ACTIVATION, ADVANCEMENT, ADVERSITY, AFFIRMATION, ALIGNMENT, AND ACTION!
Since we have been talking about the order and fellowship of fathers and sons, the importance of relationship through divine connections, I think we can see a “progression by digression” in the scriptures (going back to move forward) in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians; Let’s look at the passages beginning in I. Co. 15:9,10 and going back in the scripture to see how they relate. I pray many of you will add your comments and own posts to see how this apostle to the Gentiles affected the early church:
I. Co. 15:9,10- For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God..Before we list verse 10, look at that three-fold principle of the apostle AS IT RELATES TO AN APOSTOLIC ATTITUDE: 1) I am the least of the apostles (not false humility, but how we perceived himself), 2) who am not worthy to be called an apostle ( solves the problems of titles or office, because of his humility he did not feel worthy to even bear the title), and 3 ) BECAUSE I PERSECUTED THE CHURCH OF GOD… (Because of his zeal for the Jews religion and doing what he thought was right, he killed the early christians, therefore persecuting not only the church of God, but Christ Himself) I
Acts 20:18-20 after calling together the elders of the church of Ephesus, he said this: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, “serving the Lord WITH ALL HUMILITY, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,…”Therefore I testify to you this day that I am INNOCENT (pure) FROM THE BLOOD OF ALL MEN. “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole (full) counsel of God.”
vs. 10- But by the grace of God, I AM WHAT I AM, and His grace toward was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, YET NOT I, but the GRACE of GOD which was with me. (Paul wrote to his son Timothy in I. Tim. 1:11-14-…according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. (entrusted to me) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me (strengthened), because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; (violently arrogant) but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the GRACEof our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with FAITH and LOVE in Christ Jesus.
2. I. Co. 12:27,28- Now you are the body of Christ (Christ’s body), and members individually. And God has SET (appointed) these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments (administrations), varieties of tongues.
We are part of the body of Christ and have particular gifts and functions. Notice, he said, “And GOD HATH SET IN THE CHURCH FIRST APOSTLES…” First, “proton” first as in importance, order, and rank… Now this is not an “hierarchy”, or professional offices as in President, Vice-President, etc. The order of importance is how the body of Christ is to function in order, on the proper foundation, so that everyone may be equipped, empowered, and establish in the unity of the faith. When “first things are first, then there can come the “AFTER THAT”, the miracles, healings, helps, leading and tongues that operate in the body of Christ.
3. Next, Paul identified the calling, grace, and function in humility and transparency of an apostle: I. Co. 9:1,2,11,17,19- Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work (the result) of my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, doubtless I am to you. FOR YOU (the church, the sons and daughters) ARE THE SEAL (certification) OF MY APOSTLESHIP IN THE LORD… If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? For I do this willingly (preach the gospel), I have a reward; but if against my will, I HAVE BEEN ENTRUSTED WITH A STEWARDSHIP. .. ( a commission) vs. 19- For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a SERVANT TO ALL, that I might win the more;
4. Those that are FIRST shall be LAST, and the LAST shall be FIRST!! I. Co. 4:1,2,9,15,16- Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful…For I think that God has SET (displayed us) the apostles LAST, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men…For thought you might have ten thousand instructors (boy teachers) in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you (became your father) through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, IMITATE ME. (follow me)
5. Unity and Work of the apostles: I. Co. 3:5-9- Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers (servants) through whom you have believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are ONE, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
6. The ACTion of the Apostle: I. Co. 2:1-5- And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive (enticing) words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, THAT YOUR FAITH SHOULD NOT BE IN THE WISDOM OF MEN BUT IN THE POWER OF GOD.
7. Finally, the Acknowledgment of the apostle: I. Co. 1:4-9- I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything in Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. GOD IS FAITHFUL, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
I pray this brings some directives and confirmations to you concerning the apostolic work, the apostles and the grace of God upon apostolic ministry. I pray also this vision and purpose will increase in each one of us, as we continue to strive together, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, till we all come into the unity of the faith…
Jim, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart unto the gospel of God…