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11. An Apostolic Church

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In Your Bible Read This

2 Corinthians 10 & 11

Here Is Your Memory Verse

You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2.19-20

Afterwards Talk About This

Can the churches of today ever be restored to the New Testament pattern of apostolic ministry?

Something To Do Before Next Time

Be apostolic, go as a team to somewhere, like a village, school or prison that the gospel has not penetrated, and present God's plan of salvation.

Written Diploma Work

Discover how other churches and denominations are governed today and write the examples and Bible basis.

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse

1 Thessalonians 1.7-8

Spend a Minute to Change the World

Pray For Uzbekistan – 24,000,000 in many ethnic groups. 68% Muslim, 4% Orthodox, Islamic capital of Central Asia. Long history, recent independence.

Be sure to teach this lesson to others. Always pray and prepare well adding your own verses and stories to bring it to life.

Throughout the New Testament we find apostles mentioned around 80 times, so in the early church they were obviously key people, in fact ~

  • Apostles are 'first' in the Church, 1 Corinthians 12.28.
  • The Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. Ephesians 2. 20.
  • Apostles and prophets have special revelation and insight from God. Ephesians. 3.5, Jude 17.
  • Churches should have their own apostles. 2 Peter 3.2

But are apostles for today or were they there at the beginning to establish the Christian movement? If they are for today, who are they and what do they do?

What Do We Do?

Today we are often led by gifted administrators or pastors but if apostles are still God's 'first' in the Church and one of its foundations, what should we do?

What Is An Apostle?

The word means a messenger, empowered to do a mission from God. It is not a rank, but a calling, a gifting and a function in the Church like any other.

Apostles In The New Testament

Jesus, above all, Hebrews 3.1.

The 12 original apostles of the Lamb, Mark 3.14-16, Acts 1.26; Rev. 21.14

The gift of the apostle, Ephesians 4.11; people like Paul, James, Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, Andronicus and Junias.

The Bible does not say they were just for the first century. The fact that Christ has given the apostles to the Church to do a job that is far from complete, Ephesians 4.12-14, is evidence enough that apostles are still urgently needed today, as are all the other more familiar Eph. 4.11 gifts.

What Does An Apostle Do?

Not every apostle does everything found in the New Testament but the apostolic function includes ~

  • Advancing the gospel, for example Paul's many journey's, and Peter's visit to the uncharted territory of a Gentile's house and family, Acts 10.
  • Reaching the unreached peoples, Romans 15.20
  • Causing new evangelism to take place, Acts 19, 10
  • Causing new churches to be planted, like Paul did all over Southern Europe.
  • Being a wise master builder, knowing what to do, 1 Corinthians 3.10, 5.3; 6.4; 7.1, 8.1.
  • Apostles Lay Firm Foundations:

    • Of Christ, 1 Cor 3.11
    • Of life in the Spirit, Acts 19.1, 8.14-17
    • Of obedience to God, Roman 1.5
    • Of sound teaching, Eph 3, 2-21
    • Of good leaders, Acts 14.23, Titus 1.5
  • Being a father and a mother to the infant churches, encouraging through letters and visits, but never dominating, 2 Corinthians 11.28; 1 Thess. 2.7,11
  • Challenging unhelpful traditions, as Paul resisted even Peter, Gal. 2, 11-14
  • Travelling to unite the Body as Paul did linking Jerusalem, Antioch and the new churches by his relationship.
  • Demonstrating long term friendships and loyalties, working through relationships not structures and rankings, 1 Thess. 1 5-7, 2.8; Phil. 1.8, 4.10, 14-15; Acts 20.31, 18.11.

How Do You Know Who Is An Apostle?

Apostles are called by God, and know it, and so do the people. They may acknowledge their calling, but they have no need to advertise their position as a ranking, which it is not, rather a place of high service. See Paul's greetings that open most of his letters, and also see that apostles ~

  • Are recognised by other church leaders, Acts 15, 2, 4.
  • Function and show the evidence of their calling not through a forceful, controlling personality but through the continual manifestation of the power of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 11.6-13.
  • Have people as living proof of their ministry, 2 Cor. 3,2-3.
  • Are anointed with power for ministry, 2 Cor. 12.12.
  • Have proven God for themselves in a history of perseverance through hardship and opposition, 2 Cor.12, 7-10; 1 Cor. 4, 9-13.

Apostles Also Need A Home

Apostles in the New Testament are always seen at work in a missions team or with church elders in their home apostolic base. See Acts 15 and lesson 12.

What Is An Apostolic Base?

It is a model church, where apostles, teams and people gather together for Jesus and for each other. It is a launching pad and a resource centre of men money and materials for missions. It is a place of fellowship, renewal, accountability and support for apostolic people but never a pyramid ministry commanded by one 'super-apostle.' Only when Paul's team was away from their base at Antioch did they support and govern themselves. Acts 14, 26-28

Apostolic Bases In The Bible

Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Thessalonica were much more than local churches. Typically they had ministry in Holy Spirit activity, prayer, evangelism, prophecy, doctrinal conferences and worship. There was plurality of leaders, live church and fellowship. They handled legal challenges, persecutions, strategy and sent apostolic teams and help to the Jewish world, on into Samaria and out to the nations

It is important that apostles learn at home and take the lessons away to others. An apostolic base should pass any examination and is somewhere for the team to point to, to invite people to learn from, and to be proud of.

To Close Pray for the World's Most Unreached Peoples by Name

Taken from the Joshua Project Unreached Peoples List these people have no church and as yet no cell, church or mission has committed themselves to prayer, adoption or church planting among this people.


People Name Language Population
Balkan Rom Gypsy Romani, Balkan 55,000
Circassian Adyghe 71,000
Karakalpak Karakalpak 62,000
Mingrelian (Laz, Zan) Laz 30,000


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