kingdom of darkness. They are unaware of that. So someone makes a statement about stewardship about apostles that is derogatory, to undermine the name of Jesus Christ, that becomes the eye of discernment for those who do not see the face of Christ. They begin to look at the apostles of Jesus through that key hole, the key hole of someone else's logic.
What are they looking for when they peek through the key hole? They are looking for confirmation through the key hole of logic. But that is the powers of this world. That is how powerful they are. That is of this world, this dimension. The world lies in thick darkens, being the lowest of the heavens and the darkest of the heavens. Satan is ruling the persuasion of man's thinking and the ruling began with knowledge. When a person’s eyes were first opened by knowledge, they saw the face of their parent, Satan.
Satan established ownership over you by a perception of knowledge. It is that perception of knowledge that establishes ownership. But we have now a new ownership, which is God's sanctification, which has to do with His perceptions -- His mind. We have the mind of Christ now.
God’s Clear Message
God is sending a clear message to the church that pastoral governance is no longer valid and that the gospel is now being preached correctly through His sanctification. Church government was never intended to begin with the office of the pastor, it was always in the office of the apostle.
Understand the issue: The office of the pastor is sanctified by God, but when believers read about the sanctification of the pastor’s calling in the Bible, they feel they are operating in that sanctification, but they were not operating under the sanctification of the apostles office, and so they take ownership of the pastor’s calling apart from God’s sanctification. Without the true grace of God, people emulate. Now it is in emulation, not sanctification. What was sanctified by God became unsanctified by man.