10 EARMARKS OF TRUE APOSTLES
Where are all the true apostles?
I believe with all my heart that the term “apostle” has become an absolute mockery in the body of Christ. There is perhaps less biblical understanding into this specific ministry than the other four combined. (prophet, shepherd, teacher, evangelist) Several years ago, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a gathering of over 250 “apostles” and “prophets”. After wrestling with the Lord through prayer and fasting weeks before the gathering, the title of the paper I presented that the Holy Spirit gave me was called, “The Rise of False Apostles and Prophets”. After sharing, I was approached by numerous leaders who had never even heard biblical teaching on what true apostles and prophets were, although they claimed or were called one!
It is my personal belief that the greatest biblical indicator that the ministry of the “apostle” is currently being grossly misunderstood and misrepresented to the body of Christ is revealed in the LACK OF REVELATION, FOCUS, AND EMPHASIS ON/OF THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST among so called “apostles”.
I offer the following for your short consideration:
In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul uses and refers to JESUS CHRIST 18 times.
In Ephesians 1, Paul uses and refers to JESUS CHRIST 29 times.
In Philippians 1, Paul uses and refers to JESUS CHRIST 20 times.
In Colossians 1, Paul uses and refers to JESUS CHRIST 35 times.
In 1 Timothy 1, Paul uses and refers to JESUS CHRIST 15 times.
In 1 Peter 1, Peter uses and refers to JESUS CHRIST 18 times.
All of these references are limited to opening chapters.
In order to bring biblical clarity to a much needed subject, below are 10 markings of true apostles:
1. THEY REPRESENT CHRIST
The Greek verb is “apostello” which means, “to send forth with a divine commission.” An interpretive meaning of the term “apostle” is: “one who has been sent forth with a specific, divine commission, TO REPRESENT THE ONE who has commissioned them.” True apostles have no interest in representing themselves and their ministries to the public. True apostles are sent into regions and territories to represent Jesus Christ.
2. THEY ARE CALLED BY CHRIST
In Galatians 1, Paul explains with clarity how he was called by JESUS CHRIST to be an apostle. He received the gospel through a revelation of JESUS CHRIST (v.12). He goes on to say, “God was pleased to REVEAL HIS SON IN ME...” (Galatians 1:16) Paul had no desire or interest in being called an “apostle” by anyone or anything. None of that mattered to him because Jesus Christ Himself had called him to be an apostle.
3. THEY BUILD ON CHRIST
True apostles will not build upon any other foundation than JESUS CHRIST. To “align” with a true apostle is to submit yourself to a radical pursuit of a revelation of Jesus Christ. True apostles will not and do not plant and build churches upon themselves or their ministry gifts, they plant churches upon a revelation of Jesus Christ. True apostles seek to remove any unnecessary attention off of themselves in the planting of churches and ministries. True apostles establish the authority of Christ by setting in Elders and Deacons. (Ephesians 2:20)
4. THEY PREACH CHRIST
Paul continues to explain his apostolic calling in Galatians 1:16 as he says, “God was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might PREACH HIM among the Gentiles…” He proclaimed to the Corinthians that “I have resolved to know nothing but JESUS CHRIST and Him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2). To the church at Philippi, he said, “I count all things to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing JESUS CHRIST MY LORD.” (Philippians 3:8) True apostles continually preach JESUS CHRIST. True apostolic preaching is the preaching of JESUS CHRIST. True apostles constantly preach on the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus Christ. When true apostles finish teaching and preaching in regions and cities, the worship and exaltation of Jesus Christ explodes with the hearts of sinners and saints alike.
5. THEY MANIFEST CHRIST
True apostles manifest JESUS CHRIST in the earth through extraordinary acts of humility and meekness. True apostles are not title oriented. They have no need for public recogntion, only that Jesus Christ Himself receives all the glory and the praise. Apostles take the true authority that they have been given and manifest the gentleness and humility of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 11:29) Apostles are foot washers and bondservants. (1 Cor 4:9-14)
6. THEY ARE FOOLS FOR CHRIST
True apostles are mocked and slandered. They do not have entourages and mass followings. When they preach Christ, there is either revival or riot. True apostles are not extremely wealthy, as they continually seek to magnify Christ and give away their possessions to the poor. “We are fool’s for Christ’s sake, we are weak, we are without honor, we are hungry, we are thirsty, we are poorly clothed, we are roughly treated, we toil with our own hands”. (1 Cor 4:10-11)
7. THEY ARE REVILED FOR CHRIST
True apostles are persecuted and continually asked to endure for the sake of Christ. Their focus on Jesus Christ continually causes them to be despised by others would would rather emphasize other subjects in the kingdom of God. Apostles are consumed with laying Jesus Christ as the foundation of the church and the religious spirit hates this pursuit. True apostles are continually rejected because they will not build on any other foundation than Jesus Christ. ( Eph 2:20, 1 Cor 4:13)
8. THEY ARE FATHERS IN CHRIST
True apostles carry and possess the Father heart of God for His children. They do not father according to their own desires, but they father IN CHRIST JESUS. As Paul stated, “IN CHRIST JESUS, I have become your father” (1 Cor 4:15). The life source of true apostles who father sons and daughters is JESUS CHRIST! Finding young people that can do your bidding and then calling yourself an apostle is not fathering. True apostolic fathering is centered upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.
9. THEY ARE MIRACLES WORKERS OF CHRIST
True apostles minister in signs, wonders, and miracles. As Paul said, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” (2 Cor 12:11-12). True apostles carry authority over demons, principalities, sickness, and disease. If there are no miracles when they minister, they are not true apostles.
10. THEY POSSESS THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST
True apostles carry the DNA of Jesus Christ inside their being. They understand that in order to be first, they must be last. They recognize that in order to be the greatest, they have to get in the back of the line. True apostles embrace the upside down kingdom that Jesus Christ taught. In the words of Paul, “we (apostles) are the scum of the world”. (1 Cor 4:13) True apostles are filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. True apostles are not prideful, arrogant, and lovers of money. True apostles do not itch the ears of the carnal but rather preach the truth in love.
****It is for the 10 biblical reasons above that I personally believe that 75 percent of individuals who self-proclaim to be “apostles” are not in fact apostles. Some of them are evangelists and prophets at best, but many of them do not bear even 2 or 3 of the biblical markings explained above. While I firmly believe in the modern day ministry of “apostles”, I believe we must go back to the Scriptures so that true apostolic reformation can take place in America. We must have a generation of apostolic messengers released to the American Church who are absolutely possessed, captivated, and fascinated with the person and work of Jesus Christ. We must have mass repentance among those who are claiming to be “apostles” and are not. May God use the true apostles in America to sound the alarm and set a new precedent in the apostolic movement. In Jesus Name!