While everyone who reads the Bible knows that Jesus appointed twelve apostles, yet most do not understand why. And most people don’t understand or see a need for apostles in the church today. That’s because they have never been taught about the value and order apostles give to both the church and to our faith, or that it is the apostles’ office which God has assigned first in his government (1Cor 12:28) and therefore, gives to them a measure of grace necessary for the work God has called them to do.
We’re going to look at a few things that the church lacks important understanding of, concerning the mystery of the gospel (Rom 16:25; Eph 6:19) and of the kingdom of God (Mat 13:11; 1Cor 4:1), and we’re going to see the need and the value of living apostles today, and why Jesus appointed his twelve apostles to oversee the first century church.
Now, while most people believe that Jesus came to the earth to shed his blood for the sins of the world, there is much missing from their understanding regarding the pattern, purpose, and plan of God, their responsibility TO God in covenant, and the purpose of the twelve apostles being selected of God and not of men. For instance, most Christians do not know:
- that Jesus shed his blood to purchase and seal a new covenant (1Cor 11:25) for our salvation (1Thes 5:9) (plan & purpose)
- that this covenant is the new testament (the record (1Jn 5:10,11) and pattern of Christ (1Tim 1:16)), which became effectual upon His death (Heb 9:16,17) (pattern & plan)
- that the forgiveness of sins comes as we enter through the door of the new covenant (Jesus Christ—Jn 10:7-9), by grace through faith (Eph 2:8) (pattern & plan)
- that holy communion is not an ingestion of physical bread and wine, but a spiritual ingestion of the fullness of Christ (truth), the bread of heaven (Jn 8:14; Rev 1:2; Jn 6:33,35,51,58),and
that it’s this daily communion in the spirit, that is our true fellowship with God (1Jn 1:3), in spirit, not in the flesh (pattern)
- that this is what Jesus meant when he said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink of his blood, ye have no life in you” (Jn 6:53), and, “…the words that I speak unto you (even through my apostles)… “they are spirit, and they are life.” (Jesus setting the pattern)
- that this (foundation) knowledge must be set in the heart in order to bring the understanding of how to work out our own salvation (Phil 2:12) with the Spirit by becoming “doers of” the Word, and not hearers only (Jas 1:22) (plan & purpose)
- that while salvation is free, it is not free from responsibility—to obey the Word, to DO righteousness (Gal 3:1; 1Jn 2:29; 3:7,10) (obedience to the knowledge & pattern of Christ)
- that through this holy communion with the Spirit, our faith is made perfect (Jas 2:22), being joined to Christ through the Spirit (Eph 4:13), because by this pattern of Christ our faith conforms to the terms and sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1Pet 2:5,9; Heb 7:18-22).
- that this is how we carry the yoke of Christ daily (Mat 11:29), and how we walk in agreement with God according to the law and rhythm of the Spirit of life (not the rhythm of the flesh (Rom 8:1,2), and thus overcome the power of sin (1Jn 3:9)
- that salvation is a daily process whereby God salvages our souls “by grace through this faith pattern of Christ (Eph 2:8; Rom 3:22;), by washing and sanctifying us with the water of His word (truth—Eph 5:26), and justifying us (Gal 2:16) by His righteousness, and not our own aspirations (Phil 3:9)
- that through this process, we are being born again daily by the word of God, our hearts being circumcised by the Spirit, as we obey it and also thereby purify ourselves (1Pet 1:22,23)
- that the will of God (this sanctifying daily work of the Spirit) is the same for every soul (1Thes 4:3) unto salvation (2Thes 2:13; 1Tim 2:4; 1Pet 1:22; ). And that being ignorant of this, men are trying to discover God’s will for their lives after the flesh, and not after the Spirit.
There is much more that Jesus unfolded to his twelve apostles (Lk 24:45), which the church has been in darkness of. And this is why God is again raising up apostles in the church today, to restore the pure gospel of Christ and return the church to her first love through these “first works” of the covenant ( Rev 2:5; Mk 12:30).
Because of this lack of knowledge, the church has had no sound direction for faith, and has therefore been on an endless journey (Eph 4:14) in search of the fruit and power of God (2Tim 3:5). The Apostle Paul said in Romans, that as a result, their zeal is not in obedience, but is established by their own ideas of righteousness (self-righteousness), which first of all cannot bring a purging (sanctification/holiness) to the soul (1Pet 1:22) without which no man shall see God (Heb 12:14), and second, makes their works dead works, reprobate (Tts 1:16); as filthy rags before God (Isa 64:6).
Jesus, knowing this would be the case, thus chose twelve apostles, assigning them to be his knowledge stewards of the second covenant, to explain these vital things of faith to believers for their conformity to and oneness with God in covenant. And He gave them the measure of grace to distribute this Bread of Life (see the symbolism in the parables of feeding the multitudes), and to nurture the church with this life-giving “substance” of Christ (Heb 11:1).
God has assigned Faith to be filled with this substance, being justified and sanctified as it works with this knowledge and pattern of Jesus Christ (Jn 17:17; Gal 2:16), (not Moses), nor any other knowledge or tradition. And the place He has assigned our faith (our service/works of faith/worship) is in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, our High Priest of the second covenant (Jn 4:21).
Through this knowledge and this pattern our function and expression of faith is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1Pet 2:5), whereby He (as our High Priest) is able to salvage completely our soul (Heb 7:25), being joined to Him by this pattern.
This foundation knowledge must be first laid in the heart by living apostles, before Christians can understand their heavenly calling as priests of the second covenant (Heb 3:1), or come into the unity of the faith (Eph 4:13; Gal 2:16); in one body and one Spirit, in One Lord by One faith (one doctrine), and one baptism (not two), and together build the invisible and spiritual kingdom of God (Zec 6:15), which Jesus said, is not of this earth (Jn 18:36).
So, Why twelve apostles? We will talk about that in the next article.