What are apostles? Relics? Reward? Or revolutionaries? Andrew Owen gave this talk at a Leadership Forum of Scottish Apostolic Network in Glasgow.
Today, some say apostles died out and are no more, relics in stain glass windows (but no biblical paradigm for that), some say an "apostle" is a title/or "badge of honour" - like a reward given for long service/building a big church/running a successful business or even writing a good book.
If there are apostles - who are they? Who thinks they are one? Paul the apostle didn´t think himself worthy to be one, we read....
"I am not fit to be an called an apostle....but by the grace of God I am what I am" (1Corinthians 15:9-10).
In Scotland we are the "great levellers". Dr. Carol Craig points out in "Scot´s Crises of Confidence" that the Scottish mindset is plagued by certain things:
A prevailing thought that it is wrong to think highly of yourself and that you should just see yourself as the same as others. Americans share this strong belief in equality, but in their culture it leads to the view that if we are all born equal then everyone is special, whereas in Scotland the notion that we are all equal leads to the idea that no-one is special: "If you were chocolate you would eat yourself" or "you´ve changed".
"I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18)....
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).
God loves the church - it´s the only thing He´s coming back for. All ministries mentioned in the New Testament are given for the benefit of the church.
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).
"And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles..." (1Corinthians 12:28).
"Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20).
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation" (1Corinthians 3:10).
"God will not go over the head of the church to do things in spite of her, because this would abort his plan to bring her into full stature" - Paul Bilheimer, Destined for the throne.
a) The concept of restoration:
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21).
We have a worldview that salvation is BOTH for the individual (evangelicalism) AND the church AND the world.
b) The concept of administration:
"He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, toward the administration (oikonomia) of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ—the things in heaven and the things on earth" (Ephesians 1:9-10). oikonomia=management of a household/oversight
Puts things in place: "And God has appointed in the church first apostles..." (1Corinthians 12.28).
c) The concept of nurturing and discipling:
"to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12).
d) The concpt of sending and receiving:
"Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch.....While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them....Then they sent them off" (Acts 13:1-3).
"that you receive her in the Lord" (Romans 16:1-2).
1) Doctrinal foundation (Acts 2:42).
2) Authority to build up (2Corinthians 13:10).
3) Hub in a wheel with other ministries (1Thessalonians 3:2).
4) Supernatural life (Acts of the Apostles).
5) Gospel of grace - moving in grace (Romans 1:4-5).
6) Help form strategy (2Corinthians 1:16).
7) Redistribute resources (Acts 4:35).
8) Appoint securing leadership (elders).
9) Bring correction if required.
10) Train new leaders.
11) Interact with government.
12) Keep planting churches.