It is becoming more and more evident as the days of this age come to an end, that the church of Jesus Christ is out of order and the function of the gifts that Jesus gave to the church have been forgotten in the seemingly endless stream of pastors, mega-churches, and the traditions of men that fill the souls of the congregants with false teachings in man-made buildings.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus tells Peter that He would build His church upon this rock and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The church is NOT a building, and this is evident from the multiple buildings that have been burned down or destroyed in natural disasters over the years. Jesus meant that He would put His Spirit inside of Peter and his vessel would become the temple of God, part of the body of Christ, which is the church.
We can understand from Luke 6:13 that Jesus had called His disciples to Himself after spending the whole night in prayer to God, and chose twelve of them out of the gathering to be His apostles.
“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;”
The ordination and appointing that these twelve disciples received was to a position of leadership that differed from the other disciples who were with Jesus. These twelve chosen men would also receive a greater anointing, preparation, training, teaching, and fellowship with Jesus than the rest of His disciples.
“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:”
Jesus did not appoint all the disciples that followed Him to the office of apostle and He only chose twelve to walk closely with Him so that He could prepare them to go out and preach, heal sicknesses and cast out demons.
“Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,”
“Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.”
These twelve disciples who were named apostles were with Jesus everywhere He went, and they were chosen to receive the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Everyone else Jesus spoke to, He spoke in parables and they could not see, or understand what He was saying.
Paul, who was also called to be an apostle said in 1st Cor. 4:1
“Let a man so consider us (apostles), as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
When we re-examine the scriptures that are commonly called ‘the great commission’ and we contrast them with the scriptures in Luke 6:13 and Mark 3:14-15 we can see that Jesus did not tell every disciple then or every professing Christian today, to go out, preach the gospel, heal sicknesses, cast out demons, make disciples, baptize them, and teach them everything Jesus commanded. That wouldn’t be possible because these eleven original apostles were physically taught by Jesus and were with Him for three and a half years during His earthly ministry. (Judas we know hung himself)
“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
In these scriptures we read Jesus giving His chosen apostles commandments and talking to them about the kingdom of God, this is before they were sent out to preach and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 1:21-26 we see the replacement of Judas with one of the disciples who had been with Jesus and the other apostles from the beginning of His ministry, this is more evidence of the many other disciples that followed Jesus.
“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
Paul told the Ephesians that they had become citizens with the saints and members of the household of God because they had been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”
And in Ephesians 4:11-12 we are given the five gifts or offices that Jesus gave to the church for the edification of the saints, and the building up of the body of Christ.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”
1st Corinthians 12:28-30
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?”
In these scriptures we see that we are all the body of Christ and members individually, but God appointed leaders in the church, without leaders there would be no order, and we can see in 1st Cor. 14 how Paul the apostle had to set things in order so that the assembly of the saints could function the way God wants it to.
In conclusion there is an order in the church and each office has a role or function in the church. When this order becomes disorderly and the traditions of man nullify the commandments of God, we see the effects of a powerless gospel preached by those who are not called, ordained, appointed, and sent by Jesus to be a leader in His church. The Lord has spoken through His prophets and prophesied of a time of restoration in the last days, and I believe that time is very near, even at the door.
May God bless and keep you,