Why the Church Needs Apostles Today
The Divine Order for Church Government
Lesson 1 of 14
God wants us to understand His divine order for church government. When was the last time you thought, “I wish I knew how to walk in God’s truth more powerfully?” Or, “There seems to be something missing from my faith.” These are common complaints voiced by many people today. What has been missing from your faith is truth. That is, the knowledge you need to function in your faith.
You might not get that right away, that you need knowledge to function in your faith. So let’s talk about what that means, and start with the basics, that knowledge equals function. For example, you would not expect to function as a doctor unless you first received the knowledge and training to perform medical procedures. The same is true for scientists, educators, and everything that happens in the world of business. You would not expect to function in any of these fields unless you first had knowledge. Knowledge equals function, or function follows knowledge. That is easy to understand because we understand that knowledge has purpose.
Here is another example to help clarify the relation between knowledge and function: If you want to build a house, but you don’t have the knowledge or experience to do so, you would hire someone who does. Knowledge is tested by function. If you moved into your new house and saw that the floors were uneven, the stairs were not finished, the bathroom had everything but a toilet, and the rooms were only 5 feet in height, you would wonder about the person you hired to build your house.
As you gaze around your new home you might say, “There seems to be something wrong—there seems to be something missing.” You cannot function in this house as you would like to and need to because the knowledge used to build the house was inadequate. So you can understand why we say that function follows knowledge, and why, when you say that something is missing from your faith, that “something” is truth.
There are many things that people believe about God and faith in Jesus Christ that are not true. And so we should not be surprised when people say that something is missing from their faith. They have noticed that their faith is not functioning as it should.
We can now understand that we express faith according to the knowledge we possess and that you have to build your faith with the right knowledge in order for your faith to function correctly.
It is vitally important that the Body of Christ return to true Apostolic Governance and come unto the knowledge of the truth that God wants believers to have for their function in Christ. This truth focuses faith on the 12 Elements of the Gospel as the proper foundation we need to give faith true purpose in Jesus Christ. For just as a house needs a proper foundation to raise a stable and strong building, faith needs the foundation of the 12 Elements of the Gospel to be strong in Christ.
Truth prepares the heart to serve and worship God perfectly. Truth brings us into one mind in Christ. This is why God’s plan begins with apostles. They are the master builders. Jesus gave the apostles the blueprint of truth to lay the foundation of truth in the heart of the believer.
New Testament church government. Illustration of proper church government for body ministry.
Click on Image to Enlarge
Church government begins with apostles. The scriptures tell us, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,” (1 Corinthians 12:28). This is God’s divine order for spiritual government.
Why apostles first? Apostles are first because God wants us to come into one understanding of truth to function with His knowledge. God’s plan is that the church receive the knowledge of Jesus Christ through the apostles He chooses.
The apostles teach the other callings of church government listed in (Ephesians 4:11), the prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The church grows by the grace God gives to each calling.
Apostles are master builders of faith: The Lord points out to us, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon,” (1 Corinthians 3:10).
When we are converted to the faith we do not have the foundation laid, we have one brick, which is grace. We are demonstrating faith by our choice to come into covenant with God. God baptized us in the Holy Spirit. We are righteous. We are holy. The Elements of the Gospel are already at work in us, we are living it. We just haven’t put the language to it yet. The language identifies these experiences for us. This is why we need to have the foundation of truth set in the heart, it defines these experiences for us and enables us to share these common experiences with others.
Apostles Teach the Doctrine of Christ: The apostles teach the doctrine of Christ, the how-to’s of Christianity. That is simply what they are called of God to do. Apostles set order to the knowledge of Christ so that a person can have the full knowledge of God to walk in. This is why God calls them stewards of the mystery of Christ: “Let a man so account of us [apostles], as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God,” (1 Corinthians 4:1).
Apostolic stewardship of the church simply means that apostles are teaching the mysteries of Christ. The simple truth is that a person cannot know God, nor walk in any of these things that are made possible in Christ, unless living apostles are teaching the church. We see this in the book of Acts and the epistles:
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
1 Timothy 4:6
“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”
Are You Walking in the True Christian Faith?
One of the things you can do to get a perspective on the importance of the apostle’s office is to sit down and make a list of all things you believe the Bible says are yours to walk in because of faith in Jesus Christ. Your list may look something like this:
1. To be established in the faith, to have a firm faith, to have a powerful faith
2. To be led of the Spirit
3. To overcome the devil
4. To have the fruit of Christ growing in the inner man
5. To experience an intimate relationship with God
6. To rule over sin
7. To know with confidence that God hears and answers prayers
8. To have an abundance of joy and peace
9. To walk in newness of life
10. To be used of God to minister to others
Now ask yourself if you are walking in these things perfectly every day, or if you are waiting for God to show you how to do this. I ask that because today’s Christian journalists reporting on the state of the church continue to bring to our attention that all is not well in the church. God is shaking pulpits, and breaking up old foundations, and going to the root of the problems in the church.
So, what is the root of the problem? The problem is that when apostles are not active, the church builds faith upon knowledge that God did not sanctify (enter into) and that is the reason why believers today cannot walk in the things that are in Christ. The normal Christian life that God wants you to have is always just out of reach.
Meaning, you will not be established in the faith, you will not have a firm faith, you will not have a powerful faith, you will not be led of the Spirit, you will not overcome the devil, you will not have the fruit of Christ growing in the inner man, you will not experience an intimate relationship with God, you will not rule over sin, you will not know with confidence that God hears and answers prayers, you will not have an abundance of joy and peace, you will not walk in newness of life, you will not be used of God to minister to others.
Knowing the importance God places upon apostles teaching the church, why do we see such resistance to God’s divine order? It is safe to say that people fear what they do not understand and in many cases that fear of the new gets inflamed by Satan’s inspiration, which leads people to resist what they do not understand. Satan is fighting so hard against apostles today because it is the only way he can continue to keep people ignorant of their true hope in Christ, and bound to the flesh.
As believers begin to awaken to their true spiritual state, many are heard to say that they are confused. If that describes you, know that you are not confused, you are just beginning to realize the truth. God wants us to understand His divine order for spiritual government. When was the last time you thought, “I wish I knew how to walk in God’s truth more powerfully?” Or, “There seems to be something missing from my faith.” These are common complaints voiced by many people today. What has been missing from your faith is truth. That is, the knowledge you need to function in your faith.
5. FRAMEWORK OF TRUTH
6. ORDERED KNOWLEDGE
7. HOLY KNOWLEDGE
8. DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
Apostolic Governance over the church is about returning the church to the reality of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the divine pattern for your faith to be expressed by to be received of God:
1. Jesus Christ is the record of our faith.
2. Jesus Christ is the pattern of our faith.
3. Jesus Christ is the blueprint of our faith.
4. God joins Himself to the record of faith as the witness.
5. Jesus provided Himself as the framework of truth.
6. Jesus set order to knowledge that it might reflect Him.
7. Jesus’ knowledge is holy for it is separated from other knowledge.
8. The doctrine of Christ is that truth that works holiness in you.
Your faith needs to follow the record of Jesus Christ.
1. RECORD: 1 John 5:11, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” Returning to the apostolic means returning to that one pattern of faith. The record of Christ is not the precept of scripture; it is the pattern Jesus set in Himself for our obedience to God by the Law of Grace and Truth.
We are going to use rail road tracks as an illustration. Your faith is the train and truth is the rails. God designed faith to follow the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Just as the tracks are “set in order” for the train, so also Jesus set in order His knowledge (by His apostles who laid the tracks) for your faith to follow, establishing Himself as the record of your faith. Your faith can’t go anywhere unless the rails are first set. Faith then goes in the direction that was laid out by God.
The record contains the terms, commandments, tools, and contact points of our faith, which provide for a “framework” of truth, which gives us “boundaries” we are to abide in, called “The Doctrine of Christ.” God gave only one pattern, which apostles unfold to the church.
When believers attempt to build their faith in God by the precept of scripture without the knowledge of Christ being set in order, they labor in vain and offend God because the knowledge reflects themselves and not Christ.
2. WITNESS: 1 Jn. 5:6, “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
The witness is defined as: That which is living and present. The witness of the Spirit is the living and present confirmation of the Father that affirms the record of Christ as proceeding forth from Him. The virtues of Christ that are present in the record are also present in the witness to carry these virtues within the heart. If the truth we embrace is void of the pattern of the record, the witness of the Spirit is not present.
God sanctified all things in Christ then provided Himself as the living witness. The witness of the Spirit is seen in the inspiration of God in the knowledge of truth when the knowledge is ordered, and thus holy (reflecting Christ).
As we testify of Christ according to the record, God testifies of His Son in us through the witness; The Spirit of God is living and present in the knowledge of truth to carry that pattern within the soul.
Going back to our illustration of the train and rails, the witness of the Spirit is seen as the empowerment of faith. Remember, God designed faith to follow the knowledge of Jesus Christ. As the tracks are “set in order” for the train, so also Jesus set in order His knowledge (by His apostles who laid the tracks) for your faith to follow. Faith then goes in the direction that was laid out by God and the Holy Spirit empowers faith. This empowerment of faith is called “the witness.” God sustains our faith by His presence.
That means that the Holy Spirit will confirm Jesus Christ when your faith follows the pattern God set in Him and that you will experience the witness of the Spirit. Your faith is pleasing to God and grows exceedingly.
The witness is how the Spirit of God carries your faith into the experience of Christ, which is His fulness. The Spirit of God works only with the truth of the gospel to confirm Christ in your soul. God does not empower (or bear witness to) the precept or our imagination, God empowers faith when it is joined to those things He has sanctified in Christ. God empowers His promises of fulness in Christ Jesus.
3. PATTERN: The pattern is the blueprint God gives to the steward of His house by which the people build faith. God gave Moses the blueprints to build the tabernacle in the wilderness and Moses constructed all things according to that pattern and the faith of the people followed that pattern.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the PATTERN of the tabernacle, and the PATTERN of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
God uses the word “pattern” to communicate to man that he is not free to build a model for faith from his own record, but that faith must follow the record of Jesus Christ as Paul wrote, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1Tim.1:16). And Heb.8:5: “Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”
God confirms the pattern (record) by visiting in power (witness) as we saw in the Old Testament:
33And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
34Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
What is God teaching us here? God is teaching us that:
• He inhabits what He builds.
• What God sanctifies, He confirms with His presence.
• His presence empowers faith.
Jesus Christ is the living pattern, living record, and living model of our faith.
4. BLUEPRINT: God identified the apostles as the “masterbuilders” of the faith. 1 Corinthians 3:10, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” All masterbuilders (apostles) follow the same blueprints to build faith in Jesus Christ.
5. FRAMEWORK OF TRUTH: God gives structure to faith through the record of Jesus Christ. He is truth; He is the Second Covenant; All the terms, commandments, tools, and contact points of our faith are established in Him. Restricting our faith to the knowledge of Christ means that our faith is made living by the Spirit only within this framework of truth.
6. ORDERED KNOWLEDGE: As the tracks are “set in order” for the train, so also Jesus set in order His knowledge (by His apostles who laid the tracks) for your faith to follow. Faith then goes in the direction that was laid out by God and the Holy Spirit empowers faith. God restricted man’s faith to the Second Covenant of Jesus Christ for engagement, fellowship, and divine reciprocation.
7. HOLY KNOWLEDGE: Holy knowledge is the truth of Jesus Christ. God sanctified His truth for our salvation. The knowledge of Christ is holy because it reflects Jesus Christ perfectly, it is holy because it is separated from all other knowledge, it does not follow the wisdom of the world, nor the spirit of this world.
God empowers faith when it is joined to those things He has sanctified in Christ. Faith disjoined from the pattern (record and blueprint) of Jesus Christ is disjoined from the witness of the Holy Spirit. Much like a train derailing. No grace is issued, no comfort of the Holy Ghost, no edification, exhortation, nor comfort, and no spiritual transformation is taking place. Turning the hearts of the people back to God through apostolic teaching begins with the restoration of His holy knowledge by which the true pattern for faith is restored to give direction for the faith of the people. This holy knowledge makes all the necessary connections for believers to be able to join themselves to God with perfect faith.
8. DOCTRINE OF CHRIST: 2 John 9, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” The doctrine of Christ is the ordered knowledge of Christ, which truth, established as a foundation for faith, confirms Jesus as the record of our faith. The doctrine of Christ is that truth that works holiness in you.
9. ANOINTING: 1 Jn.2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
The anointing is the preparation of truth in the heart of the believer through the instruction received by the apostles' office. Through this “preparation in truth,” we are “taught” all things concerning the pattern of Christ. With this foundation of truth we have the necessary knowledge and tools we need to build faith in God.
As we daily keep the commandments of Jesus Christ through our priesthood duties, we continue to draw from the anointing of truth and the Spirit also does the same, He draws from the foundation of truth that is built within the heart to continue to “teach us,” not another pattern, but to increase our understanding of the one pattern of Christ.
The anointing is profitable only as we abide in the truth of the Gospel and is given for the purpose of discernment, learning, and guidance. The anointing will not bear witness to the rhythm of the flesh (it will not lie against truth or against Christ to confirm the human nature, human lust, or human strength,) rather it will only bear witness to the true purpose and plan of God.