Much is being said today about “the apostolic.” There are those who believe a restoration of “the apostolic” is necessary. Various views of what apostolic means include: a succession of leadership traceable back to Peter, a particular doctrine instructed by the apostles or a particular church organizational structure with an individual in leadership, calling themselves an apostle. Many of these may contain some elements of truth or they may be man’s attempt to apply the principles of apostolic, but they often can fall far short of God’s original intentions. With this in mind, I would like to present a view of apostolic for us to consider.
To begin with, the word apostolic is not contained in the scriptures. This word is a creation of man. So what is this word based on? In my personal experience, apostolic is used as an adjective to describe the type of ministry first demonstrated by Jesus, as The Apostle, then His apostles. The Greek for apostle is apostolos. According to Vine’s it is “one sent forth.” Holman Bible Dictionary says it is “a person sent to accomplish a mission. An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political or educational situations.” An apostle is one who has been specifically sent by another to deliver a message or conduct business according to the one doing the sending.
Scripture shows us that the word apostle and sent are similar. According to Thayer’s, send or sent is apostello; “properly, to send off, send away.” Furthermore, Thayer’s tells us there are four components to being sent.
* First, they are ordered to go.
* Secondly, they are sent with a commission or something intended for another.
* Thirdly, the place of their sending is specific.
* Fourth, the completion or manifestation of the duty is proof of the sending.
In the literal sense of the word, anyone who has been given a job to perform then sent (apostello) to do this duty for the one sending is an apostle (apostolos). In Matthew chapter 2, those that Herod “sent forth” to slay the children in Bethlehem were apostello. In John 1:19, the Jews “sent” or apostello as their apostolos, priests and Levite's to question the identity of John. If you are part of an organization or business and you delegate someone to go and relay a message, represent you or conduct business for you, they have been sent (apostello) by you and are your apostle (apostolos).
WHO is DOING the sending.
And What are we being sent to accomplish.
Being apostolic is being sent as a representative of Jesus Christ. It is from Him we are to get our orders. Jesus stated that all power had been given to Him. When He sent out his disciples in Mark 6:7-13, they were given specific commands of where, who and what to say. When they operated as He commanded is when they saw the miraculous happen. In Acts 19, we see the sons of Sceve attempting to operate under their own initiative. They were attempting to accomplish something of benefit, yet they were not effective. Their problem was they were not sent. I can desire to do good things for the kingdom, yet find frustration and limited results IF what I am attempting is not what He has sent me to do.
This is significant for us to grasp because if we desire to see His kingdom manifest or reach the lost of this world with His miraculous delivering power we MUST make sure we are operating as His representatives in the manner that He has determined. We must make sure we are not perpetuating man’s traditions, values or structure. In my personal life and ministry, I must be sure that I am operating in a manner that He has authorized. Our churches must carefully evaluate and make sure we are performing His mandate and not our programs. The power to impact our worlds only comes when we are operating in accordance with His commission.
Am I operating according to my plans or His sending?