Watering the Tulips
August 24, 2016
“Paul…called to be an apostle…” – Romans 1:1
There is no office of an apostle in the church today. That may come as somewhat of a surprise to some of the readers of this article, but it’s a fact. Peter, Andrew, James, John…the rest of the twelve…along with Paul held an office in the early church that isn’t part of today’s Christian economy. A simple study of the Biblical qualifications for an apostle should correct any misunderstanding along these lines.
First, an apostle had to be personally chosen by Jesus Himself. In Luke 6:12-16, Jesus “called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.” These men are listed by name. When Matthias was chosen to replace Judas in accordance with Scripture, the early church prayed for God to reveal the man He had chosen for the office (Acts 1:24). Paul was personally met by the resurrected Messiah on the road to Damascus and chosen by Him (Acts 9:1-8, 15). Unless a man is personally chosen by Jesus Himself, he is unqualified to be an apostle.
Secondly, an apostle had to be taught by Jesus personally. Without a doubt, the original twelve were taught daily by Jesus throughout His personal ministry here on Earth. Even when replacing Judas, it was required that his predecessor must have accompanied the group of disciples from the baptism of John until the ascension of Jesus into Heaven (Acts 1:21-22). Paul makes it plain that he was taught the Gospel “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12). Even his knowledge of the events in the upper room when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper came directly from Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Unless a man has received his teaching directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, he is unqualified to be an apostle.
Thirdly, an apostle must have been an eyewitness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Again, when choosing the replacement for Judas, it was required that he “must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:22). That is, since the apostles were sent out as witnesses of the risen Christ, Judas’ replacement must have seen the risen Christ with his own eyes. On the road to Damascus, Paul himself became a witness of the resurrected Christ. Unless a man has seen Jesus alive with his own eyes, he is unqualified to be an apostle.
Fourthly, apostles had miracle working power. Matthew 10:1 says, “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” Notice, this wasn’t healing a person who was deaf in one ear or healing some difficult to diagnose disease. These men healed “every disease and every affliction”. Paul spoke of himself to the church at Corinth when he said, “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works” (2 Corinthians 12:12). Unless a man has verifiable miracle working power over “every disease and every affliction”, he is unqualified to be an apostle.
Apostles were gifts to the early church. Through them Scripture was penned and truths were taught. They were the foundation of the church itself (Ephesians 2:20). When building a house, you don’t continually lay a foundation. This is done one time at the beginning. The same is true concerning the apostles.
There simply are no apostles today. It’s speaking improperly to label anyone today as an apostle. Let us see that Biblically, nobody alive today can fit these qualifications. May we be Biblical in our use of Biblical terms.
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