One can be an apostle without being an apostle of God. Before the Christian era the word apostle was used in an ambassadorial sense. Today, as distinct from Christian usage, the word apostle can mean an enthusiast. It can be used to connote the promoter of a cause such ‘as an apostle of clean energy.’
At Bible Study Tools Com we find these observations: ‘The pre-Christian use of apostolos in the sense of messenger is rare. More common is the verb apostello, referring to the sending of a fleet or an embassy. Epictetus [speaking on the topic] said such a teacher is one "Sent by Zeus" to be a messenger of the gods and an "overseer" of human affairs.’ There are many apostles of Zeus today as well as apostles in the church who are not apostles of the Kingdom Jesus began.
An apostle then, can be a messenger of anything. Clearly an apostle can be ‘a sent person’ and presenter of anything under the sun, whether bizarre or true. Not by definition needing to be a divine messenger or promoter of anything beneficial. Indeed today we witness secular apostles of sectional and vested interest posing as benefactors and visionary leaders. This alerts us to the possibility that in the Christian sense one may be an apostle, but not necessarily an apostle of God’s or His achievements for all. There are false apostles and self-appointed apostles. There are ‘other gospels’ and distorted gospels. Indeed an apostle could live and work as a misrepresenter of what Father achieved for us in Christ and still be an apostle – but not of the Kingdom.
One might be a false apostle. But not false in the sense of malicious intent. False in the sense that our message is a shadow of, or a distortion of the gospel of the Kingdom as declared by Jesus, John and Paul. False in the sense that we promote law and old covenant when Christ alone is our life. This implies that we can be a misguided apostle – promoting that which God has left behind such as the old covenant with its law and separation from God. Jude warned of these, describing them as clouds without rain which means an absence of spirit and life. Grace is ours, not so we can live in separation when we have union but so that we can find our way to the fullness that is ours. Fullness comes from union with God. This is our inheritance. Our inheritance is not some private interpretation. It is what Jesus and Paul say it is.
‘Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture [or gospel of the Kingdom] came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things’ 2 Peter 1.10 NIV. Our inheritance is Christ in you.
Jesus and His Father were one. He was in His Father and His Father was in Him. In sonship He did what His Father was doing. He was the active expression of His Father. This was apostolic union. This union of being in the Spirit is now ours. It is the soil of the anointing and womb of the new creation.
In the early Christian age an apostle came to be seen as one who was a representative of the gospel of the Kingdom. It is Christ’s apostleship multiplied in Believers. Jesus was sent to make Christ and the life He offered in God known to all, so that all could participate in His Kingdom life. In this fellowship we are sons. As Believers we participate in a culture of apostleship as daughters and sons. Some are apostles as genuine sons of God, by calling and by ministry.
ONENESS WITH FATHER
Jesus was an apostle as a son in union with His Father. This is so with any genuine apostle, which mean that apostleship flows from new covenant union with God. Never from old covenant separation. TODAY JESUS’ UNION IS OUR UNION.
Jesus is the pattern and the spirit and life of every human apostle. The essence of Jesus’ apostleship is His oneness with Father. His mission as an apostle of His Father is revealing His Father. His ‘being’ as an apostles is that He is His Father’s Son. Revealing Him as a result of union, revealing Him as His mission and revealing Him in doing all that Father had sent Him to do. This is the apostolic mission. This reveals the Father and secures the sons of God in participating in the life of the trinity. As Jesus did, apostles are sons who purvey the inheritance of sons.
Jesus declared that as the Son, He and His Father were one. ‘To see me is to see Father,’ He told Philip. This is the essence of His apostleship. It is the pattern of human apostleship - Union with Father and knowing Father. ‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him’ (Matt 11.27 NIV).
Who are those whom the Son chooses to reveal the Father? Those who accept the Son as He is, who receive the Christ of God into their hearts for Himself; who agree and affirm that Jesus is indeed their life. ‘Jesus. I receive you as the totality of my life’ is the key to revelation and knowing what Jesus is doing now.
UNION AND KNOWING
Jesus was the apostle of His Father through union and knowing. Apostleship is the spirit of sonship come in the flesh – in your body soul and spirit! One with us and one with the trinity Jesus is the vine who joins us to the dynamic womb of the universe. Branches joined to God we are sons in spirit and in truth. Our being grows fruit that is alive with the Spirit of God.
Union with God came first with Jesus among us in Palestine. This union comes to you today because the trinity has made their home in you. Believers are an apostolic people through union with God. Ministering apostles are sons in spirit and in truth whose union with God motivates them to draw all they touch into the spirit of sonship that is theirs and which belongs to all. I hope you can see that apostleship is not primarily about creating an institutional church or about churches. Nor is it entirely about miracles. It is the effect of union with God, revealing the Father in the spirit of sonship and drawing people into the union with God – their sonship in our Father that is already their inheritance.
We already belong. A human apostle knows and lives this union as did Jesus. Here is genuine apostleship. This kind of apostleship is the representation of Christ in us and us in God. It’s the explanation and demonstration of the trinity incarnated in one’s being. So it’s not a bunch of miracles, having a big church or sitting at the head of some hierarchy. It’s you and Father being one, teaching the glory of union with God and undoing the false gospel of try-harderism and separation.
Separationism is a cunningly devised fable and a doctrine of demons. It’s not always a specific doctrine and is more implicit than explicit in many instances. It’s a culture and a spirit. Never promote it. Always undo it and you will be one with our Father, the Son and Holy Spirit who entered into a holy conspiracy to make the human race one with themselves. This is apostleship in spirit and in truth.
The human race has been reconciled to God. Not that God was against us but that we were against and suspicious of Him. Apostleship, union with God, multiplies the spirit of sonship, replacing separationism with union and fellowship with the Holy Family – they in us, us in them. We are received into their fellowship in heaven and rejoice in their companionship on earth. Each of you, reading this, has Father, Son and Holy Spirit come in your flesh.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.