It’s quite possible as a teacher of the word, to release into the ears and comprehension of our hearers the spirit of wisdom and revelation that is life itself. However there is a pre-requisite to this kind of teaching that is beyond no one and the possession of all who believe – which is to say all who believe and have embraced their new covenant inheritance. I’m talking of the release of spirit and life that flows from apostolic teaching. So what does it mean to be apostolic?
It means to be sons and daughters in spirit and in truth. It means to live as sons in the new creation. ‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV. In the law we are in the old creation. In the Spirit we are in the new. In the law we are separated from God. In Christ we are in union with God.
EXTENSIONS OF OUR FATHER
Apostles are representatives. Apostles of the Kingdom, like Jesus represent Jesus and His Father. Jesus, the chief apostle, was apostolic because He and His Father were one. He was the extension, the representative and Revealer of His Father. He was His Father’s son. Thus to teach in the spirit of apostleship there is a bottom line. We need to have embraced the reality of our sonship. The question is. Are we sons of religion or sons of our Father? It’s easy to be son of religion. Most of us are born into this. Not so easy to be a son of God when the LIVING WAY of doing this has been smothered by an old covenant that has exceeded its time.
‘The word apostle means “one who is sent out.” In the New Testament, there are two primary usages of the word apostle. The first is specifically referring to the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The second is generically referring to other individuals who are sent out to be messengers/ambassadors of Jesus Christ.’ The fact is that we can be apostles of nothingness or apostles of Jesus.
KINDS OF APOSTOLIC
In Paul’s say one could be an apostle of the government. Today one might be an apostle of renewable energy. But our spiritual use of the term ‘apostle’ should be taken to mean a representative of the person of Jesus Christ and by implication a Messenger of our Father. Here the meaning is the same as the way Jesus represented His Father. Father was Jesus’ life. Jesus and Father were one. Apostolic witness occurs when Jesus is our life. This results in our being alive in the spirit of sonship. It appears that one is not apostolic because one is sincere but because one has embraced the same union with Father than Jesus had – because it is ours.
What does Christ our life mean? It means that He is not an addendum to our activities. It means also that Christianity as religion is not our life. It means that He is and that there is no intervening layer of law or performance between ourselves and God. We are in God and God is in us. This is the difference between impotence and potent.
Karl Bath writes of apostolic witnesses to the living word in this manner. ‘They are the witnesses of the Word. To be more precise, they are its primary witnesses, because they are called directly by the Word to be its hearers, and they are appointed for its communication and verification to other men and women. These people are the biblical witnesses of the Word, the prophetic men of the Old Testament and the apostolic men of the New.’ Clearly to be apostolic does not mean to have a big church or even a small following. It means to be one with Father and a witness and Explainer of Jesus and His accomplishments for humanity. It means to be a son who helps to birth sons of God.
It is the apostolic men and women of this age that is our subject here. Our topic is not so much ‘apostles’ but apostolic witness.
In this age of the new covenant, men and women are called both to know God in Jesus Christ and to witness to Him on account of the their personal sonship with Father. Apostolic witness today is the witness of sons who are sons in spirit and in truth. Today His mouthpieces are not sons of the law or of sons of institutionalism because they are not sons of separation. Generically they are sons of God and specifically Christ is their life. As such they and Father are one. They live in authentic apostleship and speak what Father is speaking. They reveal our Father and the truth of our union with God.
THE PERSONAL IS SPIRITUAL
Karl Bath observes that ‘The prophets and apostles existed as eyewitnesses witnesses of those deeds done in their time, and hearers of the Word spoken in their time. They were destined, appointed, and elected for this cause by God, not by themselves; they were also commanded and empowered by him to speak of what they had seen and heard. They speak as men who in this qualified sense were there.’ We might note that we do in truth speak ‘what we have seen and heard.’ If we have seen and head religion and institutionalism, this is what we will speak. If Jesus is our life we will speak Him and multiply His spirit and life. Yet there is something of similar importance to note: THEY WERE THERE.
LIVE IN BELONGING
They were there. Today our new covenant inheritance is to be there in companionship with the trinity. They have come to us. All we need do is living in their reality rather than in the shadowlands of religion.
There is much in Bath’s observation that is relevant to apostolic teaching today. Genuine apostolic teachers are ‘eyewitnesses’ in the Spirit of the reality that is Christ. Theirs is a personal Jesus – never a generic or a religious one. They have engaged in a ravenous pursuit of Jesus. As a result they have been appointed and equipped by Him to speak out what they have seen and heard as Jesus has revealed Himself to them. Like the apostles who saw Jesus in the flesh they have seen and been taught by Him in the Spirit. In a similar sense their teaching comes from BEING THERE.
RELIGION IS OBVIOUS – SPIRITUALITY IS NOT
The truths of the Kingdom are counter-intuitive. They are not obvious and are distinct from carnal christianity which emphasizes law over spirit and ideology over a personal Jesus.
These truths are the product of divine intervention and not human imagination. They are not found in natural assumptions and even less are they found in common religious opinion. Thus the work of Jesus in our lives is to set us free from our myths and veils in order that we may live in the union with God that is ours. This is also the work of apostolic ministry.
On this ground, Barth makes an observation that is as radical as it is true. “The central affirmations of the Bible are NOT SELF-EVIDENT; the Word of God itself, as witnessed to in the Bible, is not immediately obvious in any of its chapters or verses. On the contrary, the truth of the Word must be sought precisely, in order to be understood in its DEEP SIMPLICITY.”
Many of today’s apostles are revealing the truth of The Word, the truth that has always been there and seldom understood and seldom lived, but the truth that is alive and personal and result in your growing into your glory as a son/daughter of God. In other words the truth will out and apostolic teaching ‘outs it.’
The treasure must be dug out of the field. It must be received for what it is and not what it is not. The ‘deep simplicity’ of the new covenant truth is that Christ is our life and that this must be comprehended and applied. This is an apostolic work and as such the same work in which Jesus was engaged on behalf of His Father.
There is nothing as simple and profound as Paul’s declaration that Christ is our life. Yet in so many instances the Christian Industry has exchanged the infinite life here for pedestrian and uninformed Christian conformity – a Christianity that varies between nonsense and the Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil. This is in effect anti-christ fable-mongering that is being apostolically overcome in this season.