Monday, August 6, 2012

Apostolic Foundations:


This was written on January 24, 2003. I wanted to share it again because I feel it has more of a bearing for today than ever before. Just recently, I was in South America and had the opportunity to help poor a foundation for a growing church. It was an all day event. I kept thinking about the foundations we must pour before we could build upon them. Jesus is the cornerstone. We must build from His truth. Nothing More and Nothing less.

Apostolic Foundations

1. How should a segment of the church be started?
 a. Jesus is the founder of THE CHURCH. It stands to reason that He must be the founder of all segments of the church. Many Denominations and Non-denominations were formed not in God’s Perfect will or design.

-          Jesus the Founder
·         Jesus gave His life for the Church and desired for it to be formed after His principles and truth.
Matthew 16:18
    And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

·         Jesus told the newly gathered church to tarry until the Power and organizer of the church would come.
·         The Holy Spirit would bring the church to a more organized state. The Holy Spirit would cause the church to form in the ways of Christ instead of the ways of men.
Acts 1:4-8
    And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. [5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. [6] When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? [7] And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. [8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

If Jesus would had just left without telling them to wait for the Holy Spirit, many would had formed the church based on miracles, healings, and the restoring of the Kingdom of Israel.

Yes, it was true that the Holy Spirit came and gave the gatherers dunmais or power from on high. However, power was not the foundation of the church it was the hammer to build with. If Jesus wanted the church to be founded on miracles and healings or tongues, He would not have taught the powerful teachings that He taught. Jesus also knew if the church was founded on miracles or signs of power. The church would not have survived when the miracles became less and not as frequent. Although many were saved during the first century of the Church, there was time where it dwindled.

Acts 6:1
    And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

The phrase “ in those days” leaves us with the understanding that there was a time of great growth for the church. Then the time of growth came to a stopping place for whatever reason.  It does not mean that people stopped giving their hearts to Christ. It just means there where not as many coming to Him. When a big harvest is reaped there must be a time of handling the harvest and ensuring that all of what was reaped remains.  This might be the meaning behind “ in those days”  The Lord was allowing the church to handle the new harvest. 


--Principles for founding a segment of the Church

1. The need for apostle, prophet, and teachers
  a. True foundations are laid by the Apostles and Prophets. Although the Apostles and Prophets of today do not lay new principles, they do take the principles and foundations of Scripture and apply it to each segment of the Church that they might govern in.

      1. Ephesians 2: 20 We are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
21 We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also joined together as part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
New Living Translation


   b. Each church should have apostolic input within it. Each church should have a prophetic voice bringing God’s inspiration to each believer. God uses the Apostles and Prophets as brick masons for each foundation of an individual church.  The Apostles and Prophets know exactly where the Cornerstone should be placed.

    c. Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers help govern the church in the right direction.

      1. I Corinthians 12: 28 Here is a list of some of the members that God has placed in the body of Christ:
First are apostles,
Second are prophets,
Third are teachers,
Then those who do miracles,
Those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others,
Those who can get others to work together,
Those who speak in unknown languages.
New Living Translation

2. There must be a Spirit leading.

  a. Many take the verses in Matthew 28 and simply run with it without hearing from the Spirit. Yes, we have been given a Great Commission to reach the world. However, those verses were in reference to the Church as a whole. It is too broad for one segment of the Body to fulfill. This is why each individual church must have a Spirit led purpose.
     1.  Be Spirit led.
       a. Romans 8:13-16
    For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

1 Cor. 2:10-11
    But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:25
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

   2. Examples:
     a. Paul would not start a work in a certain region because the Lord told him no.
       1. Acts 16:6
    Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

     b. Peter’s vision to expand the church to the Gentiles.
       1. Acts 10

3. There needs to be a releasing from the Presbytery.

  a. Acts 13: 1 Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man” ), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas ), and Saul. .2.One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work I have for them.” .3.So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.
New Living Translation

   Timothy was chosen by Paul to come to the Philippians and establish the church in a greater way.
    b. Philippians 2: 19 If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon. Then when he comes back, he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along.
20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.
21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. 22 But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News. 23 I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here.
New Living Translation

4. The newly formed church needs to stand on all of the word not just certain parts.
   a. The Apostles declared that they had to continue in the ministry of the Word. Each principle and value had to be extracted in order for the Church to truly function. Also when apostolic teams went out, each team taught the fullness of the Word.
       1. Acts 6:2
    Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

Acts 6:4
    But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Acts 6:7
    And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 8:4
    Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

b. If we start a work or church based on certain parts of the word, then that work will only partially function. If a church is started on the basis of prophecy, then that church’s vision and purpose will only be on the prophecy it speaks out. This can’t be! God has designed each church according to his purpose and governing properties.  If a church is just prophetic in nature, it would need to come under apostolic authority and join in fellowship with other churches. Other churches that express the pastor, evangelist, and teacher aspect of Jesus Christ would be needed to bring forth the fullness within that individual work.
c. Churches can not be founded on miracles, personal testimonies, speaking in tongues, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, salvation, water baptism, Jesus’ death, predestination, holiness, and so forth. Although all of these are truths found in God’s word, to start a work based on one these truths would be unbiblical. Miracles, speaking in tongues, prophecies, and baptisms will not always be needed in the church.
   1.  I Corinthians 13: 8 Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. 9 Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! 10 But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.
New Living Translation
   
    2. When we stand before the Lord as the Body of Christ, and we formed our individual works around one truth in God’s word. What will happen to us when that one truth, let’s say tongues, is done away with? There is a better way that the Lord has given us; when it comes to forming new works after His will.

5. Each church needs prophetic utterance spoken over it. The Prophetic words help set the work into place. It is God’s blessing over the work.  When you have those prophecies before you, it helps bring encouragement when going through tough times.

     a. 1 Tim. 1:18
    This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

    b. Acts 11:20-30
    And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. [21] And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
    [22] Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. [23] Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. [24] For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. [25] Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: [26] And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
    [27] And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. [28] And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. [29] Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: [30] Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
    1. Baranabas was known as a prophet at the time. He came to Antioch and helped establish the work prophetically. He exhorted them all is a good proof of this statement.
                     2. Exhort comes from the Greek word  parakaleo, Greek 3870, Strong’s
parakaleo,  par-ak-al-eh'-o; from Greek 3844 (para) and Greek 2564 (kaleo); to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation) :- beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), entreat, pray.
                        a. Exhortation was a part of prophecy in the New Testament.
                          1. 1 Cor. 14:3
    But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

            6. Newly founded works must have a  clear vision.  The Vision must be scriptural  based. Once again , it can not be based on one doctrine. It must be apostolic in nature.

               a. Proverbs 29:18
    Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Habakkuk 2:2-3
    And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. [3] For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Acts 16:9-10
    And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. [10] And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Conclusion:

 I don’t believe every denomination or non-denominational church is not of God. I know there are true believers in each group. The question that we must ask ourselves, “am I fully walking in God’s direction and truth?” Am I following the Lord in His perfect will or permissive will?

Throughout the past few centuries, we have seen reformation embrace the church. The breaking away from the Catholic Church, the forming of denominations, the breaking away from mainstream denominations, the charismatic movement, and now the apostolic movement.( Insert: Now the Lord is calling us deeper than the apostolic. The Lord is forming something that is totally pure from His heart and from His purpose.) God brings reformation in order for us to fall deeper into His perfect will and purpose.  Reformation means restoring truths that we ignored throughout history. They are not new things. They are old truths reformed before us. We have a choice to move in that direction or stay where we are at.

I believe the Lord is laying it all on the line for us to see. We have a Biblical mandate placed upon us. There is an apostolic foundation which must be laid.
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