Characteristics of an Apostle

As the year 2012 unfolds, you can expect to hear much on the topic of the ministry of the Apostle. The next couple of posts will be centered on the year 2012 and the governmental Apostolic word that Father is breathing. Friend, we have not heard all there is to hear on the office of the Apostle or on what it means to be an apostolic people. My ear is pressed close to Father’s heart for fresh vision in these areas – as I’m sure yours is, too.

Before pressing forward, we must be certain of foundational truths concerning the office of the apostle. May this article be somewhat of a refresher on the characteristics of that office. Of late, this title has been granted all too easily. Alarmingly, “apostle” has trended more secular in application – encompassing anyone who demonstrates governmental authority in realms outside the four walls of the church. Depending on which teacher you follow in the prophetic/apostolic community, you might define an apostle in any number of ways. As will be described in the coming posts, I hold to the idea that there is a definite office of apostle as described in the New Testament. That office is demonstrated scripturally within the organized church government. An apostle will raise up apostolic people who manifest apostolic qualities in every realm of life. These apostolic people will rise in governmental authority wherever Father sends them. Whether or not they are officiating “apostles” in the true biblical sense of the word will depend on certain criteria.

The title apostle comes from the Greek word (apostolos) meaning a delegate, messenger, or one sent forth with orders. An apostle is a pioneer, one who is destined to build in terra nova, or rebuild in places of desolation and ruin. Let us rehearse what we see apostles demonstrating in scripture in the following acrostic for the word APOSTLE.

A – Affiliated.

A true apostle will affiliate with other apostles and with other ministries within the church. The first twelve apostles remained affiliated after the birth of the church. In Acts 8, Philip the deacon held a successful revival in Samaria. The apostles in Jerusalem heard about it and sent both Peter and John to look in on the move. They discovered that Philip had not been praying for the new believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. As a team, they imparted what was lacking. Apostles confer with one another, and work together for the benefit and growth of the kingdom. Those who refuse to network are not demonstrating true apostolic behavior.

P – Power.

Paul wrote in 1 Cor 2:4, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” According to Strongs, this refers to the dynamis power of the Spirit of Jesus present in Paul’s preaching style. There is something dynamic about the preaching of an apostle – which reminds the listener of the authority of Christ.

O – Order.

An apostle creates order, in a fledgling work, or in an existing work that is dealing with a spirit of chaos. Ephesians 2:20, “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” The spirit of wisdom and counsel that operates in the apostolic mantle creates order – which is foundational to building any lasting work.

S – Signs.

2 Corinthians 12:12 “The things that mark an apostle–signs, wonders and miracles–were done among you with great perseverance.” Perhaps, the most significant mark of an apostle is the ministry of signs that corroborates his or her office and kingdom mission. Many have assumed the title of apostle, but fail to consistently demonstrate the miraculous.

T – Teaching.

2 Corinthians 12:1 “I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.” Apostles bring revelatory teaching to the body of Christ. The epistles are written chronicles of revelatory teaching which came through the first apostles. Such revelation is given to establish the Kingdom in places of darkness. The teaching of an apostle is the key to undoing specific enemy strongholds and to expand the borders of the church.

L – Leaders.

As builders and founders, apostles have an anointing to identify, mentor, and mature leaders. Acts 6:6, “They presented these men (who would become deacons) to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” A large part of their ministry will be geared to instilling and developing leaders within the body of Christ to manage Father’s household. The true apostle will also mentor men and women leaders in the community as the Lord grants them great influence beyond the walls of the church.

E – Entrepreneurs.

The Apostle Paul was a tentmaker in Acts 18:3. He joined Acquila and Priscilla in Ephesus, and made tents alongside them for his own maintenance. (In other words, the ministry could not fully support him at that time. He had to financially rely on his secular trade.) Interestingly, this was not the only time Paul worked to support himself during his Apostolic ministry. We have record that Paul worked outside of the church to support himself and others as an apostle in Acts 20:34 and again in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 3:9-10). Apostles aren’t afraid of hard work, neither will they shy away from secular work, considering it “beneath them”. Because of the entrepreneurial anointing that resides in the apostolic mantle, often they will bless and mentor other businessmen and businesswomen.

We must be cautious before titling one as an apostle. A label cannot lend credence when it is cheaply given. More tragic than the misnomer, is the abuse of God’s people. Those who follow a misnomer will only become disillusioned and disheartened at the waste of their resources and time.

Although the call to the office can only come from The Apostle, and chief cornerstone – it will be easily recognized by these marks. We all, however, are called to be apostolic people – who will demonstrate great signs in the days ahead. More on that in the coming post ;)

16 thoughts on “Characteristics of an Apostle

  1. Wonderful ,powerful, relates well with scripture,and easy to digest for todays ministry culture.I,m actually on the road ministering,and dealing with some difficult problems within a church,and this brought clarity to what i was dealing with in bringing the shift to the Leadership! Thank You ! Prefect time lord as usual you a faithul and just to provide what we need.

  2. “Excellent” summarizes this description of the Apostolic. I have watched for several years as the ranks of “apostles” have swelled yet have seen very little of some of the attributes listed above…I would note that true Apostles will settle every matter with the WORD. I have repeatedly seen my leader do this, no matter what the occasion. This of course is a result of the deep revelation that you mentioned above…not merely revelation by gift but more often the result of a persistent examination and study routine, the first apostles new this was the key as they themselves recognized that they must take more time in order to not “neglect the word of God.” The deep pool of revelation that flow from your house provides evidence of the same. This was high calibre writ Melissa…much thanks for it.

  3. Melissa: Thanks for the insights given about true apostles. I awoke this a.m. with and instense awareness of the government of God on my mind for 2012. This year shall be a year of “Providence” as our Father has divinely prepared the earth for His reign through the true
    church. He gave me the verse.. He has prepared everything after the “councel of His will”. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying for 2012.

  4. Melissa, i strongly believe the Holy Spirit led me to your links: great insights and deep truths that the Spirit is also revealing to some other members of the body. I desire to stay very close to this outlet of the ‘River of Life’. I pray that your connected pipe, will never get clogged, so that this flow will continue to cleanse and bless lives. I love you!

  5. Melissa, I really appreciate this article. In mid 2012, I was standing outside a church when the Lord told me to leave it and that He will lead me to “an apostolic people”. I’m not there yet, but I sure desire to be. Thanks for these new thoughts on the apostolic ministry. I’ve been reading about the apostolic ministry since ’06, but this article and your following article, which I’ve read and am going to comment on now, are to me the most concise definitions of the apostolic and apostolic ministry I’ve read yet.

  6. Pingback: The Need for Apostolic Ministry - Page 5 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums

    • Wait and just keep living your life. Jesus Himself, if He has called you as an apostle, will teach you personally. Keep living your life; He will ‘call you’ when He is ready. There is no hurry.

  7. Apostle Paul God WILL certainly CONFIRM to you that you ARE an Apostle if He has called you to be one, so expect Him to Confirm His words to you. For by the witness of 2 or 3 a thing shall be confirmed. God first tells us things inwardly by His Spirit and then He confirms them outwardly back to us. So relax, expect and trust Him for He knows what He is doing! And remember DON’T look to man but look to God for Him to confirm things to you. He started it and He will truly finish it! God bless you in your journey of discoveries in God!

  8. Hi, Paul Sangura. If God has called you to be an apostle, He will confirm it to you through others though it may take a while before He does. When did you find that He is calling you to be an apostle, and what has He said to you about it? If He has called you, it will be “a calling apart, hands-to-the-plow-no-turning-back thing”. God bless you as you continue on to full discovery of your purpose.

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