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Devotionals

Abusing Apostleship - Stop Chasing Man

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828ministries.com H3'ed 2/18/14
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Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as  J ustus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.  - Acts 1: 21-26 (NIV)

Beloved, it is my sincere prayer for you and for all of us who claim to be followers of Christ that we spend our efforts in actually following Christ. There is an marked increase in these last days of following man. We follow pastors and worship them. Place them on pedestals they do not belong on and cannot survive on. We worship the buildings they create, carving out our piece of churchianity that says the name of Jesus enough to make us feel pious but then we turn a blind eye to specious doctrine and teachings that are simply unbiblical. What is worse is we now follow men who are self appointed. Men who self promote. Who lift themselves up above the common Christian. Who claim some level of spiritual superiority by misusing the Bible and take titles that do not belong to them One of the most abused titles today is that of Apostle. Let me be clear up front. There are no more apostles today. The office has been closed since the death of John, the last apostle. Now before everyone flies into a charismatic tizzy let us agree that the final arbiter of anything we believe in, or heaven forbid follow, must be supported by Scripture. We cannot just make it up as we go along. We cannot use enough biblical words without biblical foundation. We cannot wrest Scriptures out of context to suit our own ends. Let us start with the knowledge that impersonating apostles is as old as the original office:

"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: "The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. ""I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.   - Revelation 2: 1-2 (ESV)  

Even at the early Church at Ephesus there were people trying to pass themselves off as apostles but they were tested and proven false. What is the test then? Looking at the key verses we have a glimpse into the only time in Scripture that an apostle had to be replaced and Peter makes it abundantly clear. They needed to be with the twelve the whole time Jesus was with them and become witness of His resurrection. They cast lots and Matthias was named to replace Judas. The only other apostle was Paul, who was commissioned by Christ Himself (Acts 9). Paul was witness to the resurrected Christ and also warned about people claiming to be apostles:

And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.   For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  - 2Corinthians 11: 12-13 (NIV)

No man nominated Paul or commissioned Paul. More importantly, when he spoke about being an apostle he said he did not even deserve the title for he once persecuted the church. Despite evangelizing the entire known world, he always considered himself the least of the apostles and referred to himself as a bondservant, or slave of Christ. In reading the great humility with which he ministered you simply cannot imagine he ever introduced himself as "the Apostle Paul." For him as the rest of the apostles, it was always about lifting up Jesus, not themselves. Wait a minute preacher! What about Ephesians four? What about it?

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds   and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, - Ephesians 4: 11-12 (ESV)  

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