What Does It Mean To Be Apostolic?
By James Holland
1- We are sent for a purpose.
We must ask ourselves, Why do we have church? What do I want out of a church service? We do have a roll to play in the will of God. The purpose of the apostolic leader is not merely to have a title or a little area in the church that he calls his. We are sent to declare the light of God’s word in the darkness of man’s depravity. We are to pursue God’s plan, not ours. We need to let God breathe on us. If we don’t have the mind of Christ, we will never fulfill the purpose of Christ for our lives. It’s time to get this right. This is not our church; it is His. It’s not our battle, it is His. It is not my victory, it is His. It is not about my agenda, it’s about His. We are not called to be selfish. Selfishness means I am called to prove something to someone. It means I am called to convince folks to do everything my way; I have to impress someone, or promote myself. This is not what we are called to do. Why are so many losing the battle that we are suppose to be winning? Could it be that we are trying to fulfill our purpose instead of God’s purpose. God will always defend the ones called to His purpose. We are to be an active part of the body of Christ, not just sitting somewhere telling everyone else how to do it. God is depending on those whom He is raising up in this generation to fulfill His purpose. Let God begin to use you where you are.
2- We are given authority.
In Philippians 2:8-9 we read, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and on earth and under the earth. God would not ask us to do something that we could not do! What would be the purpose in that? The power and authority that is in the word and the name of Jesus has been given to us. We must now release that power to fulfill God’s plan. To do this we need to look beyond ourselves. The same gospel that has delivered us will deliver others as well. We have authority not only to hold a position but to go forward and conquer new ground as well. Be careful not to begin to act and think like those you are trying to win. Walk in the authority God has given. Col.1:18 He is the head of the body, the church…Col.2:10 “Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Eccl. 8:4 where the word of a king is, there is power. Jesus had all power in heaven and in earth, and he gave it to us. He gave us His name, His Word. Ps. 138:2 says, thou hast magnified thy word above thy name. This doesn’t mean we should ignore the obedience of taking His name upon us; rather that we should not merely stop there but take his word and apply it to our live and our situations as well. He has given us authority in three worlds- in heaven, in the earth, in the underworld. So stop making excuses why it’s not working. Make sure you are walking in obedience to his word and then go forward in the power of his might.
Authority- to have official power, the legal right to act in a certain way.
3- There is an abiding anointing.
To go where God wants us to go, we have to dress our lives in holy anointing. There is an apostolic anointing for this hour. We need to understand that it takes a lot to get us to where God wants us to be. It normally can’t happen in just a few hours a week. God’s plan to enable people to break the bonds of human limitations and achieve the impossible is still in place in our day. As his followers, we can step beyond the earthly realm and move into the realm of His spirit and fulfill His plan.
II Cor. 1:21 says, “Now he who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God. Just as it took a supernatural act of God to get Moses’ attention, it will take a supernatural act of God to get the attention of our world today. We must, however, understand that this anointing doesn’t just show up. Ps.91 says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Verse 1). What does anointing mean? There is much confusion about anointing especially in Pentecostal circles. Some people equate the anointing with emotional reactions or with noise, movement, and physical activity.
The Hebrew words for anointing are:
1- balal – it means to overflow with oil,
2- dashen, which means to be satisfied,
3- mimshach, which means to apply or to rub with oil,
4- masah, which means to pour oil onto or to spread.
The Greek words are:
1- chrio, which means to set apart for a special appointment.
2- Aleipho, which means a literal rubbing of oil upon the body.
3- Chrisma, a metaphor for the oil itself and the unction it imparts.
True anointing is the power and influence of the spirit of God saturating a person. God not only wants to anoint leaders, He wants to anoint entire congregations. God has given us in this hour an abiding anointing. That is, since the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, God lives within us all the time. When we take anointing home with us and to the job with us, then we see real revival. You can’t wear the garments of heaviness all week then suddenly get anointed. We must live in this abiding anointing.
Here are some proofs of anointing in the leaders life:
1. Loves God more than the world system.
2. Be able to discern between truth and error.
3. Grow in the truth and maintain a teachable spirit.
4. Have a love for the house of God.
5. Lives a lifestyle of unselfish and sacrificial serving.
6. Leading by support not control.
7. Being useable (available). If you are never available for service it really doesn’t matter how anointed you may be; it will benefit no one, not even you. When the anointing of God is empowering us, we will accomplish what God has called us to do.
[If this generation tried Pentecost, the face of Christianity would change. Jesus’ church has received the same power that He had. As leaders let us pray for an abiding anointing that will last not only for our lifetime but that can then be passed on to the next generation.]
4- We are doing God’s will, not ours.
We must always remember that we are building God’s kingdom not ours. This, of course, is a real struggle for most of us. We hear a lot of teaching today about how we need to love ourselves. I have known very few who have a problem loving themselves. In fact, we fight many spiritual battles trying to love God more than ourselves. Apostolic leaders will always choose the will of God over their own will. Many times we are guilty of promoting our ideas and plans and calling them the will of God! God is not committed to finishing anything He doesn’t start. The problem with leaders leading according to the flesh is if we are not very careful, we will not stay submitted to God’s will and God’s way. Again the problem with the flesh is a will problem. The real question is, WHO’S IN CHARGE?! The word flesh, as it is used in many of the scriptures, is not about living in the body, but about the spiritual condition of willful independence from God and God’s will. Perhaps the best way to define flesh in this sense is self-will or independent willfulness. A person who is in this condition of standing aloof from God and what God wants that person to do, will never flow in true apostolic power. Whoever surrenders the kingdom of I to God has submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Self-surrender is how we cut free from the cords of the flesh. Whenever we are doing good things without the anointing and direction of God’s spirit, we are shutting down the Spirit’s power in our lives. This is cause for much frustration in many leaders today. It is not that God is not present, but that the Spirit of God refuses to pour out His power in this kind of circumstance. POWER REQUIRES RESPONSIBILITY!
In the case of spiritual leadership, responsibility comes when we have humbled ourselves and admitted that we can not do God’s job of long-term planning and directional steering without His leading us. The reasons are obvious. We cannot see clearly where each road leads and what obstacles we may encounter. We only know in bits and pieces. Only God sees from the beginning to the end. You could say that we need to be broken. Much like one would break a horse so that he can be able to ride him. Imagine God as the rider and you and I as the horse. If you are broken, you are at the master’s command. The truth is, God is already at work if we will simply follow the leading of His spirit and put our shoulder to that plow. Our divine partner will pull most of the weight and the work will flow and be blessed. Of course, we will never do this if our flesh-pride is in the way, if we always have to have the credit for the good things that are happening. Have you noticed that with some leaders when things are good, it’s their plan, their church! Yet, when things are not so good, it wasn’t their idea or it’s not their church! The truth is, it always belongs to God; never to us. We have this window of opportunity to impact this world with the power of God’s spirit. We must be Apostolic in our leadership for this to happen.
5- God is building the house.
Ps. 127:1 says, Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
Oftentimes, we are so frustrated in our efforts to win and to witness to people for this very reason. We determine to go take God to someone, rather than praying and discerning which fields are ripe for harvest and then joining in with what God is already doing. [Note- I have tried this both ways believe me it works much better when you join in with what God is already doing.]
Many people are very busy for God and we should be busy, but merely being busy doesn’t necessarily mean that God is using us! No matter how much we watch the church or work for the church except the Lord is moving in the church, we labor in vain. Many leaders can be very busy for God and yet totally out of touch with the direction God wants to lead the church. God is building His church based on His ability not ours. To do this there must be someone who has tremendous resources! God has this. For God to do this, He must have complete liberty to do so at His will according to His plan. You see God wants to give us a Divine Design. God can always do what needs to be done. There is never a shortage of His resources. When you and I come into agreement with what God wants to do in our churches, there will always be an outpouring of the spirit. We need a move of God on-going in our lives and cities, not just a touch. God is intensely interested in us not confusing where the power comes from and where the glory is due. Unfortunately, we are all too interested in power! Yet the power we must have does not come from man but from God. The apostolic leader understands that it is God’s power that is accomplishing things. We are all wounded warriors in the sense that we are not perfect you could say we are all cracked pots. I read a story that really drives this point home,
A water bearer in India had two large water pots in which he carried water daily. Each hung on opposite ends of the pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. The cracked pot arrived only half full. For a long time this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house. Of course the perfect pot was proud of it’s accomplishments by comparison, perfect to end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day and said I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. Why? asked the bearer. I have been able for these two years to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes the water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don’t get the full value from your efforts. The water bearer felt sorry for the cracked pot so he said to the pot. I want you to notice the flowers along the path back to the master’s house. As they went up the hill the cracked pot noticed all the beautiful flowers along one side of the path and this cheered up the pot somewhat. Yet, when they had reached the master’s house the pot apologized again because it had leaked out half of the water. The bearer said did you not notice that the flowers where only on one side of the path, but not on the other side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted those flower seed on your side of the path so each day as we have gone back and forth you’ve watered them. So I have been able to pick beautiful flowers for the master’s table. Without you being just the way you are this would not have happened.
So always remember God is building the house!
This article “What Does It Mean To Be Apostolic?” by James Holland is excerpted from Characteristics Of An Apostolic Leader, 2005.