Why the Church Needs Apostles Today
Should Apostles Hide Their Calling?
Lesson 9 of 14
Many believe that apostles should hide their calling. Is this true? Does Jesus want His apostles to hide the authority He gave them? Did Paul hide his calling? It is clear that Paul did not hide his talent (calling). He began every epistle stating his authority in Christ to teach the church. When he wrote, “Paul an apostle,” he was not being prideful, he was simply stating the authority of grace.
When Paul said, “I magnify my office,” (Romans 11:13) he was not being boastful, but exalting Christ who gave him the measure of grace to instruct the Body. Paul was meaning, “I teach and preach from that measure of grace that Christ has given to me to make known His truth and communicate His mind.”
It is clear that Paul claimed the authority of Christ. If Paul did not claim the authority of Christ, then he would be coming in his own name, he would be teaching in his own name. And Paul would not do that. Paul always pointed to Christ in regard to his calling.
This is why Paul explained to the Christians at Philippi, “You all are partakers of my grace,” (Philippians 1:7). And why he explained to the Christians at Corinth that they should remember “his ways, which be in Christ”. They were to remember what he taught them: (1 Corinthians 4:17), “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”
Lest we think that Paul exalted himself, let us remember how he taught the people that their allegiance be given to Christ, not to Paul saying, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” 1 Corinthians 3:5. The church today follows the same example.
How Paul Set the Example by Identifying his Apostolic Stewardship
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”
1. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2. If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3. How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
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;
Video teaching about church government and apostles today.
The first thing Paul does is identify his stewardship, “Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ.” The identification of stewardship, though, is not independent of the Godhead, it is tethered to the Godhead. As you study the lessons provided by Second 8th Week Ministries and gain experience you will come to understand more and more that God tethers you to Himself by His grace.
So, when Paul identifies himself as an Apostle, he is identifying that tether of his calling to the grace of God. He is not identifying the aspiration of man, but the power of God through stewardship. And because the carnal mind cannot distinguish between the two (aspiration and grace) some will always view these things from the position of the boast rather than the position of the power.
When you identify your calling in church government some will say, "Why are you identifying yourself? I thought we were supposed to be talking about Jesus?" And here, Paul is talking about himself isn't he? By identifying himself he is showing his position in the machinery of the kingdom of God.
The same thing is true for a spark plug. When the spark plug is being examined, it is not that we are exalting the spark plug, but rather identifying it's value and position within the machinery of the engine. We are not isolating it for the purpose of worship. The true worship has to do with this function of the machinery of His kingdom. The true worship of God has to do with the function of your priesthood and eldership working together. That is church government.
-- “For this cause I Paul,” so again Paul is identifying, but not isolating his calling. He is showing the place value and function of his calling being tethered to the Godhead. Which simply means that he receives his supply of grace from God. That's why he talks about the dispensation of grace in verse 2. God has appointed grace for this season of growth which, Paul says was given to him, to give to the church. So we can see that the stewardship has a place value that is very important for the distribution of God's knowledge.
When God made known to you your calling, He was handing to you a seed bag, and this seed bag was for the distribution of the knowledge that bears His likeness. The knowledge that bears His likeness will be sown through your stewardship and through your elder hood.
Are You an Authorized Part in the Machinery of God?
This is your responsibility with this seed bag. Not to bury it as to conceal your talents, but rather to give it to the exchangers. The purpose of the calling is to make known your place value within this engine within the kingdom of God. But if you do not make known your calling, then it's like an engine part that does not have a patent number on it. Every engine part has a stamp on it, or number to identify it as an authorized part to be used in the engine.
Taking that to the covenant, each calling has a traceable seal which bears our Father's likeness. In other words, it is traced back to the bosom of our Father, or the factory where this grace came from, identifying its chief designer our Lord Jesus Christ. What we are doing is distributing this grace, which has His patent number on it which bears the image and likeness of its designer, our Lord Jesus Christ.
When Paul says, “Which is given to me,” he is again speaking of himself. So highlight the words "given to me" and write the word "steward" over that. It (the knowledge of His grace) is given to me for you. In other words the stewardship is necessary for this distribution. But the apostle Paul, saying this was not for the purpose of isolating himself from the Godhead (grace of God) for the boast of the aspiration, but showing again the patent number that he is carrying. I am joined to the Godhead (I am receiving this grace from God's throne) and I am a true distributor. I am not pirating the knowledge. I am not a black marketer.
Now those in the False Religious System are pirates and black marketers. They will take the very knowledge that has the grace of God imprint, the patent number, and they will sell it under their own name.
Paul Reveals His Source
- “by revelation he made known unto me,” Draw a line from the word “me” in this verse to the word “me” in verse 2 and connect it to the words “I Paul” in chapter 1 verse 1. Now there would be those who would be very critical about Paul saying, "Wow! He likes to write about himself doesn't he?" But again, Apostle Paul is showing his sources. I have the true source. I am a true distributor. I am not pirating God's truth or black marketing God’s truth for the purpose of indulging myself in profits.
– “made known unto me the mystery.” The Spirit of the Lord unfolded to me the mystery. Then he says that they should read what he wrote: “Whereby, when you read.” That means that the anointing (the Holy Ghost) will open your understanding to build. Now it is very difficult for those who are outside of covenant to intrude upon or to try to discover the substance of this mystery so what they do is read what they can understand and try to apply it to their life. But again, what they understand, they are examining only one part of the machine and trying to build an engine from a spark plug, and you can't do that. You can't build a whole engine from one part. An engine is a combination of many parts. In God’s kingdom those parts are: Government, truth, and Spirit; the gifts, callings, and graces of God; prayer, preaching, and prophecy. All these are involved in this one machine.
When the apostles teach, the anointing is present to build, so you can understand the knowledge. Now you can set in order the spiritual things of God’s kingdom, which before, the knowledge of God was book knowledge, lacking experience.
Paul speaks of teaching the mystery of Christ. The word mystery has to do with something that has been concealed. It takes the position of the stewardship to point out the combination of the safe. No one knows the combination to the safe but the stewardship. This grace is given to the calling for the purpose of opening and unfolding Christ, to bring out the volume of this knowledge and to begin to explain it and expound on it.
– “as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles.” So highlight the word "holy" apostles. The reason why the Lord says "holy apostles" is because there are also unholy apostles. The same is true with any of the callings. Whether apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher, the callings are holy to God.
Paul Says He is the Least
So verse 8
--- “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach.” So it was not my education, by association, by social standing that God is using. There is the word "I" again, so circle the word "I". It is necessary to repeat that this is not the boast of the aspiration "I", but this was a point of identification "I". This is the empowerment of his calling that Paul is sharing.
When the current Christian culture sees the word "I" they identify themselves as an independent non functional part. It is not put into the engine. It is not doing anything. It is not benefiting the car at all. It is just rusting over there. So when believers today see the word "I", they look at it as a rusting non functional part - it stands in its boasting.
Over there (in the False Religious System) is its boast, but in here (covenant faith) it is working humbly because each part has to submit itself to the other. That is what we do. We submit ourselves to one another by the grace of God. As we submit ourselves one to another it is like a piston. As the piston is elated it also humbles itself at the same time to give power to the next one. So when one of us is exalted we all rejoice and when one of us is humbled we all also weep.
Paul says further on that he bows his knee to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, showing that the tether is strong. I take great confidence in humbling myself to His grace whereas we are all benefiting one another.
This is the same thing church government does today. We follow the exact same pattern. When you share your calling, you are showing your position in this engine. But the current Christian culture, because their system is not functioning properly, and their parts are laying all over the place, they are saying, "How can you exalt yourself ? How can you say that you are better than this part here?" I'm not saying that I’m better than that part, I am just a functioning part. I am in the engine. I am working. As long as those parts are laying on the floor, they are not doing your car any good. your car is going to be sitting in the driveway for a long time.
Church government taught by apostles today. Are you part of the machinery of God's government? True body ministry mobilizes the church.
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As Paul fits himself within the machinery of the engine to benefit your growth. The Spirit of the Lord is also bringing out something about Body ministry. We are all part of the machinery of His kingdom. The whole Body of Christ benefits from the grace that God gives to each part. Even if God has not yet revealed to you the calling He has for you, or you are not yet confirmed into the government of God, you can be a functioning part.
Upon receiving the foundation knowledge of truth, you too can begin to share the grace of God with fellow believers. The grace God gives you is not adding to the foundation stones that are already laid, it is building upon it. As you use the tools of the covenant for faith God will reciprocate to you much grace for you to minister that grace to others as a good steward of God (1 Peter 4:10).
This shows that we are in unity, we are of one mind and one judgment. As the apostle Paul brings out in Corinthians, “Now we are of one mind and one judgment and the engine is humming. It had its oil change and you are using good gas, so the engine is humming along. We are all partaking of the same grace.
Misuse of Authority
The early church was brought up on a rich diet of truth from the table of the Lord prepared by His apostles. The apostles were the stewards of God’s house. But when apostles disappeared from the scene of the church, the pastoral pulpit replaced apostolic stewardship, and believers had no means to learn the mystery of Christ. When you don’t understand the mystery of Christ then the minds creates its own romantic relationship with God to replace it, and faith falls into error and the soul falls into condemnation.
This misuse of authority resulted in the confusion that is now seen in every church, which God is correcting. When the pastoral pulpit authority replaced apostolic authority Christians no longer knew what it meant to serve God in truth. The scriptures were being interpreted by the passion of man rather than the grace of God. This is what it means to say that the “world” has crept into the church.
Never forget: The passion of man produces the doctrine of man. The grace of God produces the doctrine of Christ.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
In the absence of the grace of God through Jesus’ apostles, truth took on many different meanings (every wind of doctrine). Truth became a progression of ideas a Christian would pick up from this or that person, as they panhandled their way on the false journey of faith they were forced to begin. In this we see why God warned, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” 2 Peter 1:20.
Always remember: Truth cannot be discovered by the intellect of man, it is revealed through Jesus Christ through His apostles.