Restoring Apostolic Order
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. I Corinthians 12:28
The church is likened to a great sailing vessel with a multitude of tasks to perform in order for her to set sail and reach her destination. Unlike the computerized sleek cruise ships of today the old sailing ships required a well trained crew and a host of leadership to be able to navigate the seas. Once underway she was a sight to behold unlike any of our modern day vessels.
Imagine stepping on board a ship that had been built without a blueprint drawn by an experienced ship builder, and having a crew that had never been to sea. Even the Titanic had engineering drawings and an experienced captain and crew and look what happened to her! Now take a look at the greatest sailing vessel ever built and try and figure out what has kept her afloat for over two thousand years.
The Church of Jesus Christ was designed by God and built by our Lord to sail the vast oceans of humanity, rescuing millions from the stormy depths of sin by throwing out life lines through the preaching of the gospel. A divine vessel staffed with a crew of well trained and dedicated sailors who have given all to save the lost; and a Captain who has spilt His own blood to sail His ship into eternity.
But alas it is only another analogy of something dreamed of and talked about but never accomplished. A prophetic view of something far away in the fog of "Mega Church" and "Super Star" emotionalism and TV evangelism. The modern day gospel ship is permanently dry docked under constant overhaul but never able to put out to sea because her fuel is watered down with idle talk. Tossed about by every wind of doctrine she now lies dormant, sails tattered, and a crew who refuse to refit her with new rigging and sail the seas of humanity.
RESTORING THE FIVEFOLD MINISTRY
And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
The fivefold ministry of God is a team of craftsmen sent to build up, train and equip the body of Christ for service in His kingdom. The Church of Jesus Christ was never meant to be static, but to move forward replicating itself and being fruitful and multiplying throughout the world. Like a giant vineyard ever expanding and growing, producing beautiful clusters of born again Spirit filled saints filling the earth with His presence.
The apostle is the architect of the church carrying the Divine blueprint of God for the construction of His holy temple. Contrary to popular belief the church does not just appear because someone rented a building and put up a sign. The Church of Jesus Christ has detailed specifications that must be followed in order for it to grow and multiply supernaturally.
Jesus chose twelve men to be His apostles and gave them the blueprint and building blocks that were needed to construct His church. These men were required to give up all, not only to follow Him, but to be able to become the very pillars of His temple. Jesus chose twelve because it is the number of Divine and true government and must be set in place to provide a wall of protection for the rest of the body. Like an offensive line in a football team the apostles block the attacks of the powers of darkness and form a wall through their relationship with Him and with one another.
Because we have not followed the Divine plan set forth by Christ Himself the body has greatly suffered the relentless attacks of the enemy and has never been able to function as the Lord intended for her to. Always in some turmoil with other members out of which arise strife, jealousy and conflict the body becomes constricted and finally splits or closes its doors all together. By placing one man in the Headship of Christ instead of allowing Jesus to be the Shepherd, the powers of darkness consume the pastor, ultimately destroying the forward motion of the body, thus defeating the whole purpose of the church.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation. I Corinthians 3:10
GOD'S PROPHETIC VOICE
True prophets speak the word of God to the Body of Christ in order to bring about correction, direction and edification. Like the navigators of a great ship their prophetic voice steers the vessel through stormy seas providing God's word of direction to the church in order to set a steady course. Without a spiritual compass the ship would be going in circles with no specific direction ultimately losing its focus being lost forever.
Unlike the false prophets of today divining for money and leading God's people into futility, the true prophet will bring about a much needed word to the body from the voice of the Holy Spirit producing fruits of repentance. The prophetic voice is not to be a "Physic Hot line" doling out fluffy little messages of peace and safety, but men of God speaking with the voice of the Most High directing His people in time of great peril.
The world and all it contains is slowly burning up in the wrath of God's vengeance on sin and rebellion. The very foundations of the planet are being shaken by the mighty outpouring of God's judgment on a people who refuse to repent. If there was ever a time when we need to hear God's voice it is now and our very survival as a church depends upon it!
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran, I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. Jeremiah 23:21,22
GOD'S LIFELINE TO THE LOST- EVANGELISM
How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14
The evangelist is like a life guard sent to those who are drowning in sin. He has been gifted with the anointing to preach to the lost and deliver the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of Jesus being crucified for our sin and shedding His own blood on the cross to save us is the pure and simple gospel of salvation. The gospel contains the power of God to convict the lost that they need a Savior thus producing a born again Christian.
Ultimately everyone is responsible to share the message of Jesus to a lost and dying world. The evangelist as well as his other counterparts of the fivefold team are to train, equip, and send the saints out with the message of salvation thus becoming fruitful by reaping a harvest of souls; and then discipling them, thus beginning the cycle of replication all over again.
"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace. Who bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:15
Out of all of the fivefold ministry this position seems to have prevailed over them all. Although the pastor normally leads the church and takes over most of the fivefold's duties, he has placed himself in a very dangerous position as chief shepherd. There is a great need for godly pastors, but for them to step into the very headship of Christ and lead a body by their own authority is scripturally wrong.
Without a plurality of elders there always comes deception and elitism putting the pastor on a pedestal and leading the body to seek guidance from him rather than from Jesus Himself. Everyone is responsible to seek God without the aid of a priest resurrected from the old testament, and to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit on their own. When the entire fivefold ministry is restored to the body of Christ there will not be a single man leading the flock, but a God ordained team of trained individuals anointed with power to equip the body to serve.
It is time for the pastor to be placed in his rightful position in the body where his focus will be upon truly ministering to the body and training others to do likewise by replicating the pastoral ministry as the need arises. As the fivefold ministry begins to lead and train in its rightful God given position there will be phenomenal growth and power supplied throughout the church.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16,17
If there was ever a time needed for sound teaching, it is now! Untrained and unlearned so called teachers and preachers have filled the church with poisonous and even deadly teaching promoted by demons. Misled and misinformed the saints have wandered aimlessly from teacher to teacher in search of a true word from God, but alas, only receiving dried crumbs of man-made bread.
The apostle Paul warned Timothy that in the last days people would depart the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. And so it is, the word of God has been torn to shreds by greedy teachers lining their pockets with the offerings of the sheep, only to promote their own agendas and build up their ministry. Many of these charlatans have become multi-millionaires bilking the church of its money and sending thousands of naive saints into a downward spiral because of their false teaching.
Godly teaching must flow from the true anointed teachers that God has ordained for this very hour. Sound biblical doctrine must begin to tear down the false and build up the true foundation so that the spiritual temple will be strong and virtually immovable in its stand against the flood of unsound and deadly doctrine being released in these last days. Paul's admonishment to Timothy was to preach the word of God in the face of unsound and unscriptural teaching so that the church would be built on a solid foundation of truth.
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. II Timothy 4:2-4
THE CAPTAIN OF THE HOST
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to Him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20
Contrary to popular belief this scripture is not pertaining to salvation, but a plea from the Savior to His church to listen to His voice. If Jesus was wanting in He could have simply walked through the door supernaturally, but He wanted them to make a choice to hear Him and not man. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and the Captain of His glorious gospel ship and without Him standing in His rightful position of Headship leading His church, there will only be man-made attempts to do what only He can.
When men stand in the headship of Christ they shut off the flow of anointing to the body and greatly restrict the power that is needed to carry out the mission of the church. The church is weak and asleep because it only receives from man and not from the source of power, the Captain of the Host. Like a human body without a head, so the church lies in state like a dead man in a funeral procession with no sign of spiritual life.
Jesus left us a pattern to follow by the installation of an apostolic team under the direct leadership of the Holy Spirit. When He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring from on high they submitted to His leading and were all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Everything was in place and a brand new baby church was birthed supernaturally by the Lord Himself, set free from sin, filled with the Holy Spirit and in love with Jesus she was a force to be reckoned with. The ship was ready to leave the dock and sail into the vast oceans of humanity with His saving grace.
Imagine the awesome spectacle of a brand new untested ship, just commissioned and sent on an important mission to save the lost at sea. Sails billowed with the wind of the Spirit, the crew trained but untested, and a Captain that holds the confidence to sail His ship through any storm even in the face of certain death to reach those drowning in sin. In these last days the church must repent and throw out the old and allow God to restore what has been lost, men must die to their selfish agendas and submit to the Lordship of Christ for the greatest ship of all time to once again sail the seas of mankind.
I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18