The Apostolic Ministry: We Are All Sent Ones

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

Apostolic Reformation

Jesus is indeed worthy to be praised as the Word of God. John the Beloved writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning" (John 1:1-2).

In sending forth His Son, God the Father released the apostolic dimension of Heaven into the earth in the Person of His Son, the Word of God. Jesus Christ brought about apostolic reformation and the accomplishment of God's divinely-architected plan to restore mankind to Himself. Jesus preached peace and made one new man by uniting Jew and Gentile. In the accomplishment of the Cross, Christ laid the foundation for apostolic ministry in the earth; He is the Chief Cornerstone upon which God's household is built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets (see Ephesians 2:14-22).

Christ, the Word, became the living Way to the Father. As our Apostle and High Priest the Lord brought about complete apostolic reconciliation between fallen mankind and Holy Father as the Mediator of the New Covenant of Grace. Through His obedient sacrifice the Lord re-aligned the destiny path of the whole world, demonstrating how apostolic ministry brings the Church into sovereign alignment with God's will.

As Mediator, Christ Jesus led us from the old covenant under Law into the new covenant under grace. Apostolic anointing brings about divinely orchestrated change by leading us into the new things of God. Jesus is Alpha and Omega – First and Last; the apostolic ministry is both "first" in the context of governmental order (see 1 Corinthians 12:28) and also "last" in that it exists to be the servant to all.

Apostolic Birthright – We Are All "Sent" Ones

Jesus was sent from the Father and pioneered and modelled a lifestyle that took Him to the Cross and beyond into resurrection glory so that we (the Bride of Christ) might also be sent! We live in a perpetual dispensation of apostolic grace in which Christ longs for His Church to receive a greater revelation of what it means to be a "sent one" in these days. Jesus yearns to release the apostolic dimension of His heart into the hearts of every saint around the world so that we can fulfil the Great Commission and hasten the return of the Lord.

The apostolic birthright of the Church was purchased at great cost by the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is because of Calvary that the Church has received power and authority to fulfil the Great Commission (or Cultural Mandate, see also Genesis 1:28.) The apostolic anointing is a "global" anointing, i.e. it reaches to the ends of the earth and embraces every Believer in its function of reaching out, winning souls, and discipling.
Jesus appointed and authorised twelve of His disciples to become apostles, i.e. "sent ones." Jesus, as Apostle, had given the original apostles a mission and commission which were apostolic in nature. Whilst the Great Commission was originally given specifically to the eleven apostles after Jesus' resurrection, it is also given generally to the Church.

We are all, therefore, apostolic in nature to some extent as we seek to obey the mandate to love people into the Kingdom of God and disciple the nations. We must clearly understand that whilst not everyone is called to be an apostle, all may be considered "apostolic" by dint of their spiritual DNA in Christ in as much as the entire Church is called to be involved in playing a role in execution of the Great Commission.

Apostolic Dimension

The Great Commission is not just about evangelism. Whilst evangelism is an important part of soul winning, in and of itself it cannot achieve the apostolic dimension to make disciples, i.e. to teach, preach, train, and ultimately raise up mature Believers. Discipleship is about following and emulating the Master, and therefore it is about living by the principles Christ lived by and also doing the works that Jesus did. New converts need to belong to churches and Holy Spirit-led movements. New churches and movements require elders to be ordained and godly leadership to be established, and in this we see further evidence of the apostolic nature of the Great Commission.

The original twelve apostles were appointed, anointed, and authorised as Christ's ambassadors to carry out the mission He had set before them (see Matthew 10:1). Every born-again Believer has inherited the blessing of adoption and access to the Father and has a part to play in the fulfilment of the Great Commission. The Great Commission is not just a job for missionaries; our Kingdom citizenship makes a command upon us to get involved in loving the nations into the arms of Almighty God! (See Matthew 22:37-39)

The apostolic dimension of Christ's grace strengthens the Church to enable her to be salt and light to the nations, pushing back and defeating darkness and advancing the Kingdom even during times of intense persecution. Because "the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us" (John 1:14), the apostolic dimension of Christ's ministry causes acceleration of the things of God and increase and multiplication of God's dominion on the earth as we each testify to God's glory at work in our lives.

Apostolic Grace

Apostolic anointing releases much grace upon, to, and through the Church as we see in the Book of Acts (see Acts 4:33). The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ enables what was previously impossible to be made possible. It was a fresh outpouring of apostolic grace that transformed a quivering wreck of eleven men and propelled them into the place of miracle-working holy boldness and power with signs and wonders following their ministry on a daily basis with apostolic teaching, prayer, fellowship, and communion at the heart of the explosive growth of the New Testament Church.

God still longs to pour out more grace on His Church so that the multitudes can be won and the nations discipled for His glory, but He is waiting for us to appropriate this grace in a fresh wave of humble yet persistent and prevailing prayer and divinely-inspired action. We will see exponential increase in our God-given ministries when we understand this truth and prayerfully receive this blessing. (Photo via Flickr)

Apostolic "Draw"

Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day" (John 6:44). The saving grace of Christ acts like a magnet to metal drawing people from every tribe to the Father. Apostle Paul understood this principle when he wrote, "Through Him [Christ Jesus] we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name's sake" (Romans 1:5 [emphasis mine]).

We receive more grace so that we can release more grace, which draws the multitudes into the Kingdom as sons and heirs. True apostolic ministry produces spiritual sons and daughters – just look at our lives, which are an outflow of Jesus' universal apostolic ministry. This is good news!
Furthermore, as we receive fresh revelation of the many manifestations of grace, we can expect to see an increase of Kingdom fruitfulness in our lives because more of God's love is revealed in the exceptional outpouring of God's grace.

Apostolic Anointing

It is clear that Jesus transferred a portion of His mantle, i.e. His power and authority to His disciples when He sent them forth as apostles (see Luke 9:1-2), otherwise they would not have been able to complete the work He had entrusted to them to drive out demons, cure disease, pray for the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, and preach the Kingdom. Furthermore, we read in Ephesians 4 that when the Lord ascended to Heaven He gave the full representation of Himself, i.e. His mantle, in five aspects or delegated "offices" to the Church, giving some (but not all) to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Those who are transformed by the grace of God become those who transform culture.

Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Rome, "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift..." (Romans 1:11). We see a clear principle outlined from Scripture that the Lord releases His anointing on the earth through those whom He calls, sends, and releases with His grace and authority. Apostles and other five-fold ministers are called and sent and have a dimension of Christ's grace to impart spiritual gifts to the Church.
Christ's beautiful Spirit is not limited only to the five-fold ministries however. The Bible teaches us that the Spirit was given so that the Gospel message could be carried to the ends of the earth: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Whilst in historical context this Scripture points to the Spirit being given in the first instance to the apostles, the Bible also makes clear that "in the last days, God says, 'I will pour out My Spirit on all people'" (Acts 2:17). Since we may confidently say that the "last days" began with the ascension of Christ, then we are in the time frame of receiving the global outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught that the Father loves to give the Spirit without measure to His children. We are therefore ALL recipients of the "sending" Holy Spirit who enables us to be an apostolic company of priestly ambassadors on the earth! Hallelujah!

© Catherine Brown, The Transparent Publishing Company 2014.
All rights reserved. Extracted from "Simply Apostolic" by Catherine Brown.

Catherine Brown
Founder/Director, Gatekeepers Global Ministries
Co-Founder, Scottish Apostolic Network