[anzac] SIGN OF a TRUE APOSTLE - by Lee Grady

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 22:44:32 +1300
THE SIGN OF a TRUE APOSTLE (It´s Not What You Think)
by J. Lee Grady

What are the characteristics of a true apostle?

A few years ago I heard a preacher tell a room full of ministers that
they couldn´t work miracles or exercise apostolic authority unless
they used the word apostle as a title. So some of them ran out
and printed new business cards-as if putting the word in front of
their names was the magic ticket to reclaiming New Testament power.

That was a bad idea. For the past 15 years or more, thousands of
people have been wounded and countless churches have nosedived
because immature leaders thought they could gain apostolic status
the easy way. We are so eager to qualify ourselves that we forget
God alone calls, prepares and sends true apostles.

The late Arthur Katz, who was a prophetic voice to our movement
for many years, wrote in his 1999 book Apostolic Foundations that
nobody should be eager to step into an apostolic assignment or to
treat such a task flippantly. "God is jealous over the word apostolic,"
Katz wrote. "It is a word that has fallen into disuse and needs to
be restored, and that restoration is not going to be cheap."

We are so carnal, so power hungry and so enamored with status
and position that we don´t have a clue what apostolic ministry really
is. Most charismatics think it is about authority, and many men
who claim to be apostles build top-down pyramid structures that
abuse people. Others think apostolic leaders are marked primarily
by sensational miracles. Yet I see something we have entirely
missed when I look at the life of the apostle Paul.

Paul told the Thessalonians that love is the true hallmark of any
person who is sent on an apostolic mission. Therefore, if we want
apostolic power or authority (which we should), it must flow through
apostolic love or it is a counterfeit. This apostolic love can be
described in four ways:

1. It is incarnational. Paul brought the gospel to the Thessalonians
and lived among them. He did not just drop in, preach a good
sermon and leave. He said, "We were well-pleased to impart to
you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives" (1 Thess. 2:8,
NASB, emphasis added). Just as Jesus came to this earth, lived
among us and died for us, true apostles give it all. If all an "apostle"
does is preach a good message, he is a poor substitute for the
real thing. (And if he also spends more time taking up offerings
for himself, he is a hireling or a con artist.)

2. It is sacrificial. Paul risked his neck in Thessalonica, and then
he told his followers that he would "suffer affliction" from his
persecutors (1 Thess. 3:4). But he loved them so much that he
prayed for them continually, and he longed to visit them again
even though he knew it would be risky. He never mentions money.
In fact, when he was with the Thessalonian church, he worked
night and day "so as not to be a burden to any of [them]" (1 Thess.
2:9). That flies in the face of modern apostles who charge $1,000
an hour for their consulting fees.

3. It is relational. The word brethren appears in 1 Thessalonians
17 times. That´s because Paul viewed the church as the family
of God. He saw himself in the role of a gentle, nursing mother
(1 Thess. 2:7) as well as a strong father (v. 11). Paul´s affection
is so thick and so slobbery that it drips off the page of his letter.
He says the members of the church "have become very dear" to
them (v. 8) and that they "also long to see [them]" (3:6). It´s no
surprise that he ends the epistle by exhorting the people to greet
one another with "a holy kiss" (5:26).

What has happened to this kind of holy affection in today´s church?
Why are we so disconnected? We have replaced deep relationships
with cold professionalism. Many pastors have not been properly
fathered, so they don´t know how to love-nor do they have close
friends. So we cover our dysfunction with busyness. We work,
work, work-while sterile, loveless congregations struggle to grow.
We use gimmicks and programs to get people in seats because
our love is not warm enough to attract people to Jesus.

4. It is confrontational. Paul was not seeker-sensitive. He did not
hesitate to confront sin. He gave the Thessalonians one of the
most frank, forthright sermons on sexual sin ever written (1 Thess.
4:1-8). But he confronted them as a loving father by emploring
them to stay within their God-given boundaries. He didn´t use
anger, manipulation, domination or threats. He led with strong,
apostolic love.

I believe God wants to pour out a new wave of apostolic power on
our generation. But we can´t be trusted with this anointing if we
refuse to grow up. We will have the maturity to use the word
apostolic when we learn to walk in the love that was modeled by
the first apostles.

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