Signs of Apostolic Calling....What is an apostle? You have all heard the term. You have heard of people claiming to be apostles. You have probably heard about the Apostolic Ministry and the Apostolic Office. You often read about it in magazines. But, what is it? Is there still such a thing as the apostle? Have they not all died out already?
If there are apostles, how would you recognize one? Just because, a guy stands up and says, "I’m an apostle. God has called me to be an apostle," and they put the word 'apostle' as a title in front of their names under their photograph when they advertise for the conferences and the seminars? Does that make a person an apostle? How do you recognize an apostle? What does he look like? And, is there a ‘she’ apostle, or is this only for guys?
First Exposure to Apostolic MinistryOne of the first exposures I ever had to somebody who claimed to be an apostle was a man who had started a church. He had started it all on his own and had a fairly unique approach. It became like his little denomination, although it were just one church. This man had a zeal for restoration of the fivefold ministry. He wanted to help people identify their ministries. It was a brand new move, a wonderful thing. He was a man who was used mightily by God in signs and wonders, and he set up prophets in his church and designated them as prophets. And he took for himself the title of apostle. You were not allowed to call him reverend or pastor. You had to call him by his title, apostle.
I had never met the man but I met some of the people who went to his church. I had relatives that were in his church, and they were awe-inspired. They hero worshipped him. They quoted everything that he said, almost verbatim. He seemed to be a mighty man of God. But there were signs of something that just did not look right.
On one occasion one of the prophets that he had appointed met him just before the meeting. He looked at him and said, "By the way, I thought I’d just let you know what I’m preaching on tonight, so that when you prophesy you can prophesy in line with my sermon, please."
This man, who was a genuine prophet of God, looked at him in disbelief and said, "I beg your pardon! I prophesy what the Spirit of God lays upon me to prophesy." And he rebuked that man, the so-called apostle. The apostle was quite unmoved and just rebuked him back.
Things began to go wrong in that church, and this so-called apostle had a heart attack and died. He had so built up the people in his church that some of them wanted to go and raise him back from the dead. And yet, the signs were there that there was something genuine, but it had gone wrong. It had gone beyond what God intended.
I am sure many of you have heard stories about so-called apostles, and people who exalted themselves and put themselves on a pedestal, and claimed to be apostles of God; who got into deception; who went astray; who missed it, and led others astray. As a result of this we are afraid of this term, apostle. We are afraid when somebody has the audacity to stand up and say, "God’s called me to be an apostle."
Then we have the opposite extreme where every Dick, Tom and Sheila out there is an apostle these days. It seemed to happen like that with the prophetic ministry too, didn’t it? Prophets were few and far between, and now suddenly there comes this move where they are springing up everywhere. Prophets are a dime a dozen now. Now apostles seem to be springing up the same way.
Now, we need to know what is the genuine and what is not the genuine. We need to be able to identify what is of God and what is not of God. We need to be able to test those who claim to be apostles.
What Apostles are NotOne of the churches that John spoke to in Revelation that he wrote to said, "I am pleased with you." I think it was the church at Ephesus. He said, "You have tested those who claim to be apostles and found them to be false." So there is the false as well, and we are going to be looking at all this in due course as we go through thi Apostolic Course. We will be looking at all these aspects so that you will know without a doubt what an apostle is supposed to be, and how you can recognize one.
The Apostle is Not a Super-Spiritual GiantI want to begin by considering what an apostle is not, before we look at what an apostle is. An apostle is not a super-spiritual giant. The ministry office of apostle is a gift and a calling, not a spiritual attainment. There is certainly a price to pay for it and we will be looking at that. But you see, God calls by His grace and He chooses by His grace, by His sovereignty, and according to His foreknowledge. God chooses, calls and ordains the apostle.
The apostle is not a person who has attained a certain level of spirituality that puts him a cut above the rest, and therefore makes him superior spiritually, to everyone else, so that they all have to look up to him for his super-spirituality. That applies to all the ministry offices, not only the apostle.
An apostle is not somebody who has superior revelation, particularly when that revelation goes beyond the Word. I remember somebody telling me about this wonderful apostle (I could give you names for all these apostles, but I will not mention them). There was a lady that I met at Bible School and she had gone overboard on this great apostle. I think he was overseas somewhere.
He was a man who spent all day in the presence of the Lord, praying and seeking the Lord. Man, he was so close to God! And he would write to his churches, just like Paul did. He would write his letters, and the people would take his letters and they would read them, and they would build their doctrine on his letters.
He had built himself into a state of spirituality where he claimed to be ‘clear’ of certain things, which gave him the right to use bad language if he wanted to, and it was not a sin anymore. It gave him the right to indulge in sins of the flesh, and he was clear of that now because of his exalted state of spirituality. Therefore that was not sin to him, but it was maybe sin to others.
You can just smell the cultism there, can’t you? You have heard of people like this. You have heard of people, cult leaders that have risen up and led people astray, claiming to be apostles of Christ. They have superior revelation.
"We don’t dabble in the milk anymore, brother, we’re in the meat!"
When you hear people starting to talk like that and claiming that they have this very special revelation, be careful.
No New ScriptureAn apostle is not someone who produces Scripture. The original apostles were uniquely gifted and called to complete the Canon of Scripture. As the prophets of the Old Testament wrote and their writings were recorded, they became part of the Canon of Holy Scripture that makes up our Holy Bible today. So we have the gospels, and the letters of Paul, and the letters of Peter and various apostolic men who were gifted and called by God to produce the final revelation in Scripture of what God needed to say to man, until eventually the Canon of Scripture was made complete. God had expressed over a long period of time, through men in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and He had fully expressed everything that man needs; everything that we need as believers on which to base our spiritual lives.
Revelation was the last book, as John got his final revelation, John being the longest living of the apostles. Interestingly, he is the only apostle who is reputed to have died a natural death. All the rest of them were martyred. Do you want a sign of an apostle? Oh dear, I hope that sign only applies to the early apostles, because most of them died that way. Peter was reputed to have been crucified upside down, because he was unworthy to die, as Jesus did, on a normal cross. One of the apostles was apparently skinned alive. They died terrible deaths. They were opposed and hated by the world. We will look more at that as we go on.
Not a MissionaryAn apostle is not a missionary sent out by a Missionary Society to go into a foreign land where the gospel has never been preached before. Yes, that is an apostolic type of function, but to say that every missionary that has been sent forth is an apostle is not true. There have been apostolic ministries amongst them, but the two are not synonymous. So, if you have had this idea in your mind that in order for you to be an apostle you will have to be a missionary and go forth into another land, not necessarily. Missionaries are not sent forth in the way apostles are sent forth. They are sent forth by an organization. We are going to look at how an apostle should be sent forth.
No New Church BuildingAn apostle is not somebody who starts a new church. This seems to be a common teaching amongst many folks, that if you go out and start a brand new church from scratch, you can then be called the apostle of that church and claim that title. Because you started a new church, therefore you are an apostle.
The Scripture tells us that when Saul persecuted the early believers, they scattered. They scattered everywhere. And everywhere they went they preached the gospel. They reached up as far as Antioch, and they preached to people there. Do you know what happened? People got saved. Christians came together and a church started up. And the apostles were still sitting in Jerusalem. There was not an apostle anywhere near to start that church. They had to send a couple of them up there. Barnabus and Saul went up and began to teach and get the church in order. They were not even fully apostles themselves yet. Barnabus was a prophet and Saul was a teacher.
So, it does not necessarily take an apostle to plant a new church. There are people who are going out and planting new churches who are not even filled with the Holy Spirit yet, not even having received any gift, office or calling from the Lord. Can they claim to be apostles? No.
What an Apostle IsSo what is an apostle then? That is a big question. It is going to take us quite a while to explain, but I am going to give you a few highlights here.
Someone Who is SentFirstly, an apostle is somebody who has been sent. That is what the Greek word ‘apostolos’ means – one who is sent. It relates to a a person who has been given a commission.
High Up in MinistryAn apostle is somebody who has more than one gift ministry. You cannot do what an apostle is called to do with just being an ordinary little pastor or evangelist. You will find that the apostle is somebody who has risen up through the ranks, and has performed most of the ministry offices of the fivefold ministry, before moving into the Apostolic Office. An apostle is somebody who has a mandate direct from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is sent forth, but he is sent forth uniquely by the Lord Himself. He is commissioned and given a very specific mandate, direct from the Lord.
Spiritual EntrepreneurAn apostle is somebody who is able to lay a brand new foundation starting from scratch. An apostle is somebody who is able to set things in order. I think the best description, and one that the Lord dropped in my spirit, is that an apostle is a spiritual entrepreneur. What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is what most of us are not, because we all have to go and work for a boss. We all have to go and work for somebody who has already established a business and has things going, and everything is working already. We go and study and we prepare ourselves and qualify, and we go and offer our services for a fixed income to fit into that person’s structure and plan. An entrepreneur is a person who is bubbling with new ideas and plans - a person who has a goal and a vision. He is a person who desires to go out where no man has gone before; a person who wants to go in and start things that nobody did before; to start something unique.
You read concerning the apostle Paul that he says, "I was determined not to build on another man’s foundation."
"I’m going to lay my own foundation. I’m not going to fix up somebody else’s building that got ruined and mucked up and that was built all wrong."
He had a vision burning in him. He had something strong burning in him. He had a clear goal, a clear mandate. That mandate was given to him as he was struck from his horse, as the light shone around him and the Lord Jesus spoke to him and said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" We will look more at that as we go on.
Paul had a unique passion burning in him. He was a spiritual entrepreneur. And every man that God is raising up today to take the title and the role and Office of Apostle is somebody that has a cause. He is somebody that has a cause burning in them and somebody that has a goal, a vision, a clear mandate from the Lord to go out and do what perhaps nobody else is doing. He is a spiritual entrepreneur.
General Signs of Apostolic CallingWhat are the signs of somebody who is called to be an apostle? I want to look at some general signs, then we will look at some specific signs.
General Sign of Apostolic Call #1: Jesus CallsFirstly, they are called directly by Jesus Christ. In Luke 6:13 we read concerning the early apostles:
- Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called [to him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
The next day He called all the disciples and they must have come running. And He looked at them. I do not know how He knew who to choose. Perhaps He had visions. Perhaps during the night as He had prayed, faces had come before Him. And He looked at them and said, "You. That guy over there with the big nose – you, come on here." He called them out, twelve specific people, and He appointed them. He chose them, appointed them and called them apostles.
An apostle is always called directly by the Lord Jesus. An apostle is not called by an organization. He is not called by popular vote. An apostle is divinely called by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We will look at that further as we go on.
General Sign of Apostolic Call #2: Separated for the WorkApostles are separated for the work. They are set apart specifically for their calling and for their work. Paul speaks about it in Romans 1:1 when he introduces his letter. He says:
- Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
General Sign of Apostolic Call #3: A ServantAn apostle is called to servanthood. He is called to serve. Oh dear, that is a disappointment! And here you thought that being called to be an apostle meant you were going to be the great name. You were going to be splashed on the billboards and people would know about you all over the world.
"The great apostle Les Crause is coming. We’ve got to get there!"
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ," then an apostle. That is how he announced himself. A servant is from the Greek work ‘dulos’. It is a slave, not just a servant but a slave; one who belongs to his master. He is not just an ordinary slave, but a love slave, one who has willingly devoted himself for life to be at the disposal of his master, and to do whatever his master pleases.
Do you want to be an apostle? You had better learn to serve. You had better learn to be a slave. You had better learn to do things you do not feel like doing. You had better learn to say, "Yes boss," when the master says, "Jump," otherwise forget it, you are not going to hack it.
In 1 Corinthians 4:9 Paul kind of makes it a little bit worse. He says:
- 1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God has displayed us the apostles last, like we were sentenced to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.
"Oh, I’d love to be an apostle."
You do not know what you are talking about. Are you prepared to be a servant? Are you prepared to be a slave? Are you prepared to do as the great Apostle and High Priest of our confession did, who before His disciples, took off his cloak and put a towel around Himself and sat down and washed their dirty, stinky feet? Are you prepared to do that, apostle? Get ready for it. If you are called to that office, be prepared for it, because that is what God is going to require of you. That is what He is going to call you to and that is what He will take you to.
Now do not get me wrong, the apostle is the highest ministry office. Paul says, "God has set some in the church: First apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers …" The apostle is the highest ministry office of all and the most revered ministry office of all. The apostle is the one who God places the most trust and confidence in. But there is a price to pay. And as high as God is going to exalt you, so low you will have to be prepared to be and to go in your heart and in your attitude, before God can use you.
I have not even gone into the apostolic preparation yet. Do you think you guys have it bad in the prophetic preparation? That was a walk in the park! But I am not covering that in this chapter. We will deal with that in the Apostolic Course.
General Sign of Apostolic Call #4: Early CallApostles are called from the womb. An apostle is somebody that God has set His hand on from the beginning. Paul said that God separated him from his mother’s womb. In Galatians 1:15 he says:
- Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who set me apart from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace,
- 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the gentiles.
General Sign of Apostolic Call #5: Secret TrainingApostles are trained in secret. Paul says:
- Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who set me apart from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace,
- 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the gentiles; I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood:
- 17 Neither did I go up to Jerusalem to the apostles [that were] above me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
The poor guy. He was just an ordinary little believer, and the Lord told him to go and confront this great big man who has a reputation this long. The Lord spoke to Ananias and said, "Don’t worry about it. I’ve chosen him, and I’ve told him how much he’s going to suffer for me." Oh, what a wonderful call!
"Well, Saul, I’ve called you to be an apostle, and this is what I’m calling you to do – suffer! Saul, you’re going to appear before kings and governors. Saul, you’re going to appear before people in the highest places. But, Saul, you’re going to suffer for My name’s sake. So don’t mix these two up. You’re going to be big, Saul. Your name’s going to be known. You’re going to be famous. People are going to be preaching on you way down in 1999, Saul. They’re going to be using the stuff you wrote. But Saul, it’s going to cost you. It’s going to cost you, bro’. I’m warning you before you start this thing. I’m warning you how much you’re going to have to suffer for My name’s sake."
General Sign of Apostolic Call #6: Much OppositionDo you still want to be an apostle? I have bad news for you if you are called to be an apostle. It was not your choice. God separated you from your mother’s womb, and He prepared you and brought you to such a time as this. And if you are reading this chapter of the book, and the Spirit of God is beginning to move on you and you know that I am talking about you; you know that God has placed that call on you; get ready for it. God has got something unique for you. He has something special for you. He is going to lift you up in the sight of the world. But you have already paid the price. You have already paid a lot of it. And you are going to continue to pay the price, because as much blessing as you will receive, you will receive as much opposition. Get ready for it, apostle of God.
The apostles are hated by the enemy, and he will try to destroy them. He will do his best to destroy you. In Acts 14:19 we read concerning how Paul and Barnabus went to Iconium to preach the gospel. It says:
- Acts 14:19 And there came there [certain] Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people…
If you look at the gods that they chose, the god they chose for Barnabus was the tall good-looking guy. And the one they chose for Paul was the little runt who did all the talking. He was the big god’s spokesman. That gives you an idea of what Paul looked like. He was an ugly little bald-headed guy with a hook nose, so tradition says (hey, there is hope for me) and he talked a lot!
These same people, who wanted to come and worship and offer sacrifices to these men as gods, just a few days later got stirred up. And it says:
- Acts 14:19 …and, having stoned Paul, drew [him] out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
As we go on I will show you that Satan will try to kill you from the womb already if he can, if he gets to find out and suspects that you may perhaps be called to be an apostle of God. You see, he reads the signs even better than we do. He knows. Why do you think Herod tried to kill Jesus, the great Apostle and High Priest of our confession? Why do you suppose Pharaoh tried to kill Moses who was an Old Testament type of the Apostolic Office and Ministry?
Specific Signs of Apostolic CallingThese are some of the general signs of the apostolic calling. There are some specific signs as well. I am going to mention them briefly, and then we are going to end with a very detailed breakdown from the lives of three Bible types of an apostle. Then you will understand all the signs of the apostolic calling.
Early CallFirstly, one of the specific signs of the call to apostleship is an early call. If God has separated you from your mother’s womb, the chances are that He will begin that preparation in your life at a very young age. Jesus knew it at 12 years old, when He sat in the temple and debated with all the wise men there. He knew already what He had been called to do. When His parents came and asked Him what was going on He said, "Didn’t you know, I should be in My Father’s house? I should be about My Father’s business?" He knew.
You will become aware of it very early. Perhaps you will not be fully aware yet what it is that God has called you to do, but God will begin to move in your life from an early age to prepare you for the apostolic calling. If you were saved early in life, you will see that preparation starting in your life right from your early childhood already.
My ExperienceAs I look back on my own life, I know that at the time I was conceived, my parents were serving the Lord and they were running a church and doing the ministry. And when I was conceived and I was born, my parents told me that they dedicated me to the Lord and they said, "Father, we give this child to You. We ask You to take him and do with him as You please, and use him in the extension of Your Kingdom."
I was chosen from the womb, and as a child I knew the Lord. I do not know when I came to know the Lord. I cannot tell you when I made a decision to accept Jesus in my heart. But as a child I was already witnessing to people and telling them about the Lord, and I was an insecure, frightened little child who had no friends. But I still told people about the Lord. In all my fear and trepidation it was burning in me. I knew I had to do it.
Only years later the fullness of that call came, and the anointing of the Spirit came. But there already, very early in life, were the stirrings that made me different to everybody else. And being different to everybody else led to being ostracized and rejected, because people do not like different. People do not want you to be different. They want you to be like them. When you are different you are rejected and pushed aside.
Many of you who have been going through the Prophetic Course are aware of all that already. And I want to tell you, many of you that are going through the Prophetic Course are called to be apostles. That is why you will identify with what I am talking about here too.
Apostolic Rejection and OppositionThe apostle has a lot of opposition in life; a lot of things going wrong; a lot of people rejecting; a lot of not fitting in. I will not elaborate here, but I dare say those called to the apostolic office are going to know this far more than simply a preparation that began late in life, as often happens with the prophet. The chances are the apostle has been through preparation from the womb already. The apostle has problems being accepted. He has the most intensive preparation of all of the ministry offices.
Apostolic SymbolsThere are symbols that the Lord has shown us for the Apostolic Ministry and the Apostolic Office, and just in passing, there is a difference. Just as in the prophetic, there is a calling to the Prophetic Ministry to function as a prophet, there is also the Prophetic Office, which is a unique setting apart of somebody into the fivefold ministry Office of the Prophet. The same applies to the apostle. There are those who will carry out, and fulfill, and function in an Apostolic Ministry, that have not yet fully qualified to move into the full Office of the Apostle.
So some of these symbols in the prophetic relate to the Prophetic Ministry, but the prophetic key uniquely relates to the Prophetic Office. So the apostle also has some of these symbols. The first symbol of the Apostolic Ministry is the golden scepter. The golden scepter is an implement that was used by kings. It was a symbol of the king’s authority, and the king would use that golden scepter to make decrees. In modern times, this would also be the king’s sword. The scepter and the sword are the same thing – where they would bend down and the king would knight them. He would put the sword on his shoulder and say, "Rise, Sir Leslie Crause!"
Well, the Lord Jesus has a scepter, and He is going to put it on you and say, "Rise, apostle Les Crause." He will give you the scepter to take with you. It is a symbol of authority and a symbol to make decrees.
In the book of Esther we read how Esther came into the presence of the king, and according to the law of the land she could have died for that, unless the king held out his golden scepter to her. When she had come to touch the scepter she would be accepted. There was power in the scepter. The Bible speaks a lot about the scepter. It talks about the scepter of righteousness. The scepter is always a symbol of reigning and authority. The Apostolic Office is one of authority.
There is the royal robe and the crown, because the apostle is to be a king in God’s Kingdom. So, when God places somebody in Apostolic Office, very often you will see that person being given the royal garments.
Then there is a key. The apostle also has a key. It is a much fancier key than the key of the prophet. The prophet just gets an ordinary golden key. Boring! The apostle, however, gets a jewel-encrusted key.
You say, "How do I know this?"
I have seen it and I have imparted it, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to others. So what I am giving you I have learned from experience, and from revelation in the Spirit. I have not yet dug into the Scriptures to give you a full Scriptural precedence for this. Right now I simply want you to trust me, that God has confirmed this and shown it in the Spirit; that these are symbols that are used in spiritual revelation for the Apostolic Ministry and the Apostolic Office.
I have found that they are different. I have found that at times when God has told me to impart the golden scepter to somebody it is usually a call to the Apostolic Ministry, or a preparation for the apostolic. The impartation of the jewel-encrusted key, the robe and the crown is the ultimate placing in the Office of the Apostle.
Different Kinds of ApostlesNow there are different kinds of apostle. If you get back to the allegory of an apostle being a spiritual entrepreneur, I want you to see why there are different kinds of apostles. And this is where people miss it. This is where things go wrong and people become confused as they try to stereotype the apostolic ministry. They try to squeeze it in as they have done, by saying that an apostle is somebody who goes where there is not a new one. Yes, an apostle does do that. That is part of the apostolic function. But there is more to it than that.
You see the apostle firstly is sent to go forth, but he goes forth into a new area to do something that perhaps has not been done before. The apostle goes to lay a new foundation; to do something that is perhaps different to the way that it was done before. Each apostle can very likely have a totally unique ministry and mandate from the Lord and have a totally unique call, yet they are all aiming for the same ultimate goal.
As we look at the early church, as we look at how Jesus took and appointed the first apostles, they were the very first of their breed. And what was their task? Their task was to introduce something brand new that had never been done before. The Kingdom of Heaven had come down to man. God was offering something new that had never been there before. They were preaching a new gospel that went beyond the Jewish religion. They were preaching a New Covenant that was different to the Old Covenant.
But each of them had different functions. We see the apostle Peter being led of the Lord to go and visit in Cornelius’s household. And as he stood up there and preached, the Holy Spirit descended on these gentiles, and Peter was the first one to ever bring gentiles into the new church. Peter was a Jew. He was a typical Jew, and Jews and gentiles do not mix. They do not do this, and they do not do that. He was rooted in Jewish tradition. But the Lord used him to open a door that was never opened before.
Remember Jesus had said to Peter when he made the great confession, as it is called, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus said to Peter, "Blessed are you Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven." He said, "You are Peter (just a little stone), but upon this Rock (a great big rock like the Rock of Gibraltar) I will build My church."
"Peter, I’m giving you the keys of the Kingdom. Peter, you’re going to open doors. You’re going to open brand new doors."
Peter was the leader of the early apostles who were Jews. Peter was leading the ministry to the Jews. But he took the key and opened the door to a brand new avenue; something that nobody had ever anticipated before, that the gentiles would be co-heirs and partakers of the Kingdom of God, through Christ Jesus. This was brand new and something completely different.
New ConceptsPeter only opened the door. God had somebody else in mind to follow through and lay the foundation. Guess what his name was? Paul, the apostle to the gentiles! Later on you see that they chat about it, after Paul has gone and done his own thing. He had not even consulted Peter or any of the other Jews. He got together with them and told them, "Listen guys, this is what God’s been doing, and this is what the Lord has revealed to me."
They had never heard it before. They started reading some of the letters that Paul had been writing to his churches, and they said, "Wow, this is new stuff. We’ve never heard this stuff before. Hey, this is difficult stuff. Paul, explain this to us, please. What are you talking about, gentiles? What are you talking about people coming in without the law? What do you mean about people serving God without being circumcised? What are you talking about here, Paul? I’ve never heard anything like it."
Peter wrote in his epistles to the Jewish Christians that he was ministering to and spoke about people who twist the Scriptures. And he said, "Yes, just like our brother Paul has written. And man, some of the stuff he’s written is hard to understand." Peter was just a dumb fisherman. He could not understand Paul’s intellectual approach. I can see him getting that blank look on his face when he read Paul’s epistles.
"Paul, what are you talking about here, man? Why did you make it so complicated?"
You see, Paul had something unique. He had something different. So unique and different it was, that Paul at times would speak about, "My gospel." And he said, "I didn’t receive this from man. I received it by revelation, direct from the Lord." Paul had something unique. It was different. He was doing something nobody had ever done before.
That is what the apostle is called to be - a spiritual entrepreneur. He is going to do something different like sell ice to the Eskimos.
"It can’t be done."
"Yeah, but it can’t be done. Eskimos have got a lot of ice. Has anybody ever tried it before?"
"Nope. So I’m going to try it."
"Oh, you’re nuts. You’re not going to make it."
Before you know it, the Eskimos are buying ice by the crate! Why? Because we have a spiritual entrepreneur here. He is reaching out to do something new.
I was reading in a Charisma magazine once about a ministry amongst the motor cyclists. That is another kind of ministry, going in there and ministering to those weird types. But God is raising up people to go in there where nobody else has gone before, where nobody else wants to go. People are going into different stratas of society that have not been reached before, and they are ministering in ways that nobody has ministered before.
They are using techniques and methods that the church has never used before. They are spiritual entrepreneurs. They are apostles of God who have been sent forth to break new ground, new territory, and do new things and make it happen! Why? Because God raised them up for that very purpose. And they are different. People are saying, "Just don’t hang around. And please don’t bring that motor cycle mob into church on Sunday. You’ll rock the boat and upset our tithe-paying members!"
Pressure to ChangePeople are going to say, "You think you’re so special. You’re just a rebel. You’re just a reject. You can’t fit in with anybody else. That’s why you’re going off and doing your own thing." Think about it. Perhaps God has called you to something unique, something different. Of course He has! And He raised you up for that very purpose.
Do you know, even with Paul’s success amongst the gentile Christians; in spite of the fact that Paul wrote most of our New Testament, when he went to visit them there in Jerusalem they said, "Paul, we’ve heard some bad news about you, bro’. We keep hearing stories about you telling people they don’t have to obey the law anymore. Hey Paul we are getting worried about you. You had better assure us that you still believe in this stuff, that you’re a good little Jew. Come on Paul, come and do some of the old stuff. Take a vow and get involved with some guys, and go and offer a sacrifice in the Temple like all good Jews do."
Paul had been teaching against it! He had been preaching something totally different. Paul had been so strong, that when Peter came and showed hypocrisy – he did not want to mix with the Gentiles in case the Jews did not like it – he corrected him publicly. Yet now Paul bowed to the crowd. He bowed to the rest of them who were doing the Jewish thing. He bowed to the apostles who had a different vision. And it caused probably the biggest problem it had ever caused in his life. It caused him more pain than anything else.
All his being beaten up and thrown in prison and being shipwrecked, and all the problems that he had, came as a result of that one mistake that he made – and it was a mistake. I firmly believe it was a mistake. The Lord never ever called Paul to do that.
So if you are called to be an apostle of God people are going to try and squeeze you into their mold. People are going to tell you to stop rocking the boat.
"Why don’t you do it the way everybody else is doing it?"
People will say, "But it doesn’t work." People will say those famous words, "Well, we tried it, and it didn’t work." Have you heard that one before?
You know what? You are going to try it and it is not going to work either, because you will be tested. You will have to break the wall down and break the door down. You need to boldly go where no man has gone before. That will take courage. It will take a very special kind of person, with a very special kind of endurance, to follow through on that.
Specific Groups, Tasks or PlacesApostles can be called to a specific group of people. They can be called to a specific task or they can be called to a specific place. But whatever it is that God calls you to do as an apostle, it will be something different. There may be others out there who have been given the same call and the same mandate. I am not saying that what God has called you to do is going to be totally unique in that nobody has thought of it before or that nobody else is going to be doing that.
Ultimately the goal that you are heading for is bringing together the Kingdom of God in these last days to the culmination of God’s plan and purpose for His church. So whatever God has called you to do it is going to be a piece of the puzzle if you like. You will be a loner, but yet you have to be part of the broad picture. This is the danger of moving out on your own and starting a business in opposition to somebody else. You need to realize that all these businesses are being bought out by the big guy! We all have the same boss. Don’t ever forget that.
Stand Firm and PersevereGod has called you to do something unique, and others will oppose you. Others will tell you, you are deceived. They will tell you that you are confused. They will try and squeeze you, and they will try and pull you back in their mold, to do it the way they are doing it. But you are a spiritual entrepreneur. You will be running your spiritual business differently.
Do not be moved! There is no great business out there today that was not started by one or two people who had nothing going for them, but stuck it out. And the man who is known as the richest man in the world today, who owns this big computer corporation, was not such a wonderful guy when he started out. But he had a vision. He was an entrepreneur. I am not saying he was inspired by God, do not misunderstand me. I am using him as an illustration. He stuck it through, and he followed through the convictions of his heart, and built something big.
You see the same pattern there. The world is trying to squeeze him and trying to oppose and destroy him, because it goes against the status quo. And if you are called to be an apostle that is exactly what you are going to be doing in a spiritual sense. You are going to have a vision and a goal to do something that you were probably never equipped to do in the first place; that you have no natural ability or capability of doing.
But God will give you that ability, and He has placed something within you. He has placed a burning within you that will not go away, and as foolish as what it seems you cannot get away from it. It burns you and it grabs you.
Patterns of Scriptural ApostlesNow I am going to end by looking at just three people from the Scriptures that are types of the apostle. I want to take their lives and their experiences to show you what I believe is a pattern. And you will see yourself fitting into some of this pattern. You may also find yourself not fitting into some of the pattern. But the Scripture says that, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established." When you have two witnesses saying the same thing, the chances are they are telling the truth. When you add a third one to it, it becomes even more believable.
I am going to look at three characters from the Scriptures, and their lives and their experiences. They are men who fit into the role of spiritual entrepreneurs, apostles of God. You will see a pattern, and you will see similarities in their very experience that seem to point to a possible pattern that you are likely to see in your own life.
Who are these men? Moses, firstly. When God first began to lead me in ministry and prepare me for the apostolic calling, He kept telling me, "You’re Moses, you’re Moses." People out there were speaking about "The Elijah Task" and the Elijah’s of God, and the Joshua’s and everybody else. Nobody seemed to like old Moses. I kept thinking, "I must be missing this. Why am I backing Moses, and everybody else is doing Elijah? Hey Lord, why me?" Then the Lord began to show me that Moses is a scriptural type of the apostle.
As we look into the New Testament we find the very first apostle of the New Testament, known as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus. And then who else, what better example, than the great apostle Paul, that we have spoken about so much here already? I want you to go with me through the lives of these three people, and I want you to see the similarities that occurred in their lives.
Apostles are Called from the WombI want you to see firstly that each one of them was called from the womb; was set apart before birth, and ordained for the purpose that God had called them to.
Apostolic Type: MosesWhat happened to Moses? As Moses was due to be born, the Pharaoh of Egypt issued a decree to the midwives that brought the Hebrew children into the world. And the instruction was this. "If any male child is born, kill him at birth. Save only the females."
Moses was born, a male child. According to the law of the land, he was supposed to die. Satan tried to destroy him at birth, but he was protected. He was saved. The wonderful thing is God turned the situation right around, so that the very Pharaoh who tried to kill him, was the one who ended up protecting him, because it was his daughter that took Moses in.
Apostolic Type: JesusWhen the wise men came to Herod to ask, "Where is He who is born King of the Jews, for we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him," Herod immediately set about finding this King who was a threat to him. Satan knew. He knew the Messiah was to be born. The Scriptures had declared it. The prophets had spoken it. "You Bethlehem Ephrathah, who art least among the princes of Judah, from you shall come forth a Governor who shall rule My people Israel." He knew the Messiah was due to be born.
When these wise men came with the sign of the star, Satan knew. It was not just Herod who was afraid. It was Satan that was inspiring him and wanted to destroy Him at birth. And because the wise men only arrived when Jesus was already a couple of years old – they did not arrive in the stable – Herod had all children under two killed to make sure that he destroyed Him. But He was protected, the angel warning His parents, "Take the child and flee to Egypt, because Herod wants to kill Him."
Apostolic Type: PaulWe do not know about Paul. We do not know about his early life, his birth and childhood. But I dare say if you went back in history, you would find that Paul had problems in his birth.
One of the clearest signs that I see again and again is that Satan will often try to destroy the one called to be the apostle. And if he cannot destroy that child in the womb, he will try and destroy the child as it comes out of the womb. If he does not succeed there he will continue to try to destroy them throughout the life of that person to prevent them from entering into what God has for them.
I find that many of those that God has brought to us that are called to the Apostolic Ministry were almost aborted prior to birth. There are often signs right from the beginning there of that life being destroyed before it comes forth.
Apostolic Type: MosesThen as Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household, he became a legal heir to the throne of Egypt. Did you know that? He was Pharaoh’s grandson. He was legally adopted as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses had such hope of a glorious future. But he had to give it up for the sake of the call. In Hebrews we are told that, "…he had to forsake the riches of Egypt to suffer with the people of God." He had to give it up.
Apostolic Type: JesusAnd we see the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, who the Scripture says, "…being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but took upon Himself the form of a servant." He put aside His divinity. He put aside His rights to be very God, to take upon Himself the form of a servant. Do you see what you will have to give up?
Apostolic Type: PaulWhat about the great apostle Paul? What about this man who was involved in the highest Jewish council of the day, who had been trained at the foot of the most intelligent and well-known and well-respect trainer of men? Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel, that great teacher who had such a name. Man, if you went to look for a job in those days and they said, "Qualifications?" and you said, "Well, I was trained by Gamaliel," they would say, "Oh. Please, please, come and sit down. Welcome!" You were a man of repute.
Paul was so well known that he was involved there while they were stoning Stephen. He was right there in the Sanhedrin, the highest officials of the law of the land. This guy had a lot going for him. He was high up. But he had to give it up for the sake of the call. And there is something the Scriptures do not tell us, and that is they do not tell us whether Paul was ever married. We know as Paul writes in his epistles, he indicates that it is quite clear that he is unmarried.
Tradition tells us that for Paul to hold the kind of position that he did, he would need to have been married. It was only married men that were appointed to such positions. If that was the case, Paul was a divorcee or a widower. I tell you what the chances are, and he does not tell us, but the chances are Paul had to give up his marriage too for the sake of the call.
The chances are that when Paul turned to Christ, his wife turned her back on him and left him. And Paul made the choice. He made the commitment to go all the way and to even remain celibate. Now do not worry, apostles, God is not calling you to become celibate to be an apostle. But He is going to call you to give up, perhaps, some of the things that mean the most to you in life.
Personal ExperienceAs I look at my own experience, I know that Satan tried to destroy me at birth. I nearly suffocated at birth, and I am told that I was born blue. I know that later in life as I grew up I was electrocuted and I technically died. I stopped breathing, and my heart stopped, and there was no pulse. And if my late Dad at that time had not just done a course on first aid, I would not be here today. It took him a good 15 minutes to bring me around. And when he brought me around I looked up and said, "Why am I back here again?" I do not remember what happened during that time, but I know I went off somewhere, and I felt as though I had come back in time, back here again. Something happened.
I know that I had plans and aspirations, because God had given me a brilliant mind and intelligence. People kept saying to me, "You’ve got a brilliant mind." But all my aspirations to go to University to get an Engineering Degree, to make a name for myself in life all faded away. And I sat at home not knowing what to do with myself.
Then the Lord placed His call on my life, and I just gave up all my plans. I gave it all up and said, "Okay, it’s the Kingdom of God. I’m just going to work for the Lord." I gave up the job that I had to go to Bible School, because I was going to work for the Lord. Then I had to go back to work again because there was no opening for ministry.
I finally decided, "That’s it. I’m going to enroll in a study course. I’m going to get qualified. I’m going to rise up and move into that position that I know I’m well capable of doing." As I made that decision and I moved into the place where I was about to be trained, the Senior Pastor of the church called me and said, "Les, we’ve recognized the calling on you. We’re ordaining you and putting you into the work. When can you go?" I had to make a choice.
It is going to cost you your aspirations. It is going to cost you your personal goals and the things that you hoped to accomplish in life. God will take the things that meant a lot to you and He will ask you to give them up - so that you can be lifted up and exalted and become the great apostle? Let me tell you what the Lord said to Ananias. "I’ve showed him what great things he’s going to suffer for Me."
Are you prepared to do that? Are you prepared to give up the glory? Are you prepared to give up the financial position? Are you prepared to give up the business position? Are you prepared to give up the inheritance or whatever it is that you are boasting in? Are you prepared to do that for the call of God? If you are not, then you do not have what it takes to be an apostle.
Death of a VisionAn apostle has to go through a death of a vision.
Apostolic Type: MosesMoses had a great vision that he was going to be the deliverer. He knew that God had put him there to save the children of Israel from slavery and to deliver them from Pharaoh and from Egypt. And he knew exactly how he was going to do it. That day when he saw the Egyptian beating the slave, and he reached in there and killed him and buried him, he thought he had it all together.
But it all backfired on him and he ended up running away from Pharaoh in fear. His whole goal and vision died. You are going to go through death of a vision, or, correction, you are going to go through many deaths of visions. You are going to go through ‘DEATH’. Oh dear!
Apostolic Type: JesusJesus came as the Jewish Messiah, the One who had been prophesied of, the One whom they had sung about all through the years, had longed for and hoped for. Here He was.
"Here I am, your Messiah!"
They said, "You can’t be the Messiah. We don’t want our Messiah to look like that. You’re not good enough to be our Messiah. You’re just an ordinary carpenter. How can you come and be the Messiah?"
Jesus stood and He wept over Jerusalem and said, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that stones the prophets. How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not." Jesus had to die to that vision and let it go.
Apostolic Type:PaulHow about Paul? Imagine in today’s society somebody of the reputation of Paul becoming a Christian. Do you know how many churches would want him to be there to give his testimony? They would make movies of it. Organizations would be buying the rights to his story - of how he was riding along, and the light shone from heaven, and he was knocked off his horse, and this voice spoke to him…
"This man who was killing the Christians, who hated them with a passion, is now preaching the gospel!"
He would have been famous. But Paul hid away for fourteen years. Then he took another three years before he finally manifested to the church. This great man, who had held this great position, had to die to that vision he had. He had to die completely before the Lord could raise him up and bring him to be the great apostle to the gentiles.
ObscurityThere is always a time of obscurity before manifestation in the life of the apostle.
Apostolic Type: MosesMoses was this great man who was heir to the throne of Egypt, a great strong man who was educated and had the doctorates of Egypt. This man was brilliant. But you know what he ended up doing? Looking after sheep in the backside of the desert. Here you have this great Doctor, Reverend, Ph. D., C.C.F.F., M.D. (whatever) Moses standing there in the backside of the desert with a stick in his hand, looking after sheep!
Apostolic Type: JesusWhat about Jesus, born to be the Son of God, the Savior of the world? The prophecies were given over Him. The shepherds came. The wise men arrived with their gifts. He was born to be the Savior of the world. But you do not hear about Him until the age of twelve, and then He disappears until about the age of thirty. What happened to Him during that period? Who knows? We do not know. He was hidden away in obscurity.
Do you want to be an apostle of God? Have you got the call? Are you ready to go?
"Well, the Lord’s called me. He’s told me I’m called to be an apostle. Where do I start advertising? Do I go on national TV now?"
"No, go disappear for a while."
"But how will people know that I’m there?"
"They’re not supposed to. You’re going to have to be in obscurity before you can be manifested to the world."
Miraculous CallThe next sign of the apostle is a miraculous call.
Apostolic Type: MosesAs Moses was standing there looking after the sheep one day, suddenly he looked at an ordinary little bush and it burst into flame without being burned up. And as he came near, the Angel of the Lord spoke to him. The Angel of the Lord was a theophany, a manifestation of God. And God spoke to him and called to him out of that bush. It was a miraculous call.
"Moses, go back to Egypt and deliver My people."
Apostolic Type: JesusHow about Jesus? He came up out of obscurity to the River Jordan to be baptized by John. Nobody even noticed Him amongst the crowd. He was just an ordinary guy. John knew Him because they were relatives. Nobody else knew who He was. And as He came up out of the water (capow!) the heavens opened, the dove came down and a voice boomed out, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!" There was nothing tame about that one let me tell you. It was a miraculous call, a dynamic call.
Apostolic Type:PaulHow about Paul? Well, we spoke about him already. He was just riding along on his horse minding his own business going to kill Christians, and suddenly a light shone and knocked him off his horse. And he heard the voice saying, "Saul, Saul."
"Oh, you know me?"
"Come on, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
"Who are you, Lord?"
"I am Jesus. I’m the guy you’re persecuting!"
That was miraculous all right.
Personal ExperienceAs I look at my own experience I see all of these. I see how my vision for my career and everything just died. I see even how in my aspiration for ministry, as God called me, I just wanted to go out. And he held me back for nine years before even any sign of it became evident. Then when I finally went into the ministry and I was there, I was quickly whipped out of it again. I am not going to go into any detail on my story here, though.
But I remember the night I sat there in church, and the Lord said, "You’re finished here. I want you out there." I nearly fell off my chair. And I remember the night the Lord Jesus stood before me in vision and manifested Himself to me for the first time, and He stood there and said, "I want you out there." I looked out there and it was dark, and it was terrifying. And I said, "Lord, I don’t feel like going out there."
He said, "Don’t worry, I’ll go with you."
It was a miraculous call. Apostle of God, you will get a miraculous call, and you will receive it directly from the Lord. You are going to get something powerful, direct from the Lord, as He manifests Himself to you.
You can read of some of the other apostles that God is raising up in these days. They are men who have walked in the Spirit, men who have had visions of heaven and hell, and who have been taken in the Spirit. They have had the Lord reveal Himself to them in unique ways, and led them to do things and to establish works that have never been established before.
Do you want to know who they are? Just go and see who is getting the most opposition today. Just go and see who they are writing all the articles against on the Internet. There are sometimes even books being published against them. Very often they are apostles of God. Yes, there are heretics out there too. But many of them are mighty men of God.
ConfrontationalOne of the other signs of the apostolic calling that we see in the lives of these three men is confrontation with the enemy.
Apostolic Type: MosesMoses had to go there and confront enemy number one – Pharaoh himself. He had to go and stand in front of him and say, "Hey you, big guy! God says, ‘Let My people go! Get your hands off them.’" And then the fight began. Then the plagues began, and all the problems and the conflict, the turmoil and the difficulty it took as he confronted Pharaoh.
Apostolic Type: JesusJesus confronted the Pharaoh of this world. Right when He came out of the waters of baptism He went out into the wilderness, and for forty days as He fasted He was tempted and tested by the devil. He confronted Him.
Paul – we do not know exactly who Paul confronted or how he confronted, but he seemed to know pretty much about the Kingdom of Darkness. I think Paul had a time out there, possibly in Arabia and Damascus, as he came back from Arabia, where he waited for three years. Paul had his time. He knew all about spiritual warfare. You just read Ephesians 6 and you will find out Paul knew all about it.
He must have been into sports as well because he often used illustrations from the natural. He said, "We’re wrestling here." Paul knew all about wrestling matches. He said, "We’re wrestling against the devil." And he began to describe the different levels of the Kingdom of Darkness. Paul knew about it, let me tell you. He had confrontation with the evil one.
Personal ConfrontationI have shared before also, how I have had confrontation with Lucifer himself, and with the infernal trio, the Council of Wickedness. If you are going to move as an apostle, you are going to fight at the highest level in the spiritual realm. You had better get used to handling Lucifer as well as the spiritual Pharaoh and Apollyon. You had better get used to handling the princes of the countries of the world. You had better get used to handling the princes of the counties and the cities and the communities that you live in, because you are fighting a big warfare.
You are the little guy coming on a business scene that the big guys want to squash, because you are a threat. You are the little guy coming in that the big guys want to buy out if they can. Lucifer tried all of those on Jesus. He tried to get Him off the track. He tried to buy Him out. He tried to get Him to sin - just whatever he could to get Him out of the way. You are going to be in confrontation with Satan at the highest level if you are called to be an apostle of God.
Suffering for the CallThen you are going to suffer. I keep saying this don’t I? Who are you going to have suffering and opposition from? Very often from the very people you are ministering to.
Apostolic Type: MosesMoses went back to those miserable Israelites. He had a good thing going there in the backside of the desert. All the sheep did was just eat their grass and go to sleep and drink water. They were easy to look after. He would just whack them a little bit every now and then and they would come in line. And if you walk and you call them they follow you, no problem. You get the odd dumb sheep that goes astray and you just pull them back in again.
Not so with the dumb million sheep that God gave him out there in the desert, though. The Israelite nation have been rebelling against God for years. They gave Moses gray hairs. The Bible says that Moses died with all of his hair and his eyesight was still good, but I would suspect that he probably was gray by the time he died, looking after all those people.
It is tough being the apostolic leader of God. People are going to winge and moan. You will have the Korah’s that are going to rise up and say, "You think you’re such a hotshot Mr Bigdeal apostle. Hey, I have a doctorate. I have a degree, I’ve got qualifications. I come from the high strata of society." That is how Korah and his crowd were. You go and read about it. They were the hotshots. Moses was just this dumb shepherd from the backside of the desert.
"Who is he to want to come and lead these people? He’s not even qualified. The man’s got no education!"
You will face it, let me tell you, if you want to be an apostle of God.
Apostolic Type: JesusHow about Jesus? He was hated and persecuted by the very people He came to - the Pharisees and the Scribes. These were men who knew the Word and were the very ones who had marveled at His intelligence when He sat in the temple at the age of twelve. He got opposition and persecution, and they wanted to kill Him.
Apostolic Type: PaulHow about Paul? Poor old Paul. Wherever he went he had trouble. He had a thorn in the flesh. It became so bad he kept crying out to the Lord and saying, "Lord, you’ve got to deliver me. Lord, let me out of this thing." And the Lord said, "Tough, you’re called to be an apostle. Do it yourself." It is not going to be an easy road. I keep getting back to that, I am afraid.
Miraculous MinistryOne of the other signs of the apostolic ministry is a ministry in the miraculous; a tapping into the power of God with signs and wonders.
Apostolic Type: MosesAs Moses stood there, being told by God to go back to the Israelites and to Pharaoh, he kind of argued about it. He felt insecure. He argued with the Lord.
He said, "Lord if I go there, what proof do I have? Lord, can I have some credentials, please? I need credentials to produce, to prove to these people that I am qualified. Who am I going to say sent me? I haven’t been sent by any organization. How am I going to prove that You sent me?"
If you want to be an apostle, you are not going to be sent by man, you are going to get sent by God. You are not going to have any organization backing you nor will you be under anybody’s covering.
"Oh dear, that’s heresy brother. You’ve got to be under covering!"
Not if you are an apostle. You are sent by God. Do you want credentials? God gave Moses two.
He said, "Take your stick and throw it down on the ground." When Moses did it became a serpent. God said, "Put your hand here in your bosom. Pull it out." It became leprous. "Put it back." He took it out and the leprosy was gone.
There were two signs that God gave to Moses; signs that proved that he was sent by God; miraculous signs that proved his call. Do you want to be an apostle? God will give you signs and proof, and part of the proof will be the results that you get.
Paul writing to one of the churches says, "You are the seal of my apostleship, you guys. The very fact that you exist as a church is proof that I’m an apostle, because I founded you, and I put you together." You will need to have signs and wonders. When Moses took that rod, he did a lot more than turn it into a snake, let me tell you. He parted the Red Sea with that rod, and he called down the plagues with that rod. Miraculous signs and wonders that took place in Egypt to prove to the Egyptians that God was in their midst.
If you are an apostle you have the right to expect that when you go forth into new territory to proclaim and to do what has not been done before, that God is going to confirm what He has called you to do by signs following. The signs will be there. The results will be there. The proof will be there that what God has called you to do is real, because you will get results. Do not worry about recognition from an organization or from people. You have your credentials. Go and use them!
Apostolic Type: JesusOf course, we know that Jesus had a healing and a miracle ministry. What did Jesus say?
"The signs that I do are proof of who I am and that the Father is with me."
They kept asking Him for proof. "Give us a sign. Give us proof. Give us proof that the Father sent You. Give us proof of who You are. Hey, we don’t see any qualifications. You’re just a dumb carpenter. We know your family, we know your heritage and You don’t come from a big name family. Where’s your proof?"
You will get your proof. When signs and wonders begin to take place; when you start ministering to the sick; when you start opening blind eyes. The moment they open their eyes people are not going to say, "That’s great. Now show me your credentials, please." They will not be doing that. They will be flocking to you. They will be mobbing you. You will be trying to get away from them. That is all the proof you need. It is all the signs you need.
LeadershipOne further sign of the apostolic call is leadership. The apostle is not a follower. The apostle is a leader.
Apostolic Type: MosesWhen God raised Moses up He put him as the leader to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses heard from God and spoke the Word of God to them. Moses made the decisions, he took the lead, he gave the orders. Moses was ahead of the rest. He was right on top, taking the lead.
Apostolic Type: JesusJesus led the Jews back to God.
Apostolic Type: PaulPaul led the gentiles to Christ. He was the great apostle to the gentiles, and they all read his letters in their churches and looked to him
Receives a PatternI have just two more. The apostle is the receiver of a pattern.
Apostolic Type: MosesWhen Moses went up onto the mountain to speak with God, God gave him a pattern for the tabernacle. He gave him a pattern for what was known as ‘The Church in the Wilderness’. God spoke to Moses and said, "I want you to make it so long and so high and so thick, and make it of this and make it of that, and do it this way. Put gold here." He was exact, He was specific, He was explicit. So much so that God said to Moses afterwards, "Make sure you make it according to the pattern that I’ve given you!"
If you are an apostle, God has given you a pattern. He has given you a pattern for the call or the specific ministry that He has placed on you. He has given you a way to do it that perhaps has never been done before, but it is the right way to do it. It is the way God has called you to do it and it is the way that it needs to be done. Do not try and diverge from it. Do not try and take advice from the world or go taking advice from people who have tried it before. Just listen to the Lord, and do it the way He tells you to do it, even if it does not make sense. Follow the pattern!
Apostolic Type: JesusJesus had a pattern. He had a pattern for the Kingdom of God. And if you want to find that pattern, it is called the Sermon on the Mount. You can read about it in Matthew 5. He laid it all down systematically. "This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like." Very often Jesus gave the parables to illustrate it and take it further. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like …" It was patterns and pictures – an exact picture of the way it needs to be done.
Apostolic Type: PaulPaul had the pattern for the church. If you read the book of Ephesians, known as the epistle of the church, he laid the whole thing down systematically, exactly how the church needs to be set up.
Old to NewThen finally, the apostle leads from the old to the new.
Apostolic Type: MosesMoses brought the people out of Egypt from the place of slavery and bondage, the old life, and he led them out into the place of blessing, the promised land, the Canaan land of God. He had to lead them out of where they were. He had to bring them out, with no thought of going back. They had come with their families, with their wives and their children, with their animals, with their possessions. They left nothing behind. They had to come out of Egypt and have no thought of going back to it. They needed to come into a new land that flowed with milk and honey.
Apostolic Type: JesusJesus led the Jews out of the law that they had boasted in for so many years, into grace. He led them out of condemnation into love. Oh man, they kept wanting to go back.
The Jews in Egypt on their way to Canaan kept hankering back to Egypt.
"Oh man, the good old flesh pots of Egypt, and the garlic and the onions and the leaks."
They just kept wanting to go back there, and God had to keep shoving them on. At one stage He even had to send hornets to help them along and persuade them. Jesus had the same problem with the Jews.
Paul – Paul led the gentiles from being outcasts who were rejected from the Kingdom of God and considered nobodies, to coming into the fold and being accepted into the Kingdom of God.
If you are called to be an apostle, the people that God has called you to minister to, and the pattern and the principle and the whole motivation of what God has called you to do, is to lead people out of where they are into something new.
Resistance to ChangeNow you are going to fight the RC factor. Yes, you might fight the Roman Catholic church as well, but that is not what I am talking about. It is resistance to change. You are going to fight it and have problems with it. People are going to kick against it. People are used to going to church in a certain way. They are used to being there on a Sunday and warming pews and leaving the pastor to do everything. We will be looking at a lot more of some of the patterns and principles that God is giving to His apostles in these last days.
But if you are somebody who does not like change, forget about being an apostle. If you are somebody who is not prepared to kick against the status quo, you are not capable of being an apostle, because God is calling you to bring about change. You need to lead people out of one into the other. You will need to bring a change to their way of thinking. You will have to change where they are, and lead them into a new place where they have never been before.
All of these things are involved in being an apostle – and many more. This is just an introduction here. So, where do you stand? Have you identified any of these things as I have shared them? What signs have shown in your life, of the call to apostleship? Perhaps after reading this chapter you now know without a doubt that you are not called to be an apostle. If that is the case I am glad, because it could be an awful mistake getting involved in this if you are not called to it. You will die.
Perhaps though you are called to it, and you suspect it after reading this. In fact you have more than a suspicion. If you have that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that says, "Oh dear, that’s me," then I have good news for you. God is going to raise you up to the highest ministry office. Do not worry about the bad news. God will take you through. He is going to lift you up and He is going to use you for His glory. And you will take part in the greatest move of all time, as the Lord brings us to the final consummation of His plan and purpose for His church.