It is essential that we are able to attribute characteristics and behaviours to being apostolic. This list is merely a start, the beginning of correcting the misunderstanding surrounding it and the use of the term apostolic. The articles in this series will continue to unpack and explain these and other aspects of being Sent.
1. It started with Jesus (Hebrews 3:1). The first Apostle is Jesus, and of course, the Chief Shepherd is Jesus, the Great Evangelist is Jesus, the Prophet (priest & King) is Jesus, and the Rabbi, Teacher is Jesus. He commissioned Apostles out of His own authority as the first Apostle.
2. Its a mindset and behaviours which result from being under the influence of an Apostle. In John 17:18, Jesus says, “as the Father sent me, so I send you.” This phrase in the middle of what many call The Great High Priests Prayer, assigns to all who believe in Jesus that they are apostolic, for in the same prayer he declares that he didn’t pray just for these who are hearing but for everyone who believes on account of their words.
3. Every Kingdom minded believer is apostolic. The context of being sent, is following Jesus in terms of direction and purpose. He was sent from heaven to earth and so are we. Sent to expand the influence of King Jesus, therefore if we ‘think Kingdom’ then we are apostolic, not limiting our influence or focus to church but believing that as Habbakuk prophecies, the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God.
4. It means you are sent. As soon as the assignment and apostolic nature is accepted it results in believers knowing that wherever they work, whatever they do, and whatever their title they have been sent. Sent by Jesus to expand the influence of His Kingdom into every sphere of influence, geographical location and people group.
5. The Apostle’s job is to equip all the saints to be apostolic. Just as it is with the other 4 ‘office holders’ listed in Ephesians 4:11, the purpose is to equip the saints. It is not a title, or an office alone but an equipping mandate, accompanied by grace of Christ, to equip the whole body to do the works of Jesus and represent Him everywhere.
6. It’s cry is “On earth as it is in Heaven”. There is unlikely a better statement to sum up everything which is apostolic than the words of Jesus as he taught us to pray. Jesus has uniquely seen heaven before being coming to earth and we by faith pray for and pursue his passion.
7. It is fundamentally relational. The Apostle Paul teaches us in so many ways the relationship between us and Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, as well as demonstrating that in his relationships around him. Although he teaches structure he emphasises relationship not least in the phrase, ‘that you have many teachers but not many fathers’.
8. It carries and creates heavens culture. The word culture is not in the bible, but what it means most certainly is. Culture is the thoughts, beliefs, routines, traditions, and practices of a people group. And so we want heaven’s thoughts, beliefs, routines, traditions, and practices on earth. Culture is also the way we do things around here, and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and we definitely want to see both of heaven’s versions of those definitions here on earth.
9. It knows no limits (Greater works than these shall you do). The nature of the apostolic is that by being relational it blesses the next generation to go higher, wider, deeper, and longer than they have gone. Jesus expressed this to the disciples when he told them that they would see greater works than they had seen together. Because it draws on heaven, the apostolic is limitless in terms of glory, revelation, power and righteousness and justice, to name a few themes.
10. It pursues, reproduces & represents Jesus. Jesus was sent by the Father to reveal the Father, and we are sent by Jesus to be Christlike and in turn to reveal the Father. Of course we are imperfect where Jesus was not, but the pursuit is limitless. The apostolic will always reveal the influencing Apostle, which must always start with Jesus.
LEARN: What is your Key Learning Point?
DO: As a result is there something which you will do differently?
SEE: In what way might you see life or circumstances differently?
DECLARE: What will you declare over your life?
This blog is part of a series.