Questions People Ask
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? Wasnít
Paul maybe the last of the apostles? Is it true that people today that
are claiming to be apostles are genuine, or are they deceived?
If there are apostles, how would you
recognize one? Just because, a guy stands up and says, "Iím 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? And they dress in
fancy clothes? Does that make a person an apostle? How do you recognize
an apostle? What does he look like? And, is there a Ďsheí apostle,
or is this only for guys?
These are some of the questions that
you may have asked, or that have turned over in your mind. Would an
apostle identify himself or herself? Do apostles go round claiming to be
apostles? Should they? Is an apostle perhaps someone who has reached an
exalted state of spiritual maturity that is far higher and way beyond
anything that the average believer can reach? What is an apostle?
One 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
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 Iíd just let you know what Iím
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
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, "Godís 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, didnít 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 Not
One 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.
Not a Super-Spiritual Giant
I 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 Ďclearí 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,
canít 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 donít dabble in the milk
anymore, brother, weíre in the meat!"
When you hear people starting to talk
like that and claiming that they have this very special revelation, be
No New Scripture
An 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
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 Missionary
An 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 Building
An 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 Is
So 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 Sent
Firstly, an apostle is somebody who
has been sent. That is what the Greek word Ďapostolosí means
Ė one who is sent. It relates to a a person who has been given a
High Up in Ministry
An 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.
An 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 personís 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 manís
"Iím going to lay my own
foundation. Iím not going to fix up somebody elseís 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
General Signs of Calling
What 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.
Firstly, 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;
Jesus did not give an appeal and say,
"Iím recruiting for apostles. Would all applicants please queue
up at my house at 6:30 tomorrow morning, and Iíll interview you."
No, He had thousands who wanted that job. He was not planning on
interviewing thousands. As a matter of fact, He spent the whole night in
prayer. Jesus, the Son of God, who was in tune with the Father, who knew
things that nobody else knew, who walked in the anointing of God and who
walked in spiritual revelation. Yet He spent the whole night in prayer
waiting before the Father, so that He would not make a wrong decision,
but would choose the right ones. There were only twelve - a very
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 Ė you, come on here." He called them out, twelve specific
people, and He appointed them. He chose them, appointed them and called
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.
Separated for the Work
Apostles 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
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus
Christ, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
Paul was separated unto the gospel of
God, and he was set apart for one specific purpose in life. It was not
his choice. It was chosen for him. He was set apart uniquely for a
specific work to do. If God has called you to be an apostle, you have
been set apart for a very specific work. You have been taken out, pulled
away, taken from the midst of the masses as it were, and brought in for
a special and unique purpose that God is going to fulfill in your life.
An 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. Weíve 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 Ďdulosí.
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
In another place he said, "We
are made as the offscouring (or the scum) of the earth."
It is quite an exalted position, this Office of the Apostle!
"Oh, Iíd love to be an
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 Ö"
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
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
Apostles 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 motherís 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
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I
might preach him among the gentiles.
Because you have been called from the
womb as an apostle, your whole life has been a preparation. As an
apostle, your preparation began when the seed met the egg. When the
sperm and egg joined together in your motherís womb the calling was
there already. It was there right back then. This was not something that
came upon you in later life. Perhaps it is something you only became
aware of later in life. But I want to tell you something. God knew you.
When Jesus hung on the cross He looked down, He saw you, and He knew
you. And He ordained you, and you were set apart unto the gospel of God,
unto the call of God. You were chosen, and you were called, and you were
given a mandate.
Apostles are trained in secret. Paul
Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased
God, who set me apart from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his
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.
Paul had been called to be an apostle.
Jesus had spoken to him. When the Lord spoke to Ananias, he was scared.
The Lord told him to go down to the street called Straight to go and
minister to this man who had persecuted and killed Christians, who had
been blinded and was sitting praying. He said, "Lord, Iíve heard
about this guy. Heís a killer. Are you sure? Am I hearing you right?
Is this my imagination? Please tell me Iím wrong."
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,
"Donít worry about it. Iíve chosen him, and Iíve told him how
much heís going to suffer for me." Oh, what a wonderful call!
"Well, Saul, Iíve called you to
be an apostle, and this is what Iím calling you to do Ė suffer!
Saul, youíre going to appear before kings and governors. Saul, youíre
going to appear before people in the highest places. But, Saul, youíre
going to suffer for My nameís sake. So donít mix these two up. Youíre
going to be big, Saul. Your nameís going to be known. Youíre going
to be famous. People are going to be preaching on you way down in 1999,
Saul. Theyíre going to be using the stuff you wrote. But Saul, itís
going to cost you. Itís going to cost you, broí. Iím warning you
before you start this thing. Iím warning you how much youíre going
to have to suffer for My nameís sake."
Do 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 motherís 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 peopleÖ
These people, just a couple of days
before, were so impressed with Paul and Barnabus when they began to move
in the Spirit; when signs and wonders began to take place at their
hands. They became so impressed with them that they were convinced that
they were gods that had come down from heaven. The Greeks were always
worshipping their gods and so they figured Barnabus must be the
good-looking one because he was tall. I forget the names that they gave
to them, but they said that Barnabus was one god, and Paul was the
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 godís 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:
Öand, having stoned Paul, drew [him] out of the city, supposing
he had been dead.
Now they wanted to kill him. Do you
want to be an apostle? You are going to be worshipped, and you are going
to be crucified. You are going to be lifted up, and you are going to get
kicked in the teeth. You will get them both. It is par for the course.
Satan hates you. And every time you begin to rise up and God begins to
use you, and people begin to know about you, Satan is going to stir up
people against you. Satan will try and destroy you and he will try and
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 Calling
These 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.
Firstly, one of the specific signs of
the call to apostleship is an early call. If God has separated you from
your motherís 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, "Didnít you know, I should
be in My Fatherís house? I should be about My Fatherís
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.
As 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.
Rejection and Opposition
The 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.
There 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 kingís authority, and the king would use
that golden scepter to make decrees. In modern times, this would also be
the kingís sword. The scepter and the sword are the same thing Ė
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 Godís 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
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
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
Different Kinds of Apostle
Now 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 Corneliusís 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, Iím giving you the keys
of the Kingdom. Peter, youíre going to open doors. Youíre 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.
Peter 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 Godís 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. Weíve 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? Iíve 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 heís written is hard to
understand." Peter was just a dumb fisherman. He could not
understand Paulís intellectual approach. I can see him getting that
blank look on his face when he read Paulís 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
didnít 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 canít be done."
"Yeah, but it canít be done.
Eskimos have got a lot of ice. Has anybody ever tried it before?"
"Nope. So Iím going to try
"Oh, youíre nuts. Youíre 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 donít hang around. And please donít bring that
motor cycle mob into church on Sunday. Youíll rock the boat and upset
our tithe-paying members!"
Pressure to Change
People are going to say, "You
think youíre so special. Youíre just a rebel. Youíre just a
reject. You canít fit in with anybody else. Thatís why youíre
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 Paulís
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, weíve heard some bad news about you,
broí. We keep hearing stories about you telling people they donít
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 youíre
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 Ė he did not want to mix
with the Gentiles in case the Jews did not like it Ė 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 Ė and it was a mistake. I
firmly believe it was a mistake. The Lord never ever called Paul to do
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 donít you do it the way
everybody else is doing it?"
People will say, "But it doesnít
work." People will say those famous words, "Well, we tried it,
and it didnít 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 Places
Apostles 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 Godís 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. Donít ever forget that.
Stand Firm and Persevere
God 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 Apostles
Now 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
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, "Youíre Moses, youíre
Moses." People out there were speaking about "The Elijah
Task" and the Elijahís of God, and the Joshuaís 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
Called from the Womb
I 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.
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.
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 Ė they did not arrive in the stable Ė 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."
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
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.
as Moses grew up in Pharaohís household, he became a legal heir to the
throne of Egypt. Did you know that? He was Pharaohís grandson. He was
legally adopted as the son of Pharaohís 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, "Öhe had to forsake the riches of
Egypt to suffer with the people of God." He had to give it up.
we see the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, who the Scripture
says, "Öbeing 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?
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.
As 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, "Youíve 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, itís the Kingdom of God. Iím 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, "Thatís it.
Iím going to enroll in a study course. Iím going to get qualified. Iím
going to rise up and move into that position that I know Iím 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, weíve recognized the calling on you. Weíre
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. "Iíve showed him what great things
heís 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 Vision
An apostle has to go through a death
of a vision.
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
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 ĎDEATHí. Oh dear!
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 canít be the
Messiah. We donít want our Messiah to look like that. Youíre not
good enough to be our Messiah. Youíre 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.
about Paul? Imagine in todayís 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 himÖ
"This man who was killing the
Christians, who hated them with a passion, is now preaching the
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.
There is always a time of obscurity
before manifestation in the life of the apostle.
Moses 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!
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 Lordís called me. Heís
told me Iím called to be an apostle. Where do I start advertising? Do
I go on national TV now?"
"No, go disappear for a
"But how will people know that Iím
"Theyíre not supposed to. Youíre
going to have to be in obscurity before you can be manifested to the
The next sign of the apostle is a
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."
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
Paul - How
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
"Who are you, Lord?"
"I am Jesus. Iím the guy youíre
That was miraculous all right.
As 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, "Youíre 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 donít feel like going out there."
He said, "Donít worry, Iíll
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.
One of the other signs of the
apostolic calling that we see in the lives of these three men is
confrontation with the enemy.
had to go there and confront enemy number one Ė Pharaoh himself. He
had to go and stand in front of him and say, "Hey you, big guy! God
says, ĎLet My people go! Get your hands off them.í" 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
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 Ė 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, "Weíre
wrestling here." Paul knew all about wrestling matches. He said,
"Weíre 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.
I 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 Call
Then you are going to suffer. I keep
saying this donít I? Who are you going to have suffering and
opposition from? Very often from the very people you are ministering to.
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 Korahís
that are going to rise up and say, "You think youíre such a
hotshot Mr Bigdeal apostle. Hey, I have a doctorate. I have a degree, Iíve
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
"Who is he to want to come and
lead these people? Heís not even qualified. The manís got no
You will face it, let me tell you, if
you want to be an apostle of God.
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.
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, youíve got to deliver me. Lord, let me out of this
thing." And the Lord said, "Tough, youíre 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.
One 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.
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
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 havenít 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
"Oh dear, thatís heresy
brother. Youíve 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
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 Iím 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
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!
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 donít see any
qualifications. Youíre just a dumb carpenter. We know your family, we
know your heritage and You donít come from a big name family. Whereís
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, "Thatís 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
One further sign of the apostolic call
is leadership. The apostle is not a follower. The apostle is a leader.
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.
led the Jews back to God.
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 Pattern
I have just two more. The apostle is
the receiver of a pattern.
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
ĎThe Church in the Wildernessí. 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 Iíve 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!
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 Ö" It was patterns and pictures Ė an exact
picture of the way it needs to be done.
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 New
Then finally, the apostle leads from
the old to the new.
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.
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 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 Change
Now 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
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 Ė 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, thatís 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.